You need a car seat for your baby, and you need it to be safe, comfortable, and easy to use. You’ve heard of Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 – maybe from a friend and maybe online – but you’re not sure it’s worth the investment.
How safe is the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 really? Is it easy to use? Will it fit in your car? How long can it be used forward-facing? In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. But first:
Now let’s start.
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The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 fits babies and toddlers weighing from between 14-85 lbs (6.35-38.55 kg), and who are up to 52 inches (1.32 meters) tall. In theory, this seat should fit your child until they reach age 7 (for the tall ones) or 8-9 (for the heavy ones) – meaning the next seat you buy will be a booster, possibly backless.
The downside is that the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 will not fit your child as a newborn. However, another edition of the seat, the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max, does fit children from 5-85 lbs.
Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 rear-faces from 14-40 lbs (6.35-18.14 kg) and are under 40 inches in height (101.6 cm), and forward-faces from 22-85 lbs (9.97-38.55 kg) and up to 52″ (1.32 meters) in height. Even though you can technically face your child forward at 22 lbs, studies have shown that rear-facing infants stay safer in accidents. Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible.
The seat’s harness range is 9.5-17.5 inches (24.3-44.45 cm).
Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 is considered a safe convertible car seat and meets the required safety standards. It also offers side impact protection, and a “FlexTech” shock absorption system, which absorbs the impact instead of transferring it.
That said, 75-95% of car seats are not properly installed, and proper installation is crucial for protecting babies and children in accidents. Maxi Cosi offers a one-click LATCH installation system, but if your vehicle doesn’t have LATCH, the seat does not offer an easy, fail-safe installation system, leaving you to figure that out on your own (with help from the instruction manual).Regardless, it’s wise to call a car seat expert in your area to come and inspect your seat’s installation, and show you how to install the seat(s) properly.
When it comes to harness adjustment, the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 is relatively easy to use, allowing parents to adjust the straps with one hand, and offering “micro adjustments” for the perfect fit.
There don’t seem to be any recalls for Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85. In fact, the seat is listed by SafetyBeltSafe USA as one of Dorel’s models that does not have any “recalls, replacement parts, or warnings.”
Maxi Cosi offers a lifetime warranty on its car seats and bases, as well as a 24-month warranty on its other products.
To activate your warranty, you need to be product’s first owner and have proof of purchase. You’ll also need to register the within three months of its purchase, after which you’ll receive a “Lifetime Warranty” certificate.
If something goes wrong, you’ll take that certificate and the original proof of purchase to the store where you purchased the Pria 85.
The warranty covers manufacturing defects, but it does not cover normal wear and tear, or damage caused by car accidents.
Remember, “lifetime” does not mean that you can use your Pria 85 after it expires.
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 is 20″ wide – admittedly not the slimmest out there. It needs to be replaced after ten years.
Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 is approved for use in aircraft. Remember, though, that you’ll need to purchase a seat for your child in order to use it on a plane.
Maxi Cosi offers a sun shade for its Pria seats, and the seat comes with an integrated cup holder. Also, Amazon offers the seat in several colors.
Also, this isn’t an accessory, but the Pria 85’s seat cover is machine washable and dryer-safe, and is relatively easy to snap on and off.
Maxi Cosi offers “special” or “limited” editions of several seats. These are not different seats: They are simply new colors or patterns for the seat covers. If you want one, go for it – but know that it is an external difference only.
How does the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 compare to other car seats?
Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 Max is, in essence, the same car seat but better: You won’t need to buy an infant car seat, since the Max is good for babies weighing 5 lbs (2.27kg) and up, and its chest clip is magnetic, making it easier and faster to use.
Also the Max’s fabric wicks away moisture.
Both seats rear-face until 40 lbs or 40 inches, and can forward-face from 22-85 lbs or until your child reaches 52 inches in height. Also, both seats’ covers are machine washable and dryer safe.
Both the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 and the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 have nine harness slots, side impact protection, and the FlexTech shock absorption system. The covers for both car seats are machine washable and dryer safe.
However, as their names imply, the Pria 85’s weight limit is 85 lbs, and the Pria 70’s weight limit is 70 lbs. Also, the Pria 70’s fabric wicks away moisture, and there’s an option to purchase a Pria 70 with “Tiny Fit” – the seat’s infant insert for babies weighing between 4-22 lbs (1.81-9.97 kg).
One other point: Maxi Cosi’s Pria 70 is cheaper than their Pria 85.
There are several key differences between Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 and Britax’s Marathon ClickTight. The first difference is width: The Marathon ClickTight is just 17.5 inches wide, while the Pria 85 is a full 20 inches wide – a huge difference for families who need to fit three safety seats in the back row of a vehicle. The ClickTight weighs almost ten pounds more, but convertible car seats aren’t removed and installed every day.
