It was just another sunny day as I scanned one of hundreds of spam email messages I receive weekly. As I reached for the “d” key (I’m still retro in shell-based pine mailer) I had second thoughts. Could it be? I mean, in my 7 years as a carseat technician I had never actually been given anything more than a t-shirt…and yet suddenly I had won the carseat geek lottery? Naturally, I was skeptical of Evenflo seemingly offering me a free seat just for completing my mandatory CEU units on their website, but I forwarded along my name, address, and phone number to the friendly lady on the other end of the email address–which didn’t end in .ng (Nigeria), I might add.
The very next day, I received confirmation from Evenflo that my brand new Momentum 65 DLX would soon be en route to my Washington State address. Now as many of you know, I’m a fickle sort of carseat technician…flirting with British Columbia one day, and Washington the next. The Momentum 65, at the time not available in Canada, was the cherry on top for this Momentum-virgin Canuck. Having played with the Momentum’s cousins, the Symphony and the Triumph series, I waited in anticipation for my Momentum. So what do I think of my prize?
My first impressions were less than stellar, but admittedly I’d yet to open the box. As far as packing and shipping skills go, Evenflo gets a solid “F”. My Momentum box was open along the single piece of tape that had been applied at the top of the box when it arrived at my postal address. Well, there’s only one direction we can go from here…
After opening the box, I was quite surprised as just how much bulk there was to the top of the seat. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised that upon lifting the seat it didn’t feel all that heavy and wasn’t at all difficult to manage. Being a fairly solid Britax, Sunshine Kids, Clek and Recaro user through the years I don’t have a lot of Evenflo comparisons to go on, but the Momentum 65 DLX sports e3 Side Impact™ protection and looks a lot like a Triumph Advance…on steroids! The floating harness is probably a major contributor to this comparison. The infant padding in the seat was extremely easy to remove (the bottom pad sits in place, and the top pad has a single velcro strap that runs in behind the cover.) A strip of material that runs between the harness height strips ends with a padded lower back covering. All of this section is held in place with four pieces of velcro and can be lifted up to reach the LATCH strap or seatbelt during installation. The LATCH strap is clearly labeled “FORWARD FACING” in this region. The only negative I can see with regards to the cover and harness thus far is the lack of multiple crotch strap positions. Fortunately, the existing position provides a decent amount of space for larger children.
Taking the cover off the seat, it became obvious why the Momentum was not as heavy as I had expected–the shell from around the top of the harness upwards has minimal plastic seat structure. The top portion of the seat is primarily EPP foam, à la Triumph Advance. The minimalistic plastic shell/EPP foam combination is well supplemented by metal tubing spanning the interior of the shell.
Once in the car, I found the dual retractors on the SureLATCH strap to be an easy way to install the Momentum DLX in my ’08 Odyssey, with less than 1″ of movement after very little effort. However, in order to get that last cm or so (speaking a little Canadian for you, eh?) I had very little opposite force to work with. Normally, I push downwards on a child restraint while yanking on the tail end of the LATCH strap. In the case of the Momentum DLX, the lack of a tail on the SureLATCH connector actually meant it was more difficult to get it to install with zero movement. For your average parent, though, I think the retractors on the SureLATCH connectors will actually serve to improve installs.
Rear-facing, the Momentum DLX is a childcare worker’s dream. With the floating harness for multiple children and an easy in/out of the car with Evenflo’s SureLATCH® connectors (slightly longer with the seatbelt, I found), and solid installs in the captains chair of the Odyssey, I suspect the Momentum will be a huge hit. Add to this the 40lb rear-facing weight limit and we have one extremely versatile seat. Yet…the Canadian in me needs to point out the “epic fail” (as my 12 year old would say) with regards to a pathetic 30lb rear-facing weight limit on Canadian models of this seat. Sorry, Evenflo, but you’ll have to do better than that north of the border!
Delaying this review was some confusion over one of the well-labelled and colour-coded stickers along the side of the seat shell. Evenflo instructs users to “secure the top anchorage (tether) strap provided with [the] child restraint.” Clearly, this is ambiguous and will only serve to confuse parents and caregivers who may be accustomed to their Britax or Sunshine Kids convertibles (which can be tethered in the rear-facing position). However, Evenflo has assured us that action will be taken to resolve this ambiguity. As most of our readers know, Evenflo does not permit use of the tether strap when the seat is installed in the rear-facing position and these instructions are intended to be interpreted that the top tether should be secured to it’s storage tab along the backside of the shell when not in use.
My youngest child now being 5, I thought I had the perfect model available to test out this wide, tall-shelled seat. Abigail is of average height and weight for a 5.5 year old, with approximately 15″ of seated height. Seeing the behemoth before me, I fully expected that Abbi would have plenty of room in the Momentum. Again, epic fail. With a “THS” (we’ll need to come up with a new name here, since no top harness slot exists) of around 15″, Abigail has already outgrown the Momentum. I tugged, I pulled, and I cursed and I swore. No matter what I did, the harness was still coming out a hair below Abbi’s shoulders. This begs the question–if you’re going to give us a 65lb weight limit, why has my 43.5″, 46lb daughter outgrown your seat?
But again, I need to give credit where credit is due–the Evenflo Momentum offers childcare professionals and grandparents with multiple grandchildren an excellent option. No need to re-thread harnesses between children of different sizes clearly offers the benefit of fewer re-threading and installation errors. I just wish they had given us another inch of harness height.
In short, the Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX:
Pros: SureLATCH® connectors (not available on LX model) offer easy installation, floating harness, high 40lb rear-facing weight limit, 65lb forward-facing weight limit, large shell, well-labelled forward-facing and rear-facing LATCH strap, huge shell, easy-access velcro cover.
Cons: SureLATCH® may be difficult to get tight, short forward-facing harness height, pathetic 30lb rear-facing weight limit in Canada, confusing tethering instructions.
Final grade: Evenflo Momentum DLX, for forward facing use I give you a solid C+. You missed the B- by an inch. For rear-facing, however, you’ve obviously done your homework and deserve a solid “B”.
(Editor’s note: There are currently two different versions of the Evenflo Momentum. The DLX model reviewed above has the patented Evenflo SureLATCH connectors. There is also a Momentum65 LX model which has standard, push-on LATCH connectors instead and may have other minor variations, too. Please note that CarseatBlog does not use a grading system for our own reviews, but we do try to allow guest reviewers some freedom of expression! As such, we may agree or disagree with opinions in any of our guest blogs. Finally for disclosure, this product was not provided to CarseatBlog as a review sample, as indicated by the author; it was a random giveaway item.)