Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-in-1 Multimode Car Seat Review

(Last Updated On: July 6, 2021)
Maxi-Cosi Pria

Maxi-Cosi Pria

We’ve known the Maxi-Cosi Pria multimode car seat for some time now.  There have been a few different versions of the Pria and until now, they’ve all shared the same shell and the same super narrow rear facing belt path.  The latest version of the Pria is now using the same base as its cousin, the Safety 1st Grow and Go line of multimode car seats. While there are many similarities between the seats, the Pria Max 3-in-1 has some upgraded features.

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-40 pounds
  • Rear facing height range: 19-40 inches tall
  • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 pounds
  • Forward facing height range: 29-49 inches tall
  • High back booster weight range: 40-100 pounds
  • High back booster height range: 43-52 inches

Measurements

  • Lowest harness position with small infant insert pillow: 6.5 inches
  • Lowest harness position without small infant insert pillow: 9.5 inches
  • Highest harness position: 16.5 inches
  • Highest booster guide position: 17.5 inches
  • Width at the widest point: 20 inches at the cupholders
  • Seat weight: 18 pounds
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 pounds
  • Crotch buckle positions: 5 inches, 6.25 inches, and 7.5 inches from the back of the seat pan
  • Expiration: 10 years

Features

Harness Pads

Maxi-Cosi Pria harness pads

Maxi-Cosi Pria harness pads

The removable, optional harness pads help keep the harness out of the way when placing the child in the seat. The harness pads can be used rear or forward facing.

Dishwasher Safe Cup Holders

Maxi-Cosi Pria cupholder

Maxi-Cosi Pria cupholder

The Pria Max 3-in-1 includes two dishwasher safe cup holders.  To remove them, turn clockwise and lift them off of the shell. These cupholders are not required for use.

Crotch Buckle Cover

There’s a nicely padded cover over the crotch buckle.  Using this cover is optional for rear or forward facing use and the cover can be easily removed.

Head and Back Inserts

The head and back pillow inserts are optional, but they MUST be used together in rear facing mode only.  They cannot be used in forward facing mode. There is no weight limit for using these inserts.

Small Infant Positioning Pillow

In addition to the head and back inserts, the Pria Max 3-in-1 includes an extra pillow for use with the tiniest of passengers.  This pillow can help to position the harness at or below the shoulders on small babies.

The small infant positioning pillow can help provide a proper fit for infants who weigh at least 4 pounds. This pillow MUST be used with the head and back pillows. This pillow must be removed when the harness can be at or below the child’s shoulders without it.

Premium Lower Anchor Connectors

Maxi-Cosi Pria lower anchor

Maxi-Cosi Pria lower anchor

The Pria Max 3-in-1 includes premium lower anchor connectors.  This type of connector almost always makes removing them much easier for the caregiver than the standard j-hook style connectors.

Magnetic Chest Clip

Maxi-Cosi Pria QuikClip chest clip

Maxi-Cosi Pria QuikClip chest clip

The ClipQuik chest clip is magnetic and operates a little differently than most chest clips. To unbuckle the clip, squeeze the buttons with your thumb and forefinger and lift the top (right side) of the chest clip off of the bottom (left side).

Maxi-Cosi Pria QuikClip chest clip

Maxi-Cosi Pria QuikClip chest clip

To buckle the clip, place the top of the clip (right side) on the bottom (left side).  Once the two sides of clip are connected, most children are unable to open it themselves.

Machine Washable, Dryer Safe, Easy Off Cover

The easy off cover is machine washable.  To wash it, use  cold water on the gentle cycle. The cover can be tumbled dry for 10-12 minutes. This is a great feature for families that need to use their seat quickly after cleaning since so many covers must drip dry, which can take some time!

EZ Out Harness Holders

Maxi-Cosi Pria harness storage

Maxi-Cosi Pria harness storage

The harness holders keep the harness out of the way while buckling and unbuckling the child.

Multiple Crotch Buckle Positions

The Pria Max 3-in-1 has 3 crotch buckle positions:

  • Positions 1 (closest to the back of the seat pan) and 2 (the middle position) can be used rear facing
  • Positions 1, 2, or 3 can be used forward facing

In addition to those 3 positions, the crotch buckle can be routed into a 4th position for the smallest passengers by placing the buckle in the first slot. Recline the car seat,pull the metal retainer clip down and thread it back up through the middle slot. (This is much easier to do when the car seat is not installed in the vehicle.)

The buckle should be in the position closest to, but not under, the child.

Rear Facing

Recline Angle Positions

Maxi-Cosi Pria recline positions

Maxi-Cosi Pria recline positions

Before installing the Pria Max 3-in-1 rear facing, choose a rear facing recline position based on the following criteria:

  • Positions 1 and 2 can be used rear facing.
  • For children who can not sit unassisted, the recline line must be parallel to the ground.
  • For children who can sit unassisted, the seat can be rotated to a more upright position.

