In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Chicco NextFit Review

A nice seat that is easy to install, but the crash results are only average
chicco nextfit convertible car seat review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
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Price:   $250 List
Pros:  Very easy to install, non-rethread harness, comfortable, nice quality
Cons:  Hard to remove fabric, difficult belt lock-off
Manufacturer:   Chicco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team  ⋅  Dec 21, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 18
  • Crash Test - 35% 5.0
  • Ease Of Install - LATCH - 20% 8.5
  • Ease Of Install - Belt - 15% 6.6
  • Ease Of Use - 15% 6.4
  • Comfort / Quality - 10% 8.6
  • Weight / Size - 5% 4.5

The Skinny

The Chicco NextFit is a good convertible car seat with several nice features. This seat is one of the best-looking products in the bunch. With an easy-to-install SuperCinch strap and comfortable padding with quality design and attention to detail, it is hard not to like this product. Unfortunately for the NextFit, the competition for convertible seats was stiff with this collection, and it paled somewhat in comparison to some of the competition. The major sticking point for the NextFit is that all Britax products we tested earned more points, with advantages for ease of installation and some with better crash-test results. We think parents could be happy with the Chicco but might be happier with an alternate option like the Graco Extend2Fit or Britax Emblem.

It appears as if the standard NextFit has been discontinued and the available options are the Chicco NextFit Zip and the NextFit Sport. We now link to the Sport for this review. Find out more about the Sport below.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 21, 2021, with additional details to help you make a buying decision.

Compare to Similar Products

 
chicco nextfit convertible car seat review
This Product
Chicco NextFit
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Value Award 
Price $250 List$235 List
Check Price at Amazon
Check Price at Amazon$190 List
$159.99 at Amazon
$90 List
$79.99 at Amazon
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Pros Very easy to install, non-rethread harness, comfortable, nice qualityBest crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, priceGreat crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighterPrice, easy to use, best head sensor crash testBudget-friendly, better crash test results, narrow
Cons Hard to remove fabric, difficult belt lock-offNot the best quality, harder belt installationHarder to install using the vehicle beltLess padding, somewhat harder to install using vehicle beltThin padding, harder to install, lower quality
Bottom Line A nice seat that is easy to install, but the crash results are only averageBest crash test results on a budget-friendly seat that lets little ones sit rear-facing for longerA lightweight, easy to use seat with excellent crash test result and priceBetter crash test results make this easy to use, inexpensive seat a winnerInexpensive choice with impressive crash test results
Rating Categories Chicco NextFit Graco Extend2Fit Britax Emblem Britax Allegiance Evenflo Tribute LX
Crash Test (35%)
5.0
8.5
8.0
8.0
8.0
Ease Of Install - LATCH (20%)
8.5
6.6
7.2
7.2
4.9
Ease Of Install - Belt (15%)
6.6
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.1
Ease Of Use (15%)
6.4
7.3
7.6
7.6
6.6
Comfort / Quality (10%)
8.6
5.8
7.4
6.8
3.4
Weight / Size (5%)
4.5
5.0
5.5
5.5
9.5
Specs Chicco NextFit Graco Extend2Fit Britax Emblem Britax Allegiance Evenflo Tribute LX
Crash Test HIC Score 336.6 214 218 186 251.2
Crash Test Chest G Clip 45.7 40 42 43 42.7
Min/Max Rear Facing Passenger Weight 5 - 40 lbs 4 - 50 lbs 5 - 40 lbs 5 - 40 lbs 5 - 40 lbs
Min/Max Forward Facing Passenger Weight 22 - 65 lbs 22 - 64 lbs 20 - 65 lbs 20 - 65 lbs 22 - 40 lbs
Max Rear Facing Passenger Height Not Listed Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint 37"
Max Forward Facing Passenger Height 49" 49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the seat shell. 49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the head restraint. 49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the head restraint. 40"
Measured Rear Facing Seat Weight 25.3 lbs 18.7 lbs 18.8 lbs 18.5 lbs 9.3 lbs
Measured Forward Facing Seat Weight 24.9 lbs 18.7 lbs 18.8 lbs 18.5 lbs 9.1 lbs
Width 19" 19.6" 18.9" 18.8" 17"
Recline Positions 9 4 Rear Facing
3 Forward Facing
1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
1 Rear Facing
1 Forward Facing
Max Recline Angle 53° 51° 42° 42° 45°
Shoulder Harness Positions 6 10 10 10 4
Crotch Strap Positions 2 2 2 2 2
Built in Lock Off Yes No Yes Yes No
Anti-rebound Device No No No No No
Head Support Yes No No No No
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes No
No Rethread Harness Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Onboard Manual Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Level Indicator On Seat Bubble Vial Ball in Tube. Line on Decal Line on Decal Line Molded onto Shell
Foam Type EPS EPS EPP EPP EPS
Seat Lifespan 8 yrs 7 yrs 7 7 6 yrs
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 90 Days

