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Hands-on Gear Review

Cybex Aton 2 Review

The Cybex Aton 2
Price:   $320.00 List | $299.95 at Amazon - 6% off
Pros:  Easy LATCH install, load leg, side impact protection, comfy
Cons:  Higher price, hard to use
Bottom line:  Compelling high quality seat with additional safety features that is harder to use and pricey
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Cybex

The Skinny

Ranking near the top of the car seats we reviewed, the Cybex Aton 2 is a good option that looks great and scored above average in most of our tests. It was one of the easiest products to install using LATCH anchors and offers above average comfort and quality with soft fabric and thicker padding. We like the seat a lot, but it faces some stiff competition with similar high-end options like the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the UPPAbaby Mesa earning better scores overall. Also, the less expensive Chicco Keyfit 30 performed slightly better and cost $100 less.


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Score Product Price Our Take
76
$300
Editors' Choice Award
A great all-around seat with good crash test results
71
$280
Editors' Choice Award
Easy to install and use seat made with quality materials, but has limited stroller options
68
$300
Top Pick Award
Impressive Top Pick seat that is easy to use and install
68
$200
Editors' Choice Award
Crash test results and ease of install with a nice price make it a good choice for most families
67
$400
Top Pick Award
The best option for safety conscious parents with a higher budget
67
$320
Compelling high quality seat with additional safety features that is harder to use and pricey
66
$200
Comfortable seat with nice features, but is harder to use.
65
$160
Best Value Award
Best Value that is a good bang for the buck
62
$270
Not a bad seat, but there are better options that cost less.
60
$500
Top Pick Award
Fills a niche for safe vehicle transportation of baby for parents who frequent taxis and Uber
60
$220
Nicer than the other Gracos, but not nice enough for the price
59
$230
An easy to use seat that is average
57
$150
Uncompelling performance with disappointing test results that is harder to use
57
$210
Easy to use LATCH, but disappointing overall performance
56
$100
Difficult to install seat that is fairly poor quality

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
November 1, 2015

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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 the baby. The Aton 2 has a large canopy that can disappear behind a visor. 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.

We have tested over 15 infant car seats for this review since its first version in 2016. This picture includes the original lineup  four of which have been replaced with new and different popular seats to replace those that have been discontinued.
We have tested over 15 infant car seats for this review since its first version in 2016. This picture includes the original lineup, four of which have been replaced with new and different popular seats to replace those that have been discontinued.

Performance Comparison


The chart below provides a comparison of overall scores for the car seats tested in this review. The Cybex Aton 2 is shown in blue.


The sections below provide details on how the Cybex performed during our testing process. 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.

Crash Test


The Cybex crash test results suggest it provides a better level of protection than many competing seats for the 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 middle of the pack in crash test results, it significantly exceeds Federal safety standards, and thus provides an extra margin of protection relative to half the seats we reviewed.

This chart shows the test result data from the dummy head sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Chicco Keyfit 30  which has the best head results in the group
This chart shows the test result data from the dummy head sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Chicco Keyfit 30, which has the best head results in the group
This chart shows the test result data from the dummy chest sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect  which has the best chest results in the group
This chart shows the test result data from the dummy chest sensor that records the G forces during a simulated crash. This shows the Cybex in comparison to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect, which has the best chest results in the group
The charts above compare the Cybex (shown in black) to the seats with the best crash test results (shown in green) based on the head and chest force sensors of the crash test dummy. The Cybex results were about average compared to other products we tested, but significantly better than Federal requirements.

Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty  to avoid injuries to other passengers
Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty, to avoid injuries to other passengers
The Cybex has a unique and interesting side impact device located on the handle of the seat that their marketing claims will reduce or transfer the impact of crash forces to the shell of the seat. While we don't have any proof this feature works as advertised, it is an additional feature that makes the Cybex stand out. This feature can only be used if no passengers are sitting next to the seat.

This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action
This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action

The seat also sports a leg prop that helps stabilize the base of the seat and can potentially decrease the amount of rotation or rebound the seat will experience in a crash (as claimed by the manufacturer). Only a few products in this review offer this feature. The design is intriguing, and physics seems to suggest it will help.

The Cybex is easy to install using the LATCH system
The Cybex is easy to install using the LATCH system

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Cybex earned an impressive score of 9 of 10 for this metric tying with the Chicco Keyfit 30, and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The high for the group is a 10 received by the Chicco Fit2.