Installation with Lower Anchors

Maxi-Cosi Pria rear facing with lower anchors

Maxi-Cosi Pria rear facing with lower anchors, upright for a child that can sit unassisted

To install the Pria Max 3-in-1 rear facing with the lower anchors, set the car seat on the vehicle seat with the harness facing the back of the vehicle. Unhook the lower anchors from their storage locations on the car seat. Thread the lower anchor webbing through the rear facing belt path, making sure the anchors are facing the correct direction. Take a moment to note that unlike the Prias of the past, the belt path on this Pria doesn’t attempt to eat your hand as you’re threading the lower anchors.  So many members of the CSFTL team have emerged from seat check events with raw knuckles after meeting an older Pria so we welcome this change!Attach the lower anchor connectors to the designated lower anchors in the vehicle. Use one hand in the seat pan to compress the Pria into the vehicle seat and pull all the slack out of the lower anchor webbing.

Check your Work

Once the seat is installed, give it a firm handshake at the belt path, making sure the seat moves less than one inch at the belt path.

Rear Facing with Vehicle Seat Belt

Maxi-Cosi Pria rear facing with the vehicle seat belt

Maxi-Cosi Pria rear facing with the vehicle seat belt, reclined for a child that can NOT sit unassisted

To install the Pria Max 3-in-1 rear facing with the vehicle seat belt, set the car seat on the vehicle seat with the harness facing the back of the vehicle. Choose a rear facing recline.Thread the vehicle seat belt through the rear facing belt path and buckle it. Lock the vehicle seat belt. Use one hand in the seat pan to compress the Pria Max 3-in-1 into the vehicle seat and pull all the slack out of the vehicle seat belt.

Check your Work

Once the seat is installed, give it a firm handshake at the belt path, make sure the seat moves less than one inch at the belt path.

Fit to Child

Rear Facing

Preemie Doll

Maxi-Cosi Pria preemie doll

Maxi-Cosi Pria preemie doll

The preemie doll weighs 4 pounds and is 17 inches long.  We found that our very cooperative doll fits nicely with the small infant positioning pillow. The harness is just at the shoulder and the crotch buckle is in the first slot, closest to the back of the seat pan. We removed the harness covers and crotch buckle pad to provide a proper fit. There was no noticeable head slump in the preemie doll.

Newborn Doll

Maxi-Cosi Pria newborn doll

Maxi-Cosi Pria newborn doll

The newborn doll weighs 7 pounds and is 17 inches long.This seat fits this baby well, the harness is just below the shoulders. The crotch buckle is in the first slot and the harness pads and crotch buckle cover have been removed to provide a better fit. We found that the newborn doll also needed the small infant positioning pillow. Using the extra pillow made buckling the crotch buckle a bit of a challenge.

2 Years Old

Maxi-Cosi Pria 2 years old rear facing

Maxi-Cosi Pria 2 years old rear facing

This two year old model is 30 pounds (with her cast) and 34 inches tall. She had a fall on the playground, so we are rocking this awesome blue cast for a few weeks. Since the cast limits our seating choices, I was pleased to see that she had plenty of room to rear face in this seat. The harness is just below her shoulder and the crotch buckle is in the middle position.

Forward Facing

Installation with Lower Anchors

Maxi-Cosi Pria forward facing with lower anchors

Maxi-Cosi Pria forward facing with lower anchors

To install the Pria Max 3-in-1 forward facing with the lower anchors, set the car seat on the vehicle seat with the harness facing the front of the vehicle. Choose the forward facing recline: only recline setting 3 can be used forward facing. We always recommend using the top tether anchor because of the immense safety benefits. Unhook the top tether from the storage location at the back, bottom of the seat. Connect it to the designated tether anchor location in the vehicle, leaving slack in the webbing. Unhook the lower anchors from their storage hooks on the car seat. Thread the lower anchor webbing through the forward facing belt path, making sure the anchors are facing the correct direction. Hook the lower anchor connectors to the designated lower anchors in the vehicle. Use one hand to compress the Pria into the vehicle seat and pull all the slack out of the lower anchor webbing. Remove the slack from the top tether anchor webbing.I did find the tether anchor webbing to be quite short so naturally, we reached out to our team member who has the Pria 85.  The tether anchor webbing on her seat was a more traditional length so we wonder why this tether webbing is so darn short!

We asked our friends at Dorel if an extender is available for those hard-to-reach spots.  They didn’t respond.

Check your Work

Once the seat is installed, give it a firm handshake at the belt path, make sure the seat moves less than one inch at the belt path.

