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If you’ve read previous Evenflo car seat reviews I’ve done, you know that I’ve become a pretty big fan of the brand. They prove time and again that you don’t need to rely on fancy boutique brands for a safe and snug car seat for your kids and you don’t have to kiss your savings goodbye either. Evenflo seats are cost effective and great options for your needs as well as any additional seats you may need for grandparents and other family members that will be transporting your child. Over the years, they’ve also proven to be one of the more innovative companies, constantly coming up with ways to turn ordinary things (like shoulder straps and anchor tethers) into easier to use and extraordinary features.

However, once in awhile you have to go back to basics and with what got you to the show, so to speak. The Evenflo Chase booster seat is one of those “back to basics” seats. There are no fancy bells and whistles to speak of, though you don’t really need them at this point. As you’ll read, it’s a great seat. So good, in fact, that this is the booster that my wife and I ultimately settled on for our sedan.

What is the Evenflo Chase?

chasemainThe Evenflo Chase is the final step in the series of car seats you’ll need to purchase for your child. Chase is a booster seat that sees your child through from the toddler phases to the end. It’s a really simple one piece design that doesn’t have a lot of moving pieces. In place of moving headrests that adjust, the seat is a fair size and the only piece that comes off in general is a velcro headrest that you’ll discard once your child has grown out of it.

With many multi-stage carseats, I like to use the term “grows with your child” to describe the seat’s evolution. There aren’t really any moving or evolving aspects of the seat. All you’ll really be doing is standard things. You move five point harness shoulder straps up as your child grows and eventually discard it altogether when they’re heavy enough (approximately 40lb) in favour of the lap and shoulder belt.

As a reference point, the seat is probably suited to sit an average size 3 ½ – 4 year old out of the box. Adjusting the buckles are similar to most other car seats in this class. You unhook the shoulder straps from the fastener on the back side of the seat and feed them through the next slot.

Some assembly required

cupholderchaseIt isn’t usual that you take a car seat out of the box and it requires assembly. Don’t worry though. This isn’t the type of thing that you take out of the box in pieces and have to put together. I’d actually think that would be unwise and unsafe. The seat itself is put together out of the box. All you need to do is install the armrests. The armrests literally require one screw and about 3-5 minutes of work, though you may have a bit of trouble aligning the screw holes from the bottom. You don’t even need to install them out of the box either. There aren’t any jagged pieces or edges on the seat, so it doesn’t pose a hazard if you just install the seat now and put the arm rests on later.

In case your child spills anything on the seat cushions or has any accidents, all of the cushions come off the seat with plastic clips.

The end of heavy seats

I’ve played around with or installed a few dozen car seats and there is one thing that I can strongly say that I don’t like about the all-in-one style: The weight. Since reclining seats have bases attached in addition to all the seat features, they get heavy. The Clek Foonf, for example, is just a monster. Evenflo balances weight on their seats pretty well but their multi-stage seats can still be pretty heavy.

Good news parents! You’re past all that now. The Evenflo Chase is so light that you can pull it out of the box easily with one hand and move it about just as easily. It probably weighs about 10 pounds all in.

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The finer points of installation

If there is a weakness that the Evenflo Chase has, it’s the finer aspects of installation (including seating your child in the seat.) The seat itself has a lot of old school aspects of Evenflo’s seats. You don’t get their fancy advanced universal anchor tether (UAT) clips, fancy top tether clips or tangle-free straps.

From the installation point of view, this isn’t that easy of an install. The UAT strap only has one adjusting latch on the left side of the seat. It is harder to pull tether than it should be and if you ever tangle it, good luck untangling it. It’s installed now in my car but god help us if we ever have to install it into another car it’s so badly tangled into itself now that I’m not even sure how I’ll untangle it.

It’s a fair bit better when you’re sitting your child in the seat and harnessing them in, however. The harness is a very generous size (much larger than you’ll ever need by the time you discontinue using it) but it is a bit tangle prone. It also has a really stiff pull through which I assume will loosen up a bit over time. That’s probably a good thing though given that you’re seeing many seats recalled nowadays because of chest strap problems.

Is it comfortable?

chairincarchaseI asked the number one car seat critic in my house this question. My 2 year old daughter says “Yeah” it is comfortable. Charlotte has been able to sit in this seat for some of our longer trips without problem. She doesn’t get fussy or complain at all. At her size (approx 3 ½ feet tall and 32 lb,) there is more than enough room for her to grow into the seat. There is just enough cushioning that makes it comfortable and not obnoxious and you don’t have to peel any layers away as your child gets bigger. As I’d mentioned above, the only piece that really needs to come off is the velcro headrest.

Despite my gripes with the tether straps, this is a great seat at its price point and any interested parent should definitely have this on their list of booster seats to check out. The light weight makes it easy to move around and it fits in any sized vehicle, meaning you wouldn’t be playing tetris just to see if the seat can even stand up or install.

The Evenflo Chase booster seat is now available online at BestBuy.ca.

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