Our Analysis and Test Results

Sport vs Regular
The regular NextFit (below left) looks like it has been replaced with the Sport (below right). The chest clip, head assembly, and belt pathway appear to be different on the Sport.

Chicco is an Italian brand with over 30 years of experience. They are popular in the US for their Keyfit line of car seats and compatible strollers. Chicco was started in 1958 by an inventor of pharmaceutical devices, Pietro Catelli. After the birth of his first child, he dedicated himself to creating better solutions for parents and babies by creating baby care products for every stage of babyhood. Chicco also sells a variety of products for babies from bottle warmers and portable high chair.

Performance Comparison



chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chicco shell is thicker than most in the head area of the seat...
The Chicco shell is thicker than most in the head area of the seat. It also has EPS foam to help absorb energy in the event of a crash
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Crash Test


The Chicco NextFit crash test results indicate that this seat meets and exceeds the federal minimum safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213. This seat has head and chest crash test sensor data lower than the maximum limit in sled crash tests designed to the same specifications the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) used in their testing. Therefore, all of the products on the market meet or exceed the guidelines and should be considered safe. Some seats, however, show significantly lower sensor data than others, indicating that they offer an additional margin of safety than the competition. The Chicco seat is not one of these products. With several products in the review recording lower G-force results.

The graphs share crash test data from the head and chest sensors stored in the test dummy in the Chicco (shown in black). The test results for the products with the least G forces for each sensor are green for comparison.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chicco could not compete in the hic sensor result with a 336.6...
The Chicco could not compete in the HIC sensor result with a 336.6 compare to the Allegiance's 186.
Credit: BabyGearLab, MGA Research
chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chest sensor data for the chicco compared to that of the clek...
The chest sensor data for the Chicco compared to that of the Clek Foonf
Credit: BabyGearLab, MGA Research

The sensor located in the head of the crash test dummy in testing for the Britax Allegiance had the lowest G forces results in the group, and the Clek Foonf dummy's chest sensor recorded the smallest amount of G-forces.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - installing the chicco using the latch method is one of the easiest...
Installing the Chicco using the LATCH method is one of the easiest in the group
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Chicco is one of the easiest options to install using the LATCH system.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - this chicco nextfit has what the manufacturer calls "supercinch"...
This Chicco NextFit has what the manufacturer calls "SuperCinch", which is an alternative style of strap that uses a pulley type system that makes tightening the LATCH straps far easier than ordinary straps
Credit: Abriah Wofford

A huge part of what makes this seat easy to install using LATCH is the SuperCinch strap design on the LATCH anchors. This feature lets you pull one side of the strap to tighten the anchors and then the other side with the super design, making it very easy to tighten quickly and with little force. While we struggled with some of the competition to get them tight enough, the Chicco is by far easier to manage. On the downside, the base is broader than the LATCH connectors, making installing the seat more difficult because the bottom gets in the way of connections and inhibits tightening. The recline adjustment has several options and is easy to adjust even in the rear-facing position. Most testers preferred using LATCH for installation on the Chicco.

