The Cybex Aton 2 is one of our favorite all-around seats and winner of our Editors' Choice award. With the best crash test score and some of the best crash test sensor data in the review, this seat is a top contender for anyone with safety on the brain. It looks great and scores above average in most metrics. It is also one of the easiest products to install using LATCH and offers above-average comfort and quality with soft fabric and thicker padding. The Aton 2 is a bit more expensive, but it is worth it if it fits in your budget.
Cybex Aton 2 Review
Pros: Best crash results, easy LATCH, additional safety features, comfy
Cons: Higher price, hard to use
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Originating in Germany, the Cybex company became part of the Goodbaby International Holdings Ltd. In 2014. Cybex is a maker of car seats, carriers, and strollers for babies created with the city life in mind. The company focuses on functionality, safety, and design to create innovative gear.
The Cybex crash test results suggest it provides a better level of protection than many competing seats for the forces recorded by the head and chest sensors in the crash dummy. While all the seats meet the minimum guidelines for crash tests, some seem to offer an additional margin of protection with scores further from the Federally allowed maximum. The Aton 2 was middle of the pack in crash test results without the load leg. However, it performs better when using the load leg, and therefore, logically, should be used with the load leg.
The charts above compare the Cybex using the load leg (in black) to the seats with the best crash test results (in green) based on the head (HIC) and chest force (g clip) sensors of the crash test dummy. The Cybex has the best chest sensor result (44 g clip) in the group where the maximum allowed is 60, and a lower number is better. The Aton2 has the second-best HIC results (340 HIC) in the group where the maximum allowed is 1000, and a smaller number is better. Only the Chicco Keyfit 30 has a lower result of 330. Both sensor results are significantly better than the Federal requirements, and thus, could be viewed as providing an extra margin of protection relative to the competition.
The Cybex has a unique side-impact device located on the handle that their marketing claims will reduce or transfer the impact of crash forces to the shell of the seat. While we don't have proof it works as advertised, it is a feature unique to Cybex. You can only use it if no passengers are sitting next to the seat.
The load leg helps stabilize the base of the seat and can potentially decrease the rotation or rebound the seat will experience in a crash (as claimed by the manufacturer). According to our crash tests with and without the leg, the Aton 2 benefits by using the leg.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Cybex is one of the easiest options to install using the LATCH method.
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 better access. 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 float around on the strap. This floating isn't a big deal, and you can still use them, but it is annoying, and it would be more helpful if they stayed in the seat crevice.
The Cybex has the push-button connectors for LATCH. We think this style is easier to connect and disconnect. They work nicely with the guides and were easy to use. The straps are also more comfortable to tighten and loosen than the competition. Overall, this seat is easy to install and secure in every car we used.
Ease of Install - Belt
The Cybex is somewhat harder to install using the vehicle belt. Its performance is above average and arguably good enough for something you might not need to do.
The Cybex has an interesting belt lock-off system that helps parents achieve a tight and secure installation using the vehicle belt. The lock-off is relatively easy to use, and the color-coded belt path makes the belt path straightforward. The lock-off gets/keeps the belt extremely tight, almost too tight, and occasionally we had trouble closing it. 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 frustration.
This seat has a level on the base for help finding the proper installation angle. The little ball in the level tends to catch on the inside of the casing, and we think it would work better if the ball were metal or the level was the liquid/bubble style. However, it is better than a line on the seat side.
The base has an adjustable foot that can be altered to help with installation. It is one of the easiest in the review to use and can be adjusted even after you have tightened the base to the vehicle seat.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
The hardest installation method for the Cybex was installing without the base, which means it may be a poor choice for those who plan to frequent public transportation.
The Cybex has a color-coded European belt path. We prefer this method because it feels more secure with the shoulder strap wrapped around the carrier. Threading the belt is easy, and we did not need a towel or noodle.
This seat can install using the American method by threading the belt across the lower portion of the carrier. If your vehicle middle seat only has a lap belt, you can still install the seat without the base. Unfortunately, this carrier doesn't feel that stable once installed.
Ease of Use
The Aton 2 is harder to use than the average seat in this review.
The buckle on the Cybex is easy to use and not as stiff as most of the competition. It is easier to release than it is to buckle, but we still like it. The chest/retainer clip two sides mate up easily, and we didn't have any difficulty.
The tightening strap on the harness is very stiff. We couldn't figure out why, but it is significantly harder to pull the strap. The padding on the shoulder straps also causes problems, and we couldn't get the harness tight enough for smaller babies. Loosening the harness is more manageable, and the button is easy to push and well placed.
Adjusting the height of the shoulder straps requires rethreading the straps by removing them from a T splitter 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 new slot and reattached back on the splitter. The straps have small loops that make them harder to get on and off than some of the competition. However, we prefer the non-rethread options where you can alter the height with the baby in the seat. The Cybex has three height options and one crotch strap position. The Cybex might not have enough adjustments to get the right fit for every baby.
The handle rubs the canopy when both are in the up position, but the shape is more comfortable than most of the carriers with sharper corners. Operating the handle requires pressing the buttons on both sides located near the pivot point and rotating to the desired position. The handle has four available positions and must be in the carry position for driving.
Carrier and Base Connection
The Cybex carrier is harder to install on its base than most of the competition. If it doesn't fall into place, you have to tilt 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. However, it has a visual indicator that the carrier is attached correctly, so once you manage to get it onto the base, you can feel confident it is attached. 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 never gave a false positive.
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. This process is more convoluted than the majority of the seats that have a release handle on the back of the carrier.
LATCH Anchor and Manual Storage
The LATCH anchors store underneath the recline foot, and the recline foot needs to be extended to store or remove them. The trailing straps from the anchors can potentially get in the way of installing the carrier onto the base, so parents should be careful. The manual stores under the carrier in a designated slot.
The Cybex is a quality option with features for comfort. The Cybex has nice padding and soft fabric, but the padding is a little thin. The fabric is jersey knit and feels nice. These factors help the Cybex earn an overall nice fit and finish. The fabric fits the carrier well and gives it a sharp overall look. The canopy fits the frame well, opens and closes smoothly, and looks great. Unfortunately, the shell quality and durability aren't as impressive as the rest of the carrier. It feels thin and not as durable as some of the competition. It looks nice, but overall it isn't the quality we expect with this price point.
The canopy itself is small with a hard flip-out visor that helps provide more coverage, but it isn't the best. There is no peek-a-boo window, but you aren't likely to need one since the canopy is one of the smallest in the group.
The Cybex weighs in at 9.32 lbs which is below average for the group, but still relatively light when you consider several weigh over 10 lbs. The weight for the Cybex is a good one for the group and didn't dissuade us in any way.
The Aton 2 is compatible with several nice choices, including 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 lbs, respectively. You can discover more potential combinations in our Car Seat Stroller Combo Review, where it excelled in combination with the UPPAbaby Minu Combo and the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo giving you a great lightweight choice or jogging stroller option.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz