Race-car seat manufacturer Recaro has churned out a well-engineered convertible car seat with an impressive 70-pound weight limit in the ProRide, reviewers say. The seat has ample side-impact protection and an easy-to-use harness. Parents also like the plush, high-quality fabric, but it is spot-clean only. Some reviewers say that its large size and tricky rear-facing installation make the ProRide a better forward-facing seat.
Impressive side-impact protection. The Recaro ProRide has side-impact protection designed to protect five vulnerable areas of a child in a crash -- the head, neck, face, torso and pelvis. The side wings are among the deepest on the market. The seat is also padded with energy-absorbing foam, and has newer push-button LATCH connectors and a tether for use forward-facing. Like all convertibles, it has a five-point harness with a chest clip. The seat fares well in independent crash testing. While the U.S. government doesn't require side-impact tests, Recaro notes that the ProRide has passed European tests for side-impact protection.
Harness wins raves, but rear-facing installation can be tricky. Reviewers say a major perk of the Recaro ProRide is its harness, which is easy to tighten and even easier to adjust for height, thanks to a no-rethread adjustment knob on the side of the seat. While the seat wins praise for easy front-facing installation, some reviewers say they had a hard time getting the seat tight enough at a proper angle rear-facing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the seat 4 out of 5 stars for overall ease of use, reserving most criticism for a narrow belt path that can be hard for large hands to manipulate during seat-belt installations. The seat's push-button LATCH connectors are generally regarded as easier to use than older hook-style connectors.
Plush fabric has to be hand washed. Reviewers are almost unanimous in their love of the Recaro ProRide's microfiber fabric, which they say is plush, soft and of high quality. The seat cover includes mesh to promote air circulation and keep sweat at bay. However, owners are less enthusiastic about Recaro's recommendation to hand-wash the cover. The comfortable fabric and recline are good for lulling sleepy children to sleep, but some parents say their children dislike the deep head wings since they can limit their view. The seat can be used rear-facing from 5 to 35 pounds and forward-facing from 20 to 70 pounds. It has an overall height limit of 50 inches. Those impressive numbers come at a cost, though -- reviewers say the seat is quite tall and bulky, and probably not a good pick for smaller vehicles. A few say it can obstruct a driver's view. The seat is also fairly heavy at 21 pounds.
Service gets mixed reviews. Customers report uneven experiences with Recaro's customer service. The company's website offers downloadable owner's manuals for all seats, and the ProRide is covered by an industry-standard limited one-year warranty. The seat expires after six years. Experts note that Recaro seats aren't as widely available as some competing models, so customers may need to order the seat online if there is no dealer nearby. Recaro allows customers to search for dealers on its website.
1. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" covers the Recaro line in general and the Recaro ProRide specifically. Authors Denise and Alan Fields consider performance, ease of use and the brand's track record to come up with their overall rating.
Review: Car Seats: Picking the Right Child Safety Seat, Denise and Alan Fields, Tenth Edition, 2013
This review of the Recaro ProRide covers safety, installation, dimensions, fabric, recline and pros/cons with detailed photos. It praises the deep side wings, easy installation and safety, but says the cover is not removable and it can be a space hog in small cars.
Review: Recaro ProRide Convertible Car Seat Review, Editors of MommiesLike.com, Not Dated
ConsumerReports.org tests 27 convertible car seats. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include editors' highs and lows for each seat -- helpful for parents who want a quick summary of each seat. However, there are a couple of discontinued models listed, and it's unclear when the tests were performed.
Review: Convertible Car Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Recaro ProRide gets 4.6 out of 5 stars in more than 640 reviews. Owners say the seat is sturdy, stylish and has an easy-to-use harness. Some complain that it's hard to get a tight, proper rear-facing angle, and that the seat is too big and the fabric hard to remove.
Review: Recaro ProRide Convertible Car Seat, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014
The Recaro ProRide makes Hollie Schultz's list of the five best convertible car seats. This review covers the seat's features at length, saying installation and harness adjustment are easy. She also praises the fabric and high height and weight limits.
Review: Recaro ProRide Convertible Car Seat - Blue Opal, Hollie Schultz, Not Dated
6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Recaro ProRide earns 4 stars out of 5 for overall ease of use in the NHTSA's tests. The seat is penalized for a tricky-to-use small belt path and incomplete labels, but earns praise for easy harness use, clear instructions and easy forward-facing installation.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, Editors of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, As of February 2014
The Recaro ProRide makes this list of 17 car seats with extended rear-facing capabilities. Rosen praises the ProRide's ergonomic shell and high weight capacity. The short review does not note any cons.
Review: 17 Convertible Car Seats with Extended Rear Facing, Melanie Monroe Rosen, Not Dated