Update October 2015: Consumer Reports released a report that stated the Recaro PerformanceRIDE car seat failed an enhanced crash test. While this report has not prompted a recall of the seat from the NHTSA, we will suspend our recommendation of this seat pending more information on this issue.
Type: Convertible seat.
Limits: Rear facing 5-40 lbs., forward facing 20-65 lbs.
NHTSA ease of use rating: Rear facing: four out of five stars. Forward-facing: four out of five stars.
Pros: Adjustable headrest, EPP foam, side-impact protection wings. CoolMesh air ventilation. Memory foam in luxe version.
Cons: May not fit rear facing in smaller vehicles. Hard to find in stores.
Comments: German car seat maker Recaro is probably Britax’s biggest competitor on the upper-end of the convertible car seat market. ProRIDE is Recaro’s flagship seat.
Among the ProRIDE’s unique features: side-impact protection wings made of cushy EPP foam. Similar to the Britax Boulevard, these wings provide both crash protection and head support for napping toddlers. The seat has many seat adjustments and the plush, microfiber fabric is impressive.
The negatives? Well, like the Britax Marathon, this is a big seat—it may not fit rear facing into smaller vehicles. A few parents told us they found the ProRIDE’s head pillows to be too restrictive for their older toddlers. And Recaro’s thinner distribution (as of this writing, Recaro isn’t in as many stores as Britax) means you may have to search for a local store that carries it to see this seat in person.
There is also a luxe version of this seat called the PerformanceRIDE. It has all the features of the ProRIDE but adds an integrated harness and headrest (called HERO), built-in cup holders, memory foam and other upgrades. Price: $230 to $300.
In general, parent feedback on both versions of this seat is quite positive—most folks say the seats are easy to use, although more than one noted their seats’ large size makes for a tight fit in smaller vehicles. Compared to the similar Britax seats, readers like the head cushions (side-impact protection) somewhat better.
In late 2015, Recaro made some minor updates to these seats and debuted two new versions called the PerformanceRACER and PerformanceRALLY. The Racer version features integrated cup holders that double as an energy-absorbing rebound system in a crash. Who knew cup holders could do that? The PreformanceRALLY is much lke the Racer but adds an additional seat recline feature. This is for use when the seat is rear-facing. As we went to press, we see Amazon is selling the Racer version for $330.
Update October 2015: Consumer Reports released a report that the Recaro PerformanceRIDE car seat failed an enhanced crash test due to a “structural weakness.” While this report has not prompted a recall of the seat from the NHTSA, we will suspend our recommendation of this seat pending more information on this issue.
While this test was just conducted on the PerformanceRIDE, we assume ProRIDE has similar concerns.
Rating: Not Recommended
Amazon Customer Reviews: Recaro ProRIDE