Maxi Cosi’s popular Pria 85 has gotten an upgrade! Today we are going to take a look at the new Pria 85 Max. It has many features in common with the original Pria 85, and has some nifty new ones as well. We were particularly interested in the infant positioning wedge and lower weight limit of 5 pounds and the innovative new ClipQuik chest clip.
The ClipQuik is magnetic – it fastens itself, and is designed to be easy for caregivers to release, while being extremely difficult for littles who like to play Houdini to release themselves at the wrong time.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range: 5-40 pounds
- Rear facing height range: 40 inches or less
- Forward facing weight range: 22-85 pounds
- Forward facing height range: 29-52 inches
- Lowest harness position: 6.5 inches with infant wedge, 9 inches without infant wedge
- Highest harness position: 17 inches
- Expiration: 10 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 40 pounds
- Magnetic ClipQuik chest clip
- 3 position crotch strap
- 3 recline settings
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- No rethread harness
- Easy remove cover
- Flip away crotch buckle
- Magnetic harness holders
- Infant positioning wedge
- Shell height: 26 inches (headrest fully extended)
- Maximum Width: 20 inches both at the headwings and at the cupholder
- Seat pan: 13 inches
- Crotch buckle slots: 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 inches from the back of the seat pan
- Weight: 17.5 pounds
ClipQuik Chest Clip
The ClipQuik chest clip is the most unique and amazing feature on the Pria 85 Max. It’s sort of like magic — it fastens itself via a magnetic mechanism. When I forgot to use the harness holders to hold the harness out of the way, the chest clip fastened itself when the seat was empty!
How the ClipQuik Works
Using the ClipQuik is simple — to release the clip, place your thumb on the grey circle and slide up, rather than out. I found the release intuitive once I knew how it worked, but the angle would be difficult for a child to release from within the seat, even if they knew how it worked. I tried releasing it while standing behind the seat, using the same angle a child would have to, and wasn’t able to release it. This innovation could prove invaluable to parents of Teeny Houdinis.
Infant Positioning Wedge
Other versions of the Pria featured weight minimums that rendered it unusable for newborns — 9 pounds for the Pria 70 without TinyFit, and 14 pounds for the Pria 85. The wedge on the Pria 85 Max boosts smaller babies up to safely fit the bottom harness slots. This wedge makes the Pria 85 Max lowest weight limit of 5 pounds quite reasonable.
No Rethread Harness/Headrest Adjustment
I am a huge fan of no rethread harnesses because as they eliminate the need to uninstall, rethread, and reinstall a car seat when the kiddo hits a growth spurt or you are transporting a different child. Unfortunately, the Pria’s headrest was quite difficult to adjust, particularly on the top two or three positions. I needed to brace one hand in the seat pan while squeezing the adjuster handle with the other in order to get enough leverage to adjust the headrest.
On the plus side, the headrest’s shape prevents a rear facing passenger’s shoulders from being squished.
Easy Remove Washable Cover
Kids are messy. Diaper blow outs, finding out the hard way that the cup lid wasn’t on tight enough, and goldfish crackers lurking in every crevice (fishy little troublemakers), make it a hard life being a car seat cover. The Pria 85 Max’s cover is not only machine washable on gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent, it can be dried in the dryer! Thank you, Maxi-Cosi! I also found the cover very easy to remove and put back onto the seat.
Who among us has not groaned at having to dig buckle tongues and crotch buckle out from under a squirming toddler for the umpteenth time? The Pria 85 Max’s handy clips and flip-away crotch buckle eliminate this issue beautifully. I found this especially helpful when Kai insisted on climbing into the seat all by himself. Not only did the clips and crotch buckle keep me from having to dig for the buckle tongues, they also prevented his cute but annoying habit of insisting on fastening the chest clip himself before sitting down, so that I didn’t have to reach behind his back to release it before strapping him in.
Rear Facing Mode Setup
The Pria 85 Max that we received shipped with the lower anchor belt in the forward facing belt path. We learned that Pria 85 Max seats made after 5/1/2017 arrive with the lower anchor webbing routed in rear facing mode!
