Maxi-Cosi is Europe’s most popular brand of premium carseats. Even though the Maxi-Cosi carseats sold here in the U.S. are not the same seats that are sold in Europe (due to different standards and regulations), American parents are embracing the brand and everything that it stands for – safety, comfort and style.
Let’s clarify that there are three different models of the Maxi-Cosi Pria convertible that are currently available. Four, if you count the less expensive Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 model which is similar but lacks some of the features found on the various Pria models.
- Original Pria 70 convertible with TinyFit insert: this is the only Pria model that can accommodate a newborn. We have a full review of this Pria 70 with TinyFit model here.
- Pria 70 convertible: 9-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-70 lbs. forward-facing
- Pria 85 convertible: 14-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-85 lbs. forward-facing
Differences between Pria 70 & Pria 85 models: Both models have no re-thread harness; deep head wings with Air Protect technology for enhanced side-impact protection; push-on LATCH connectors; 3 position base and integrated cup holder. Pria 70 and Pria 85 models share the same shell but have different minimum and maximum weight limits. Both seats have Air Protect cushions on the headwings but the shape of those cushions are different. Pria 85 model offers harness holders, a cover that is easier to remove and both machine washable and dryer safe.
Pictured below Pria 70 (left) & Pria 85 (right)
Pria 85 Specs:
- Rear-facing: 14-40 lbs., 40″ or less, top of child’s head must be below top of the headrest
- Forward-facing: 22-85 lbs., at least 1 year old, up to 52″ tall
Pria 85 Features:
- No-rethread harness with 9 height positions
- Air Protect® technology for enhanced side-impact protection
- 3-position base
- Premium push-on LATCH connectors
- Harness holder clips (hold harness out of the way while loading and unloading)
- Easy to remove cover is both machine washable & dryer safe
- Premium fabrics
- Separate harness strap covers for kids over 65 lbs. (only required if seat is NOT tethered)
- Integrated cup holder
- FAA approved for use in aircraft
- 10 year lifespan before expiration
- Lowest harness height: 10″
- Highest harness height: 18″
- 3 crotch strap buckle position: 4″, 5″, 6″
- Max internal height measurement (with headrest in highest position): 26″
- Widest point: 20″ (across cupholder area)
- Back of shell width: 11″ (very narrow)
- Base dimensions: 11″ wide x 13″ long
- Weight: 18.8 lbs. (according to my digital bathroom scale)
Each Pria 85 model comes with optional harness strap covers and a buckle pad. The buckle pad is designed in a way that it stays put so it won’t come off all the time and be easily lost. As a mom it was always the little things like that that I really appreciated! There is a second set of harness strap covers that are hidden in a little pocket on the side of the cover. Those harness pads are ONLY required if you have a kid over 65 lbs. and the seat is NOT tethered. If you have installed the Pria 85 using the tether strap there is no need to ever use those strap covers. The good news is that the extra strap covers are very similar to the regular strap covers so if you ever did need to use them, they shouldn’t be too obnoxious or annoying. The only difference is that the over 65 lbs. covers have grippy material inside and a strip of grippy material on the back.
Recline Positions for Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing: Pria 85 has 3 recline positions. When rear-facing use either position #2 (semi-reclined) or #3 (fully reclined) to obtain the correct recline angle in your vehicle.
Rear-Facing Recline Angle Indicator: It’s just a line molded into the side of the shell with a sticker label underneath (pictured right).
When forward-facing if the child weighs less than 40 lbs. you must use the semi-reclined #2 position. If the child weighs over 40 lbs. you must use the fully upright #1 position. Using recline position #2 for forward-facing means there will be a gap behind the seat. While it does make the child more reclined (which is generally better for sleeping) it also requires more space for the child’s legroom.
Guide for LATCH belt (or seatbelt) in the rear-facing beltpath – you must thread the belt through the guides on both sides when installing the Pria in the rear-facing position.
Installation with LATCH
LATCH weight limits – you can install Pria 85 using the lower LATCH anchors rear-facing up to the maximum weight limit of 40 lbs. Forward-facing, if the child weighs more than 40 lbs., use seatbelt plus tether to install the seat instead of using the lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle.
Center installs with non-standard LATCH spacing – Maxi-Cosi allows the Pria 85 to be installed in the center seating position with LATCH (up to 40 lbs.), if the vehicle manufacturer specifically allows it.
Using the Tether – do not use the tether strap for rear-facing but always use the tether strap when forward-facing if a tether anchor is available for the seating position being used in the vehicle. If you have lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle then you have tether anchors too although they aren’t always obvious. In a sedan they are easy to find but if you have a hatchback, wagon, crossover or SUV they could be anywhere. Check your vehicle owners manual for the location of the tether anchors. They could be behind the vehicle seat, under the seat, in the cargo area or even in the ceiling. Maxi-Cosi recommends using the top tether for all forward-facing installations regardless of the child’s weight or the installation method (LATCH or seatbelt).
Switching the LATCH connector strap from rear-facing to forward-facing beltpath (and vice versa) – when you take the seat out of the box the LATCH strap is threaded through the forward-facing beltpath which doesn’t make much sense because most likely the consumer will need to install the seat rear-facing at first. You will have to take the LATCH strap out of the forward-facing beltpath and move it to the rear-facing beltpath. Don’t forget to put the LATCH belt through the little guides on both sides of the rear-facing beltpath. The directions in the manual are very clear and it’s not a difficult process but be careful. There is plenty of room for error when moving the LATCH belt from one beltpath to the other. Please read and follow the directions in the instruction manual carefully!
