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Hands-on Gear Review

Cybex Aton 2 Review


Infant Car Seat

The Cybex Aton 2
Price:   $320 List | $299.95 from Amazon - 6% Off
Pros:  Easy LATCH install, load leg, Side impact protection, comfy
Cons:  Higher price, heavy, hard to use
Bottom line:  Compelling high quality seat that fails in the face of strong competition
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Cybex

The Skinny

Ranking near the top of the 15 car seats we reviewed, with the 4th highest score overall, the Cybex Aton 2 is a nice seat that looks great and that scored above average in most of our tests. It was one of the easiest seats to install if your vehicle has LATCH anchors, and offers above average comfort and quality with nice fabric and a quality fit and finish. We like the seat a lot, but it does face some stiff competition with similarly high-end seats priced at $300 such as the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the UPPAbaby Mesa that had better scores overall, and the less expensive Chicco Keyfit 30 which did slightly better overall but costs $100 less.

RELATED: Our complete review of infant car seats

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief, BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
November 1, 2015
The Cybex Aton 2 is a rear facing car seat designed for children 4-35 pounds and up to 30 inches. This seat features side protectors that transfer the initial impact to the seat's shell, the shell then absorbs the energy and transfers it away from baby. It also has thick EPS foam and extra thick padded covers that absorb and distribute crash forces, especially during a side impact collision. The Aton 2 has an extra large 50 SPF canopy that can disappear behind a visor, and can be extended to offer protection against the elements. The base on the Anton 2 has a unique tensioning system for LATCH or vehicle belts. It clicks into a metal chassis on the base for strength. It can also be installed using the car seat belt making travel easier. It features a removable newborn inlay for positioning smaller babies and a recline indicator for help with installation. Stroller compatibility is more limited than some higher scoring strollers; this seat is compatible with any Cybex stroller, and with adapters it also works with many strollers including Baby Jogger, Mamas & Papas, and Quinny.

Performance Comparison


We compared the top 15 infant style car seats side-by-side in an extensive 5 month testing process for this review
We compared the top 15 infant style car seats side-by-side in an extensive 5 month testing process for this review

Crash Test


The Cybex crash test results suggest it provides a better level of protection than many competing seats for the G forces recorded by both the head and chest sensors in the crash dummy. While all the seats meet the minimum guidelines for crash test results, some seemed to offer an additional margin of protection with scores further from the Federal maximum of allowed G forces. While the Cybex was only about the middle of the pack in crash test results, it significantly exceeds Federal safety standards, and thus provides an extra margin of protection relative to about half the seats we reviewed.

This chart shows the test result data from the dummy head sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Chicco Keyfit 30  which has the best head results in the group
This chart shows the test result data from the dummy chest sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect  which has the best chest results in the group
 
The charts above compare the Cybex (shown in black) to the seats with the best crash test results (shown in green) based on the head and chest force sensors of the crash test dummy. The Cybex results were about average compared to the 15 seats we reviewed, but significantly better than required by Federal safety requirements.

Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty  to avoid injuries to other passengers
Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty, to avoid injuries to other passengers
The Cybex has a unique and interesting side impact device located on the handle of the seat that their marketing claims will reduce or transfer the impact of crash forces to the shell of the seat. While we don't have any proof this feature actually works as advertised, as Cybex does not make available crash test results that quantify its efficacy, it is an additional feature that makes the Cybex stand out compared to the other seats. We did not see any information readily available that offered further resources on whether or not this feature has been specifically tested. We'd love to see more transparency from manufacturers when it comes to claims about unique side-impact features. This feature can only be used if there are no passengers sitting next to the seat.

This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action
This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action
The seat also sports a leg prop that helps stabilize the base of the seat and can potentially decrease the amount of rotation or rebound the seat will experience in a crash (as claimed by the manufacturer). Only a few seats in this review offer this feature, and while we aren't sure how well it really performs in a crash, the design is intriguing and we think it likely can't hurt.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Cybex is easy to install using the LATCH system
The Cybex is easy to install using the LATCH system
The Cybex earned a top score of 9 of 10 for this metric tying with the Chicco Keyfit 30, and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The low for this metric is a 3 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect. The average for the seat in our review is a little over 6.

The Cybex is the only seat in this review that came with LATCH guides
The Cybex is the only seat in this review that came with LATCH guides
The Cybex car seat came with LATCH guides that help make access to the U anchors on the vehicle more visible and easier to reach. These guides are made of plastic and essentially create a pocket for the connectors to go through so you have clear access. The Cybex is the only one in this review to offer them. We liked the idea, and it does make the process somewhat easier, but the guides don't stay in place, and usually come loose from the vehicle seat so the result is they just float around on the strap. This isn't a big deal and you can still use them, but it is kind of annoying and it would be nicer if they stayed in the seat crevice.

