The Evenflo Maestro has long been a popular forward facing only combination car seat. It’s gained quite a following as a lightweight, easy to install car seat for travel. Evenflo has updated this old favorite with a few new features, including updated cupholders and a much larger belt path. But luckily the Maestro Sport is just as versatile and affordable as the original!
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Lower anchor weight limit: 50 pounds
- Forward facing weight range: 22 to 50 pounds
- Forward facing height range: 28 to 50 inches
- High back booster weight range: 40 to 110 pounds
- High back booster height range: 44 to 57 inches
- Lowest harness position: 13 inches
- Highest harness position: 18.5 inches
- Booster belt guide position: 19 inches
- Lower anchors permitted in booster mode
- Expiration: 6 years
- Width at widest point (shoulder area and cup holders): 19 inches
- Two position crotch strap: 4 inches and 6 inches from the back of the seat pan
- Seat pan depth: 14 inches
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Lightweight for travel
- FAA approved in harness mode
- Easy care cover
- Budget friendly
- Red tether to promote tether usage
Assembling the Maestro Sport involves a screwdriver and a bit of effort before it’s ready to ride. The cup holders are required — they arrive detached from the seat and must be assembled before the seat can be used.
The registration form, instructions for installing the cupholders, and the screws for attaching the cupholders are all attached to the harness. The cupholders must be screwed in before using the seat, so don’t lose track of the screws!
Caution: when attaching the cup holders, don’t overtighten the screws.
The Maestro Sport features Evenflo’s brand new bright red tether anchor connector. We love it because the bright color indicates that it’s a critical piece of the car seat.
Using the top tether with forward facing harnessed car seats provides optimal safety — attaching that top tether can reduce head excursion by 6-8 inches in a crash. A recent study by Safe Kids Worldwide showed that 64 percent of parents were not using the top tether so we’re very excited about this small but critical change.
Evenflo stated, “We hope that by making this safety feature a more visible color and sharing this important information with our consumers, we can help to improve the use of this feature.”
We applaud Evenflo for taking this step to highlight this crucial safety feature. The red tether is also a bit smaller than the previous version of Evenflo’s tether and we found that the smaller size makes it work better in some tricky tethering situations, like trucks that have fabric loops for tethers.
Ginormous Belt Path
If you remember the Maestro of old, you might recall the way the slightly-too-small-for-most-adults belt path scraped many a hand during the installation process. We sure do.
Well! The Maestro Sport changes that with an expanded belt path that makes accessing the area a breeze! My entire hand fits easily into the belt path. This small change is a huge change to anyone who emerged from an installation with scraped hands.
The Maestro Sport includes a head pillow, but the manual has no guidelines regarding its use. We reached out to Evenflo — they let us know that the pillow is optional, but if it’s used it must be in the slot above the harness slot in use. We’d love to see this information clarified in the manual.
Installation: Harnessed Mode
Vehicle Seat Belt
Installation with the vehicle seat belt is straightforward and quite simple. We installed the Maestro Sport in a variety of vehicles and did not come across any issues with this installation method. Loosely attach the top tether first so it doesn’t get lost behind the seat. Then, pull back the cover to expose the belt path to help get a tight install. Once the seat is installed, remove the slack from the top tether.
The lower anchor weight limit for the Maestro Sport is 50 pounds, so the seat can be installed with the lower anchors for the entire duration of its harnessed use. This makes the Maestro Sport a great option for vehicles that have inflatable seat belts since most vehicles with this type of seat belt don’t allow for seat belt installations — lower anchors must be used instead (as always, consult both your car seat and your vehicle manual to confirm this restriction for your situation).
Installation with the lower anchors is easy. Thread the lower anchor webbing through the belt path, then attach the hooks to the vehicle’s lower anchors. Tighten the lower anchor strap by pulling up beside the seat or expose the belt path by pulling back the cover, then tighten the strap by pulling it back through the belt path.
We did come across an issue in one vehicle with the lower anchor adjuster reaching the belt path, which prevented a secure install. We resolved this situation by switching to a vehicle seat belt installation.
