2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid/PHEV Video Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

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The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles are safe choices for small families on a budget.  Starting with street prices below $23,000 after incentives, the Hybrid SEL trim offers good IIHS crash test ratings and many active crash avoidance features, like automatic emergency braking.  Ioniq is also a competent driver, but doesn’t stand out in terms of handling, braking, acceleration or ride within the class.  Hybrid or Plug-in variant, fuel economy is also a big plus.  Both models provide good value all around, with the major disadvantage being that base trim levels don’t offer automatic emergency braking like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.

Like the Prius, Insight and any compact car or SUV, there are compromises when it comes to installing carseats.  The middle seat is not very carseat friendly, with a narrow width and longish buckle stalks that can make it challenging to use a carseat or booster there. Pre-teens and small teens would be the most likely candidates for the center seat, as there is also a small floor hump that may reduce the limited legroom even further.  Fortunately, the outboard seats should work fine with most carseats and boosters.  The head restraints are all adjustable/removable and there is minimal crossover of seatbelts and LATCH anchors.

With the narrow width and center seat issues, installing adjacent or three-across carseats will be very difficult.  Like the Toyota Prius, legroom is limited and a rear-facing carseat is likely to require the front seat to be moved forward somewhat.  With the center seat hump and lower head restraint, taller occupants may not get adequate head support in the middle seat.

 

Likes:

  • Good IIHS crash test results, Top Safety Pick Award on Limited/Ultimate trim
  • SEL trim great value with standard crash avoidance features
  • Reasonably priced plug-in model gets ~25 miles all electric
  • Once charge is down, you still get over 50 mpg in PHEV hybrid mode
  • PHEV model has good cargo space compared to Prius Prime
  • Hybrid version gets 55+ mpg combined EPA rating
  • Dash is well designed with nicely integrated display
  • Infotainment and displays are intuitive to use with nice knobs
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on all trims
  • Floor mounted shifter instead of buttons or joystick on dash
  • Excellent warranty, 5/60 everything, 10/100 powertrain, lifetime hybrid battery failure
  • Driver 10-way power seat with lumbar adjustment and memory on Limited trim
  • Ventilated seat option on Limited+Ultimate trim is unusual in compact economy car segment

 

Dislikes:

  • No NHTSA crash test ratings (as of 6/2019)
  • Center rear seat is narrow and may not work with some carseats
  • Base PHEV and Hybrid Blue trims do not have standard active crash avoidance features
  • Base/SEL cloth seat material feels cheap with a very dated pattern
  • Marginal/Poor headlights on all trims except Limited with Ultimate Package
  • Ride comfort and noise levels are not as good as the competition
  • 6-speed transmission is efficient, but dual-clutch system sometimes suffers from delays in shifting

 

Conclusion:

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and PHEV are targeted squarely at the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime, but usually sell for much less.  We recommend the Hybrid SEL trim that is a great value for safety at under $25,000 MSRP with street prices that are usually a thousand or two lower than the Prius LE, depending on incentives.  Unfortunately, on the Plug-in model, you are forced to upgrade to the PHEV Limited trim to get automatic emergency braking, making it somewhat less of a value in terms of safety.  While it doesn’t stand out as special in any area, it’s a very competent compact car overall with great fuel economy and an excellent warranty package.

 

Thank you to Hyundai USA and DriveShop for the loan of the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Limited used in this review.  No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.

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New Virginia Law Requires Rear-Facing Until 2…Sort Of

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More and more states are adopting laws requiring children to remain in rear-facing carseats until at least 2 years old. The most recent is Virginia, which has a new law going into effect July 1, 2019.

Although Virginia’s law will require kids to rear-face until 2, a clause in the law makes it a bit less potent than many others: Kids can forward-face as soon as they meet the height and weight minimums prescribed by the seat. Since most seats have 20- or 22-pound minimums to forward-face, this law doesn’t change much in a practical sense.

It’s important to note, though, that some seats do have a 2-year minimum to ride forward-facing, and since Virginia requires kids to be properly secured, people with those seats couldn’t forward-face before then…although that would have been true under the existing law as well.

The law also provides exemptions for medical reasons, but people must carry documentation from a physician explaining why the child can’t use a carseat as required by law.

