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Evenflo Titan 65 Convertible with SureSafe Installation System – Unboxing, Preview & Giveaway

This brand new retail version of the popular Evenflo convertible also know as the “SureRide” will be available exclusively in Walmart stores and on walmart.com beginning on August 11th. The Evenflo Titan 65 with “SureSafe” offers some nice features not found on other retail Evenflo SureRide models. The SureSafe Series is all about making installation with LATCH easier. The seats in this Walmart-exclusive lineup will include the Embrace infant seat, Titan 65 convertible, Triumph LX convertible and the Symphony LX All-in-One.

All the Evenflo “SureSafe” models will feature:

  • SureSafe Quick Connectors for installation with lower LATCH anchors
  • SureSafe LATCH Guides (plastic funnel guides for the lower anchors in your vehicle)
  • Buckle pockets (hold buckle tongues out of the way when loading/unloading child)

Check out the video for the rest of the details!

And get this – the price will still be under $100!  MSRP will be $99.97 which is a great deal for consumers looking for a budget-friendly, higher-weight harness convertible.

For the record, the LATCH limit on this new model is 50 lbs. which is really nice considering how many other convertible seats are limited to lower weight limits because of the new LATCH weight limit regulations that went into effect earlier this year.

More info on the Titan 65 with SureSafe can be found on the Evenflo website:  http://www.evenflo.com/Products/Evenflo/Car_Seats/Titan_65_SureSafe/

 

Giveaway:

Winner will win their choice of one (1) carseat, either an Evenflo Titan 65 SureSafe OR an Evenflo SureRide DLX.  Winner may choose any fashion in stock and eligible for free shipping at Walmart.com online eligible for free shipping, up to a maximum of $100 (no third party vendors sorry).  Titan 65 SureSafe is expected to be in stock on or around 8/11, so there may be a delay if the winner prefers this model.

  • To enter, you MUST reply to this blog and leave a comment below AND post a reply on the giveaway thread at Car-Seat.Org (registration required, only 1 entry per household).
  • For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to Like our Facebook pageLike the Car-Seat.Org Facebook page and tweet about the giveaway!

Winner must have a U.S. shipping address. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms)

Winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize.  Only one prize will be awarded.  Winner’s shipping information will be shared with Walmart.com online for delivery of the prize.  We reserve the right to use an alternate supplier for fulfillment.

Previous CarseatBlog contest winners are eligible.  Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count.

We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason.

The contest will close on August 11, 2014, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected.

Good luck!

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Preview: Kids, Carseats & Safety

I recently had the opportunity to test drive the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata on a road trip from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a stop at the 57 Burger Barrel on US Highway12 for a quick burger, fries and homemade root beer.

  2015sonataecof

While I haven’t had a chance to put any carseats into one yet, I definitely got a good feel of the new Sonata.  I had just driven the 2014 Honda Accord the week prior, so some comparisons are in order.  In particular, the back seat is well organized, with no crossover of seatbelt or LATCH anchors. The buckle stalks were fairly short all around and should be reasonable for installation of most carseats.  It’s wide enough to fit 3-across with careful selection.  The side bolsters on the outboard seats appear to be less pronounced than in the Accord, possibly making it easier to fit larger forward facing seats.  These might still be an issue for wider combination booster seats, though.

2015SonataBackSeat

The Sonata is all new and has already received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2015, an improvement over the previous Sonata.  The 2015 model earned an “Acceptable” result in the Small Overlap frontal crash test, while the previous model managed only a “Marginal” rating.   The new Sonata now has a full set of advanced safety features optional, including a frontal collision warning that was previously unavailable.  Lane Departure, Cross Traffic and Blind Spot warnings are also available, as is the BlueLink system with crash notification.  The frontal collision warning system earned a “Basic” level of protection from the IIHS for trims that have this option package.

The improved IIHS crash test result was likely made possible by an increase in advanced, high-strength steel alloys that now comprise around half of the weight of the bare chassis, up from 21% in the previous model.  That also helped Hyundai to increase overall body stiffness to improve ride and handling characteristics as well.  I found it to be as good of a highway cruiser as the Accord in terms of ride and noise.

