Convertible Car Seat Review: Eddie Bauer XRS 65Price: $90

Type: Convertible seat.

NHTSA ease of use rating: two stars rear facing, three stars forward facing.

Limits: 5 to 40 lbs. rear facing, 22 to 65 lbs. front-facing.

Pros: Small profile fits well in smaller vehicles. EPP foam. Good ease of use and installation in forward-facing mode.

Cons: Limited recline. Must rethread harness to adjust height. Hard to install rear-facing.

Comments: Exclusive to Target, the Eddie Bauer XRS 65 features a 40 lb. rear-facing limit, four harness slots, three crotch positions and a relatively compact size. We liked the multi-position headrest, although the clunky cup holder adds to the seat’s width (the cup holder is removable).

The key downside to the XRS 65: you have to rethread the harness to adjust the harness height, which of course is common on lower price convertibles. And there are limited adjustments to the base to recline the seat—basically you get a flip-out bar, but no level indicator to indicate the correct angle.

Consumer Reports rated the crash protection of this seat “better.”

Feedback on this seat seems split evenly between folks who like it and those who don’t. The overall fit and easy install plus the EPP foam are mentioned as pluses, while critics say it is hard to install rear-facing . . . and the seat lacks many amenities. We’ve lowered the ratings on this seat based on continued installation frustration.

Parents who use this seat forward-facing for kids over age 2 are much happier, liking the small profile and attactive price.

One caveat: you can find this exact seat minus the infant body pillow sold as the Safety 1st Guide 65 for just $69 at Walmart. If you don’t need the infant pillow, save yourself $21 and go for the very similar Safety 1st Guide 65.

Rating: B-