The Cybex is the only seat in this review that came with LATCH guides
The Cybex is the only seat in this review that came with LATCH guides

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 just float around on the strap. This isn't a big deal, and you can still use them, but it is annoying, and it would be nicer if they stayed in the seat crevice.

The Aton 2 has the easier to use LATCH anchors with the red release button
The Aton 2 has the easier to use LATCH anchors with the red release button
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 easier to tighten and loosen than the competition. Overall, this seat is easy to install and secure in every car we used.

The belt lock of on the Cybex helps parents get the belt as tight as possible with minimal effort
The belt lock of on the Cybex helps parents get the belt as tight as possible with minimal effort

Ease of Install - Belt


The Cybex scored a 7 of 10 for ease of installation using the vehicle belt. This score is above average for the group and is arguably good enough for something you might not need to do. The high score is a 9 shared by Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.

The little red ball in the Cybex Aton 2 level indicator had a tendency to "catch" in our tests and wasn't as reliable or consistent as the bubble indicators on other seats
The little red ball in the Cybex Aton 2 level indicator had a tendency to "catch" in our tests and wasn't as reliable or consistent as the bubble indicators on other seats
The Cybex has a very interesting belt lock-off system that helps even the weakest parent achieve a tight and secure installation using the belt method. The lock off is relatively easy to use, and the color coded belt path makes it easy to know where to put the belt. The lock-off gets/keeps the belt extremely tight, almost too tight, and occasionally we had trouble closing it. The upside is 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 during installation.

The Cybex belt lock off can get "too tight" if you aren't careful making it difficult to fully close the lock off
The Cybex belt lock off can get "too tight" if you aren't careful making it difficult to fully close the lock off

This seat also has a level on the base that helps parents find the proper angle. Whether you use LATCH or the belt the level can help parents find the right fit. The little ball in the level has a tendency to catch on the inside of the casing, and we think it would work better if the ball were metal or if the entire level was the liquid bubble variety. However, it certainly better than a line drawn on the side of the seat.

The Cybex can be installed without the base using the European belt path method
The Cybex can be installed without the base using the European belt path method

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The lowest installation score the Cybex earned is a 5 of 10 for ease of install without the base. This is just one point above the lowest score of 4 shared by the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Orbit Baby G3. The high score for this group is a perfect 10 earned by the Peg Perego and the UPPAbaby Mesa.

The blue block on the back of the Cybex carrier is part of the color coded belt path for the European method. It is not a release handle for the carrier
The blue block on the back of the Cybex carrier is part of the color coded belt path for the European method. It is not a release handle for the carrier
The Cybex has a European belt path system that is color coded. We prefer the European method because we think it feels more secure with the shoulder strap wrapped around the back of the carrier. Threading the belt is easy, and we did not need a towel or noodle to install the seat correctly.

The exaggerated belt threading hooks on the lower portion of the Cybex make it easier to install without the base than some of the competition
The exaggerated belt threading hooks on the lower portion of the Cybex make it easier to install without the base than some of the competition
This seat can be installed using the American belt path method if necessary with a belt thread 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. It earned the lowest score for stability in our review, tying with the Chicco Keyfit 30.

The Cybex Aton2 has one the easiest buckle to undo on its 5 point harness
The Cybex Aton2 has one the easiest buckle to undo on its 5 point harness

Ease of Use


The Aton 2 earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use, which is below average and only two points higher than the lowest score of 3. The highest score is an 8 shared by the Recaro Performance Coupe and the Evenflo Embrace.

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 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.

The release button on the Cybex is raised up near the foot of the carrier and looks like it might be uncomfortable for baby
The release button on the Cybex is raised up near the foot of the carrier and looks like it might be uncomfortable for baby

Tightening the harness on this seat is stiffer than most of the group. We couldn't readily tell why, but it is harder to pull the strap at the foot of the carrier and the padding on the shoulder straps causes additional trouble, and we couldn't get the harness tight enough for smaller babies. To loosen the harness there is a button at the foot end of the carrier that is under the surface of the seat and has a hard cover around for visibility. The button isn't deep under the padding and is easy to push.

The foot on the Cybex is relatively easy to adjust
The foot on the Cybex is relatively easy to adjust
The base on the Cybex has an adjustable foot that can be altered depending on the angle of the vehicle seat or to assist with any discrepancy when trying to install. It is one of the easiest in the review to use and can be adjusted even after you have tighten the base to the vehicle seat.