Fines for violating the law remain the same: $50 for the first offense and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Rear-facing beyond a year doesn’t need to be expensive. Most people will need a convertible car seat anyway, and there are many inexpensive models that can keep kids rear-facing for a long time. Virginia also has a robust Low-Income Safety Seat Program to provide seats to those who qualify.

Although Virginia’s law lacks the teeth of some other rear-facing-until-2 laws, hopefully it will help people understand the importance of rear-facing and will encourage them to do so.

You can read the full text of Virginia’s child restraint law here and a listing of all state laws at the IIHS website.

LATCH Is Getting Easier to Use: 2019 IIHS Vehicle LATCH Ratings

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We all know that many carseats are difficult to use, even for those who take on the daunting task of reading the manual first. Manufacturers do make advances over the years with new and improved designs that make carseats easier to install and use. One such innovation is LATCH, Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren, which has now been around for almost 20 years.

Original designs on both carseats and vehicles made LATCH difficult to install, and often even more difficult to uninstall. In particular, automobile manufacturers often did little to improve the location and visibility of their lower anchors and top tethers. Deeply hidden and angled lower anchors were common, and top tether anchors were sometimes too close, too far or extended to odd placements in the roof of an SUV or wagon.

  

In 2015, the IIHS added a rating system for LATCH to their automobile safety evaluations.  This simple addition has provided motivation for automakers to improve their designs.  According to the 2019 LATCH Ratings from IIHS:

Nearly three-quarters of 2019 vehicles have LATCH hardware that rates good or acceptable for ease of use, as automakers continue making improvements that help parents and caregivers properly install child restraints.

The results mark a shift from 2015, when IIHS launched its LATCH ease-of-use ratings. At that time, a majority of new vehicles rated poor or marginal.

Today, 21 vehicles earn the top rating of good+, 33 are rated good, and 88 rate acceptable. Forty-nine vehicles are marginal, and only four earn a poor rating. Among automakers, Toyota and Subaru are standouts for LATCH ease of use, while U.S. automakers lag behind. Installation in pickups remains tricky, compared with other types of vehicles.

We applaud the IIHS and automobile companies for improving the state of LATCH to make carseats easier to install!

Photo Credit: IIHS

For the technically inclined, in the IIHS rating system, LATCH hardware is rated “Good” if it meets the following criteria:

  • The lower anchors are no more than ¾ inch deep within the seat bight — the place where the seatback meets the bottom seat cushion — or slightly deeper if there is open access around them.
  • The lower anchors are easy to maneuver around. This is defined as having a clearance angle greater than 54 degrees.
  • The force required to attach a standardized tool representing a child seat connector to the lower anchors is less than 40 pounds.
  • Tether anchors are on the vehicle’s rear deck or in the middle of the seatback. They shouldn’t be at the very bottom of the seatback, under the seat, on the ceiling or on the floor.
  • The area where the tether anchor is found doesn’t have any other hardware that could be confused for the tether anchor. If other hardware is present, then the tether anchor must have a clear label located within 3 inches of it.

To earn a Good rating, two LATCH positions in the second row must meet all five criteria, and a third tether anchor must meet both tether criteria.

The Good+ rating is for vehicles that meet the criteria for a good rating and provide additional LATCH-equipped seating positions! For a two-row vehicle, that means having a 3rd Good or Acceptable LATCH seating position. The third position may use either dedicated anchors or anchors borrowed from other positions. In many vehicles that have lower anchors in the second-row outboard seating positions, LATCH can be used in the center position by “borrowing” one anchor from each side. Some vehicles have one dedicated anchor for the center seat and rely on a borrowed anchor for the other side.

Good+ Rating for 2018-19 Subaru Legacy

For a three-row vehicle to earn a Good+ rating, it must have one additional good or acceptable LATCH position (without borrowing) and tether anchors in ALL rear seating positions! The additional tether anchors must meet at least one of the two tether anchor criteria. If the vehicle has a second-row center seating position, it must have good or acceptable LATCH there (with or without borrowing).