The bubble level indicator on the Chicco is easier to use than the...
The bubble level indicator on the Chicco is easier to use than the line indicator on most of the competition.
The recline adjustment on the Chicco operates from the front of the...
The recline adjustment on the Chicco operates from the front of the seat, which makes it difficult to adjust after the seat is installed rear facing.

The level on the Chicco is a liquid indicator with a bubble (above left). The bubble needs to be within the range indicated on the level for proper installation. The recline adjusts with a handle on the bottom of the seat front (above right) to help achieve the correct installation angle.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the vehicle belt path on the chicco has an easy to use belt lock off...
The vehicle belt path on the Chicco has an easy to use belt lock off in the forward facing position
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - Belt


The Chicco earned a respectable result for installation with the vehicle belt.

Whether it is forward facing or rear facing the Chicco belt lock off...
Whether it is forward facing or rear facing the Chicco belt lock off is relatively easy to master
The external lock off on the Chicco is easier to use than those...
The external lock off on the Chicco is easier to use than those found under the seat

These photos show the belt paths for the rear-facing configuration (above left) and the forward-facing installation (above right).

The two part process of the belt lock off on the Chicco help make it...
The two part process of the belt lock off on the Chicco help make it one of the easiest lock offs in the group to use
The Chicco belt lock off has two parts that overlap to secure the...
The Chicco belt lock off has two parts that overlap to secure the vehicle belt in place

The Chicco is a little convoluted with a belt path that requires seat dismantling before you can thread the belt. The belt goes under the seat cover, but there is no way to see what you are doing, so you will be threading it by feel. The belt lock-off is much easier to use than a lot of the competition, but threading the belt was tougher. The additional problem is that once you get the vehicle belt tight enough for a stable install, the belt lock-off is harder to use as the belt wrinkles and prohibits closing the lock. Overall, the seat is easy enough to install, but it doesn't have the same level of stability as some of the competition, and we didn't like the final installation as much as the Britax options that feel more secure.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chicco offers a unique chest clip that has two width settings...
The Chicco offers a unique chest clip that has two width settings. This feature made the chest clip harder to use, and didn't seem to improve its performance.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The ease of use race was tight for this group of products, with only a handful scoring well. The Chicco performed better than the average but nothing to rave about.

Harness


The buckle on the Chicco is stiff and awkward to use. The chest clip has a unique feature that provides two different widths. We assume this is for child comfort if they are wider or smaller than the average child, but we aren't sure the rare payoff is worth the inconvenience of this clip's functionality. The clip adjustment means you almost have to release it twice if you want to get it off when it is in the tightest position.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - adjusting the hareness height on the chicco consists of pushing in...
Adjusting the hareness height on the Chicco consists of pushing in the button on the top of the headrest and shifting the entire headrest to the desired height
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The harness height adjustment is a non-rethread style operated by squeezing the handle on the top of the seat/headrest (above left) and moving the mechanism up or down to the desired position. This feature is one of the easiest in the group to use, and we like that it can be done on the fly with the baby in the seat. This way, parents can make adjustments the moment they notice a need instead of putting it off and forgetting. This harness has six height options and two crotch strap positions.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the harness release button on the chicco is visible and located on...
The harness release button on the Chicco is visible and located on top of the padding. It does have a little lip on one side to help deter little ones from playing with it
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Both the tightening strap and loosening button for the harness are near the seat's foot. The strap moves smoothly and doesn't require excessive strength to use. The release button is exposed on top of the fabric and padding and depresses without hesitation.

