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  1. #1
    Ambassador jess71903's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    Recaro ProSport review

    I'm a little hesitant to post this here. I feel like a little fish in a big pond here when it comes to the technical stuff. I've posted this on my blog, and Diaper Swappers, so I'll just C/P here.

    I just traded another tech my Radian 80SL for a Recaro ProSport. It's not a very common seat, so I thought I'd do a little review of it.

    The ProSport is the replacement for the now-retired YoungSport. It's a combination seat, which means it is a forward-facing harnessed seat that converts to a booster.

    The seat is installed in a 2006 Ford Explorer. Its occupant is 3 year 7 month old Gage, who weighs in at just under 40lbs.

    The weight range for the ProSport is 20-90lbs in harnessed mode, and up to 120lbs in booster mode. It has a minimum of 30lbs for the booster, but does not list a lower age limit. It says on page 41:

    "A child is ALWAYS safest in a child restraint system that has a 5-point harness system built in. RECARO cannot recommend what age your child has to be in order to ride in this seat as a belt-positioning booster, please refer to your state's law, as each law is different. "

    Now, as a tech, I know that there is no data showing that a 7 year old that will sit properly is safer in a harness than a booster. At least, though, it might help those parents of the 3 or 4 year old reconsider before they switching to booster mode early.

    I will also add that this seat is not appropriate for a 1 year old, who should still be rear-facing

    It has 18.5" top harness slots and 20" top belt guide for booster mode. This is important since a child outgrows a forward facing seat when their shoulders go over the top harness slots, or their ears go over the seat's shell. There are 4 harness positions which can all be used in either harnessed mode or booster mode.

    The ProSport has some interesting differences from other combo seats I've played with. It has an open belt path. The seat belt or LATCH strap is right behind the cover, with no hole to thread them through. This makes installing really easy, since you can see what you're doing.

    The LATCH strap has 2 adjusters on it- one on each side. Unlike the Britax convertibles, though, it is 1 continuous strap, you can tighten using either or both of the adjusters.

    In general a booster can either be LATCHed in in booster mode, to keep the unoccupied booster from becoming a projectile, or it can't. You can't use the lower anchors on the ProSport, but you can, and are encouraged to use the top tether.

    The ProSport has a no-rethread harness, which is nice. Like the Britax Frontier, though, you can't change the harness height without uninstalling the seat. I've gotten spoiled with my True Fit in this regard.

    The ProSport's harness adjuster is buttery smooth. It's so easy to get the harness as tight as it should be without much effort at all. The chest clip is the typical IMMI clip, found on Britax seats and the True Fit line. It has the Safeguard push-on LATCH connectors. Those things make installing so nice and easy. There is no right and wrong side to them, as the strap is connected at the bottom of the clip. If there was 1 feature I wish every seat had, it would be these LATCH connectors.

    Side-impact protection is not something that's regulated in the US. Really, a manufacturer can claim that theirs is the best, but we really have no way of comparing. If any seat has it, though, it's the ProSport. Not only does it have head wings, but torso wings as well, both covered in EPS foam (or is it EPP- I never can tell). Even if SIP is all marketing, it's still a great place to take a nap.

    The ProSport has a recline block that can be flipped forward for a bit of recline, or back for a more upright install.. I can see that in some cars, the recline will help with installation, and in some it would be better without it reclined. Mine is currently reclined, because it gives just a tiny bit of a gap at the base of the seat for the LATCH connectors to sit. It installs well without, but the base of the seat itself is wide in the back and pretty much sits right at the LATCH connectors.

    I removed the vehicle headrest behind the ProSport. It installed okay with it there, but I like it better without. The Explorer's headrests are non-adjustable and angled forward a bit, so they are a problem with several FF seats.

    I installed the ProSport in the center with the lap/shoulder belt, and it installed there well. The shoulder belt doesn't lay where it is supposed to (there's a tag marking where it "should" go, but the belt geometry in the middle of my Explorer is weird. The fact that it will install there at all is amazing to me.

    In the 3rd row, it takes a little more umph to get right, because the seats are really hard, but again, good install there. The shoulder belt ends up crossing right where the harness comes out, which I did not like. If I were going to use it in a l/s position permanently, I would probably undo the harness, let the shoulder belt go between the 2 slots, then reconnect the harness. This is actually the solution Recaro gave on its Facebook page to someone who had the same issue. As it was, I could still get the harness plenty tight on the non-messed up side, so I felt good using it that way.

    I love this seat. It seems comfortable for Gage. It looks like a racing seat, and not at all "baby." He fits with his shoulders just at, or maybe just a tiny bit over the 2nd harness slots, so we use the 3rd. He has a LOOOOONGGG way to grow before getting to the 18.5" top slots. I would bet he'd fit in harnessed mode in this seat until at least age 6, maybe longer.

    Right now, we have the Hanna (pink and brown) cover. I would like to get Gage either Envy or Opal Blue to replace the Hanna (anybody want to trade??). They all have the same kind of fabric that's kind of slick, not plush, and seems very resistant to getting dirty. I would imagine it'd be easy to just wipe off if it does get dirty. The other colors available are Midnight (black) and Misty (gray) and they are plush.
    ETA: We traded for an Envy and I love it!! I was wrong about the green part. It is not slick like on the Hanna. It's a really soft, cottony material.

    It's very padded and cushy, with an optional pad that can be used in the bottom of the seat if desired. Gage hasn't been using it, but still thinks it's very comfy. It has harness covers and a buckle pad, as well.

    I did try Gage in it in booster mode, even though he is a very long way from using it that way. The lap belt was across his thighs. I didn't changed the headrest from where he needs it in harnessed mode, but it would need to go down a notch. If I had, the shoulder belt would have been perfect, too. I think this seat will fit a lot of kids very well in booster mode. I didn't provide pics since it is misuse, due to his age.

    Any questions? Measurement? Fire away!
    Last edited by jess71903; 04-22-2011 at 01:56 PM.

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