Hands-on Gear Review

Chicco NextFit Review

Price:   $300.00 List | $299.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Very easy to install, non-rethread harness, comfortable, nice quality
Cons:  Hard to remove fabric, difficult belt lock-off
Bottom line:  A nice seat that is easy to install, but the price is higher and the crash results average
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Min/Max Rear Facing Passenger Weight:  5 - 40 lbs
Min/Max Forward Facing Passenger Weight:  22 - 65 lbs
Max Rear Facing Passenger Height:  Not Listed
Manufacturer:   Chicco

The Skinny

The Chicco NextFit is a good seat with several nice features. This seat is one of the best looking products in the bunch. With an easy to install SuperCinch strap and comfortable padding with a quality design and attention to detail, it is hard not to like this product. Unfortunately for the NextFit, the competition for convertible seats was stiff with this collection, and it paled somewhat in comparison to some of the competition. The major sticking point for the NextFit is that all Britax products we tested earned more points, with advantages for ease of installation and some with better crash test results. We think parents could be happy with the Chicco but might be happier with an alternate option.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Thursday
May 24, 2018

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Chicco is an Italian brand with over 30 years of experience. They are popular in the US for their Keyfit line of car seats and compatible strollers. Chicco was started in 1958 by an inventor of pharmaceutical devices, Pietro Catelli. After the birth of his first child, he dedicated himself to the creation of better solutions for parents and babies by creating baby care products for every stage of babyhood.

The Chicco NextFit
The Chicco NextFit

Performance Comparison


This chart is a comparison of overall scores for the car seats we tested in this review. While the Chicco NextFit (in blue) impressed during testing, it didn't manage a high enough score to win an award.


The next sections share information on how the Chicco performed during testing.

The Chicco shell is thicker than most in the head area of the seat. It also has EPS foam to help absorb energy in the event of a crash
The Chicco shell is thicker than most in the head area of the seat. It also has EPS foam to help absorb energy in the event of a crash

Crash Test


The Chicco NextFit crash test results indicate that this seat meets and exceeds the Federal Minimum safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213. This seat has head and chest crash test sensor data that are lower than the maximum limit in sled crash tests designed to the same specifications used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their testing. All of the products on the market meet or exceed the guidelines and should, therefore, be considered safe. Some seats, however, show significantly lower sensor data than others, indicating that they offer an additional margin of safety than the competition. The Chicco seat is not one of these products. With several products in the review recording lower G-force results.

The graphs share crash test data from the head and chest sensors stored in the test dummy in the Chicco (shown in black). The test results for the products with the least G forces for each sensor are in green for comparison.

The Chicco could not compete in the HIC sensor result with a 336.6 compare to the Allegiance's 186.
The Chicco could not compete in the HIC sensor result with a 336.6 compare to the Allegiance's 186.
The chest sensor data for the Chicco compared to that of the Clek Foonf
The chest sensor data for the Chicco compared to that of the Clek Foonf

The sensor located in the head of the crash test dummy in testing for the Essentials by Britax Allegiance had the lowest G forces results in the group and the Clek Foonf dummy's chest sensor recorded the lowest amount of G-forces.

Installing the Chicco using the LATCH method is one of the easiest in the group
Installing the Chicco using the LATCH method is one of the easiest in the group

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Chicco earned a 9 of 10 in our tests for installation using the LATCH system. The high for the group is 10 for the Clek Foonf, Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB and the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB.

This Chicco NextFit has what the manufacturer calls "SuperCinch"  which is an alternative style of strap that uses a pulley type system that makes tightening the LATCH straps far easier than ordinary straps
This Chicco NextFit has what the manufacturer calls "SuperCinch", which is an alternative style of strap that uses a pulley type system that makes tightening the LATCH straps far easier than ordinary straps

A huge part of what makes this seat easy to install using LATCH is the SuperCinch strap design on the LATCH anchors. This feature allows you to pull one side of the strap to tighten the anchors and then the other side with the super design that makes it very easy to tighten quickly and with little force. While we struggled with some of the competition to get them tight enough, the Chicco is by far easier to manage. On the downside, the base is broader than the LATCH connectors which makes installing the seat more difficult because the bottom gets in the way of connections and inhibits tightening. The recline adjustment has several options and is easy to adjust even in the rear-facing position. Most testers preferred using LATCH for installation on the Chicco.

