The Evenflo Maestro is the workhorse of combination seats. It doesn’t have a lot of flashy features, but it’s reasonably priced and will harness the average 5 year old.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Forward facing weight range: 22-50 lbs
- Forward facing height range: 28-50″
- High back booster weight range: 40-110 lbs
- High back booster height range: 43-57″
- Highest harness position: 18″
- Highest belt guide position: 19″
- Expiration: 6 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 50 lbs (older models may be different)
- IIHS 2013 Best Bet
Installation and Use
The Maestro is intended for children age two and older. Children need to be rear facing until at least two, so this seat would not be appropriate until that point. In harness mode, installation is straightforward with either seat belt or lower anchors. The Maestro is a forward facing only seat so there is only one belt path. The seat belt or lower anchor strap will be thread through there, attached to the vehicle, and tightened until the seat moves less than an inch side to side at the belt path. The top tether should always be used for any harnessed installation as it provides extra protection in a crash.
The Maestro has four harness slots and two crotch buckle positions. The harness must always be above the shoulders, with the chest clip on the sternum, and harness must pass the pinch test. Once the child has reached 50 lbs, 50 inches, or shoulders go over the top harness slot, the seat must be used in booster mode. Once the child weights more than 40 lbs, the farthest crotch buckle position must be used.
The harnesses on the Maestro are narrow-set and most models do not come with strap covers, this may cause discomfort for some children, as the edges of the straps can irritate their neck. Evenflo has sent out harness covers in the past for those who contact them, for a small fee.
The Maestro also functions as a high back booster, and typically provides a proper seat belt fit; positioning the lap belt low on the hips and the shoulder belt even across the torso. The main downfall of older versions of the Maestro, as a booster, is that there is not a height-adjustable shoulder belt guide. At 19″ high, it is outgrown very quickly after the harness is outgrown in height. This is why Evenflo now offers the option (for seats that were made 3/2014 and later and specifically have it in their manual) to route the seat belt over the seat back instead of through the belt guide.
Please follow the instructions that are in the manual that came with your seat. The fit was good on this Huggable Images doll, but can vary in the shoulder area based on child’s build.
The Maestro does allow LATCH to be used in booster mode to secure the seat so that it does not become a projectile when it is not in use.
A backless booster will need to be purchased after the Maestro is outgrown. For optimal safety and belt fit, most children need boosters until they are 10-12 years old. The Maestro doesn’t last long enough to get children to pass the 5 step test and be safe without a booster.
Fit to Child
This is Sophie, the CSFTL Huggable Images pre-schooler. She is 3 years, 30 lbs, and 38 inches. You can see she fits well with the harness above her shoulders and plenty of room to continue to grow until she would need to switch to booster mode.
6 year old
This is Chloe, she’s our CSFTL Huggable Images 6 year old. She is 46 lbs and 48 inches and fits nicely in the Maestro in the harness still. She doesn’t have much room left and at six, she would more than likely be ready to use a booster though.
6 Years Old
This is Chloe, she’s our CSFTL Huggable Images 6 year old. She is 46 lbs and 48 inches and fits nicely in the Maestro in booster mode. The belt fit is great since her shoulder is still below the belt guide and lap belt low on the lap.
7 Years Old
This is B. At 7 years, 52 lbs, and 50 inches he is still well within the stated limits of the seat. His shoulders are well above the booster belt guide, and his ears are about to surpass the top of the shell so he cannot use this seat in booster mode with the traditional seat belt routing. Newer versions of the Maestro allow for the seat belt to go over the back of the seat instead of in the belt guide for children who are too tall to use the belt guide.
Important Information: Where to find
- Easy to install
- Can use LATCH in booster mode
- Booster function is outgrown by height very quickly after the harness is outgrown
- Narrow set harness straps may dig into a child’s neck (some models may have harness covers)
For a tighter budget, a backup seat for Grandma, or a lightweight travel seat, the Evenflo Maestro really can’t be beat. Despite its limitations, it offers a great bang for the buck and is an excellent choice for any 2-6 year old. You can find the Evenflo Maestro on Amazon.com.
Note: There is a buckle recall affecting some older models of this seat. Learn more about the recall here.
Special thanks to Huggable Images for providing the safety training dolls used in this review!