Our Chicco NextFit Review shows why it is one of the front runners for the title of the Best Convertible Car Seat 2015. It was a very good seat when it was first released back in 2013 but since then the manufacturer Chicco has made several small changes to the original NextFit 65 that have further increased the user satisfaction figures for the seat.(4.8 / 5)
These changes involved a modification to the shoulder pads that were often complained about by parents as being uncomfortable and too tight, so that now they are removable. The harness strap has also been lengthened as it was often said to be rather difficult to tighten which was found to be due to it being a little too short originally.
By making these changes, Chicco demonstrated that it’s the kind of company that listens to parents which gets a great big thumbs-up in my book.
Since the first NextFit 65 model was released there have been 2 additional models added to the range for you to choose from, the NextFit CX and the NextFit Zip. Both of these models are new versions with small enhancements that have further improved what was essentially already an excellent seat.
NextFit CX Changes
The NextFit CX is a model of the seat that adds the Chicco patented Comfort Flex Harness System. This is Chicco’s response to comments from several parents saying that the shoulder and crotch straps could be difficult to get hold of when seating a child. This enhancement keeps the harness out of the way when loading a wriggling child. And we all know how difficult it can be to get hold of the straps with one hand while trying to position your child with the other…lol.
NextFit Zip Changes
The NextFit Zip meanwhile has all the features of the CX above but adds the Zip&Wash™ seat pad that comes with an all round zipper that makes removing the seat pad much easier for machine washing and cleaning.
Let’s face it, as parents, we know that seats can take a pounding, from drink spills and food, not to mention, dribble and vomit and as far as i am concerned anything that makes a seat easier to keep clean the better.
- 9 Recline Positions (ReclineSure®) – easy to adjust the recline with one hand
- Dual Level Indicators (RideRight®) – easy to get the seat angle right
- LATCH Tightener (SuperCinch®) – easy to tighten the LATCH straps
- Integrated LATCH Storage – keeps LATCH connectors safely out of the way when not in use
- Integrated Slide Path – seat belt path clearly marked on seat shell
- Seat Belt Lock-Offs – for extra safety
- Integrated Tether Storage – On rear of seat for when tether is not used
- 6 Headrest Positions – shoulder straps adjust automatically as you raise the headrest
- 5-Point Harness – super soft and easy to adjust
- One-Pull Harness Tightener – tighten harness with one hand
- Chest Clip – 2 different positions to allow for growth
- Adjustable Crotch Strap – 2 different positions for comfort
- Infant Insert – comes free with the seat suitable for babies in 5 to 11 pound weight range
- Steel Reinforced Frame – extra safety
- Cup Holder included – can be used on either side of seat
Rear Facing: Suitable for Child Weight 5 – 40 Pounds
Front Facing: Suitable for Child Weight 22 – 65 Pounds
Note: Only suitable for children 49 inches tall or less
Lifespan: The seat is good for 8 Years. The Date of Expiration is listed on the white label under the seat base
Warranty: Chicco provide a 1 year limited warranty with this model
Approval: This seat meets or exceeds all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
Car Seat Installation and Fitting
Make sure that you set the recline angle on the seat properly before installing as per the instructions in the manual. It’s really easy to accomplish this with a simple squeeze on the orange adjustment handle located on the front of the seat.
The RideRight®dual-bubble indicators make this really simple to accomplish because the seat is clearly marked so you can easily get the recline angle set within the proper limits in both the forward and rear facing position.
The seat can be reclined in any of 9 different positions ensuring that you will find the correct one from the available choices to fit your vehicle.
LATCH installation can only be used for children up to 40lbs. Between 40lbs and 65lbs you must use your own vehicle seat/lap belts for the installation.
The tether must be used for all front facing installations where you have a tether anchor point on your vehicle. The use of the tether limits the forward movement of the seat in the event of a collision.
Rear Facing Using LATCH
It takes just a minute or 2 to get a good fit rear facing using the SuperCinch LATCH Connector straps. Because of the force multiplier technology used in the seat design it takes very little effort to take up the slack in the LATCH straps and get a tight and secure fit. The straps are even marked clearly with the order in which to pull the straps so you won’t make any mistakes.
When the LATCH connectors are not in use they can be stored away in the handy integral storage compartments.