Unfortunately, pickup trucks continue to be problematic. Currently, there are no pickups that earn a good rating. Only a few pickups earn an acceptable rating, and most are rated marginal. The problem is the tether anchors. In most pickups, the carseat’s tether strap must be routed through a loop behind the head restraint and then attached to another loop or anchor, typically in an adjacent seating position. It’s VERY confusing!

Tethering single carseat in Ram 1500 Crew Cab

“When we’ve done studies observing people installing child restraints, we’ve seen that the tether anchors in pickups are a real point of confusion,” Jermakian says. “We’re continuing to work with manufacturers to come up with solutions to this issue.”

Here at CarseatBlog, we would welcome any improvement to the current tether strap routing systems in most pickup trucks. There HAS to be a better way to overcome the challenge of creating more distance between the top of the carseat and the tether anchor attachment point in the vehicle. In the meantime, we do applaud Toyota for adding a diagram to the loop of webbing, so at least it draws attention to itself and provides a clue that it’s supposed to be used for something!

Tether loop in 2017 Toyota Tundra

 

2019 Chicco MyFit & MyFit LE Combination Carseat Review

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Chicco MyFit, MyFit LE, MyFit Zip Air Harness + Booster Review

Chicco carseats are consistently awesome and so it should come as a surprise to no one that the MyFit & MyFit LE combination seats are worthy contenders in their class. Best of all, the MyFit is tall and narrow, which means it can accommodate bigger kids and also can fit in tight spaces. However, every seat has tradeoffs and what’s perfect for one parent might be less-than-ideal for the next. We’ll cover it all in this review.

Let’s start with the differences between the MyFit, MyFit LE, and MyFit Zip Air models:

The “regular” Chicco MyFit lacks the SuperCinch force-multiplying system on the LATCH strap but still offers premium push-on lower LATCH connectors. There are 5 fashions currently available. MSRP is $199.

MyFit Fashions: Notte, Fathom, Gardenia, Canyon, Indigo

      

MyFit LE offers all the features of the regular MyFit plus the additional features listed below. MSRP is $249.99.

  • SuperCinch force-multiplying system on the LATCH strap (same as NextFit convertible)
  • Comfort waist belts (these are harness pads that attach to the hip straps to make loading the child easier by keeping the buckle tongues from sliding all the way down the strap)
  • Kid console (storage pod that inserts into cup holder)
  • Premium comfort package with air mesh panels in cover, leatherette armrests, and premium fabrics

MyFit LE fashions: Anthem, Starlet, Venture

   

MyFit Zip Air offers all the features of the MyFit LE, plus the additional features listed below.MSRP is $299.99:

  • Extra zip-off cushions
  • A breathable AirMesh backrest.

MyFit Zip Air fashions: Atmos and Q Collection

 

Chicco MyFit Weight and Height Limits:

  • With 5-point Harness: forward-facing only 25-65 lbs., 54″ tall or less, child at least 2 years old
  • Belt-Positioning Booster: 40-100 lbs., 38-57″ tall, child at least 4 years old

MyFit Features:

  • Easy adjust no-rethread harness with 9-position headrest
  • 4 recline positions for customizable child positioning (in both harness & booster mode)
  • Bubble level indicators for both harness mode and booster mode
  • Lockoffs for secure installation with seatbelt
  • Premium push-on LATCH connectors (LATCH weight limit 40 lbs.)
  • SuperCinch force-multiplying system on LATCH strap (LE/Zip Air models only)
  • Integrated LATCH storage compartment
  • Deep head and torso wings plus EPS foam for enhanced side-impact protection
  • Steel-reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing base
  • Dual density foam seat cushion with ergonomically contoured seat
  • Deep seat pan to comfortably support older children with longer legs
  • Chest clip comfort pads surround chest clip on harness (usage mandatory)
  • Optional harness strap covers and buckle cover
  • Dual dishwasher-safe foldable cup holders (aka “cup-folders”)
  • Can use LATCH in booster mode
  • Integrated harness storage compartment (for booster mode)
  • FAA approved for use on airplanes (harness mode only)
  • IIHS Best Bet Booster rating
  • 8-year lifespan before expiration
  • Made in China

 Measurements:

  • Maximum harness height: 19.5″
  • Maximum booster seated height: 20.25″ (measured to bottom of shoulder belt guide)
  • Width at widest points: 17.5″ (armrests & torso wings)
  • Shoulder width: 13.5″
  • Hip width: 10.5″
  • Crotch strap depth: 5.5″, 7″
  • Seat depth: 15″
  • Weight: 24.5 lbs.

