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.
2020 UPDATE: Let’s clarify that there are now a few different models of the Maxi-Cosi Pria that are currently available. This review is for the Pria 85 2-in-1.
- Pria 85 2-in-1: 14-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-85 lbs. forward-facing
- Pria 85 Max 2-in-1: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-85 lbs. forward-facing
- Pria 3-in-1: 5-40 lbs, rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; 40-100 lbs. booster mode
- Pria Max 3-in-1: 5-40 lbs, rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; 40-100 lbs. booster mode
Differences between Pria Models:
The Pria 85 & Pria 85 Max convertibles (aka 2-in-1 seats) are completely different from the newer 3-in-1 models. The newer 3-in-1 Pria models have lower maximum weight & height limits (65 lbs. & 49″ tall). The differences between the Pria 85 convertible and the Pria 85 Max convertible are the addition of a magnetic chest clip and an infant insert on the Max models. The only difference between the newer Pria 3-in-1 and the Pria 3-in-1 Max is the magnetic chest clip and different fashions.
Pria 85 Convertible 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.
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-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines/Inflatable Belts:
- 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 85 Max model 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
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 is the only seat currently available in the U.S. with a weight limit over 65 lbs. As long as you don’t need to use the seat for a newborn or smaller infant the 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 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 85 models 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.
Updated, January 2021
I’m looking for a seat that offers recline comfort in forward facing position for a 3 year old. So many convertable upright models are terribly uncomfortable as the childs head flops forward when sleeping (chin to chest) The Pria 85 looks great.
Hi Lisa, the forward-facing recline positions on Pria are dictated by the child’s weight. Kids under 40 lbs. are required to use the semi-reclined position so they are always reclined, which some kids don’t care for. Kids over 40 lbs. are required to use the fully upright position. If your child isn’t close to, or over 40 lbs., the Pria could be a good choice for you. Just keep in mind that you can’t use the more upright position until your child hits 40 lbs. HTH!
DOES THE PRIA 85 CONVERT TO JUST THE BOOSTER SEAT?
Hi Melissa – no, it does not. Pria is a convertible seat that can be used rear-facing or forward-facing with the 5-pt harness. It cannot be used without the harness as a belt-positioning booster.
Hey there! I’m trying to decide between the nuna rags & the maxi cosi pria 85 max – which would you recommend? Is the rava worth the extra $100? Thanks!
Rebecca, the Rava is much easier to install, IMO, and has multiple reclines, and the harness is easier to adjust. Both seats have luxurious covers.
Could you recommend the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 or the Britax Boulevard Clicktight. I have narrowed it down after weeks of researching but my concerns are extended rearfacing.
The Britax Boulevard seat depth is 10-11 inches while the Maxi is 13 inches according to a rep.
Which seems to be my only major concern with the Boulevard is extended rear facing leg room.
I would like to rear face up to 4 years and then forward face. Is the forward facing strap issue with this a major issue like I have read? I do not want to have to adjust the back straps every time I need to tighten the harness. If I can get extra rear facing in the Maxi I would likely get a booster seat if so once I reach my goal, but would Britax Boulevard clicktight be better for that?
Please help me choose!
Also I have suicide doors on an fj cruiser so hovering in and out over the side is necessary.
I came across your question and thought I’d give my two cents. I have had the nextfit, Britax, the Diono and Pria 85. My husband was in an accident and we had to replace our nextfit. It was a great seat but my LO hated it so I opted out of getting another one. I loved the easy installation of the Britax but honestly felt it to be really bulky and it took up so much room in my backseat. I returned it and bought the Diono. I hated the installation of the seat and the fact that I needed to purchase an angle adjuster separately annoyed me. If 99% of customers need it then it should be included. There were no sides to it either which made toys and books given to keep her entertained ended up in the floor or back seat and led to a screaming toddler. I could tell that I t made her kind of nervous too!. I returned it after 3 days and bought the Pria 85 and I love it. The sides aren’t too high so getting my daughter in her seat is easy(when she complies). I can’t rave enough about this seat. If you’ve gone over carsear reviews/spec for hours like I have and watched YouTube videos up the wazoo and feel like yr head is spinning, do yourself a favor and get the Pria 85. You won’t regret it and you’ll sleep easy knowing your LO is in one of the safest seats available.
Actually, the Priya 85 didn’t even make Consumer Reports safest convertible seats list this year.
I’m having the hardest time trying to decide between the pria 85 and Britax boulevard clicktight. Ive spent hours, days and weeks reading reviews and have seen the clicktight personally but the pria 85 is not at any stores in my town.
In your opinion, is the boulevard safer with the steel frame and SIP compared to the Pria? If you had to pick one, which would you be happier with?
Hi Lindsay, Pria has more rules about which position the seat needs to be in rear-facing and even forward-facing. The Britax clicktight convertibles have less rules and more recline options which makes them more versitile, overall. Plus, it’s hard to beat the clicktight installation system. The Pria wouldn’t be a bad choice but since you aren’t able to try it out before hand you run the risk of being unhappy for whatever reason. Both seats are very safe when installed and used correctly but the Britax clicktight convertibles are easier to install tightly and correctly. Good luck with your decision!