2015SonatasThe styling of the new Sonata is an evolution of the previous model, with slightly more aggressive front and rear end treatment inherited from the upscale Genesis.  No comparison to the conservative Accord.  For families, size has increased to be one of the largest, if not the largest midsize sedan.  In particular, width is increased another inch that hopefully will help for fitting three kids and/or carseats in the back.  Overall, it has a class-leading passenger volume and front head room and leg room as well, meaning a little more space than Accord all around.

Assuming the NHTSA crash tests earn it a 5-star overall rating like the previous model, the 2015 Sonata should be among any family’s top picks for a midsize sedan.  I was very impressed on the road with the Limited model that is already in showrooms.  I also drove the 1.6L turbo four Eco model (coming in September), which has a budget price tag and great fuel economy as well.  We obtained 38 mpg on the highway during our trip!  Unlike some mainstream auto reviews, we appreciate that budget is a big factor for many of our readers and the Eco trim starts around $24,000 with an estimated EPA 28mpg city, 38mpg highway, 32mpg overall.  Not bad for a model the EPA thinks is a full size sedan!

2015sonataeco 2015sonataecofueleconomy

The main drawback for me is that to get all the safety features including frontal collision and lane departure warning systems, you must spend over $32,000 MSRP on the Limited or Sport 2.0T trim with the Tech AND Ultimate packages.  Meanwhile, the 2015 Subaru Legacy sedan with AWD can be purchased with the excellent EyeSight system in the lower Premium trim for around $25,000.  And for that, you don’t just get collision warning, you get one of the best autobrake collision prevention systems on the road.  I only wish that more manufacturers will start to follow Subaru’s lead and put life-saving advanced safety features within reach of more families in their all-new family vehicles.  Of course, if you ante up for the Sport 2.0T Ultimate model, you get all the goodies and the exclusive Urban Sunset color option, too (below).

Thank you to Hyundai USA for this great media event!

Conquering Roads

The next time you’re stuck in construction, instead of getting frustrated you could spend some time contemplating how far America’s road system has come since 1937.

This great throwback video from 1937 demonstrates novel construction techniques and road features, all designed to eliminate hassle and make roads safer for modern vehicles. At the time this video was produced, New York’s Triborough Bridge (touted as a solution to bottleneck traffic) was only a year old. The Interstate Highway System wouldn’t be authorized for another 20 years.

Things had come a long way since the days of horses and buggies, but in an age where the cloverleaf was considered a marvel of traffic engineering, you have to figure they’d be blown away by some of the multi-level, dozens-of-lanes freeway interchanges of today.

Blogiversary Celebration Giveaway: Chicco NextFit Convertible

Chicco-NextFit-MystiqueEven though it’s our 6th “Blogiversary”, this celebration isn’t about us – it’s about YOU. We know we’re lucky to have so many awesome readers and followers who all care deeply about keeping kids safe in and around motor vehicles. We want to reward you for supporting us throughout these past 6 years and the best reward we could think of was another fabulous giveaway promotion!

This week the Blogiversary Celebration continues with a popular NextFit Convertible giveaway courtesy of our generous friends at Chicco USA!

The Chicco NextFit is on our list of Recommended Carseats and it’s also currently the top-rated convertible carseat from Consumer Reports. For all the details, please see our full Chicco NextFit Review.

Chicco NextFit Specs:

Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs;  outgrown by height once there is only 1″ of shell above the child’s head with the head rest portion fully extended

Forward-Facing: 22-65 lbs; 50″ or less; at least 1 year old. *Chicco and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend all children ride REAR-FACING until age 2 or they reach the weight/height limits of this seat.

Chicco NextFit Features:

  • SuperCinch LATCH tightening system
  • No-rethread harness
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 2-position chest clip
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Lock-offs for rear-facing and forward-facing installations with seatbelt
  • 9 recline positions (any position can be used rear-facing or forward-facing to achieve an appropriate recline angle)
  • Dual liquid bubble level indicators (one for RF, one for FF)
  • Smooth bottom base with grip material won’t damage vehicle upholstery or slide around on slippery leather seats

Chicco SuperCinch  Chicco NextFit FF RF  Chicco NextFit recline positions

Giveaway:

Winner must have a U.S. shipping address.  Hawaii and Alaska are excluded – sorry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms)

Winner must have a USA shipping address (AK and HI excluded) to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded, fashion will be “factory select” and will be determined based on Chicco’s availability at the time the contest closes.

