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Hands-on Gear Review
Cybex Aton 2 Review
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
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
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
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.
The chart below provides a comparison of overall scores for all the car seats tested in this review. The Orbit Baby is shown in blue.
The sections below provide information and details on how the Cybex performed during our testing process for each metric. Individual metric results were used to calculate overall scores with an emphasis on ease of installation and ease of use, as well as crash test results.
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.
Ease of Install - LATCH
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.
Ease of Install - Belt
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.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
Ease of Use
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Most recent user review: November 1, 2015
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