The Aton 2 has the easier to use LATCH anchors with the red release button
The Aton 2 has the easier to use LATCH anchors with the red release button
This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action
This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action
The Cybex has the slim seat belt type connectors for LATCH; we prefer this type because we think they are easier to connect and significantly easier to disconnect. They work nicely with the guides and were easy to use. The straps are also easier to tighten and loosen than the competition. Overall, this seat is easy to install and get secure in every car we tried it in. With no other seat scoring higher, parents can feel confident that the seat is secure if they install it properly.

Ease of Install - Belt


The belt lock of on the Cybex helps parents get the belt as tight as possible with minimal effort
The belt lock of on the Cybex helps parents get the belt as tight as possible with minimal effort
The Cybex scored a 7 of 10 for ease of installation using the vehicle belt. This score is above average for the group, and is arguably good enough for something you might not need to do. The high score is a 9 shared by Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. The low score for the group is a 4 earned by the Evenflo Embrace LX.

The little red ball in the Cybex Aton 2 level indicator had a tendency to "catch" in our tests and wasn't as reliable or consistent as the bubble indicators on other seats
The little red ball in the Cybex Aton 2 level indicator had a tendency to "catch" in our tests and wasn't as reliable or consistent as the bubble indicators on other seats
The Cybex has a very interesting belt lock off system that helps even the weakest parent achieve a tight and secure installation using the belt method. The lock off is relatively easy to use and the color coded belt path makes it a easy to know where to put the belt. The lock off gets/keeps the belt extremely tight, almost too tight, and occasionally we had trouble closing the lock off. But the upside is there is no reason to struggle with the vehicle belt to get a tight fit and parents lacking upper body strength will appreciate the feature that prevents a struggle in the back seat.

The Cybex belt lock off can get "too tight" if you aren't careful making it difficult to fully close the lock off
The Cybex belt lock off can get "too tight" if you aren't careful making it difficult to fully close the lock off
This seat also has a nice level on the base that helps parents install the seat at the proper angle. Whether you use the LATCH or the belt the level can help parents find the right fit. The little ball in the level had a tendency to catch on the inside of the casing and we think it would have worked better if the ball had been metal or if the entire level had been the liquid with bubble variety. However, it certainly is more helpful than a line drawn on the side of the seat.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The Cybex can be installed without the base using the European belt path method
The Cybex can be installed without the base using the European belt path method
The lowest installation score the Cybex earned is a 5 in the ease of install without the base category. This is just 1 point above the lowest score of 4 shared by the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Orbit Baby G3. The high score for this group is a perfect 10 earned by the Peg Perego and the UPPAbaby Mesa.

The blue block on the back of the Cybex carrier is part of the color coded belt path for the European method. It is not a release handle for the carrier
The blue block on the back of the Cybex carrier is part of the color coded belt path for the European method. It is not a release handle for the carrier
The Cybex has a European belt path system that is color coded. We prefer the European method because we think it feels more secure with the shoulder strap wrapped around the back of the carrier. For ease of belt threading the Cybex has one of the top scores in the group, so while it isn't the easiest thing to do, it is the easiest in the group. We did not need a towel or noodle to install the seat correctly, which is a bonus because transporting a seat with a pool noodle can be a hassle on the go in the big city.

The exaggerated belt threading hooks on the lower portion of the Cybex make it easier to install without the base than some of the competition
The exaggerated belt threading hooks on the lower portion of the Cybex make it easier to install without the base than some of the competition
This seat can be installed using the American belt path method if necessary with a belt thread across the lower portion of the carrier. If your vehicle middle seat only has a lap belt you will still be able to easily install the seat. Unfortunately, this seat isn't as stable feeling once installed as the majority of the competition. It earned the lowest score for stability in our review, with the Chicco tying.

Ease of Use


The Cybex Aton2 has one the easiest buckle to undo on its 5 point harness
The Cybex Aton2 has one the easiest buckle to undo on its 5 point harness
The Aton 2 also didn't fare that well in our tests for ease of use. It earned a 5 of 10 for this metric, which is below average and only 2 points higher than the lowest score of 3 shared by the Orbit Baby, Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, and the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect. The highest score is an 8 shared by the Recaro Performance Coupe and the Evenflo.