Rear Facing Using Vehicle Seatbelts
Installing the NextFit rear facing using your vehicles seat belts is also really simple. The shoulder belt path is really clearly marked and the seat has an integral seat belt lockoff for extra safety.
Note that the tether must not be used if the seat is in the rear facing orientation.
Front Facing Using LATCH
It’s easy to get a secure install front facing using the simple LATCH system.
When using a LATCH install front facing the tether must also be used where you have a tether anchor point to fix to. Once again, take note that LATCH can only be used up to 40 pounds. Outside these limits you will have to use your vehicle seat/lap belts to install the seat.
Front Facing Using Vehicle Seatbelts
When installing the NextFit front facing with your vehicle seat belt you will find it really easy to get a great snug fit. Following the seat belt path is just a simple matter of following the belt path diagrams shown on the seat shell.
Note that when using the seat front facing you must also use the tether to prevent the seat tipping forwards during a collision. The tether can be found inside the handy storage compartment built into the back of the seat. Consult your vehicle manual to find the correct anchor point to use for the tether.
Important: The tether should only be used when the seat is in the forward facing position.
How well does it fit a child?
The 5 point harness is fully adjustable and seems to fit very well. The crotch strap can also be adjusted in 2 different positions giving your child extra room as they grow.
Getting your child seated is easier thanks to the thoughtful ComfortFlex Harness system that stays out of the way when you are trying to get your child properly seated.
The NextFit recline can be set in any of 9 different positions so you are sure to be able to find one that will be suitable for your vehicle and at the same time comfy for your child.
The headrest can also be adjusted in any one of 6 different positions so that it is always offering the maximum protection for your child’s head. Another helpful feature is that as the headrest height is adjusted the harness straps automatically adjust to the correct height.
An infant insert is supplied with the seat and is designed to be used between 5 and 11 pounds. This helps you get an even more comfortable position for your child when they are younger and more vulnerable. The infant insert is supplied free of charge in with the cost of the seat unlike some other manufacturers where you have to pay extra.
What about Comfort?
The materials used to cover the seat are really soft compared to many other manufacturers seats and the finish is smooth on a lot of the variants making cleaning up spills very much easier.
Many parents reported that there was no sign of pilling, where little bobbles form, on the material even after several months of use so this is a great sign that the material used is not only easy to clean but also resists wear and fraying.
The seat is extra-well padded and if you push on the seat cushioning it feels almost as sumptuous as memory foam so getting your little one settled for your journey should be easy and trouble free.
The strap covers as mentioned before can be removed easily if your child finds them uncomfortable just by opening the Velcro that secures them around the harness straps. Being able to remove the harness strap covers can be really helpful on hot sweaty days and lets air circulate better helping your little one keep cool.
A convenient cup holder is also supplied with the seat that can be fitted on either side saving you a few cents over having to buy a separate one.
Cover designs and model numbers
The different versions of the NextFit come in a number of designs and colors.
See below for details:
Covers – Removal and Cleaning
The covers are easy to remove on the NextFit and the NextFit CX just by following the simple instruction video on the Chicco website. With the NextFit Zip the removal of the seat pad is even easier. All you need to do is unzip it and the seat pad can be removed for machine washing – it doesn’t get much easier than that!
Mom’s and Dad’s Loved..
- Very easy LATCH installation
- No need to used rolled up towels or pool noodles to get a good fit
- Easily adjusted with No-Rethread harness
- The leveling indicator is brilliant
- Feels extremely secure
- Very soft and comfortable for my child
- Lots of Cushioning
- Ever so easy to keep clean thanks to the material which is easy to wipe spills up from and the even easier to remove covers now that the NextFit Zip version has been released
- Just about the safest convertible car seat on the market
Mom’s and Dad’s Didn’t Like
Some earlier versions were difficult to remove the seat pad to clean – but this has now been addressed with the NextFit Zip and its zip-out cover.
A few parents said that it can be difficult to tighten the harness – newer models appear to be easier to adjust now.
We think that if you are looking for a convertible car seat then you wont go far wrong by choosing the NextFit. The seat is great if you have a smaller car as well since it doesn’t seem to take up as much room when installed rear-facing as many comparable models.
The price seems to average around $299 – $350 so don’t go paying any more.