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.comduring 2013 or 2014 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned). Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count.

We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason.

The contest will close on August 5, 2014, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Please note: If this is your first comment at CarseatBlog, or if you are using a different computer/device or a new email address, your comment may not appear immediately. It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved. Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.

Consumer Reports Updates Convertible Carseat Ratings – July 2014

CR rockThe updated ratings on convertible carseats are published and the results are going to make some people happy and others not so happy. There’s just no way around that. Parents who already own top-rated convertible seats are going to be happy while those that own seats at the bottom of the lists may be less-than-pleased. Some may even question whether they made a mistake buying “X” carseat instead of “Y” carseat.

Before we get to the CR top rated picks, let’s talk about what the “BEST” convertible carseat is. We say this all the time as Child Passenger Safety Technicians, but it’s the truth, hence why it’s repeated so often. The BEST carseat is the one that fits your vehicle (installs tightly), fits your child (is appropriate for their age/weight/height), and that you can use correctly on every single ride. And of course it needs to fit your wallet too. The best carseat is not necessarily the most expensive carseat you can (or can’t) afford. And it’s not necessarily the carseat that matches the rest of your nursery collection or the one that everyone raves about online.

While we think our Recommended Carseats list is a great place to start, the seats on our list aren’t going to work for everyone and every situation. Remember – what works best for *your* child in *your* vehicle might not be the best choice for your sister or your neighbor or your friend, and that’s important. For example, a loosely installed carseat or one where you can’t easily adjust the harness to be snug on your child is not safe. A convertible carseat that doesn’t fit rear-facing in your car is not going to be the best choice for your child either.

The Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparison – Size Matters!

It’s important to point out that this round of ratings is based on crash test results using their previous testing methodology (30 mph, FMVSS 213 standard bench, testing with 3-point lap/shoulder seatbelt or LATCH and no blocker plate). Convertible seat testing with their new crash test methodology is underway, but those results will not be published until some time early next year. For more info on Consumer Reports’ new crash testing program please see our previous blog on the subject:

The Safest Infant Carseats? New Crash Protection Ratings and Methods from Consumer Reports

Currently CR evaluates carseats on several points, including fit-to-vehicle, ease-of-usage, price and crash test performance. We can’t comment on specific scores but after our meeting with CR last year, we do have a general idea of how their ratings are assigned within these categories.

They brake down the convertible carseat ratings into 3 categories:

  • Convertible seats rated to 40 lbs.
  • Convertible seats rated to weights higher than 40 lbs. (what we call “higher-weight harness” convertibles)
  • All-in-One seats that can be used rear-facing, forward-facing and also as a belt-positioning booster.

In the up to 40 lbs. category, the Cosco Scenera, Scenera 40RF, Cosco Apt 40RF and Safety 1st onSide Air were their top rated picks. I don’t think the Scenera 40 RF is still being made or sold anywhere but the “regular” Cosco Scenera, the Cosco Apt 40RF and the Safety 1st onSide Air are all widely available and they are all budget-friendly seats (under $100) too. Just don’t expect them to fit your child for as long as larger competitors. These are basic, budget-friendly seats for infants and toddlers that should last many kids until at least age 3 and some to age 4. They also make great travel seats.

Cosco SceneraCosco Apt 40 RFSafety 1st onSide Air - stock

In the over 40 lbs. category, the Chicco NextFit is the top rated convertible seat followed closely by the entire Britax convertible lineup – Britax Advocate G4, Britax Boulevard G4, Britax Pavilion G4, Britax Marathon G4 and Britax Roundabout G4. The Britax Roundabout G4 and the Evenflo SureRide were rated as “Best Buys” because they offer good value for their price but they also received good scores in all categories.

Chicco NextFit - blogBritax Advocate G4 - OnyxBritax roundabout G4 - onyx

In the “All-in-One” category – the Evenflo Symphony was the top rated seat among the 5 models tested.

Evenflo Sym65 - Ocala

You can find their newest ratings on convertible seats at their website, www.consumerreports.org. Unfortunately, you have to be a paid subscriber to see the full ratings report.