Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Review

In January we transitioned Elizabeth (13-months-old at the time) from her infant car seat to a convertible seat. Although she was (and still is) able to fit in to her Britax Chaperone (you can read my review here) seat per Britax’s height and weight requirements, she was very ready to be sitting more upright in a ‘big girl seat’. My husband and I spent months researching brands and styles. We knew which brands we didn’t want due to reviews, lack of compatibility with our car, and length of time the seats could be used in the rear facing position. We were stuck deciding between the Peg-Perego Primo Viaggio and the Maxi Cosi Pria 70, and my husband actually ended up making the final decision after seeing both seat in person at our local Buy Buy Baby. We ordered the Pria in Sweet Cerise (a gorgeous pink) and I anxiously awaited its arrival.

The seat arrived set up to be installed forward-facing, but it was very simple to adjust the lower anchors and recline of the seat to be set up for rear-facing use. After reading the manual and adjusting the no-rethread harness to the proper size for Elizabeth (the shoulder straps must be at or below the child’s shoulders when rear-facing), I set out to install the seat. At first it was difficult to tighten the lower anchors due to the angle at which you need to pull the strap, but I learned that if you undo part of the seat cover and pull the strap up and towards the opposite side of the seat that it will tighten very easily.

I had been planning to install the Pria with a seat belt in the center of my 4Runner but the shape of my backseat, combined with the location of the center seat belt, did not allow for a safe install. I was very disappointed, as my Chaperone had installed perfectly in that seat position. I was also unable to achieve a tight install using the seatbelt for either outboard seat. My plan is to contact a CPST (certified Passenger Safety Technician) and have her teach me how to install the Pria with the belt, as it is fully possible that I do not understand the seat belt install directions.

Elizabeth seems to love her seat, and most importantly, fits wonderfully in it. She has tons of room to grow, and can easily see out the side window as we drive. The head wings initially seemed quite bulky, but again, she has no issues with them blocking her peripheral vision, and they seem very cozy when she leans her head against them to fall asleep. The seat is very deep, as her hips, trunk, and head are all set back in the seat to provide side impact protection in the event of a crash.

The angle of my car seats requires that the Pria be in the third recline position (positions two or three may be used while rear facing). This causes the Pria to take up about as much front to back space as our Britax Chaperone, which is a lot! The Pria cannot be braced in a Toyota, so in hindsight I would have installed the Pria and then had my husband try to adjust the drivers’ seat to his comfort. The front to back length is not an issue in my husbands full-sized Tundra though, so it’s completely dependent on how much room is in your back seat.

While I cannot speak about the durability of other Pria 70 colors, Sweet Cerise (pink) stains very easily. We only allow Elizabeth to have water while in the car and the fabric is already horribly stained with dark watermarks. If we had to pick a new color, I would go with Total Black or Mineral Grey to help hide the stains and smudges.

I need to fully disclose that I had to send our first Pria 70 back to Dorel due to a defective harness. I was unable to tighten or loosen the harness unless I reached around the back (easy, though very annoying, since the seat is rear facing) and pulled (or pushed) on the harness at the yolk connector. Dorel customer service was wonderful to work with, and after mailing in a few pieces of the car seat in an envelope, I had a brand new Pria 70 delivered to my door within days. I had read two or three (out of hundreds) reviews on Amazon about this same type of issue, so I do believe it was just a fluke and not a common problem. Since the issue had nothing to do with the safety of the seat, my husband and I were comfortable with using a new Pria instead of going with a different brand.

Pros:

  • Integrated cup holder
  • Very padded and comfortable seat
  • Cushy head wings that act like pillows for my daughter to rest her head against
  • Extended rear facing capabilities (up to 40 pounds)
  • Forward facing weight maxes out at 70 pounds
  • No re-thread harness
  • Easy to understand instructions printed on both sides of the seat for both forward and rear-facing installations
  • The recline lever is located on the back side of the seat, meaning it’s easy to adjust while the seat in in the rear-facing position
  • The tether clips safely out of the way when not in use (rear facing only; it must be used while forward facing)

Cons:

  • The cover is not toddler friendly-it gets stained very easily
  • Takes up a lot of front to back room when in the third recline position
  • The harness can be difficult to loosen and tighten
  • An allen wrench is required to remove the cup holder
  • Expensive (it was $250.00 when we made our purchase, though now it is $212.00)
  • Not compatible with the tether while rear facing (Unlike Peg Perego) and does not have a rebound bar (the Clek Foonf does)

8 Responses to Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Review

  1. Pingback: (AV) Chicco Nextfit Review Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

  2. I stumbled upon this review when I was searching out an issue we have been having with our newly purchased Pria 70 carseat. When you said you were having problems tightening and loosening the harness were you having to seriously strong-arm the pull strap in order to tighten the chest harness into place? This is the problem we are having and I don’t know if there’s something we just connected wrong (I don’t think so) or there could be something faulty with the manufacturing. I just wanted to get some more info on what problems you were having to get a better idea if we need to contact customer service….

    • Hi Rachel,
      Sadly, to my knowledge, the harness issues can’t be fixed. It WAS rectified on the Pria85 (that harness is a DREAM). I still suggest contacting Dorel over the issue, and be sure to check the pull strap for signs of fraying (that should NOT be happening and is a safety issue).

  3. We bought the Pria70 for our Ford Escape. We have a Britax Pavilion in our van, but didn’t want to spend so much again. It is so difficult to tighten, or know when it is tight enough. I guess I am spoiled by the Click-Tight in the Britax. I will put in a call to the manufacturer. I’m glad I am not the only one!

  4. Hi. I came across this review after a google search for “maxi cosi pria strap problems.” Wish it was true that the harness issue was rectified with the Pria 85. I have two of them and have trouble every day. I should mention that I am on my second and third, as my first pria 85 was replaced due to the same problem I am still having. I have had these seats for almost a year and every day I am worried my daughter is not properly secured. The straps are near impossible to tighten. They are never even, and I have to pull hard from the back. It feels they are getting caught up on something. Anyway, just wanted to throw my opinion into the mix. Thank you for your review!

  5. I have to concur with the above complaints re: tightening the harness. It’s near impossible – it’s my only complaint about the car seat but it’s definitely enough to strongly encourage you NOT to buy it. Just don’t.

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