The LATCH storage are hard plastic pockets on the each side of the...
The LATCH storage are hard plastic pockets on the each side of the Chicco seat base. They are a little awkward to get the anchors into correctly, but they work well once they are properly in place
The pocket storage for the Chicco user manual is located in an easy...
The pocket storage for the Chicco user manual is located in an easy to access space that will prevent it from getting damaged or lost

LATCH Storage


The Chicco has one of the nicest LATCH storage designs in the group. The anchors and straps store in plastic pockets on the sides of the seat (above left). The anchors and straps only fit in the pocket one way, and it can take a few tries to figure it out, but they are entirely out of the way once in. The tether strap and hook store in a plastic pocket on the back that also has a door. This pocket is easier to use than the side LATCH anchor storage and closes without hassle. The user manual fits in a pocket on the back of the seat (above right) where damage or loss of the manual is unlikely.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the fabric on the chicco wraps around and tucks into the shell for a...
The fabric on the Chicco wraps around and tucks into the shell for a very impressive overall finish. We liked this better than those that wrap around with elastic and look more like slip covers
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Cover


Due to the design of the seat fabric tucking in around the edges of the seat, it is tough to remove the cover for cleaning. We like this design's look, but it makes cleaning more of a project than some parents want. The cover can be machine washed on cold in a delicate cycle. It should only be air-dried. The Chicco NextFit Zip has a zip-off version of this cover, making it easier to remove.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chicco has a nice overall look and earned the highest score in...
The Chicco has a nice overall look and earned the highest score in out tests for quality and comfort
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort/Quality


The Chicco shares the highest score for comfort and quality with several other options. The Chicco has a lot to offer in this metric, and it shows when the products are side-by-side.

The fabric on the Chicco tucks into the shell and creates what looks like a seamless transition with no sharp edges or exposed attachments. The material is smooth, soft nylon that should be relatively easy to wipe down but may also be prone to absorbing liquids. It manages to be soft to the touch without looking worn or flimsy. The padding is thick all around and feels sort of like a memory foam material. You definitely can't feel the hard plastic shell underneath the cushion. We think most little ones will find this seat cozy for even the longest car rides.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the back of the chicco plastic shell is smooth and easy to clean. it...
The back of the Chicco plastic shell is smooth and easy to clean. It has a middle storage compartment for the tether strap that keeps it out of the way nicely
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The seat shell is self-contained and has a smooth back and sides. This design means it is easy to clean and looks well put together. There are few to no small spaces for dirt and crud to collect. The dense protective foam inside the shell is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), which is the industry standard and adequate protection. However, we prefer Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) because it is more environmentally friendly and doesn't off-gas.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the bottom of the chicco is smooth with no edges or protrusions that...
The bottom of the Chicco is smooth with no edges or protrusions that could potentially damage the vehicle seat. It also has a rubber edge on it that could potentially help keep it in place
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The overall fit and finish of the Chicco are impressive and one of the best in the group. Everything is contained onboard the seat and, for the most part, hidden away, giving it a sleek look and feel. The bottom is smooth and has no rough edges, so you don't need to worry about potential damage to the vehicle seat.

chicco nextfit convertible car seat review - the chicco is one of the heavier products in the group at over 25...
The Chicco is one of the heavier products in the group at over 25 pounds
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight


Depending on the configuration, the Chicco NextFit weighs about 25 lbs, more or less, and it is 19 inches at its widest point. These measurements make it one of the heavier and larger seats in the review. The saving grace here is most parents will rarely be moving or transporting a seat more than a handful of times. However, if you are a city dweller or prone to taking a taxi or Uber, you may want to rethink this and consider the smaller, more lightweight options. It also isn't the best seat if you need to fit three car seats or people across your back seat.

Should You Buy the Chicco NextFit?


We traditionally love Chicco car seats, and several of their infant car seats have won awards in the past. The NextFit, however, is not a high-scoring seat in this review, and while average, it doesn't offer any really compelling reason for parents to choose it over the competition. No matter your safety seat goals, we think there are better options than this Chicco.

What Other Convertible Car Seat Should You Consider?


This Chicco scored higher than the Zip version of the seat, making it the one you want if the Chicco brand is your plan. However, if you want the best crash test results, we'd recommend the Graco Extend2Fit. If you have concerns about how easy the seat will be to install, then the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB is one to consider. If budget is a concern, the Graco is relatively inexpensive, or you might consider the Britax Emblem; both scored well and have the same price point.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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