The Maxi-Cosi Pria convertible car seat has been on store shelves in the United States for some time. It comes in a few flavors: the Pria, the Pria 85 Max, and the Pria with Tiny Fit. Maxi-Cosi has just released the Pria 65 into Canada. Dorel (manufacturer of Maxi-Cosi, Safety First, and Cosco car seats) has kindly provided us with a Canadian Pria to review.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range: 9-40 pounds
- Rear facing height range: 40 inches or less
- Forward facing weight range: 22-65 pounds
- Forward facing height range: 29-52 inches
- Expiration: 10 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 40 pounds
- No rethread harness
- Premium lower anchor connectors
- Lowest harness position: 9.5 inches with body pillow
- Highest harness position: 17.5 inches (harness slots are slanted – measurement taken from centre of highest position)
- Three crotch buckle slots: 4, 5, and 6 inches from the back of the seat pan
- Shell height: 26.5 inches tall with headrest fully extended
- Width at widest point (cupholder): 20 inches
- Seat weight: 19 pounds
The Maxi-Cosi Pria has three mechanical recline positions. The recline handle is located at the back of the seat.
Rear Facing Recline
Recline positions 2 and 3 are used for rear facing installations. Here are the guidelines for use:
- Rear facing installations for children who weigh between 9-22 pounds require recline position 2 or 3 to make the bottom level line parallel with the ground.
- Rear facing installations for children who weigh between 22-40 pounds require position 2. If the car seat requires an additional recline, a rolled towel or noodle may be used to increase the angle.
Forward Facing Recline
Recline positions 1 and 2 are used for forward facing installations. Here are the guidelines for use:
- Forward facing installations for children who weigh between 22-40 pounds and who are between 29-43 inches tall require recline position 2.
- Forward facing installations for children who weigh between 40-65 pounds and who are between 43-52 inches tall require recline position 1.
It’s possible that a child can weigh 40 pounds and be under 43 inches tall. It’s also possible for a child to be 43 inches tall and under 40 pounds. If your child falls into either of those scenarios, please call Maxi-Cosi’s Customer Care directly to determine which recline setting is best for your child.
The Maxi-Cosi Pria features a thick body pillow, plush harness covers, and matching buckle cover. There are no height or weight restrictions listed in the manual for any of these items, but Maxi-Cosi has confirmed that the body pillow can only be used rear facing. The manual at this time does not indicate that it must be removed for forward facing use, but Maxi-Cosi has confirmed a future manual update will clarify this issue.
Crotch Buckle Positions
The Pria has three crotch buckle positions. When the Pria is installed rear facing, only the inner two crotch buckle slots may be used. All three positions may be used forward facing. The buckle should be positioned in the slot closest to the child without the buckle itself being underneath the child. To move the crotch buckle, the seat must be fully reclined to access the buckle’s metal retainer beneath the seat’s shell.
Removing the Cover
The manual suggests that the cover is easy to remove, but we found it took a bit longer than the manual suggested. We needed to be very careful when removing the headrest pad to ensure that the headrest airbags did not detach, and the seat pad itself required some “shimmying” to remove from around the headrest. It’s not a difficult cover to remove, but it does take a bit more time than the covers on some other car seats.
Rear Facing Installation
The Pria’s rear facing belt path includes a belt positioning slot on the sides of the seat’s shell. The lower anchor webbing or lap portion of the vehicle seat belt needs to be threaded through this slot before tightening. This slot helps place the webbing or vehicle seat belt in the right place but does tend to eat hands so use it with caution.
Rear Facing Recline Angle
The recline angle label on the side of the Pria has two recline lines: one for children who weigh less than 22 pounds and one for children who weigh between 22-40 pounds.
Installing the Pria
We installed the Pria in a few different vehicles, including a 2013 Dodge Dart. We were impressed that even at the most reclined position (for a child under 22 pounds), the front passenger seat only needed to be one click forward.
We’d assert that most adult passengers should easily be able to ride in front of a rear facing Pria that’s installed for a child of any weight in mid-sized and large vehicles.
Forward Facing Installation
Forward Facing Recline Positions
The Pria has three recline positions, two of which can be used forward facing. For children who weigh between 22-40 pounds and who are between 29-43 inches tall, the Pria must be in recline position 2. Note: when installing on recline 2 there will most likely be a fairly noticeable gap between the vehicle seat bight and the car seat. This gap has been approved by the manufacturer as long as the installation is secure, with 1 inch or less of movement at the belt path.