The buckle on the Cybex is easy to use and not as stiff as most of the competition. It earned a good score for this test placing second and tying with a few other buckles in the group. It is easier to release than it is to buckle, but given how difficult some other seats in our tests were (ehm, Graco) we still like it. The chest/retainer clip is similar to the Britax B-Safe for how much pressure it takes to squeeze the clip to unbuckle and how easy it is to slide apart, though the type of clip is different for each. The two sides mate up easily and we didn't have any difficulty using it.

The release button on the Cybex is raised up near the foot of the carrier and looks like it might be uncomfortable for baby
The release button on the Cybex is raised up near the foot of the carrier and looks like it might be uncomfortable for baby
Tightening the harness on this seat is stiffer than most of the group. We couldn't readily tell why, but it is harder to pull the strap at the foot of the carrier and the padding on the shoulder straps causes some trouble, and we couldn't get the harness tight enough for smaller babies. To loosen the harness there is a button at the foot end of the carrier that is under the surface of the seat and has a hard cover around it so it is easily visible. The button isn't that deep under the padding and is easy to push.

The foot on the Cybex is relatively easy to adjust
The foot on the Cybex is relatively easy to adjust
The base on the Cybex has an adjustable foot that can be altered depending on the angle of the vehicle seat or to assist with any discrepancy when trying to install. It is one of the easiest in the review to use and can be adjusted even after you have tighten the base to the vehicle seat.

Adjusting the height of the shoulder straps on this seat required rethreading the straps by removing them from a T splitter located on the back of the seat. The straps can be detached from the splitter, pulled through the slots in the back, and then moved to a slot of a different height and reattached back on the splitter. The straps have small loops which make them harder to get on and off than some of the seats with larger loops, but other than the smaller loop issue it is fairly easy. However, we do prefer the non-rethread adjustment options where the height can be altered with baby in the seat and on the fly. The Cybex has 3 height options and 1 crotch strap positions. We prefer the seats with more options to ensure the best fit for baby and feel the Cybex might not have enough to get the right fit for every baby.

The smaller grey handle near the bottom on the base is the carrier release latch. The green portion on the handle indicates that the carrier is installed properly on the base
The smaller grey handle near the bottom on the base is the carrier release latch. The green portion on the handle indicates that the carrier is installed properly on the base
The Cybex carrier is harder to install on its base than most of the competition. For some reason it doesn't just fall in place like most of the group and instead you have to adjust it "just so" to make it click. We struggled with it on and off and felt it could be troubling with weight in the seat and a struggling baby to keep your cool trying to get the carrier in the car. However, it does have a visual indicator that indicates the carrier is attached correctly, so at least once you manage to get it onto the base you can feel somewhat confident it is installed correctly. There is a green button on the grey release button on the front of the base that indicates a solid connection. In our experience it worked well and never gave a false positive.

Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty  to avoid injuries to other passengers
Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty, to avoid injuries to other passengers
Releasing the carrier from the base requires depressing the green button (safety feature) on the grey release button then depressing the grey button on the front of the seat, after that you can lift the carrier off the base. You'll need to remove the front of the base then lift the seat out. The blue block on the back of the seat is a belt path thread for the seat, not a release handle like most seats. This process is more convoluted than the majority of the seats that have a release handle on the back of the carrier that doubles somewhat as a handle for lifting the carrier off the base.

The handle on this seat lightly rubs the canopy when both are up. The shape of the handle is more comfortable than most of the seats that have sharper corners. Operating the handle on the seat requires pressing in the buttons on both sides located near the pivot point and rotating to the desired position. The handle has 3 available positions and must be in the carry position for driving.

The LATCH anchors on the Cybex store underneath the recline foot on each side. To store or remove them the recline foot needs to be completely extended. The trailing straps from the anchors can still potentially get in the way of a proper carrier installation onto the base, so parents should be careful when installing the seat to make sure they are not present.

Comfort/Quality


The Cybex is a sharp looking seat
The Cybex is a sharp looking seat
The Cybex earned a 7 of 10 for comfort tying with 2 other products in the review. The score is one point lower than the high of 8 earned by Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego. The lowest score in the group is a 2 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.

The canopy on the Cybex has a stiff plastic edge and is too small to protect baby from much
The canopy on the Cybex has a stiff plastic edge and is too small to protect baby from much
The Cybex has nice padding and soft fabric, but the padding does seem a little thin for something this soft. The fabric is a little like jersey knit and feels nice to the touch. It earned one of the highest scores in our side-by-side tests for comfort. Both of these factors help lead the Cybex to an overall nice fit and finish of the seat itself. The fabric fits the carrier well and gives it a sharp overall look. The canopy is also nice and fits the frame well. It opens and closes smoothly and looks great in either position.