Installation with Seatbelt
Seatbelt installation is generally quick and easy too but this seat does NOT have a built-in lockoff device so it’s very important to understand how your seatbelt locks if you’re going to install with seatbelt and not with LATCH connectors. All vehicles made after 1996 have seatbelts that can lock in some way to hold a carseat tightly in place during routine driving. Most vehicles have switchable retractors but some vehicles or specific seating positions have locking latchplates instead. It’s important to know what your vehicle has and to understand how these features work before you install this carseat with a seatbelt. See your vehicle’s owners manual for specific information on how to install a carseat in your vehicle using the seatbelt. If you have questions, please visit our car-seat.org forum and we’ll be happy to help answer them.
Using the Tether – do not use the tether strap for rear-facing but always use the tether strap when forward-facing if a tether anchor is available for the seating position being used in the vehicle. Maxi-Cosi recommends using the top tether for all forward-facing installations regardless of the child’s weight or the installation method (LATCH or seatbelt). If you have an old vehicle that doesn’t have tether anchors, find out if they can be retrofitted. If not, you can use the Pria 85 forward-facing without tethering but just remember that you must use the other set of harness strap covers if your child is over 65 lbs.
Fit to Child Comments:
This seat is not designed to accommodate newborns or smaller babies. It’s for older babies who weigh at least 14 lbs. and who are tall enough to have their shoulders even with or above the 10″ bottom harness slots. For older kids under 40 lbs. and less than 40″ tall, this seat offers generous rear-facing limits. Even with the 40″ rear-facing stated height limit it’s tall enough to get most kids to 3-4 years old in the rear-facing position. Many kids could fit rear-facing in this seat past 40″ if Maxi-Cosi did away with the stated height limit for rear-facing and just allowed you to use the seat until the child’s head was even with the top of the shell. For now that isn’t an option but we hope they will consider that for future versions of this seat.
On the plus side, it offers good leg room, low sides for ease of loading and unloading and it doesn’t take up a lot of room front-to-back in the rear-facing position – especially if you can use the more upright recline position #2.
Pictured is a 40″ tall, 4-year-old who weighs 34 lbs. She is at the stated height limit but could still have plenty more growing room if there wasn’t a 40″ standing height limit for rear-facing.
On the top end of the range kids will outgrow the 5-point harness by height before reaching the 85 lbs. weight limit. However, the 18″ top harness height is very generous and should be sufficient to get most kids to the age and size where they can safely transition to a booster seat.
Comfort, Convenience & Style:
Maxi-Cosi is well known for style and comfort. All the Pria convertible models are aesthetically pleasing and well padded. The harness holders are convenient as they can hold the harness out of the way while you are loading and unloading your child. If you’ve ever had to fish buckle tongues out from under your child every time you put him or her in the seat – you know that gets old quickly.
The Pria 85 cover is fairly easy to remove and replace thanks to snaps. You don’t have to take the straps off the splitter plate or remove the buckle to get the cover off. Cover removal would be easier if it wasn’t for the harness holders. The addition of those clips on the sides of the shell made it harder to get the cover off.
One of the nicest features of the Pria 85 is that the cover is both machine washable and dryer safe! This is the first carseat that actually allows you to toss the cover in the dyer! Machine wash the cover and headrest pad on gentle cycle using cold water. Harness covers must be washed and dried separately to avoid damage from the velcro.
- FAA certified for use on airplanes
- 10 year lifespan before expiration
- Must be replaced after any crash
- Installation with inflatable seat belts is NOT allowed
Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Advantages:
- Generous height and weight limits
- No-rethread harness with 9 height positions
- Deep headwings with Air Protect® technology are great for sleeping and SIP
- Relatively easy to install properly in most vehicles
- Doesn’t take up a lot of room front-to-back when installed rear-facing
- Low sides make it convenient to load and unload rear-facing child
- Comfortable – cover is well padded
- Can use LATCH up to max RF weight limit of 40 lbs.
- Harness holders
- Cover is machine washable and dryer safe
- FAA approved for use in aircraft
- Made in the USA!
In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Pria 85 issues.
- No lockoff device to help with seatbelt installation
- Only the Pria model with TinyFit is suitable for use with newborns and smaller babies
- 40″ standing height limit for rear-facing is limiting
- No EPP or EPS foam
- Single level line for rear-facing recline angle
- Lots of rules regarding the proper use of different recline positions on base
If you’re planning to use an infant seat first and then transition to a convertible when the baby is bigger, Pria 85 is a great option to consider. With very tall 18″ top harness slots and generous rear-facing and forward-facing weight limits, this convertible is well-suited for extended rear-facing and for forward-facing older kids too.
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 offers some nice upgrades not available on the other Pria models. The best improvement, in my opinion, is the new shape of the Air Protect® cushions which allow more room between the headwings while still providing superior side-impact protection. The Pria models don’t take up a lot of room when installed rear-facing (especially if you can use the semi-upright #2 base position), which makes them a good option for vehicles with small back seats, or for tall parents who need a lot of legroom up front. The Pria 70 and Pria 85 models are on our list of Recommended Carseats. They are also on our list of the Best Convertible Seats for Extended Rear-Facing and they did very well in our Rear-Facing Convertible Space Comparison.
For more information on Maxi-Cosi Pria convertibles visit their website: http://www.maxi-cosi.com/us-en/products/car-seats/convertible.aspx
Thank you to Maxi-Cosi for providing the Pria 85 for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.