For children who weigh between 40-65 pounds and who are between 43-52 inches tall, the Pria must be in recline position 1.
To install the Pria forward facing with lower anchors, move the lower anchor strap to the forward facing belt path. The lower anchors are connected to the side of the seat, so they will be removed from the rear facing belt path and thread through the forward facing belt path. The short belt path can make installation a bit of a challenge — the trick is to push the Pria back toward the vehicle seat while pulling straight out with the lower anchor webbing. Removing the cover to access the belt path can help with this.
The lower anchors store easily on the side of the seat when not in use.
Vehicle Seat Belt
To install the Pria forward facing with the vehicle seat belt, make sure the lower anchors are stored, then set the Pria on the vehicle seat. Thread the vehicle seat belt through the forward facing belt path, then remove all of the slack from the belt by applying counter pressure to the Pria. The trick is to push the Pria back toward the vehicle seat while pulling the slack out of the shoulder portion of the lap/shoulder belt. Removing the cover to access the belt path can help with this.
Fit to Child
The Pria’s lowest harness position is 9.5 inches with the body pillow in place, and the weight minimum is 9 pounds. Those limits mean that this seat would not be suitable to use from birth.
We demonstrate why with a newborn Huggable Images doll. At 7 pounds and 20 inches long, our doll is below the stated height and weight limits of the Maxi-Cosi Pria. This is a good example of why the lowest height and weight limits on the Pria are higher than most convertible seats, as the harness in the lowest setting is well above the doll’s shoulders.
The manual clearly warns: “If the shoulder harness slots are above the child’s shoulders with the headrest in the lowest position, do not use this child restraint.” We removed the crotch buckle pad and harness pads, and left the body pillow in to demonstrate this fit.
2 Years Old
This model is 2 years old, weighs 26 pounds, and is 36 inches tall. She was very excited to have a pink car seat, and found the Pria quite comfortable. We found it easy to adjust, and even though the 2nd buckle position fit her well, we removed the crotch buckle pad to provide a little extra length for her.
We found that this child was very close to outgrowing the Maxi-Cosi Pria rear facing. She is 4 inches below the stated height limit, but because to the Pria requires 1 inch of headrest above the head at all times while rear facing it is nearly outgrown. With the straps at her shoulders, she has barely more than 1 inch of headrest above her head (even when the body pillow was removed).
4 Years Old
This model is 4 years old, weighs 43 pounds, and is 44 inches tall. She was also quite excited about the pink seat, and was eager to try it out. She commented that it was very comfortable, and loved the built in cup holder as an accessible storage for her freshly picked dandelions.
We adjusted the headrest to the highest position to gauge how much time she would have left in the Pria, and were happy to see that the Pria should easily harness her until booster readiness. We removed the body pillow for this model but left the crotch buckle pad and harness covers on.
6 Years Old
This model is 6 years old, weighs 54 pounds, and is 49 inches tall. He has been riding in a booster for almost a year, but was willing to model the Pria for us. This was an easy sell because pink is one of his favourite colours!
Although the Pria boasts a 17.5 inch top harness position, this 6 year old carries his height in his torso. He has outgrown the Pria by torso height, as the manual warns that “If the shoulder harness slots are below the child’s shoulders with the headrest in the highest position, do not use this child restraint.” Because of the slanted slots, the outer edge was below his shoulders, which means the seat is outgrown.
Important Information – Where to Find
Date of Manufacture: The date of manufacture and National Safety mark are found on the side of the seat, under the rear facing belt path.
Manual Storage: The manual storage is located under the seat pad in a pocket beside the child’s head.
Expiration Date: The expiration date is stamped on the bottom of the seat.
Top Tether Storage: The top tether clips to the bottom of the back of the seat when not in use. Always use the tether in forward facing mode.
We enjoyed the plush fabric, easy installation, accessories, and no rethread harness of the Maxi-Cosi Pria. It fit well in all of the vehicles we tried it in, and our models all found it a comfortable seat. It will last the average child until they are ready for a booster seat, and comes in a variety of covers for children who prefer certain colours.
We did find that the short headrest means that some children may outgrow the seat rear facing before the stated limits, and the rear facing belt positioning slots could be easy to miss for a parent or caregiver who does not fully read their manual.
Overall, the Pria has a lot of comfort features and would be a good choice for small, average, and even some tall children (depending on how they carry their height), and will work nicely in a wide variety of vehicles.