There are lots of infant seats on the market today. It used to be that “an infant seat was an infant seat was an infant seat,” meaning that they all pretty much looked the same and did the same thing. It’s really not that way anymore as infant seats have become specialists: this infant seat fits in small places well or that infant seat will last your child until he starts preschool. The Maxi-Cosi Prezi distinguishes itself with a sophistication that comes from European styling and with safety features like an anti-rebound bar and a new type of energy absorbing foam called G Cell™ foam. What else does the Prezi do?

Basics

  • Rear-facing only: 4-30 lbs., and up to 29″ tall. 1 inch rule also applies for determining when the seat is outgrown by height.
  • 5 harness height positions
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle slots (optional adjustment position shortens the crotch strap length for newborns)
  • Adjustable base has 5 positions
  • 2 recline angles: one for infants from 4-11 lbs., one for children from 11-30 lbs.
  • Can be installed without base
  • 2 position handle
  • FAA-approved for use in an airplane
  • 6 year lifespan before expiration

 

Features

  • Energy-absorbing G Cell™ foam lines entire upper portion of shell, Air Protect® side impact protection lines the headwings
  • Carrier attaches and detaches from base easily
  • Easy-out harness keeps harness straps out of the way when baby isn’t in the seat
  • Well-padded cover
  • Compatibility with most strollers that the Maxi-Cosi Mico infant seat can be used with to create a travel system
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH connectors

  

Measurements

  • Harness slot heights: Approx. 6.5″-10.5″ in 1/2″ increments
  • Internal shell height: 18″
  • Internal seat pan depth: 15″
  • Crotch strap positions: 4″, 6″
  • Width of base at widest point: 13.5″
  • Length of base: 24.5”
  • Carrier width at widest point (handle pivot point): 17”
  • Carrier Weight: 11.7 lbs.

 

How does it fit babies?

I tried both the 4 lbs., 17” preemie doll from Huggable Images and a 20” newborn doll in the Prezi. The Prezi comes with an infant insert pad that’s to be used from 4-11 lbs. The preemie doll fits very well using the infant insert, though the harness has a tendency to pinch at the neck when pulled snugly. Note that I took the pictures without the belly pad/buckle cover in place for the review. BUT, in the case of the preemie doll, it did improve the fit and if you have a child with a skinny bum, it will help keep her from scootching forward. As with other Dorel infant seats, you do have the option of shortening the crotch strap for small infants by threading it through to the outer crotch strap slot. When I did this on the Prezi for use with the preemie doll, it made the buckle unusable, in my opinion. Without the infant insert in place, the buckle was touching the bottom of the carseat and I found it difficult to get my fingers behind the buckle in order to press the button to open it. With the infant insert, it was even worse. The buckle position on the preemie doll is fine without having to shorten it.

        

As a comparison shot, I took a picture of the newborn doll, which is the size of an 8-9 lbs. newborn, with and without the insert.

  

Comparisons to other seats

The Prezi is a big infant seat. It weighs 11.7 lbs., so it tops out as one of the heaviest, and it’s also one of the longest. I compared it to a Chicco KeyFit 30 I had hanging around the house and the KeyFit was 2.5” shorter, on and off its base, than the Prezi. The Prezi, however, is very narrow. At its widest, the KeyFit is 17” while the Prezi is 16.5”. If you compare bases, though, the KeyFit is 15.75” to Prezi’s 13.5”. The Prezi is also a very deep seat, giving baby lots of leg room as well as having high sides.

    

I do have to make a clarification about a comment I make in the video. The handle must be in either *locked* position. Sorry if I give the impression that the handle may be in the down position without being locked!

Installation Comments

My installation comments are based on installing the Prezi in a 2011 Acura MDX. Installation of the Prezi varies by the position in the back seat where you choose to place it. The base is long and will hang off the edge of the vehicle seat. The instruction manual doesn’t address it, but the general rule is that 80% of the base should remain on the vehicle seat for a safe installation. The bottom of the base is very smooth, so there’s no need for a thin towel or seat protector to protect your vehicle seats from damage. The base doesn’t have built-in lockoffs, so if you have a MY 1995 or earlier vehicle, you’ll likely need to use a locking clip to secure the seatbelt. The belt path on the base is somewhat serpentine, so the seatbelt snakes through and if you are using a lap/shoulder belt, the portion of the seatbelt farthest from the buckle will be threaded through a belt guide on the side. If you lock your shoulder belt by pulling it all the way out, this helps keep the base from tipping.

Aside from the shoulder belt guide on the side of the base, there’s a belt path guide across the center of the base under which the seatbelt must be threaded. It’s an added step to the process and I found it a tad difficult to slide my shoulder belt under the guide after I had tightened the belt.

