In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Diono Cambria 2 Review

The wallet-loving option is a good choice that won't break the bank with better crash test analysis than much of the competition and a comfy headrest
gearlab tested logo
Diono Cambria 2 Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $120 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Diono
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jan 26, 2024
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Crash Test - 35% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 5.1
  • Weight/Size - 15% 5.9
  • Comfort - 15% 6.1
  • Quality - 10% 4.0

The Skinny

The Diono Cambria 2 is largely an average seat that is neither uber-impressive nor disappointing. It has a budget-friendly price most families can manage and higher, better-than-average crash test results that should be praised for a seat in this price range. It is lightweight for the best booster seat group and the headrest is very comfy for napping and earned two thumbs up from our child tester. The downsides here are it is harder for kids to use and buckle on their own, the main body padding is only so-so, and the shoulder guide rests close to the neck. Overall, we think it is a good enough seat for the price, and the crash test results make it a shoo-in for those who have smaller budgets but don't want to sacrifice safety for the sake of price. It is perfect for families on a tight budget or those who need a second seat.
REASONS TO BUY
Budget-friendly
Nicer crash test analysis
Lightweight
Napping headrest
REASONS TO AVOID
Padding is disappointing
Hard for kids to buckle alone
Shoulder guide too close to child's neck
Editor's Note: The Cambria 2 was tested for the first time in our all-new booster lineup on January 26, 2024.

Compare to Similar Products

 
diono cambria 2
This Product
Diono Cambria 2
Awards Best Value Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $120 List
$79.99 at Amazon
$160 List
$159.99 at Amazon
$140 List
$109.99 at Amazon
$37 List
$29.74 at Amazon
$29 List
$28.98 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
63
78
73
68
57
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line A comfy headrest and good crash test results make this lightweight choice an option that won't break the bankGreat choice for most families with better crash testing analysis, easy installation, and cozy seating for kidsEasy installation and use make this a nicer seat, but there are some that offer better crash test analysisGreat for travel and carpooling, but the quality and crash results make it less appealing as an all-the-time boosterThis basic booster offers disappointing results in most metrics, including crash test analysis, making the low price less appealing
Rating Categories Diono Cambria 2 Chicco KidFit Zip A... Chicco KidFit BubbleBum Graco TurboBooster...
Crash Test (35%)
8.0
8.2
7.1
6.5
5.3
Ease of Use (25%)
5.1
8.3
8.3
8.0
7.5
Weight/Size (15%)
5.9
6.5
6.6
10.0
7.9
Comfort (15%)
6.1
7.3
6.8
4.4
3.2
Quality (10%)
4.0
8.0
7.5
3.5
3.5
Specs Diono Cambria 2 Chicco KidFit Zip A... Chicco KidFit BubbleBum Graco TurboBooster...
Modes High Back Booster, Backless Booster High Back Booster, Backless Booster High Back Booster, Backless Booster Backless Booster Backless Booster
High Back Booster Weight Range 40-120 lb 40-110 lb 40-100 lb N/A N/A
High Back Booster Height Range 38-63 in 38-57 in 38-57 in N/A N/A
Width 19.9 in 18.2 in 18.4 in 11.3 in 16.3 in
Weight 12.0 lb 11.8 lb 10.3 lb 0.9 lb 4.5 lb
Backless Booster Height Range 38-63 in 38-58 in 38-57 in 40-57 in 43-57 in
5 Point Harness Weight Range N/A N/A #REF! N/A N/A
5 Point Height Range N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
LATCH Equipped Yes Yes Yes No No
#REF! #REF! #REF! #REF! #REF! #REF!
Recline Positions None 2 2 N/A N/A
Foam Type None EPS EPS None None
Seat Lifespan 8 Years 8 Years 8 Years 4 Years from purchase date 10 Years
Aircraft Certified

Our Analysis and Test Results

In Washington state, Diono began in 1999. The company won an award in 2002 for the Diono Mighty-Tite. Inspired by this award, Diono launched an operation in Staffordshire, England, to expand. In 2005, they created the first steel-reinforced folding car seat. In 2007, the Monterey won multiple awards. Winona Capital invested in Diono in 2015 to help them grow.

Performance Comparison



The Cambria 2 did well in our crash testing commissioned through MGA Research. Its combined sensor data resulted in an analysis score that was one of the best in the group.
Credit: GearLab & MGA Research

Crash Test


The Cambria 2 performed well in our commissioned crash testing, earning analysis results above the average in this lineup. While not the highest, it is in the upper echelon of options we tested using a slightly faster speed and more modern style sled. We suspect the better performance and lower sensor recordings (lower is preferred) indicate it potentially offers an additional margin of protection over the lower-scoring competitors.

This graph is a comparison of the HIC sensor data of the Cambria 2...
This graph is a comparison of the HIC sensor data of the Cambria 2 and the Peg Perego, which earned the best analysis score.
The Cambria (in black) had somewhat higher sensor data results for...
The Cambria (in black) had somewhat higher sensor data results for the chest clip score than one of the best in the group (in green). Lower is better for these results.