Each MyFit model comes with harness strap covers and a buckle cover (both are optional), and chest clip comfort pads which are required. The LE models have additional “comfort flex” pads which attach to the hip straps. The buckle pad is tethered to the buckle in a way that it stays put so it won’t come off all the time and be easily lost. As a mom, it’s always the little things like that that I really appreciate! 

For a video overview of the MyFit’s features, watch this. For a detailed explanation of the features plus information on how it works in vehicles and with kids, keep reading.

Fit-to-Vehicle:

Unlike many other forward-facing seats, the MyFit has to be installed within an acceptable recline range, as indicated by a bubble level on the side of the seat. This should be easy to do, though. The MyFit has four recline positions that are all (potentially) usable in harnessed or booster mode. Keep in mind the allowed range is greater in harnessed mode than in booster mode.

I installed the MyFit in a 2010 Honda Odyssey, a 2014 Honda Civic, a 2019 Honda Odyssey, a 2019 Toyota Prius, a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq, and a 2019 Ford F150 (SuperCrew). I used various recline positions in both modes and had no problem achieving angles within the allowed ranges. In fact, I don’t recall having any of my choices fall outside of the allowed range.

The MyFit doesn’t allow gaps between the vehicle seat and the child restraint, so if you find the vehicle headrest pushes the seat forward and creates a gap, raise or remove the headrest if possible. If you can’t, try a different seating position that might have other headrest options.

When it comes to getting a tight installation, some people find it to be a breeze, and others find it more challenging. I suspect that the individual seating position makes a big difference.

In the F150 and Hyundai Ioniq, I was able to easily achieve a nice, tight installation with the seatbelt without issue. However, in both of the Odysseys, the Civic, and the Prius I was able to get an acceptable installation, but they all took more work than I would have expected.

Installation with LATCH: It’s important to note that I was installing the regular MyFit model, which has push-on lower anchor connectors but a regular, single-pull strap for tightening. I found it took a lot of effort and weight in the seat to get the MyFit installed with less than an inch of movement. Heather and Kecia tried the LE model, which has the SuperCinch system for installing with LATCH, and they reported having a much easier time.

Installation with Seatbelt: Installing with the seatbelt was similar to installing with LATCH in that in some vehicles, I had to work at it more than I do with many other seats, and the best I could get was just under an inch of movement. (Any installation with less than an inch of movement is considered safe and secure, so that’s not a problem. I’m just used to being able to get seats tighter than that.) The built-in lockoff is a nice feature if someone doesn’t have locking belts, but it’s not quite as easy to use as the lockoff on the KeyFit, for example, and it was hard to get the seatbelt in without it bunching up.

Pro Installation Tip: A Chicco rep recommended this tip to help get a tighter installation: Put the MyFit in the most reclined position, then install with the seatbelt or lower anchors and get the seat as tight as possible. Then move the recline into a more upright position, which will likely increase the tightness of the installation. (Obviously don’t force the seat to move if you meet resistance, and make sure the bubble indicator is in the acceptable range when you’re done.) I found that this tip did help, but I’d prefer not needing to rely on tricks to achieve a good installation.

LATCH Weight Limit: Please note that the child’s weight limit for using lower anchors is 40 lbs., so once a child is heavier than that, you’ll need to use the vehicle’s seatbelt to install the seat.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:
Chicco does not allow borrowing LATCH anchors from the outboard positions for use in the center with the InRight LATCH connectors.

Inflatable Seat Belts:
Chicco has determined that the MyFit cannot be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford Motor Company vehicles.

Fit-to-Child:

My two youngest kids tried out the MyFit. My 7-year-old is 50″, 50 lbs, and wears size 6/7 shirts. My 10-year-old is 53″, 56 lbs, and wears a size 8/10.

With 5-point Harness: My 7-year-old fit great in the harness and still had a couple inches left before he’d outgrow it. Even my 10-year-old still fit with some room to grow.

