Better iX Zip versions available
January 11, 2018
I own three Chicco NextFit car seats and just bought two NextFit iX Zip LUXE. Due to having multiple vehicles, the time it takes to properly install a car seat, and that our youngest son is now too big for the Chicco Keyfit 30, we decided to have two NextFit car seats for each car. We bought two NextFit iX Zip LUXE because we wanted the zip-out liner and we liked the idea of having padding around the crotch and legs to make the restraint more comfortable for long rides. The Chicco Nextfit ix Zip LUXE is a bit of mixed bag.The Postives:1. Chicco NextFit car seats are tanks! They are heavy, large, well padded, and wrap around the child. They remind me of the seats that you see in Nascar. If adult automobile seats shared similar design, I would imagine traffic fatalities and serious injuries would decrease. I am so impressed by the construction that I would not even consider buying another brand of car seat.2. Leveling the seat properly is extraordinarily easy due to the adjustable base and built in leveling bubbles. Even people who are not handy, not technically savvy, and unable to hang pictures straight on their wall will still be able to position this car seat appropriately. 3. The child harnessing adjustments are extraordinarily easy to use and very intuitive.4. The latch to attach the car seat to the care provides extraordinary leverage and allows for tightening the car seat in position very securely. I use both the latch and the vehicle seat belts just in case. The two fastening methods do not interfere with each other, at least not in any of my vehicles.5. The car seat is very easily adaptable to children of multiple sizes and accommodates a large variety of heights and weights. Adjustments for size are easily made.6. The padding detaches via zipper. Children have a tendency to throw up in the car. On the regular Chicco NextFit, detaching the padding for machine washing is no simple task. The zip out design solves that problem.7. Instructions provided are very clear and thorough.The Negatives:1. The zip out design makes installation using the vehicle seat belt more difficult. You have to unzip the lining to work the seat belt through the car seat. In my opinion, this negative is outweighed by the positive that the lining unzips for easy cleaning.2. The LUXE incorporates leather/synthetic leather into its design in order to achieve its "automotive design" feel. This material is rough to the touch. It may look nice but it is impractical, especially when you are dealing with children who have soft and delicate skin. The LUXE is the most expensive of the NextFit iX Zip line and simultaneously the "automotive design" feature makes the LUXE the worst of the NextFit iX Zip line. I would think that the NextFit iX Air might be worth the money due to the "breathable mesh" but the "automotive design" is actually an undesirable quality. The only reason I bought the LUXE was because AlbeeBaby.com had the jade color on sale for $249.99. Owning two for the price of $500 was too attractive to pass up. I have yet to see whether the rough texturing on this leather will cause issues for my sons. If it does, I will use my old NextFit car seats in the minivan, which we use for long trips, and move the NextFit iX LUXE into my 4 door sedan which is used for shorter and incidental trips. My recommendation is to avoid the LUXE model.3. Finally, the reason that I give this product 3-stars. The leather/synthetic leather would be enough to move it from 5 stars to 4 stars simply because the other 3 versions of this car seat do not have that drawback and the other three versions easily qualify as five stars, except for this one issue. What is that issue? "Padded ComfortFlex harness system keeps both sides of waist belt out of the way for easy in/out!" The padded component that wraps around the thighs (not the crotch) has some sort of springy plastic or spring steel that runs through it. This part is what holds the straps apart to make it easy to place your child in the car seat without incidentally sitting them on top of the child restraints. That is great for placing the child in the car seat, however, that is not so good in the event of an accident. If you press firmly against the padding you can easily feel the hard and thin edge of the metal. I can hardly imagine what that might do to a child during an auto accident. Be warned: All of the Chicco NextFit iX Zip models have this component. The good news is that you can easily remove this component. That is exactly what I did. Without that component I would rate all the Chicco NextFit iX Zip models as 5-stars except for the LUXE which I would rate 4-stars. But since they include this component that I think is dangerous to the child in the event of a car crash, at least harmful relative to its absence, I am rating this car seat as 3-stars. If I were not able to remove this component, I would return this product and buy the Chicco NextFit iX instead. Since it can be removed, I will keep the product and deal with the leather component as I mentioned earlier.Pros1. Built like a tank!2. Easy to position properly and install.3. Easy to adjust to children of different sizes.4. Easy to secure child.5. Easy to secure car seat.6. Zip out lining for machine wash.7. Excellent instructions.Cons1. "Padded ComfortFlex harness system keeps both sides of waist belt out of the way for easy in/out!" Huge issue. Spring metal inside of padding is potentially dangerous. Why not just use velcro to hold the straps out of the way? Be sure to remove this component.2. "Automotive-inspired styling" is uncomfortable to the touch. Avoid the LUXE for a different model of Chicco NextFit iX Zip.3. Zip lining makes it more difficult to utilize vehicle seatbelt to secure car seat.
* This product review was collected by the manufacturer.