One problem I found with the design of the base and my seatbelt buckle stalks is that the stalk length was just the right length for the latchplate to hit the edge of the base belt path. When this happened, I had trouble pulling the seatbelt tight enough. So, I had to twist my buckle stalk as much as it could go, which in my case was about 1.5 twists on the driver’s side to put the latchplate in a position where it fit nicely into the belt path. You can safely twist a buckle stalk up to 3 full twists.

Adjusting the recline on the base is easy. The base is fully adjustable with a handle at the front. There are 2 recline indicators available: a ball indicator on the base and a line indicator label on the carrier for when the carrier is used without the base. When installing either way, choose the recline angle appropriate for your child’s weight, either 4-11 lbs. or 11-30 lbs.

As with most infant seats, installation without the base is easy. Installing without the base is very useful when traveling by plane or when you want to take the baby in someone else’s car but don’t want to move the base. The Prezi does not allow European-style installation with the shoulder belt going behind the carrier.

  

Because of the size of the seat, I could not install it behind the driver’s seat. It would have meant moving the driver’s seat up too far for me to be able to drive. Installing it in the center meant that I would have had more than 20% of the base hanging over the edge of the vehicle seat, so that left me with the passenger side for installing the  Prezi. I’m including some pictures with the seat installed in the center so you can see how much overlap there was with the driver’s seat and how much overhang there was. I also installed the KeyFit 30 next to it for comparison and tried as I might, I wasn’t able to get a good picture to show that they were NOT touching. There was a good ¼” of space between the handles.

        

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:  It isn’t mentioned anywhere in the manual but all Dorel infant seats and convertible seats now allow usage of the lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position with non-standard spacing (more than 11″ apart) if this is specifically allowed in your vehicle owner’s manual.

 

Flying with the Prezi

The Prezi is FAA-approved for use on airplanes. The instructions don’t mention whether or not to use the base on the airplane, but because of its length, I doubt it would fit on any seat other than a bulkhead seat with no row in front of it.

 

Instruction Manual and Stickers

The instruction manual is a standard Dorel manual broken down into sections based on use, installation, and care. The drawings are clear and I saw no typos.

 

Harness and Cover

The Prezi has a continuous harness instead of 2 individual harness straps. What this means is that the harness straps consist of one long harness strap threaded through the carrier. How does this affect you? When you tighten or loosen the harness, there’s the potential to make one side tighter than the other and that’s frustrating. As you adjust the harness, you’ll need to take care to make both sides even.

A major feature the Prezi touts is the Easy-out harness. Underneath each harness pad is a spring that pops the harness up and out of the way when the harness is opened. You can’t feel the spring and don’t even know it’s there until you remove the pad for cleaning.

  

You’ve probably also noticed the very Euro styling of the Prezi. It’s a nice looking infant seat that will turn heads for sure. We haven’t seen a minimalist canopy quite like the one on the Prezi on an American infant seat yet. The foot cover/weather boot is also sleek and will do a great job of holding blankets on top of baby. Both covers tuck very nicely into the gray rubber trim that surrounds the carrier.

The cover, canopy, and foot cover comes in pleasing colors and is a smooth polyester that should be easy to clean. Instructions say to hand wash and air dry the cover with spot cleaning only of the harness. Set aside plenty of time for cleaning because the cover is heavily padded and will take a long time to dry. Rolling in a towel is a trick I used to dry my thick carseat covers.

Removing the cover wasn’t too difficult until I got to the harness pads. Because the Easy-out springs are inside the pads, for safety reasons, the harness pads are attached (stubbornly) to the headwings. When all was said and done, my thumbs ached and my dog had learned some new words. Fortunately, getting them back on was much easier. Use of the harness pads is mandatory.

 

Prezi Advantages:

  • Fits a wide range of baby sizes well (including preemies)
  • Anti-rebound bar on base
  • Energy-absorbing G Cell™ foam lines entire upper portion of shell, Air Protect® side impact protection lines the headwings
  • Only 2 positions for handle reduces confusion
  • Well-padded cover
  • Easy-out harness
  • Deep seat, both in seat pan depth and height of side walls
  • 2 recline angles: one for infants from 4-11 lbs., one for children from 11-30 lbs.
  • Made in Indiana at Dorel’s factory. As far as I know, it’s the only high-end infant seat made in America!

 

Disadvantages: 

  • Large carrier and base that limits which vehicles it may fit into
  • Continuous harness
  • Base lacks lock-off device for seatbelt installations. This means you may need to use a locking clip to keep the lap/shoulder belt tight in an old vehicle without pre-crash locking seatbelts
  • Flimsy canopy
  • Harness pads difficult to remove for cleaning

 

Conclusion:

The Prezi is a new feature-rich infant carseat with super narrow base that will turn heads in public. The anti-rebound bar, G-Cell, and Air Protect technologies are safety features parents look for when shopping for a carseat. The Maxi-Cosi Prezi is definitely an infant seat that distinguishes itself among the others in the field!

   

 

Thank you to Dorel and 360 Public Relations for providing the carseat used in this review!