Both seats will last ten years and have side impact protection, as well as impact/ shock absorption. Also, both seats rear-face until a child is 40 lbs. Maxi Cosi limits the standing height for a rear-facing child to 40 inches tall, and Britax limits the “shoulder to tush” height to 16.95″.
However, the Marathon ClickTight’s cover can be washed only by hand, and can’t be dried in the dryer. And the Pria 85 has a higher forward-facing weight limit, at 85 lbs (38.55 kg) instead of 65 lbs (29.4 kg). The Pria 85 has a higher height limit as well, at 52″ for the Pria 85 compared to 49″ for the Marathon ClickTight).
That said, even a 90th percentile boy will only reach 65 lbs at about six and a half years of age, and most children will be able to use the seat until age 8 or 9. And a boy who is 90th percentile in height will hit the Marathon ClickTight’s limit at age 6, and the Pria 85’s height limit at 7. Most kids, though, won’t hit the Marathon’s height limit until nearly seven, and they’ll hit the Pria 85’s height limit at about 8.
Britax’s main advantage over the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 is that their ClickTight installation is *easy*. And I mean so easy it’s hard to go wrong. On the other hand, while the Pria 85’s installation isn’t superbly difficult, it’s by no means a one-step easy install.
The height and weight limits on Chicco’s NextFit are the same as those for the Marathon ClickTight (65 lbs, 49 inches), and are lower than those for Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85. However, the NextFit can seat babies from five pounds , and its lowest harness position is 5.5 inches, instead of the Pria 85’s 9.5 inches. Also, the NextFit offers nine recline positions, compared to the Pria 85’s three.
Both seats have side impact protection and shock absorption, as well as an easy harness adjuster and a cup holder (the NextFit’s is removable), and both covers are machine washable, though it’s not clear if the NextFit’s can go in the dryer. Neither seat has an easy-installation system, though both claim easy installation when used with LATCH.
Like the NextFit, Clek’s Fllo can seat babies from five pounds, and it has a weight limits of 65 lbs. However, the Fllo has a huge advantage over the Pria 85: It can rear-face up to 50 lbs, instead of the Pria’s 40 lbs. The Fllo also comes with an anti-rebound bar, which adds stability for a rear-facing seat in case of a crash.
Maxi Cosi’s Pria 85 weighs 18.8 lbs, whereas the Clek Fllo weighs 25 lbs. Also, the Fllo’s fabric is GreenGuard certified, meaning it has less chemicals than regular car seat fabrics. It’s also odor- and moisture-resistant and non-flammable. However, the Clek Fllo’s fabric is not machine washable (or dryer safe).
One important point is that the Clek Fllo is 13 inches wide – a big bonus for those families who need to fit three safety seats into a single back row.
Both seats have impact absorption and side impact protection, but the Pria 85 has easier harness adjustment.
Here’s how to install the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 in a rear-facing position using LATCH:
Here’s how to install the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 in a rear-facing position using a seatbelt:
Here’s how to install the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 in a forward-facing position, using either a seatbelt or LATCH:
While it’s true that the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 has one of the highest forward-facing height limits, it’s important to note that the rear-facing limits are more important – and they’re not especially high at 40 lbs or 40 inches. It’s true, those aren’t super-low limits, but there are definitely seats offering higher rear-facing limits, allowing children to rear-face longer.
It’s important to note that the rear-facing height and weight limits are either/ or: When your child *either* reaches the rear-facing weight limit, *or* reaches the rear-facing height limit, it’s time to switch to forward facing.
Also, don’t worry if your child’s feet seem squished when he’s rear-facing. Kids get used to having their feet squished, and there’s no evidence that a lack of foot room causes damage later on. Even if it did, in the case of an accident, a broken leg is definitely a better deal than a broken neck.
Children should remain in a rear-facing position until they are at least two years of age *or* weigh at least twenty pounds. Remember: There’s no obligation to switch your child to a forward-facing position just because he hit one of those milestones. The longer your child spends rear-facing, the less chance he has of being seriously injured in an accident.
Note that the Pria 85 isn’t a cheap car seat, and it’s not an all-in-one, since you’ll need an infant seat until your child reaches the minimum weight limit.
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 is a good, safe, seat, but it’s not perfect. If you need a high height or weight limit, live in an area where it’ll take days for your car seat cover to air dry, or are trying to avoid buying a booster later on, the Pria 85 is a good choice.
If you want all that, and you also want something that will fit your newborn, go for the Pria 85 Max.
Rachel Fink is a writer and mom of 7 kids. She keeps her sanity by keeping a stash of chocolate and coffee nearby.