S is 5.5 years old, 39 lbs, and 44″ tall:

5.5 yrs old, 39 lbs., 44"

Booster: Both my kids fit well in booster mode, with the lap belt sitting on their hips and the shoulder belt crossing the middle of their shoulders. Seatbelt fit with a booster can be very dependent on what vehicle it’s installed in (and even which seating position is used in each vehicle), so be sure to check each time you install it in a new place. Below is my daughter in a 2019 Odyssey and my son in a 2014 Civic.

I did notice that in the Civic and the Odyssey, when the belt guide was in a lower position, the seatbelt didn’t retract well. In the lower positions, the belt gets stuck between the seat and the guide, whereas in the higher positions, it’s able to slide more freely. Most kids short enough to use the belt guide in the lower positions would still be able to comfortably use the harness (with tons of room to grow), but it’s something to be aware of.

Comfort & Convenience:

My kids both loved the MyFit in terms of comfort. It’s a sturdy seat with good padding and support. My son loved “folding” and unfolding the cupholders, and I liked how easy the cupholders are to remove. (Have you ever found anything gross in a cupholder? It’s so nice to be able to pop them out for easy cleaning.)

I appreciate when manufacturers have useful, clearly marked storage for components of their seats. Chicco has done this on the MyFit, providing convenient storage for the lower anchors and the top tether. Another nice touch is the padding around the crotch buckle. It has a little tab to help hold it in place against the buckle, meaning that it won’t go flying off and get lost. The pad also helps keep the buckle out of the way when kids are getting into the seat.

The “pull-tab” headrest adjustment isn’t quite as easy as some other seats with squeeze-handles, and sometimes it was hard to adjust the headrest while the seat was installed. Still, a harness you can adjust without needing to flip the seat over, unhook webbing, etc. is always a plus.

I love that the seat has built-in storage for the harness when the seat is used in booster mode. Unfortunately, you need to remove part of the cover in order to store the harness, which makes the process a little more complicated.

As for cover-removal, I would rank the MyFit a “moderate” in terms of how easy it is. The cover has several different portions, which can be nice if you just need to clean part of the seat. Some of the pieces are easier to remove than others. There are only a few elastic loops and no weird snaps or difficult tabs–most of the cover just slides into place. However, there were a few tricky parts, so I always recommend taking photos as you remove the cover to help you figure out how to put it back on. Surprisingly, I found the most difficult portions of the cover were the pads on the armrests. They’re held on by loops that aren’t elastic, so you really need to work to wriggle them off. If you suspect you’ll need to remove the cover often, you might want to consider the Zip Air version of the seat.

The cover can be hand-washed or machine-washed on gentle using mild soap. Hang to dry.

FAA Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines:

The MyFit is approved for use on airplanes when using it in harness mode. No belt-positioning booster seats can be used on airplanes, and the MyFit is no different.

The MyFit has an 8-year lifespan. The sticker with the model, manufacture date, and the “do not use after” date can be found in the tether storage compartment.

The MyFit must be replaced after a crash.

Chicco MyFit Advantages:

The MyFit has one of the tallest harness heights available, so it should get most kids to a reasonable booster age. At 17.5″ across, it’s also among the narrowest combination seats, which is a huge benefit if you need to squeeze seats into tight spaces. The SuperCinch feature on the MyFit LE models can help a lot with getting a good installation, although keep in mind that with a 40-lb. LATCH limit, that feature might not be usable to some (or at least not for long). The foldable and easily removable cupholders are handy, and it’s always nice to be able to store a harness, rather than remove it, for booster use.

Disadvantages:

Installation in some vehicles can take a bit of work, especially if you’re not using the SuperCinch LATCH. Storing the harness takes a few steps, but overall isn’t bad.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of good combination seats on the market these days, and the MyFit is a formidable contender. Getting a good installation might take some trial and error in some seating positions, but it’s usually possible. The MyFit has a tall harness that will serve bigger kids well, and the narrow dimensions make it a good choice for fitting into tight spaces.

The MyFit is available from retailers including Amazon for around $199. The MyFit LE retails for around $249, and the MyFit LE Zip for around $299.

Chicco provided samples for our review, but CarseatBlog received no compensation and all opinions are our own.