The First Years True Fit Premier (*Est. $240) and True Fit Recline (*Est. $170) feature a modular design with a removable headrest that helps make rear-facing installation easier. The True Fit's Premier and Recline models are similar, except that the Premier has an Anti-Rebound Bar that stabilizes the seat in the rear-facing position to prevent swaying motion in a crash and to prevent the seat from flipping.
Neither the True Fit Premier nor Recline models have been independently crash tested. However, the discontinued True Fit seat received very good crash testing ratings, and the only significant difference between it and the Premier/Recline models is that the original True Fit seat did not recline. All True Fit seats feature deep side wings for side impact protection. The Premier's Anti-Rebound Bar is an unusual feature that serves the same purpose as a stabilizing top tether.
True Fit makes the only convertible seats to receive the highest possible overall ease of use rating (5 out of 5) from the NHTSA. The LATCH and other installation features are easy to use. The harness and crotch strap are fully adjustable from the front of the car seat without re-threading. Belt paths are color-coded to reduce installation confusion. A center angle indicator assists in installation in the rear-facing position. The seat pad removes easily but hand-washing is recommended.
The True Fit Premier and Recline both have weight ratings of 5 to 65 pounds, which takes your child from birth to childhood. This means you likely won't have to invest in another car seat as long as your child needs one. They get high marks for comfort as well, although the Premier has a bit more padding than the Recline.
Both the True Fit Premier and the Recline offer two recline positions and recline when forward-facing. The removable headrest allows parents to install the seat more easily in the rear-facing position, but it should be used after the child reaches 22 pounds.
It is a large car seat, so check the measurements -- with the headrest on. They are available on the manufacturer's website.
The True Fit has a straightforward manual that is well illustrated and easy to follow. The manual can be downloaded directly from the website. The True Fit Premier and Recline both carry a one year warranty from The First Years and have a 7-year expiration date.
Good car seat, just make sure it fits. The True Fit Premier and Recline offer everything a parent could want in a car seat: great safety ratings, excellent ease of use, comfort and convenience. The price isn't unreasonable either. Just be sure it fits in your car WITH the headrest attached, because that's how it will be used the majority of the time.
ConsumerReports.org included the First Years True Fit and assessed it for safety, fit and usability based on their performance in independent testing. The True Fit Recline and Premier were not tested but they are very similar to the original True Fit.
Review: Convertible Car Seat Overview, Ratings, and Recommended, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2012
This review of the First Years True Fit Premier covers safety, best price, comfort, ease of adjustments, ease of installation, dimensions, customer reviews and ease of use. It includes pros and cons with detailed photos, tips and measurements.
Review: The First Years True Fit Premier Convertible Car Seat Review, Editors of RaisingSmallSouls.com, May 2012
The professional child passenger safety technicians/instructors who run this website rank The First Years True Fit Premier as one of the top convertible car seats you can buy. In this thorough review, Heather Watson analyzes the seat's features and tests how easy it is to install. Her 7-year-old daughter fits in the seat and is comfortable, and Watson also shows the seat holding an infant-size doll.
Review: The First Years True Fit Premier C670 Review: Very Nice!, Heather Watson, June 30, 2009
4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
With a perfect 5-star overall rating, the NHTSA says The First Years True Fit Premier is the easiest to use convertible car seat. It gets outstanding ratings for the clarity of its labels and instructions and for ease of securing the child. Its lowest rating is for rear-facing installation features, and even that is 3 stars.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, Editors of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
5. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" covers The First Years True Fit Premier as part of their car seat roundup. Authors Denise and Alan Fields consider performance and ease of use -- as well as the brand's track record -- to come up with their overall rating.
Review: Convertible and Forward Facing-Only Car Seats, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth Edition, 2012
The First Years True Fit Premier C670 gets this parenting website's Best Infant-to-Preschool Car Seat award. How editors tested the products isn't clear, but their review is thorough and thoughtful. Their recommendation: "If you're looking for one car seat to last from beginning to end (and don't mind the lack of portability for infants), The First Years True Fit Premier is the best value."
Review: Babble Best Picks: Car Seats, Editors of Babble.com, Jan. 2011
The First Years True Fit was a finalist in About.com's Readers' Choice Awards for best convertible car seat. However, it is just a list; nothing further is offered about the car seat. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards - Best Convertible Car Seat Finalists, March 2012
The First Years True Fit makes Heather Corley's list of the eight best convertible car seats. She likes the seat's higher weight ratings and removable headrest for easier installation. Please note that Corley reviewed the discontinued True Fit original, and not the current models -- the True Fit Recline and True Fit Premier. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 8 Convertible Car Seats, Heather Corley
9. Good Housekeeping
The First Years True Fit Premier is one of eight car seats reviewed in Good Housekeeping's Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews. Reviewers note ease of use and adjustability as pluses to this seat.
Review: Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews, Editors of Good Housekeeping, 2012
Baby Gizmo gives the True Fit Premier an overall rating of excellent, citing its rebound stabilization bar; removable headrest and quality cover as highlights. The glowing review offers a detailed description of its safety, installation, convenience and comfort features.
Review: Editor Reviews, May 2012
The First Years True Fit Premier receives an overall user rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars based on more than 60 reviews, and the True Fit Premier receives a similarly high rating in more than 50 reviews. Users like the seat's fit and its longevity due to higher weight ratings. Several complain it's hard to adjust the straps in the rear-facing position. Others express their dismay when they realized putting the head rest on made it too big for their car and say they purchased it under the mistaken notion it was a compact car seat.
Review: Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2012