Issues with install and with shoulder strap
January 18, 2012
Because the base is not removable on this unit (as other reviewers have suggested it is) and it is bulky,and it does not easily fit in a lot of vehicles. I bought this car seat to use as a second car seat and to use while visiting family in another state. We were initially installing it in a 2002 Aztec. (relatives vehicle). Installed rear facing and it was loose. May have worked with a towel or pool noodle, but we decided to try to install forward facing as my daughter can sit either way based on her weight. It fit a little better, but was not a tight install and felt I could move the base more than an inch. When we came home, we installed it in our second vehicle which is a 2000 Volvo C70 convertible (I know, small right?!) Well, installing it face forward was not an option. The angle of the seat with that base just caused it to slide around and not hold. We decided to try and see if it would fit rear facing and to our amazement, it did and the install is nice and tight! The passenger seat is pushed forward quite a bit, but I am 5' 3" and I can sit in the front, but is a bit more forward that I prefer, but not to the point where it is unsafe (I'm not eating the dash board).
The other issue I have with this seat is it is a continuous strap versus two straps. I read about this in reviews also. The problem we seem to have is when our daughter is sitting in the seat, it is hard to pull the strap because her weight pushes down on them. Also, the shoulder pad on each strap tends to fall through the slots and you will not be able to pull the straps at all until you realize they are back there and have to reach in back of the seat and pull them back through.
Our other car seat is a Radian XTL, so it was like going from a Cadillac to a Geo Metro. Car seat isn't super plush, but isn't too bad. Have not used arm rests and cup holder is bulky, but my daughter likes it. I think this car seat will make a nice booster seat when our daughter is older. We have many years for that, so at this point, we are satisfied as it is rear facing and will likely have another vehicle before we need to go forward facing with this seat.(Just hope it will install nicely when we get to that point). Glad it isn't our primary seat.
For the price, I wouldn't overlook it, but test it in your vehicle first if you can. (I had mine shipped directly to my relatives, so unable to test first)
Pros:Arm rests (nice for older kids I imagine), fold out of way if not using
Removable cup holder
Cons:Bulky, non-removable base
Single, continuous strap