If your child is reaching the maximum height or weight limit of their infant seat, you may be on the hunt for the next car seat stage: the convertible seat. A convertible seat will take your child from rear-facing to forward-facing once they are ready to be turned around. The Britax Advocate and Maxi Cosi Pria 85 are two high-end convertible seats with plenty of added features between the two of them. While the Pria 85 has a higher weight limit, overall, I found that the Britax Advocate is a safer, more user-friendly seat and ultimately my top pick.
How Are They the Same?
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 and the Britax Advocate both feature impact protection that is well above federal standards. Both car seats have multiple levels of side impact protection, including additional head support to help keep your child’s head in place in the event of an accident. The Advocate and Pria 85 car seats have different, but similar, impact absorbing materials to help reduce the forces transferred to a child in the event of a collision.
Premium padding and fabrics
The Britax Advocate and Maxi Cosi Pria 85 are both very comfortable seats. They feature premium fabrics that are soft on your child’s skin, and both seats are also generously padded to keep them comfy for longer trips. Personally, I prefer the fabric that is on the Pria 85 because it is similar to t-shirt material, which I think is among the comfiest of materials out there!
Easy buckle system
The Pria 85 and Advocate each come equipped with easy buckle systems, which help keep the car seat harness straps out of the way when putting your child in the seat. This little feature can save a lot of hassle involved in trying to dig under your child and pull out all of the straps. It definitely comes in handy!
Easy remove cover
The Pria 85 and Advocate each have an easy to remove cover. What exactly does this mean? You can remove the cover without having to take the car seat out of the car, saving a ton of time and effort. Although they both feature an easy to remove cover, only the Pria 85 has a machine washable and dryer-friendly cover. The Advocate’s cover is hand wash only, and cannot be put in the dryer.
Both of these seats come with a no-rethread harness, which seems to be standard on a lot of car seats these days. A no-rethread harness means you can adjust the height of the harness without removing the straps from the back of the seat. The harness unlocks with a squeeze of a button at the top of the seat, and then you can move it up or down accordingly. This is extremely helpful in finding the right fit for your child.
My first car seat did not have a no-rethread harness, and I spent quite a bit of time unthreading and rethreading the harness straps only to find that the harness wasn’t quite at the right level for my son. A no-rethread harness not only makes the process quicker, it also allows you to keep your child in the seat while you make the adjustment, allowing for a more accurate fit.
How Are They Different?
Car seat weight
Maxi Cosi Pria 85: 20 pounds
Britax Advocate: 30 pounds
The Advocate is significantly heavier than the Pria 85. Much of its added weight comes from the Clicktight technology and the steel frame. If you are going to be doing a lot of air travel with your convertible seat, or switch the seat between cars, weight is definitely something to consider.
Maxi Cosi Pria 85: 9 positions
Britax Advocate: 14 positions
The more harness positions a car seat has, the more accurate of a fit you will have. The harness shoulder straps should be as close to your child’s shoulder level as possible, so the smaller the jump between harness levels, the better. The Advocate wins this category with 14 positions versus the Pria 85’s 9 positions.
Maxi Cosi Pria 85:
Rear-facing Child Weight Limit: 14-40 pounds
Forward-facing Child Weight Limit: 22-85 pounds
Child Standing Height: 52 inches
Rear-facing Child Weight Limit: 5 – 40 pounds
Forward-facing Child Weight Limit: 20 – 65 pounds
Child Standing Height: 49 inches
The Pria 85 has one of the highest forward-facing weight limits available. It is best to try to keep your child in their convertible seat for as long as possible, because it is safer for them than a harness or booster seat.
However, it is worth noting that the Pria 85 has a minimum weight recommendation of 14 pounds. Some people opt to start out with a convertible seat instead of an infant seat when their child is first born. If you are thinking about doing this, it will not be possible with the Pria 85.
Maxi Cosi Pria 85: Yes
Britax Advocate: No, but can buy separately
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 comes already equipped with a cup holder. Rest assured that you can purchase a cup holder for the Britax Advocate separately if you want to!
Maxi Cosi Pria 85: 20.2 x 29.8 x 18.5 in
Britax Advocate: 20.5″ W x 23.5″ H x 23″ D
The Pria 85 isn’t as deep as the advocate, which makes it fit better in any car, especially small cars. That 4.5 inches can really make a difference in the amount of room the person sitting in front of the car seat will have. I know in my small sedan, the passenger seat is uncomfortably far forward at the moment because my son’s car seat is behind it in the rear-facing position, and it takes up a LOT of space.
Maxi Cosi Pria 85: 3 positions
Britax Advocate: 7 positions
Recline positions are important because different vehicles have different seat slants. The car seat should be installed at a certain angle, dependent on your child’s age and whether the seat is rear-facing or forward-facing, in order to be the safest. Having more recline positions means you can get a more accurate recline no matter what kind of car you have.
Installation Assistance Technology
The Britax Advocate features Clicktight, which is a function that helps to install the car seat each and every time. With Clicktight, you simply lift the front of the car seat, feed the seat belt through the guided path, and shut the car seat closed. Clicktight tightens the belt for you, so you don’t have to worry about it being tight enough.
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 doesn’t have installation assistance technology, which is pretty common still these days. I do like to look for some sort of assistance technology on a car seat because it shows that the company is progressive in the features they add. It also makes it a lot easier to install the car seat and gives you some peace of mind knowing that it is installed correctly.
Car seats need to be installed at a certain level based on your child’s age and whether they are rear-facing or forward-facing. Getting this angle right can be difficult depending on the slant of your vehicle’s seat and the way the seat fits in your car.
The Britax Advocate features a bubble level indicator, which helps guide you as to when the car seat is at the correct angle, whether it is rear-facing or forward-facing. The alternative to the bubble level is a simple line printed on the car seat, usually as a sticker or built into the side of the seat. How the line works is, you need to align the seat so that the printed line is parallel with the ground. It takes some guesstimating and isn’t exactly accurate in my opinion. The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 has a line, instead of a bubble level indicator, so the Britax Advocate definitely wins this category.
- 4.6 out of 5 stars, 159 reviews – Target.com
- 4.6 out of 5 stars, 166 reviews – Babies “R” Us
Maxi Cosi Pria 85
- 4.5 out of 5 stars, 21 reviews – buy buy Baby
- 4.4 out of 5 stars, 50 reviews – Babies “R” Us
Ease of Use Ratings
Although safety should always be a leading concern when it comes to our children, you shouldn’t obsess about the safety differences between car seat brands. They are required to pass strict federal safety tests before being sold in the US market.
However, getting the installation or usage of a car seat wrong can introduce safety issues. That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues ease of use ratings (see below) for each car seat. The easier to use and the clearer the instructions, the more likely your child is to be buckled up properly every time.
The summary rating for the Britax Advocate Rear-Facing is 4 stars as you can see in the table below. It received 5 stars in the forward-facing category.
The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 received 4 stars in rear-facing mode and 3 stars forward facing.
Look here for our full review of the best car seats.
Overall, I recommend going with the Britax Advocate over the Maxi Cosi Pria 85. I chose the Advocate because it has more features than the Pria 85. I do like that the Pria 85 is more compact and allows a child to stay in it for longer because of its higher height and weight limits, but overall the Advocate has more and is not too much more expensive. Personally, I actually like the look of the Pria 85 over the Advocate, and was leaning towards it, but the Advocate has so much technology to help install the seat properly and correctly, that it had to be my top pick overall.