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2009-2010 Car seats compared – Evenflo Symphony 65

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 27-04-2010

We’re doing a roundup of car seats unveiled at the 2009 ABC Kids show, the major annual convention for baby and kids products. This year, the biggest story on car seats in general was in side impact head protection. While car seats have made major advances, this is still an area where more technology can save young lives. There were also at least 2 new seats developed to evolve with a child from 20 pounds to 100. In this series, we will look at the following seats:

1. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 (previously reviewed)

2. Britax Parkway SG (previously reviewed)

3. Safety 1st Complete Air car seat with Air Protect (previously reviewed)

4. Evenflo Symphony 65

5. Clek Oobr (previously reviewed)

Today’s review is on the Evenflo Symphony from Tom Green of San Francisco, California.

With a 4 year old, 2 year old and a newborn weeks away, you can imagine how many different car seats we’ve used and I’ve installed in our cars.  Between our nanny, the grandparents and our cars alone, we are pushing 10+ car seats!  As a result, a convertible car seat which transitions with our needs and the kids is a huge plus.

The Evenflo Symphony 65 fits our needs pretty nicely.  Here is a quick run-down of my first week impressions of this seat.

Pros:

  • SURELATCH.  Think about all the times you have to install/remove a car seat from a car. This is the EASIEST car seat to install securely.  Ever.  The latches are easy to install in the car, and by pushing a bit of weight on the seat itself, the car seat tightens on its own.  After struggling to install a different booster in our car this weekend, I thank Evenflo for their easy to install seat.  Even my wife can install this seat! That, in and of itself, is a HUGE PRO. You don’t even have to manually tighten the latch strap – even my wife can install this! That, in and of itself, is a HUGE PRO.
  • Adjustable harness.  The adjustable harness system on the Symphony 65 is on a rail system, so it simply slides up/down and there is no need to re-thread the straps.  We have one other car seat that does this, the rest we need to re-thread, and I can’t begin to tell you what a convenience this feature affords. We can swap kids into/out of this seat easily.
  • Easy to clean.  My wife loves that the seat padding is easily removable and machine-washable.
  • Spacious.   Width-wise this seat appears quite spacious and comfortable for the kids.
  • Safety.  The seat comes with an energy absorbing foam liner and side impact protection head rest.  Always a plus and the head rest pillows look comfortable.
  • Cup holder.  I always appreciate the cup holder feature in a car seat.

Cons:

  • Buckles seem a bit too easy for younger kids who shouldn’t be unbuckling themselves mid-drive. But really, let me make this con a pro.  Our younger daughter can buckle herself into the seat, which makes for some great convenience as we’re headed out the door.
  • $199 is costly, but then again, most car seats are.  At least with the Symphony, you get a lot of PROS.

All in all, I love this car seat.  With only 2 weeks of use, I’ve already recommended this seat to other parents.  It’s nice to have the option to “convert” a seat to accommodate an older/younger kid. I prefer infant car seats for carting a newborn around, mainly for the convenience of leaving the baby asleep in the car seat but for older babies, toddlers and preschoolers, the Symphony 65 is a great seat. In a pinch, a newborn can sit rear facing in a symphony 65 as well. Installation of the seat was a cinch and adjusting the seat for different ages has been simple. I’m guessing that we’ll get a lot of use out of the Symphony 65 and a $199 investment in this convertible car seat would be a good one.

GreatDad.com Review Policy: The featured product for this review was provided to us, at no cost, by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.

(REVISED 5/4 for accuracy.)