The bubble level indicator on the Chicco is easier to use than the line indicator on most of the competition.
The recline adjustment on the Chicco operates from the front of the seat  which makes it difficult to adjust after the seat is installed rear facing.
The level on the Chicco is a liquid indicator with a bubble (above left). The bubble needs to be within the range indicated on the level for proper installation. The recline adjusts with a handle on the bottom of the seat front (above right) to help achieve the correct installation angle.

The vehicle belt path on the Chicco has an easy to use belt lock off in the forward facing position
The vehicle belt path on the Chicco has an easy to use belt lock off in the forward facing position

Ease of Install - Belt


The Chicco earned a respectable score for installation with the vehicle belt with an 8 of 10.

Whether it is forward facing or rear facing the Chicco belt lock off is relatively easy to master
The external lock off on the Chicco is easier to use than those found under the seat

These photos show the belt paths for the rear-facing configuration (above left) and the forward-facing installation (above right).

The two part process of the belt lock off on the Chicco help make it one of the easiest lock offs in the group to use
The Chicco belt lock off has two parts that overlap to secure the vehicle belt in place

The Chicco is a little convoluted with a belt path that requires seat dismantling before you can thread the belt. The belt goes under the seat cover, but there is no way to see what you are doing, so you will be threading it by feel. The belt lock-off is much easier to use than a lot of the competition, but threading the belt was tougher. The additional problem is that once you get the vehicle belt tight enough for a stable install, the belt lock-off is harder to use as the belt wrinkles and prohibits closing the lock. Overall the seat is easy enough to install, but it doesn't have the same level of stability as some of the competition, and we didn't like the final installation as much as the Britax options that feel more secure.

The Chicco offers a unique chest clip that has two width settings. This feature made the chest clip harder to use  and didn't seem to improve its performance.
The Chicco offers a unique chest clip that has two width settings. This feature made the chest clip harder to use, and didn't seem to improve its performance.

Ease of Use


The ease of use race was a tight one for this group of products with only a handful scoring over 7. The Chicco only earned a 6 of 10. The high score for this category is an 8 earned by all of the Britax seats including the Essentials line.

Harness


The buckle on the Chicco is stiff and awkward to use. The chest clip has a unique feature that provides two different widths. We assume this is for child comfort if they are wider or smaller than the average child, but we aren't sure the rare payoff is worth the inconvenience of this clip's functionality. The clip adjustment means you almost have to release it twice if you want to get it off when it is in the tightest position.

Adjusting the hareness height on the Chicco consists of pushing in the button on the top of the headrest and shifting the entire headrest to the desired height
Adjusting the hareness height on the Chicco consists of pushing in the button on the top of the headrest and shifting the entire headrest to the desired height

The harness height adjustment is a non-rethread style operated by squeezing the handle on the top of the seat/headrest (above left) and moving the mechanism up or down to the desired position. This feature is one of the easiest in the group to use, and we like that it can be done on the fly with baby in the seat. This way parents can make adjustments the moment they notice a need as opposed to putting it off and forgetting. This harness has six height options and two crotch strap positions.

The harness release button on the Chicco is visible and located on top of the padding. It does have a little lip on one side to help deter little ones from playing with it
The harness release button on the Chicco is visible and located on top of the padding. It does have a little lip on one side to help deter little ones from playing with it

Both the tightening strap and loosening button for the harness are near the foot of the seat. The strap moves smoothly and doesn't require excessive strength to use. The release button is exposed on top of the fabric and padding and depresses without hesitation.