Forward Facing with Vehicle Seat Belt

Maxi-Cosi Pria forward facing with vehicle seat belt

Maxi-Cosi Pria forward facing with vehicle seat belt

We found the vehicle seat belt install fairly painless.  We started by setting the car seat on the vehicle seat with the harness facing the front of the vehicle. Then, choose the forward facing recline: only recline setting 3 can be used forward facing so that made the selection pretty simple! Remove  the top tether from the storage location at the back, bottom of the seat, then loosely attach the top tether.

Connect it to the designated tether anchor location in the vehicle, leaving slack in the webbing. Thread the vehicle seat belt through the forward facing belt path and buckle it. Lock the vehicle seat belt. Use one hand to compress the Pria Max 3-in-1 into the vehicle seat, pushing straight back into the vehicle seat, then pull all the slack out of the vehicle seat belt. Remove the slack from the top tether anchor webbing.

Check your Work

Once the seat is installed, give it a firm handshake at the belt path, make sure the seat moves less than one inch at the belt path.

Fit to Child

Forward Facing

4 Years Old

Maxi-Cosi Pria 4 years old

Maxi-Cosi Pria 4 years old

This model is 4 years old, weighs 45 pounds and 43 inches tall. The harness is in the tallest setting and is just above his shoulders. The crotch buckle is in the outermost position. He preferred the harness covers but didn’t care for the crotch buckle cover.We wouldn’t expect this seat to last him much longer in this mode. He’s 6 inches under the maximum height limit but we’d be very surprised if he actually fits in the seat that long.  It’s pretty likely that he would need an additional harnessed car seat to last him until he’s ready to ride in a booster seat.

Booster Mode

Most of the harness stores neatly in the seat when using the Pria Max 3-in-1 in booster mode, but the chest clip doesn’t stay attached.  We’re big fans of harnesses that don’t need to be stored elsewhere so we find that removing the chest clip and storing it elsewhere is kind of risky.  We’d prefer to see that it stay on the harness so it can’t get lost between children.

The conversion process has a few steps to it.  First, flip the seat upside down and remove the crotch buckle by sliding the metal piece on the bottom of the seat shell flat, flush with the crotch buckle slot, then slide it through.

Then, fully loosen the harness and adjust the headrest to the highest position. Undo the snaps on the headrest pad and seat pad. Pull the pad off the bottom of the headrest. Turn the seat around and undo the harness from the splitter plate, remove the chest clip, rethread the harness through the top harness slot and put the harness back on the splitter plate. Thread the harness through the slots in the side of the headrest and tuck the buckle tongues behind the seat pad at the hip area. Tighten the harness and replace the headrest pad to cover the seating area.

Store the chest clip and crotch buckle in a magical location where you won’t lose it.

Fit to Child

7 Years Old

Maxi-Cosi Pria 6 years old booster mode

Maxi-Cosi Pria 7 years old booster mode

Our 7 year old model weighs 57 pounds and is 49 inches tall. He fits in the booster mode for now, but it will be outgrown quickly. He is using the top booster guide setting and the shoulder belt is just above his shoulder.  The shoulder portion of the belt sits nicely centered on his shoulder. The Pria Max 3-in-1 has a fairly wide base, this wideness, combined with the short rigid belt stalks in the Chevy Traverse, make for a situation where he was unable to buckle the vehicle seat belt on his own.

Important Information: Where to Find

Maxi-Cosi Pria underside of seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria manual storage in base of seat

Manual Storage: the manual storage is on the back on the bottom of the car seat

Date of Manufacture: the date of manufacture label is on the side of the seat’s shell, near the child’s left knee
Expiration Date: page 71 of the manual lists the date of expiration as 10 years after the date of manufacture

Maxi-Cosi Pria date of manufacture label

Maxi-Cosi Pria date of manufacture label

Maxi-Cosi Pria FAA approval label

Maxi-Cosi Pria FAA approval label

FAA Approval Label: the Pria Max 3-in-1 is approved for use on aircraft while in harness mode.  The FAA approval label is located on the side of the seat’s shell near the child’s right shoulder.  It is not approved for use on aircraft in booster mode.

Maxi-Cosi Pria tether storage

Maxi-Cosi Pria top tether storage

Top Tether Anchor Storage: the top tether anchor stores on the back, bottom of the seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria lower anchor storage

Maxi-Cosi Pria lower anchor storage

Lower Anchor Storage: the lower anchors store under the side “lip” of the seat at each hip

Overall Thoughts

The Pria Max 3-in-1 3 in 1 is a plush seat that fits our newborn and preemie dolls well.  We do always suggest checking the fit before using a convertible or multimode car seat with a tiny baby.

The installation on this model is far easier than on the previous model, so we welcome that change as well.  We can see that Maxi Cosi has put a lot of thought into the little things like harness covers, small infant positioning, and ease of use. Our models found the seat comfortable and we found it easy to use and install.