What are the benefits in your view of the EPP or EPS foam? I’m interested in this car seat as a result of the new Ecology Center results re: flame retardants in car seats. Pria had less which is a good thing- I wonder I what you reference is the reason. Puzzled and interested in your thoughts! Thank you for all of your generous knowledge and detail.
Hi Tammy, most carseats today have some EPP or EPS foam lining the shell of the seat. These are the same energy-absorbing materials that you find inside a bike helmet or other protective head gear. Carseats aren’t required to have EPS or EPP foam and apparently EPP is less toxic than EPS (according to the Ecology center – EPP doesn’t require addtional flame retardants) but almost all carseats (especially the ones that cost more than $100) use one or both of these materials to help absorb energy in a crash. There is no EPP or EPS foam in any of the Pria convertible models. Picture here: https://carseatblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Maxi-Cosi-Pria-70-and-Pria-80-naked.jpg
Generally, I would consider that a negative but I know the Pria models preform well in crash testing and they do have the Air Protect air cushions on the sides of the headwings. Given that some energy-absorbing foams can require flame retardants in order to meet federal standards for flammability – and none of the Pria models use these foams – I guess you can see it as a positive. One less thing to worry about. Hope that helps!
So I have the Pria 85 for my son and want to take it overseas. The problem is that it’s too wide for regular airplane seats (17in), so they make you check it. How would you safely do that, since I do not have the box anymore?
Cant decide between this and the Diono Rainier. Which one has lower profile sides for ease of getting the child in? I have a Maxi Cosi for my infant car seat and the straps always got twisted. Will that happen with the Maxi Cosi 85? Lastly, is the EPP/EPS foam a bad thing? Does the Diono have that? Thanks!!
Hi Julia, each seat has pros and cons. The Diono is probably easier to get the kid in but the Pria isn’t bad in this regard. It’s more difficult to install the Diono convertibles properly and most people wind up needing the Diono angle adjuster otherwise the seat takes up a ton of room when installed rear-facing. The straps on the Diono won’t get all twisty but the harness adjuster is the kind that you have to tug-tug-tug each time to properly tighten. The lack of EPS foam on the Pria isn’t a safety concern since the shell itself does a great job of absorbing energy in a crash but consumers have come to expect EPS or EPP foam (which looks like styrofoam) under the cover. If you haven’t already, I suggest you check out the full list of advantages and disadvantages on our review of the Diono Rainier convertible: https://carseatblog.com/29939/diono-rainier-review-diono-adds-depth-to-its-convertible-lineup/
Do you have a BuyBuyBaby or a specialty baby store nearby that carries both? The best advice I can give you is to try before you buy and if that’s not possible then buy from someplace that has easy, free returns in case you’re not happy with your purchase. Good luck!
Having a hard time choosing between the Pria 85 and the Britax Adv. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!
hi, I’m thinking on buying this carseat for international travel. we have 8 hours plane ride and 8 hours car ride back to back. A family member will pick us up from the airport so transportation is not an issue. Is there any other car seat you would recommend? She is 15 months.
Does it roll for easy airport travel?
any ideas which convertible seat would be best for a tall kid. I really like this Pria, but the height limit is making me second guess. Im also looking for something comfortable, yet smaller/narrow and easily washable. Is there another seat that you think might work for us?
Hi Jolena – the Pria is a good choice for taller kids. Is the 40″ RF height limit worrying you? Because it shouldn’t. 40 inches is a 4-yr-old who is in the 75th percentile for height. And this seat has really tall top harness slots so it will fit kids in the FF position for a long time. Honestly, if the Pria checks all your boxes then go for it. Just order from someplace with a good return policy and keep the box and the receipt until you’re sure it’s going to work well in your situation. Good luck!
I’ve been searching high and low for a car seat that will fit in my Honda Fit. This one seems to be the ONLY one that fits, but I still had to move the front seats up to a less than ideal position and the car seat is only an inch away from touching the front seats. I found it very difficult to tell if the seat is level, and I can’t seem to get it exactly level. Most other car seats have a rolling ball level indicator, and often there is a small range of correct positioning, but with the line indicator of the Pria the correct position ends up being very specific. If I could set the car seat on recline level 2 it would fit better in my car, but then the level line indicator is off a few degrees. Do you think there is wiggle room there? I don’t know how anyone could possibly get that line to be exactly level. I don’t know what to do! My LO is a pound away from outgrowing his infant seat!
Hi Allison – yes, I do believe there is wiggle room because, as you have discovered, it’s not always possible to get the level line exactly level in each vehicle. If your child is old enough to sit up without support then I personally wouldn’t worry about having the seat positioned more upright in the RF position. Toddlers and older kids are usually more comfortable that way anyway. HTH!
I don’t know which I love more, the 9 height positions or the 10 year expiration
Great, now I can’t decide between this and the Nextfit. First world problems, I know.
Lol! Just consider yourself lucky to have so many good choices!
Any idea which one would sit down lower rear-facing? My concern is getting a tall kid in between the carseat and the door frame without smacking her head. We’re only in the market for a new seat because we have a ProRide that I won’t use rear-facing, and this is one of the reasons.
I can’t say for sure without having both side-by-side but I think Pria is lower. Next time I’m in the storage room I’ll try to remember to put them next to each other for comparison. If you need an answer right away, try asking on the forum – maybe someone has both and they can give you a definitive answer.