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. 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 three height options and one crotch strap position. 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 smaller grey handle near the bottom on the base is the carrier release latch. The green portion on the handle indicates that the carrier is installed properly on the base
The smaller grey handle near the bottom on the base is the carrier release latch. The green portion on the handle indicates that the carrier is installed properly on the base

The Cybex carrier is harder to install on its base than most of the competition. For some reason it doesn't just fall in place and instead you have to adjust 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 trying to get the carrier in the car. However, it does have a visual indicator that indicates the carrier is attached correctly, so at least once you manage to get it onto the base you can feel somewhat confident it is attached properly. 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.

Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty  to avoid injuries to other passengers
Flipping out the light grey section on the Cybex handle is supposed to increase side impact safety and decrease seat intrusion during an accident. This feature can only be used when the seat next to it is empty, to avoid injuries to other passengers
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. The blue block on the back of the seat is a belt path thread for the seat, not a release handle like most seats. This process is more convoluted than the majority of the seats that have a release handle on the back of the carrier that doubles somewhat as a handle for lifting the carrier off the base.

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 carriers that have sharper corners. Operating the handle on the seat requires pressing 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 Cybex is a sharp looking seat
The Cybex is a sharp looking seat

Comfort/Quality


The Cybex earned a 7 of 10 for comfort. This score is one point lower than the high of 8 earned by Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego.

[photoidt=311584]

The Cybex has nice padding and soft fabric, but the padding does seem a little thin for something this soft. The fabric is a little like jersey knit and feels nice to the touch. Both of these factors help lead the Cybex to an overall nice fit and finish. The fabric fits the carrier well and gives it a sharp overall look. The canopy is also nice and fits the frame well. It opens and closes smoothly and looks great in either position.

Most of the seats incorporated dense foam as their energy absorption material for crashes. The Cybex (shown here) also offers a under the fabric newborn foam insert to help give baby a safer  more comfortable ride
Most of the seats incorporated dense foam as their energy absorption material for crashes. The Cybex (shown here) also offers a under the fabric newborn foam insert to help give baby a safer, more comfortable ride
Unfortunately, the shell quality and durability isn't as impressive as the rest of the carrier. It seems pretty thin and not as durable as the some of the other products. It does look nice, but overall it isn't the quality we would expect from a product with this price.

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 Cybex is just below average for weight in the group  but it is still heavier than some higher scoring seats
The Cybex is just below average for weight in the group, but it is still heavier than some higher scoring seats

Weight


The Cybex weighs in at 9.32 pounds which is below average for the group. The heaviest seat in the group is the Orbit G3 weighing in at 12.5 pounds and the lightest is the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect at 7.06. The weight for the Cybex is a good one for the group and definitely didn't dissuade us in any way. In general, most of the seats lighter than this one did not score well overall and performed poorly in our test metrics, so to choose a seat solely based on weight is a mistake in our minds. Phil and Teds Alpha is a nice seat with a good weight coming in at 8.53 pounds.

Stroller Compatibility


The Aton 2 is compatible with a few nice choices from our Full-size 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.

Best Applications


While the Cybex did earn a 9 of 10 for LATCH installation, it didn't score that well in the other tests. In several of the metrics the Cybex didn't score above average, making it a seat that probably doesn't have a best application. Other products scored better in our tests and were cheaper. Several award-winning options, the Peg Perego and the UPPAbaby Mesa, earned more points overall with the Peg Perego offering better crash test results.

Value


With a list price of $320, it is one of the more expensive options in this review. It does rank fairly high with stiff competition, but several products earned higher scores and have lower prices. However, it is also hard to claim that it is too expensive given the price of the competition and some of 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.

The Cybex comes with LATCH guides and a nice infant insert for help positioning smaller babies
The Cybex comes with LATCH guides and a nice infant insert for help positioning smaller babies

Conclusion


The Cybex earned a respectable score in our review, but didn't perform well enough in our tests to earn an award. While it has some interesting features that we like, such as the rebound leg, belt lock-off, and the side impact flip out, it didn't perform well enough in every metric. With a poor ease of use score compared to the competition, we feel the seat has a little ways to go before it meets the performance of the other products in the review to become a real contender in our side-by-side testing.

Other Versions and Accessories


Cybex makes a few 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.

The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The 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 shatterproof 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

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Most recent review: November 1, 2015
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