The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 is a nice looking seat with better than average padding. It scored better than average for crash tests, and it has nice fabric that feels soft to the touch and breathable. Unfortunately, this seat scored about average for most of the metrics we tested, and while it did perform better than about half the products in this review, it still isn't enough to make this an option we love. With a list price that is only about average and other seats earning more points with similar or better prices, the Maxi-Cosi struggled to keep up with the competition despite looking sharp in a side-by-side comparison.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Review
Pros: Thick padding, non-rethread harness, easy to use buckle
Cons: Our height adjuster broke, hard to thread belt for installation
Our Analysis and Test Results
New Maxi-Cosi 85 vs. Old Maxi-Cosi 70
Some of the changes included in the upgrade from the old 70 (below left) to the new 85 (below right) are:
- Extended weight range: 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing and 22 to 85 pounds forward-facing
- ClipQuik auto magnetic chest clip
- Harness holders
- Flip Away Buckle stays out of the way
Hands on Review
Maxi-Cosi is a European company that launched its first car seat in 1984. They started in the Netherlands and claim they brought the very first car seat to Europe. The company has grown significantly from its early days and is now one of the leading manufacturers of baby products including booster seats, infant seats, convertible car seats, and strollers.
The Maxi-Cosi sled crash test data indicates that it offers an additional margin of safety over many of the other seats in this review. The crash tests are designed to mimic the same specifications as those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their testing, and they were developed to determine if seats meet the Federal safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213. All of the seats in this review, and on the market, must meet the guidelines for safety, and therefore should be considered as safe. The results for the Maxi-Cosi compared to the Federal limits and the competition both indicate that it exceeds the requirements and results from some of the competition.
The charts provided below show the crash test results for the sensors located in the head and chest of the test dummy used in the Maxi-Cosi seat (shown in black).
The sensor in the test dummy head used with the Britax Allegiance has the lowest G-force results as a result of the crash test. The Clek Foonf had the least amount of G-forces recorded in the chest sensor than all the other products tested (both in green).
The Maxi also claims to have crash test Side Impact Protection (SIP). We were unable to find information on what kind of testing, but it looks like the claim includes the portion of the headrest with open-cell foam surrounded by plastic that they say will add additional safety protection.
Ease of Install - LATCH
We tested every convertible seat in a minimum of 3 different cars by multiple testers to collect data. The results were about the same for forward-facing as they were for rear-facing.
Using the LATCH anchor should be easier than the vehicle belt, but the Maxi is about the same for both. The LATCH anchors are relatively easy to use and about average for getting the seat at the right angle and the anchor strap tight enough.
Loosening is a little harder than tightening, but both are better than much of the competition. The recline adjusts with a foot on the bottom, and the molded line on the side of the seat needs to be parallel to the ground for proper installation.
Ease of Install - Belt
The Cosi is only average for ease of use with this install method, but it isn't difficult.
This seat does not have a built-in belt lock-off which makes it somewhat less convoluted than some of the competition. Threading the belt in a forward-facing position is a little more difficult as the seat is rigid and cannot be moved to fit your hand through. If your hands are large, this might make the task near impossible. Sliding the headrest all the way up will make it somewhat more manageable, but it would be nice if the belt path were user-friendly. Because it lacks a belt lock-off, you need to engage the locking mechanism on your vehicle belt or use the metal lock-off that comes with the seat. It will take some work to tighten the belt and get the seat in the right position, but overall, it isn't as tricky as some of the competition. In a rear-facing position, we had trouble getting the belt tight, and the seat itself slid around with minimal effort.
Ease of Use
The Maxi-Cosi Pria is one of the more challenging options in this review.
The Maxi-Cosi buckle is the easiest and by far our favorite in the group. We like how the buckle pops open when you press the button, which means you do not need to remove each side individually. The chest clip is marginally less impressive, but it is easy to use and won't require two hands.
The shoulder height adjustment has nine positions and is moveable without rethreading the straps. The headrest/height adjustment moves by pushing the button and pulling or pushing on the headrest. The Pria is easy to use and works with the baby in the seat. The crotch strap has three positions, and the two together work well, offering plenty of variations for the right fit. Unfortunately, the seat we purchased broke mid-way through testing, and it lost points. In ordinary use, the height adjustment should lock into place on the back side of the seat. For us, the back mechanism stopped automatically locking into place, and we had to push the mechanism into the locked position manually. There is no way to tell if this is just a problem with our seat or if it is a design flaw, but it does give us pause. Given that we do not put the seats through the same rigor as everyday family use over several years, we worry this might be an issue for others. The tightening and loosening mechanisms are both located at the foot of the seat. The strap is relatively easy to pull. The lever to loosen is located under a flap of fabric somewhat hidden from the baby, and it is harder to use.
The LATCH anchors on the Maxi clip under each side of the shell near the bend in the seat. The tether clips to the back of the base. Neither location keeps the straps out of the way, but at least the anchors won't be flying around the car causing potential injuries.
The fabric cover on this seat is harder to remove than some of the competition thanks to the snaps and headrest. However, once you get it off, it is machine washable in cold water and dryable on a low setting. This method can come in handy for deep cleaning as the fabric is so soft we wonder how well it will spot clean. The user manual is kept under the fabric next to the shell and has a tab label for quick access.
This Maxi-Cosi is a lovely car seat and appears to give more attention to the comfort and quality metric compared to the competition, but overall it still struggled to keep up with some steep competition.
The fabric on the Maxi-Cosi feels soft and comfortable. The main seat padding is thick enough that you can't feel any lumps or bumps, and it disguises the hard plastic shell nicely. The infant insert does not add much padding to the equation, but this isn't a deal-breaker because we don't advise the use of convertible seats for infants anyway. The foam in the headrest/SIP area is an open-cell foam surrounded by a thin plastic to slow the release of air upon impact. It is nicely padded and while intended for safety, will also add some comfort to the equation if your child's head lolls while sleeping.
The outer plastic shell is somewhat contained, but the back is relatively open. This feature isn't a significant concern, except that the back has the height adjustment mechanism that can get dirty and be near impossible to clean with all the nooks and crannies. However, if the back weren't open, we wouldn't have been able to use our seat at all because we wouldn't have been able to manually lock the broken height mechanism.
This seat has an overall cushiony look thanks to the padding and air-filled foam that surrounds it. The fabric stretches over the padding and shell smoothly wrapping around the plastic edges, and it makes for a cleaner look we prefer. The bottom of the seat is entirely enclosed and smooth.
The Cosi is a little over 19 lbs earning a below-average score for this metric primarily as a result of the wider width. If you are an urban dweller and will be taking junior in taxis or utilizing Uber, the weight might be important to you because someone is going to need to carry the seat. The Cosi measures at about 21 inches wide, which is the largest in the group. The Maxi will not be the seat of choice for parents who need to manage three seats across in a back seat or those who want to install two seats and still have room for a third person.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team