If your Pria 85 Max was made before the 5/1/2017 date, the seat will arrive ready for rear facing seat belt installations, but not lower anchor installations. The webbing needs to move the lower anchor belt to the rear facing belt path before installing the seat with lower anchors.
I found the lower anchor belt frustrating to rethread – it tangled easily in the harness. I wound up removing the cover to get the belt routed properly. Whether you are using lower anchors or the vehicle’s seat belt, the belt must be routed through plastic belt guides in the belt path. The edges of the guides are somewhat sharp, and it requires a bit of care to get everything routed properly. Once I had everything in its proper place, I found it easy to install with both the lower anchors and the seat belt. The premium lower anchor connectors are a very nice feature to make it easier to put the seat in and take it out again.
The Pria 85 Max has a single recline line that must be level to the ground at all times when the seat is rear facing. The seat allows either setting 2 or 3 on the mechanical recline to achieve this. Maxi Cosi does allow pool noodles or rolled towels if needed to achieve a level install; I found position 3 worked nicely in both of my vehicles, with no need for pool noodles. I tried the seat in both of my family’s vehicles – an ’08 Chevrolet Cobalt and an ’01 Ford Focus.
This is a big seat when it’s installed rear facing. At 5 feet, 10 inches, I am quite tall and leggy. I was not able to drive either vehicle with the Pria 85 Max installed in the middle, nor could I safely sit in the passenger seat with the seat installed passenger side.
Fit to Child
My own child is well past the newborn stage, so my training doll Morgan filled in to model the Pria 85 Max rear facing. Morgan has a 7.5 inch torso, making him about the size of an average-to-large newborn.
The Pria 85 Max comes with an infant positioning wedge. It’s required for babies who weigh between 5 and 11 pounds. It must be removed once baby weighs 15 pounds. I tried my newborn model with the wedge and Morgan gets a very nice fit, with his shoulders above the bottom harness setting. I did need to remove the harness covers in order to correctly position the chest clip, however.
I have some concerns that some babies may reach the 15 pound maximum weight for the insert before their shoulders reach the 9 inch bottom harness position without the wedge. Morgan fits best with the crotch buckle on the innermost setting.
3 Years Old
My son Kai is 3 years old, weighs 32 pounds, and is just under 40 inches tall. While he is well within the Pria 85 Max’s rear facing weight limit, he is just within the seat’s standing height limit.
I was pleased to find that he still has plenty of growing room – he still has a couple more headrest settings to go. This means that the seat can reasonably be expected to accommodate a 40 inch child. For Kai, I moved the crotch buckle to the middle setting – the outermost setting is not allowed rear facing. The middle setting was workable, but a bit difficult for me to buckle, and the buckle tongues dig into Kai’s thighs a bit. I’m not at all confident that he would tolerate this on a long drive.
Forward facing, the Pria 85 Max is rated from 22 to 85 pounds, and from 29 to 52 inches tall. Additionally, the child’s ears must be fully contained within the headrest, and the harness must be at or above the child’s shoulders. The seat will be outgrown when the first of these limits are met.
Unfortunately, with a 17 inch top harness setting, most children will outgrow the seat by harness height long before they weigh 85 pounds or are 52 inches tall.
Forward Facing Recline
The seat has two forward facing recline settings – position 2 is required for kids under 40 pounds and 43 inches, position 1 is required for kids over 40 pounds and 43 inches. Position 2 is significantly more reclined and will place a gap between the child restraint and the vehicle seat back. It concerns me that there is no overlap in this range, as children come in all shapes and sizes. Maxi-Cosi clarified that a child who is, for example, 41 pounds but 42 inches tall, should use position 1.
Lower Anchor Weight Limit
The Pria 85 Max has a 40 pound lower anchor limit, so when moving to position 1 forward facing, the vehicle seat belt must be used. The cover unsnaps to allow access to the belt path for easy tightening when forward facing. Any of the three crotch buckle settings are allowed when forward facing – Maxi Cosi recommends using whichever one will provide a snug fit.