Fit to Child: Harnessed Mode
3.5 Years Old
Our model is 3.5 years old. He weighs 42 pounds and is 39.5 inches tall. He finds the seat comfortable overall. He did dislike the narrower set harness compared to his regular car seat, but pulling his shirt up between the harness and his neck took care of his complaints.
4 Years Old
This model is a petite 4 year old. She weighs 29 pounds and is 38.5 inches tall. She was very excited to test out the seat. She liked the plushness of the fabric and did not have any complaints!
6 Years Old
Our 6 year old model weighs 49 pounds and is 49.5 inches tall. He is right at the height and weight limits of the seat for harness mode but still fits comfortably. His ears are below the top of the headrest so he’s got a teeny bit of growing room left.
He typically rides in a high back booster seat, but was on board for testing out the harness. He was surprised he still fit because he is too tall to fit properly in some harnessed car seats anymore.
Converting to Booster Mode
Converting the seat to booster mode is simple and takes about 3 minutes from start to finish.
To convert the seat to booster mode, begin by disconnecting the harness from the splitter plate on the back of the seat’s shell and pulling the harness through the harness slots on the front of the seat.
Then, remove the cover and thread the harness back through the harness slots and reattach the harness to the splitter plate. Store the chest clip and the buckles in the provided cubbies located near the bottom of both sides of the seat. Remove the crotch buckle and flip the seat over to thread the crotch buckle back through the seat upside down. Finally, replace the cover and the Maestro Sport is ready to roll in booster mode!
The lower anchors are permitted in booster mode to prevent the seat from becoming a projectile in the event of a crash. If you decide to not use them, ensure the booster is buckled when not in use.
Pro tip: Peeling back the cover from one side of the car seat saves time and effort when converting to booster mode.
Fit to Child: Booster Mode
6 Years Old
Here is our 6 year old model again. He remains 49 pounds and 49.5 inches tall. He enjoyed trying booster mode since that’s how he typically rides in the car. He was able to buckle the Maestro Sport without issue. He has some room to grow in booster mode. Once he outgrows the single position belt guide, the manual permits routing the vehicle seat belt over the Maestro’s headrest so he’d have a little additional growing room if the vehicle seat belt still fits him properly in that configuration.
7 Years Old
This young man is 7 years old and is on the heavier end of the growth charts at 82 pounds and 50 inches tall. He was able to buckle the vehicle seat belt without any issue. He did find the seating area comfortable, but stated he felt cramped around his shoulders. The single belt guide was too low for him. Since this seat allows the seat belt to be routed over the child restraint headrest, we checked his fit using the alternate routing. The fit was better because it wasn’t routing the shoulder belt behind his shoulders, but the belt did tend to hover instead of make contact. The vehicle seat belt also wanted to slip around out of position.
Since the seat weighs in at only 9 pounds, it is an excellent option for travel. It can be used on a plane in harness mode. Like all booster seats, it’s not approved for air travel without the harness since airplanes only have lap belts and booster seats require a lap and shoulder belt.
Important Information: Where to Find
The manual was a little unclear because the photos pointed to the lower anchor connector storage locations. We reached out to Evenflo about this — they clarified that the manual should be rolled and stored under the seat shell near the lower anchor connector storage.
Date of Manufacture and Expiration
The manufacture date and expiration date are both located on a label on the backside of the seat’s shell.
The Maestro Sport is FAA approved in harness mode. It is not FAA approved in booster mode. The FAA label is located on the backside near the bottom of the seat.
The Maestro Sport is a welcome update to an old favorite. While the harness mode weight limit is lower than some other combination car seat options, it works for a variety of children in harness mode. The booster fit can be hit or miss, but we encountered none of the vehicle seat belt retraction issues that can be a problem for some combination seats in booster mode. At this price point, we are glad to be able to recommend the Maestro Sport for families who need a budget-friendly, lightweight forward facing only car seat.
Our friends at Evenflo are giving away TWO Maestro Sports! One to a winner from the United States, the other to a winner from Canada. Read our Terms and Conditions, then choose the Rafflecopter for your country and enter below for your chance to win!