Most of the seats incorporated dense foam as their energy absorption material for crashes. The Cybex (shown here) also offers a under the fabric newborn foam insert to help give baby a safer  more comfortable ride
Most of the seats incorporated dense foam as their energy absorption material for crashes. The Cybex (shown here) also offers a under the fabric newborn foam insert to help give baby a safer, more comfortable ride
Unfortunately, the shell quality and durability isn't as impressive as the rest of the carrier. It seems pretty thin and not as durable as the some of the other products. In fact, the only carrier shell we liked less is the UPPAbaby. It does look nice and has a nice fit and finish, but overall it isn't the quality we would expect for a seat of this price.

The handle on the Cybex is better quality than the majority of the handles in the group. We liked its rounded edges and smooth movement. It seems like it would wear well over time. Only 3 other handles in the group appear more durable than this one, which isn't bad for a group of 15 products.

The canopy itself is small and not that impressive; it has a hard flip out visor that helps provide a little more coverage, but it isn't the best. There is no peek-a-boo window, but you aren't likely to need one given that the canopy is one of the smallest in the group and doesn't really merit a secret window when you can easily see baby without one.

Weight


The Cybex is just below average for weight in the group  but it is still heavier than some higher scoring seats
The Cybex is just below average for weight in the group, but it is still heavier than some higher scoring seats
The Cybex weighs in at 9.32 pounds which is below average for the group. The heaviest seat in the group is the Orbit G3 weighing in at 12.5 pounds and the lightest is the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect at 7.06. The weight for the Cybex is a good one for the group and definitely didn't dissuade us in any way. In general, most of the seats lighter than this one did not score well overall and performed poorly in our test metrics, so to choose a seat solely based on weight is a mistake in our minds. Phil and Teds Alpha is a nice seat with a good weight coming in at 8.53 pounds.

Stroller Compatibility


The Aton 2 is compatible with a few nice choice from our Best Baby Stroller Review. These include the Editors' Choice UPPAbaby Cruz, and the Top Pick for Versatility award winner the UPPAbaby Vista. Both strollers are easy to use, have large canopies, and large storage bins with a weight capacity of 25 and 30 pounds respectively. The Cybex Aton (not 2) is compatible with a few others in the review, so make sure you choose a stroller compatible with the 2 or it won't work. The 2 is also compatible with the Bugaboo Bee3 that ranked 10 out of 21 in our tests.

Best Applications


While the Cybex did earn a 9 of 10 for LATCH installation, it didn't really score that well in the other metrics in our tests. In several of the metrics the Cybex didn't even score above average, making it a seat that probably doesn't have a best application. There are seats that scored better in our tests that were similarly priced or cheaper. Our two Editors' Choice options, the Peg Perego and the UPPAbaby, that are priced the same, earned more points overall with the Peg offering better crash test results.

Value


With a list price of $320 it is hard to imagine this seat being a "good value". While it is a cool car seat in some respects, and scored fairly well, it is on the more expensive side for the seats in this review. However, it is also hard to claim that it is too expensive given the price of the competition and our Editors' Choice picks; it simply isn't the best scoring product in its price range, which makes it not a great value. In addition, our Best Value pick, the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air scored within 2 points of the Cybex and is almost half the price of the Cybex.

Conclusion


The Cybex comes with LATCH guides and a nice infant insert for help positioning smaller babies
The Cybex comes with LATCH guides and a nice infant insert for help positioning smaller babies
The Cybex earned a respectable score in our review, but didn't perform well enough in our tests to earn an award. While it has some interesting features that we like, such as the rebound leg, belt lock off, and the side impact flip out, it simply didn't perform well enough. With a poor ease of use score compared to the competition, we feel the seat has a little ways to go before it meets the performance of the other products in the review to become a real contender in our side-by-side testing.

Other Versions and Accessories


Cybex makes 3 different infant seats, the Cybex Aton 2 reviewed here, the Aton and the Aton Q. The Aton Q is the most advanced seat in the Cybex lineup. The Aton, is more of their basic model. We did not review any other Cybex seat and therefore, can't say much about them.

The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Back Seat Mirror from Cozy Greens is a great accessory for any parent wanting to keep an eye on baby from the front seat. The mirror is attached to a flat base that fits against the front of the headrest and is kept secure by two adjustable straps that fit around the headrest horizontally and vertically. The actual mirror has a convex shatter proof surface and is able to pivot and adjust to provide a wider field of view. Once adjusted correctly, there is a device to tighten the pivot point so that the mirror won't be accidentally bumped out of position. One of the few downfalls of this mirror is that it requires an adjustable headrest in order to attach properly. Other than that, Amazon users seem to love this accessory and claim that it provides a much clearer reflection than many other back seat mirrors.
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: October 24, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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