Diono Monterey booster seat

Booster type: High back

Weight: 40 to 120 lbs., 63” in height.

Price: $100.

IIHS rating:
Backless mode: Check fit. 
High back mode: Best bet.

NHTSA ease of use rating: Three stars out of five.

Pros: LATCH, height and sides are adjustable, EPS foam, retractable cup holder, seat recline. Nicely padded seat.

Cons: Short LATCH connectors make it hard to install, difficult to remove. Heavy. Cover can be hard to take off for cleaning.

Comments: A high back booster that converts to backless mode, the Diono Monterey XT features a dial-adjustable seat width, EPS foam, a deep seat, retractable cup holders, two recline positions and a cushy foam seat. The Monterey also features LATCH, which keeps the seat secure in the vehicle when unoccupied. But . . . the LATCH connectors are very short and hard to attach. And the seat is quite heavy. Hence, moving this seat from car to car would be a chore.

Overall, however, most readers are quite positive on the Monterey. Fans love the roomy seat, easy adjustments and cushy seat padding. Critics note it is a nightmare to clean—small black pins must be removed to take off the cover and the mesh fabric is a hassle to hand wash.

This seat has an interesting history—the feedback on the Monterey was quite positive until 2012, when Diono redesigned the belt guides for the seat. Then we began to see complaints about belts falling out of the guide. To its credit, Diono sent replacement headrests free of charge . . . and Diono started shipping an updated version of the Monterey in early 2013 with revised belt guides. This seemed to fix the problem and the complaints declined.

Then Diono discontinued the Monterey in 2014 in favor of a new booster (the Cambria), which turned out to be a bad move. The Cambria earned mixed reviews . . . so Diono brought back the Monterey XT in 2015. Same as it ever was. (There will be a quiz on this next Tuesday).

Bottom line: we like the Monterey better than the Cambria. At $100, it runs twice the price of the similar Graco TurboBooster . . . but the numerous adjustments and upgrades may make it worth the expense.

Rating: B+