Top Tether and Harness Pads
I was pleased to find that the manual specifically directs caregivers to install using the top tether. The tether reduces head excursion by as much as 6 inches, and is a significant safety measure. While there is a set of harness pads that ship attached to the harness for comfort only, there is a second, larger set for use only with children over 65 pounds when there is no tether anchor available. These larger pads can be stored with the manual in a pocket on the cover when not in use. I got a bit frustrated with the tether connector storage location – the connector clips to the seat near the recline adjuster when not in use, and I found the angle and shape of the storage hook made it difficult to clip and unclip. I also found the harness difficult to tighten.
Fit to Child
3 Years Old
Here we see our 3 year model again. He’s still 32 pounds and nearly 40 inches tall. Kai still has plenty of room rear facing in his usual seat – since we know that rear facing is the safest way to ride, he rides rear facing most of the time. However, he was thrilled to try out the Pria 85 Max forward facing.
Since he is still under 43 inches and well under 40 pounds, I installed the seat on position 2. He gets a very nice fit in the seat with the crotch buckle on position 3, and the headrest positioned on the second notch from the top.
Note: the following pictures are borrowed from our Pria 85 review. As we have a chance to test more models in the Pria 85 Max, we’ll update this review to include more older models in forward facing mode.
5 Years Old
This model is 5 years old, weighs 53 pounds, and tall for her age at 48.5 inches tall. Despite being well within the stated height and weight limits of the Pria 85, she outgrew the seat some time ago. Her shoulders are above the top harness position, and the harness was only just long enough to get her buckled in. The fit was not comfortable for her at all.
6 Years Old
Here we see a 6 year old. He weighs 43 pounds and at 47 inches tall, is tall and skinny for his age. He is on the second to the top harness position on the Pria 85 and on the 3rd crotch buckle setting. He found the Pria 85 to be very comfortable; he is quite leggy and appreciated the leg support, cupholder and soft fabrics. On his second ride in the seat, he actually fell asleep which is rather uncommon for him.His only complaint with the Pria 85 was that the buckle is very difficult to open. He regularly buckles and unbuckles himself in his other seats, but he couldn’t do the Pria. The strap material is also rather thin and tended to twist, he had a tough time getting in and out without twisting the straps. With two kids, it’s a real time saver to have my oldest buckle himself so it was frustrating for both of us that he needed my assistance each time we got in and out of the car. I had a difficult time tightening the harness the first time I adjusted it for him.
8 Year Old Doll
I also tested our 8 year old Huggable Images doll. He’s modeled after an 80 pound child and is 57 inches tall. He is well over the stated 52″ height limit for the Pria 85 forward facing, but at 80 pounds he is within the weight limit. I tried him in the seat to see if the straps were long enough to fit around his body, and they weren’t even close. Unfortunately, neither the length nor height of the straps were built to accommodate a child at the upper ranges Maxi-Cosi has placed on the Pria 85.
Important Information: Where to Find
Date of Manufacture The Pria 85 Max expires ten years from date of manufacture. The date of manufacture label can be found on a sticker on the outside of child’s right side of the seat shell, underneath the cupholder. This information is also stamped into the plastic on the bottom of the recline foot.
FAA Approval The Pria 85 Max is approved for use on aircraft. The FAA approval label is underneath the rear facing belt path on the child’s right side of the seat.
Manual Storage The manual stores in a pocket inside the seat’s cover. There’s a label with a little picture of a book sewn into the cover to indicate the location.
I greatly appreciate the Pria 85 Max’s clear labeling and convenience features — premium lower anchor connectors, harness holders, and easy to remove, easy to clean cover, and robust infant inserts. These features make the Pria 85 Max a convertible that will reliably fit most full term newborns.
In addition, I am very impressed by the ClipQuik chest clip. This innovation could be a huge benefit to parents of escape artists.
I would like to see the rear facing height range expanded, and more realistic forward facing limits for the shell and harness constraints of the seat. The Pria 85 Max is a big seat, and it needs a lot of front to back space in the vehicle. It isn’t going to fit in every car on the road. With an MSRP of $349.99, it’s not going to fit all budgets, either. But it has some very innovative features and it will last average sized kids quite some time, making it a nice option for families who have the space and the budget.