Britax Two Way Elite Review — EU Car Seat

(Last Updated On: July 31, 2018)
Britax Two Way Elite

Britax Two Way Elite

The Britax Two Way Elite is a versatile, well loved car seat in Europe.  It’s best known for its extended rear facing capacities for tall children and for its ability to fit in small vehicles. Let’s take a closer look!

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 9-25 kg
  • Forward facing weight range: 9-18 kg*
  • Booster weight range: 15-25 kg

*Note: Older versions of this seat have a different buckle, and a higher forward facing weight limit of 25 kg. These seats are no longer available to purchase. The seat in this review has an older buckle.

  • Must brace against the seat in front or the vehicle dashboard
  • Britax does not specify a maximum period of use

Measurements

  • Top harness slot: 38 cm (15 inches)
  • Middle harness slot: 33 cm (13 inches)
  • Lowest harness slot: 28 cm (11 inches)
  • Width at widest point of seat (near the feet): 45.72 cm (18 inches)
  • Seating pan depth: 35.5 cm (15 inches)

Unique Features

  • Rear facing tether, with multiple options to create a tether point
  • Two belt route options for rear facing
  • Buckle pockets to tuck the buckle into when getting the kiddo in and out
  • Increased legroom option for kiddos over 13 kg
  • Large seat pan to allow for legroom as kiddos grow!

Britax Two Way Elite rear facing harness instructions

Harness height: Unlike North American car seats, the Two Way Elite’s manual and labels clearly state that the harness “must be threaded in the slots nearest the top of your child’s shoulder” in rear or forward facing mode. However, Britax has clarified that the straps may dip below the top of the shoulder while rear facing when the harness is on the highest slot.

Installation: Rear Facing

Britax Two Way Elite over, under, over routing

Britax Two Way Elite over, under, over routing

The Two Way Elite has two belt route options for rear facing. One option is to go over, under, over.

The other option is to go under, over, under. If one installation method isn’t secure, the other will likely do the trick. Regardless of which one you use, the seat must be tethered and bracing on the vehicle seat in front.

Short Belt Routing

Britax Two Way Elite over, under, over routing

Britax Two Way Elite over, under, over routing

Here you can see the short belt option — installed in both upright (left) and reclined (right) modes. This particular belt path works well with my vehicle. The over, under, over method is described in the manual as the “alternate belt routing when using short seat belt.” Basically, this means threading the vehicle seat belt over the outer belt guide, under the shell of the seat itself, then again over the other belt guide.

Long Belt Routing

Britax Two Way Elite long belt path routing

Britax Two Way Elite long belt path routing

This alternate belt routing works well for longer vehicle seat belts.  Like the short belt routing, the Two Way Elite can be installed either upright or reclined. We’ll take a closer look at the entire difference between these reclines later on.

This particular belt route method is largely incompatible with my vehicle because the vehicle seat belt buckle is pulled up into the belt path. This is called buckle crunch and causes the install to be insecure.

Upright vs. Reclined Installation

The Two Way Elite can be installed at two different recline angles.  The manual refers to these angles as “sitting angles,” which makes sense because sitting is the heart of a car seat’s purpose.

Britax Two Way Elite swing arm

Britax Two Way Elite swing arm

According to the manual, the reclined install can be up to 40 degrees reclined, while the upright install can be reclined up to 10 degrees. This is easy to check with a clinometer app on your phone. Per the manual, the reclined option is for children up to 13 kg. The recline is changed using the swing arm, underneath the seat.

Britax Two Way Elite upright installation

Britax Two Way Elite upright installation

Here we see the upright install. Tethered and bracing on the vehicle seat in front, with the swing arm extended out to rest against the vehicle seat it’s installed on.

Britax Two Way Elite upright installation

Britax Two Way Elite reclined installation

Britax Two Way Elite rear facing with swing arm tucked in

Here we see the reclined install. Again, tethered and bracing on the vehicle seat in front. The swing arm is now flipped underneath the seat.

Legroom

Britax Two Way Elite front passenger legroom when installed reclined

Britax Two Way Elite front passenger legroom when installed upright

You may be wondering how this installation impacts the front passenger legroom. We’re here to tell you!

The change in legroom between each installation method is minimal, yet it allows both a short adult and a tall adult to sit comfortably in front of the Two Way Elite.

Rear Facing Tether

The Two Way Elite is versatile because it has a few options for creating the rear facing tether point. The most common way is to create a tether point using the vehicle seat runners.  This is a method some of our U.S. readers may remember using to create a rear facing tether for a few models of car seats in the past.

The acceptable options for creating a tether point for the Two Way Elite also include a method that is completely new to our U.S.-based editor but may be familiar to EU-based families who have installed a 25 kg car seat.

Vehicle seat bight

Vehicle seat bight

Locate the vehicle seat bight.  It’s where the vehicle’s seat back and seat bottom meet. That’s the spot where I’m pointing in this picture.

Setting up a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Setting up a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Next, thread the female end of the buckle with the loop in it through the seat bight and out the back of the vehicle seat back.

Setting up a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Setting up a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Then, thread the buckle end through the loop, and pull it tight.

Finally, attach the buckle to the male part of the vehicle seat belt buckle.

Creating a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Creating a tether point for the Britax Two Way Elite

Pull the tethers tight (one each side). Store excess tether webbing using an elastic band.
Creating a tether point this way is pretty unique!

Installation: Forward Facing

Britax Two Way Elite old buckle

Older models can use the harness from 9-25 kg using the old style buckle.

Britax Two Way Elite new buckle

Britax Two Way Elite new buckle

Newer models have a different buckle and will only forward face from 9-18 kg. The seat is installed with the vehicle’s 3-point seat belt and without tethers.

The older style TWE could be installed forward facing with a lap-only belt up to 18 kg. With the change in buckle this option has been removed, and a 3-point vehicle seat belt must be used to install the seat.

Booster Mode

The Two Way Elite has a third mode: booster mode.  The seat includes a removable shoulder belt guide to use should this seat ever be used as a booster, however mine went missing early into our life with this seat.  Since we don’t plan to use this seat in booster mode, we’ve merely accepted the fact that it’s missing.

The booster mode is outgrown at the same time as the harness, and it offers a less than optimal belt fit so we don’t recommend using the booster mode on this particular car seat.

To convert the Two Way Elite from harness mode to booster mode, follow the instructions in the manual to remove the harness and attach the seat belt guide.

Important Information: Where to Find

Britax Two Way Elite installation label

Manual storage: The Two Way Elite does not have manual storage per se, but the cushion support has this handy image to refer to in a pinch.

Airline approval: The Two Way Elite is not approved for use on aircraft.  Airlines that allow non-approved seats may allow the old version of this seat to be used, but the new version cannot be installed with a lap-only belt and so cannot be used on board.

Overall Thoughts

The Two Way Elite is one of the European car seats that will keep children safely rear facing until booster age, as it will last most children until 5 or 6 years old. It’s one of the more affordable options, but isn’t readily available in many European countries.

While legal for use throughout Europe, it was developed for and is primarily marketed in the Scandinavian market. It has a high rear facing weight limit and tall shell, and  a small front to back footprint that makes it extremely versatile. It even fit beautifully in my 2002 Ford Ka! The Two Way Elite offers an unbeatable combination of affordability and versatility for children who need a car seat with a 25 kg weight limit.