June 2017 update: Recaro is withdrawing from the US market. There may still be some seats available online while stores sell out existing stock.
Booster type: High back booster
Weight: 30 to 120 lbs., 37” to 61” tall.
IIHS rating: Best Bet.
NHTSA ease of use rating: Three out of five stars.
Pros: Side impact protection, works to 120 lbs.
Cons: No LATCH. No cup holders. Can be tippy. Difficult to buckle into car.
Comments: Side impact protection is the headline here—the Performance Booster works to 120 lbs. and has a wide seat. This model has “cool mesh” air ventilation and a recline feature to better fit the slope of a vehicle’s back seat. Other features include memory foam, 11 position headrest, and built in LATCH system.
Reader feedback on this seat is mostly positive. One minor complaint: the LATCH strap system is not adjustable so you can’t get a tight fit to the back seat. Recaro notes that the point is not to get a tight fit, rather to keep the seat from flying around when not in use. But parents note the loosely attached seat makes it hard for kids to jump in and out by themselves.
Also: a previous version of this seat drew complaints that it was tippy in vehicles with bucket seats. In 2013, Recaro came out with a revised version of this seat that addressed these concerns. After this change, we saw a decrease in comments on this issue. Bottom line: this is an excellent booster. Rating: A-