The LATCH storage are hard plastic pockets on the each side of the Chicco seat base. They are a little awkward to get the anchors into correctly  but they work well once they are properly in place
The pocket storage for the Chicco user manual is located in an easy to access space that will prevent it from getting damaged or lost

LATCH Storage


The Chicco has one of the nicest LATCH storage designs in the group. The anchors and straps store in plastic pockets on the sides of the seat (above left). The anchors and straps only fit in the pocket one way, and it can take a few tries to figure it out, but once in, they are entirely out of the way. The tether strap and hook store in a plastic pocket on the back that also has a door. This pocket is easier to use than the side LATCH anchor storage and closes without hassle. The user manual fits in a pocket on the back of the seat (above right) where damage or loss of the manual is unlikely.

The fabric on the Chicco wraps around and tucks into the shell for a very impressive overall finish. We liked this better than those that wrap around with elastic and look more like slip covers
The fabric on the Chicco wraps around and tucks into the shell for a very impressive overall finish. We liked this better than those that wrap around with elastic and look more like slip covers

Cover


Due to the design of the seat fabric tucking in around the edges of the seat, it is tough to remove the cover for cleaning. We do like the look of this design, but it makes cleaning more of a project than some parents want. The cover can be machine washed on cold in a delicate cycle. It should only be air dried.

The Chicco has a nice overall look and earned the highest score in out tests for quality and comfort
The Chicco has a nice overall look and earned the highest score in out tests for quality and comfort

Comfort/Quality


The Chicco shares the highest score for comfort and quality with the Britax Boulevard ClickTight, the Britax Marathon ClickTight ARB, and the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB each with a 9 of 10. The Chicco has a lot to offer in this metric, and it shows when the products are side-by-side.

The fabric on the Chicco tucks into the shell and creates what looks like a seamless transition with no sharp edges or exposed attachments. The fabric is smooth, soft nylon that should be relatively easy to wipe down, but may also be prone to absorbing liquids. It manages to be soft to the touch without looking worn or flimsy. The padding is thick all around and feels sort of like a memory foam material. You definitely can't feel the hard plastic shell underneath the cushion. We think most little ones will find this seat cozy for even the longest car rides.

The back of the Chicco plastic shell is smooth and easy to clean. It has a middle storage compartment for the tether strap that keeps it out of the way nicely
The back of the Chicco plastic shell is smooth and easy to clean. It has a middle storage compartment for the tether strap that keeps it out of the way nicely

The shell of the seat is self-contained and has a smooth back and sides. This design means it is easy to clean and looks well put together. There are few to no small spaces for dirt and crud to collect. The dense protective foam inside the shell is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). This foam is the industry standard and considered adequate protection for this application. We prefer the use of Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) because it is more environmentally friendly and doesn't off-gas.

The bottom of the Chicco is smooth with no edges or protrusions that could potentially damage the vehicle seat. It also has a rubber edge on it that could potentially help keep it in place
The bottom of the Chicco is smooth with no edges or protrusions that could potentially damage the vehicle seat. It also has a rubber edge on it that could potentially help keep it in place

The overall fit and finish of the Chicco are impressive and one of the best in the group. Everything is contained on board the seat and for the most part hidden away giving it a sleek look and feel. The bottom is smooth and also has no rough edges, so you don't need to worry about potential damage to the vehicle seat.

The Chicco is one of the heavier products in the group at over 25 pounds
The Chicco is one of the heavier products in the group at over 25 pounds

Weight


The Chicco NextFit weighs about 25 lbs more or less depending on the configuration, and it is 19 inches at its widest point. These measurements give it a 5 of 10 score for this metric. These measurements make it one of the heavier and larger seats in the review. The saving grace here is most parents will rarely be moving or transporting a seat more than a handful of times. However, if you are a city dweller or prone to taking a taxi or Uber, you may want to rethink this notion and consider the smaller more lightweight options.

Manufacturer Video


Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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Most recent review: May 24, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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