All seats in the review pass federal guidelines and are considered safe, but we wanted to find those that offer more with fewer G-Forces recorded in the crash test dummy HIC and chest clip sensors. The sensor data for the Cmbria 2 combine into an impressive final analysis that is better than most of the options we tested.

The Cambria shoulder strap positioner is close to the passenger's...
The Cambria shoulder strap positioner is close to the passenger's neck, and we worry it could rub on sensitive skin while riding.
The base of the Cambria 2 is somewhat wide and this design makes the...
The base of the Cambria 2 is somewhat wide and this design makes the vehicle buckle harder to utilize.

Ease of Use


The Cambria 2 earned a below-average score for ease of use in our tests. The seat bottom covered our vehicle buckle, and we had to tilt and adjust the seat to find it, making us strangely grateful our installation was loose. We worry this will be near impossible for smaller cars where the booster base might cover more than it should for easy buckling, and little ones might need help. The shoulder belt positioner keeps the belt away from the passenger's neck, but it is closer than some competitors.

Releasing the LATCH on the Cambria starts by loosening the LATCH straps which is very easy.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Cambria has hook-style LATCH connectors, and the seat is lightweight enough to maneuver easily.

The Cambria has hook-style LATCH connectors but the ease of removal...
The Cambria has hook-style LATCH connectors but the ease of removal is better here than on convertible seats because the strap isn't as tight after installation.
Tightening the Cambria 2 LATCH straps is easy with two front pull...
Tightening the Cambria 2 LATCH straps is easy with two front pull straps.

You have to free the connectors to use them, but we didn't have problems. We aren't fans of hook connectors, but the lack of a tight LATCH strap makes it easier to remove them when you need to.

The Cambria cup holders fit our test water bottle and include a smaller snack cup.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The seat has two cup holders, and you can miss them if you don't know they're there because they sort of spin-out from the sides of the seat. They passed our Thermos kid's water bottle test, and we had no problems with them.

diono cambria 2 - the cambria 2 can be turned into a back less version for easier...
The Cambria 2 can be turned into a back less version for easier travel.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight and Size


The Cambria is a somewhat lighter-weight option, but with kind of ruins it if your goal is to have something transportable or to use in smaller spaces.


This option weighs 12 lbs, which is about average in this lineup, with several weighing less. It measures 19.9 inches, making it one of the wider options in the group. While this might translate to a more comfortable seat area, it could be harder to use in smaller cars or multiple seats.

diono cambria 2 - with a padded headrest, side wings, and armrests, the cambria offers...
With a padded headrest, side wings, and armrests, the Cambria offers enough to keep passengers comfy.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


The Cambria earned a higher than average score for comfort, but just slightly over. We felt the foam padding was subpar, and it didn't offer much support or cushion, but our child tester didn't hate it. The fabric cover is soft compared to others and potentially cooling, with a tester-approved thumbs up for feel.

diono cambria 2
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The headrest is really where this option impressed. It is deep set and allows little heads to rest at a comfortable angle, making it suitable for napping on road trips. It almost feels like a hug but there is plenty of room to see around it to take in the sights. It feels like there is a slight “scoop” in the design that better cradles the head than the competition.

diono cambria 2 - the cambria didn't perform well in our tests for quality. when the...
The Cambria didn't perform well in our tests for quality. When the cover is removed, you can see some of the plastic shell that looks deformed.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Quality


Quality is not where the Cambria shines, but it does feel on par with the price and what you might expect for a seat that is inexpensive. However, there are higher-quality choices that will only cost a little more. It's something to consider, depending on your goals.

With the cover off, the comfort padding resembles packing material, in our opinion. This padding covers everything from the headrest to the seat bottom. The fabric cover has a nice feeling, but it doesn't fit the booster as well as we'd like, and no matter how we tried, it never looked like a snug and finished product. The headrest cover slides on, and there is no feature to get it in place or connected to the frame. It feels like an oversight or forgotten component. The headrest also jiggles about when driving, and it feels more like a child's play toy than a sturdy car seat.

diono cambria 2 - if your budget is smaller, the cambria offers a potential margin of...
If your budget is smaller, the Cambria offers a potential margin of safety over the average seat, so despite lower scores in other metrics, we think the Cambria is a good choice for some.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Diono Cambria 2?


The Cambria is not a stellar seat and has some obvious and less obvious hiccups we didn't love. However, for the price, the crash test results are hard to beat as they are high-ranking in this group and significantly better than average. While the Camrbia performed slightly above average for comfort, it otherwise is largely average or slightly below. We don't think it is the best for everyone, but we do think parents on a budget who don't want to sacrifice safety because of their budget will be happy with this booster.

What Other Booster Seat Should You Consider?


If your budget can stretch somewhat, we prefer the Chicco KidFit Zip Air Plus 2-in-1. Depending on sales, they could be very similarly priced, but you'll be getting a lot more for your money. Not only does the Air Zip have a slightly higher crash test score but it is also far more comfortable and higher quality that is easier to use. We think you can't go wrong with the Air Plus and believe it is a good choice for many families.

Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz