2021 Nuna AACE Belt-Positioning Booster with Rigid LATCH Review

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2021 Nuna AACE Highback and Backless Booster Review

Nuna AACE LakeNuna’s AACE booster is a premium belt-positioning booster with some fabulous features. With rigid LATCH, installation is click-click easy and available in both highback and backless modes. Click the booster into place with the LATCH connectors, slide the shoulder belt into the easy-to-use shoulder belt guide and you and your child are off in style.

AACE WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS

Highback Mode

  • 40-110 lbs.; 38-60”
  • Age minimum: at least age 4

Backless Mode

  • 50-120 lbs.; 38-60”
  • Age minimum: at least age 5
AACE OVERVIEW
  • 9-position height-adjustable headrest
  • Torso wings adjust out simultaneously as headrest adjusts up
  • Adjustable 3-depth seat bottom
  • Rigid lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with energy-absorbing foam
  • External Side Impact Protection Pods absorb and disperse crash forces
  • One removable, dishwasher-safe cup holder
  • Premium flame-resistant fabrics with no added chemicals
  • Greenguard Gold Certified for low chemical emissions
  • 10-year lifespan
  • MSRP $199.95
AACE MEASUREMENTS

Shoulder belt guide heights: 13 ½”–21”

Inside shoulder width: 14”-16 ½”

Inside hip width: 12”

Seat depth: 14”

External widest point: 21 ½”

Seat weight: 15 ½ lbs.

ASSEMBLY

Attaching the back to the base is standard assembly for boosters and it’s an easy task. The AACE is a sturdy booster so it stays together when you carry it. The cup holder may be placed on either side of the base.

2021 AACE FASHIONS

Nuna AACE Caviar Nuna AACE GraniteNuna AACE Lake

AACE FEATURES

The AACE torso wings automatically widen as the headrest adjusts to higher positions. This naturally creates more room for kids as they grow! The base also is adjustable in depth, but you have to do that manually. There’s a flap in the cover that almost looks like a harness adjuster strap flap. Underneath is a lever you can squeeze to move the seat panel in or out into one of 3 positions. It’s easy to mistake this lever with the lower LATCH anchor release lever that is under the very bottom of the seat base—the depth adjuster lever is under the flap in the cover.

The AACE booster has a recline feature too (also consult your vehicle owner’s manual to see what vehicle seat positions are allowed). The torso portion can be either upright or pushed back one position. Use the recline lever on the bottom of the booster base to move it out, if necessary, for a better fit against the vehicle seat back. The manual shows you what to look for as far as what a good fit is.

Last but really not least are the Side Impact Protection (SIP) Pods. These are on both sides of the torso wings and are designed to mitigate crash energy from side impacts. Open the one on the side closest to the door and close the other. If the booster is placed in the center seating position, close both the SIP Pods.

FIT TO CHILD

Seat belt fit was lovely on both models, who were 6 (51.6 lbs.) and 9 (62 lbs.). Our younger boy was comfy in the deep sides of the AACE. I’m sure if we had gone on a long trip, the encompassing headrest would have been perfect for a snooze.

Our older boy enjoyed the fit with the back removed. Without the back, there’s more legroom for older, leggier kiddos in addition to being able to adjust the base with the 3-position depth choices.

FIT TO VEHICLE

In my 2016 Tesla Model X and 2018 Tesla Model 3, I ran into the usual Tesla issue of the booster not making full contact with the vehicle seat. Since Tesla vehicle seats are C-shaped, most boosters fit this way in these vehicles.

After consulting with our contact at Nuna, they approved the fit so this is one of the very few highback boosters that is approved to be used with Tesla vehicles (OK, I get abnormally excited about this)! Our younger model, age 6 and 51 lbs., who usually rides in a harnessed seat, had trouble buckling in the Model X because the buckle is very close to the booster. However, his brother who is 9-years-old and 62 lbs., found it easier to buckle.

One thing about the LATCH installation: when you install the booster with the lower LATCH connectors, you pull the recline handle on the bottom of the base to release and expose the LATCH assembly. After they are attached to the lower LATCH anchors, you can either hold the recline handle and shove the base back against the vehicle seat or leave the LATCH assembly exposed and recline the booster. If you don’t recline the booster and the LATCH assembly is not exposed, you will have trouble releasing the lower connectors because they sit under the base of the booster. Pull the recline handle and pull the base forward to expose the LATCH assembly. You’ll thank me later (and it is in the manual too) ;).

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Due to the standardized spacing of the rigid LATCH connectors, you can only secure AACE with LATCH in designated LATCH seating positions.

Inflatable Seat Belts:

Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual if there are inflatable seat belts.

Head Support:

Head support is not required from the vehicle and if the vehicle’s head restraint is pushing the booster forward it should be removed if possible.

COVER/MAINTENANCE

All fabrics are flame resistant without having any added chemicals and all fabric and foams are Greenguard Gold Certified for low chemical emissions. There are 4 pieces of the cover held to the booster with snaps and elastics. Removing the torso piece and putting it back on is moderately difficult because it’s such a premium fabric and is so well-stitched together that there’s no stretch to get it over the headrest. I was afraid I was going to break the inches-thick EPS foam in the headrest. I repeated the task a couple of times to make sure I didn’t have first-time jitters, but no, it was harder than most seats I’ve encountered. It’s best to put it on starting from the bottom of the headrest then ease it up and over.

All pieces of the cover may be machine washed in a gentle cycle and line dried.

FAA/LIFESPAN/CRASH REPLACEMENT
  • FAA approval: No. All belt-positioning booster seats require the use of lap/shoulder belts; AACE cannot be used on an airplane seat that only has a lap belt.
  • Expiration: AACE has a lifespan of 10 years.
  • Can be used after a minor crash, which is one in which all of these factors apply:
    • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
    • The vehicle door nearest to the car seat was not damaged.
    • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
    • If the vehicle has air bags, none of the air bags deployed during the crash; and
    • There is no visible damage to the car seat.
    • If in doubt about the severity of a crash, consult Nuna customer service.
AACE ADVANTAGES
  • 9-position height-adjustable headrest
  • Torso wings adjust out wider simultaneously as headrest adjusts up
  • Adjustable 3-depth seat bottom to accommodate kids with different leg lengths
  • Rigid lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with energy-absorbing foam
  • External Side Impact Protection Pods absorb and disperse crash forces
  • 2 reclines for better vehicle fit
  • No vehicle head support required behind booster
  • One removable, dishwasher-safe cup holder
  • Premium flame-resistant fabrics with no added chemicals for covers
  • Greenguard Gold Certified for low chemical emissions
  • 10-year lifespan
DISADVANTAGES
  • Portion of cover is moderately difficult to remove for washing
  • Made in China

 

Thank you to Nuna for the AACE sample used in this review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

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3 Comments

  1. Bonnie September 7, 2021
    • Heather September 7, 2021
  2. Julie February 7, 2021

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