If you’ve started researching for the best convertible car seat, you’ve likely come across the Chicco NextFit line of car seats. The Chicco NextFit iX Zip is a top of the line convertible seat that offers the majority of features that you’ll find on any convertible seat. I will tell you right off the bat that this car seat is a quality seat, and though it is expensive, it is worth it for the added features.
Are Expensive Car Seats Safer?
At first glance, you may see the price of the NextFit iX Zip and think “no way.” It’s pricey. But does that mean it’s safer?
See our coverage here of the safest convertible car seats.
I’ve said this in other reviews, but it is worth saying again. All car seats that are available on the market must pass certain crash tests and safety standards. That being said, there are features to keep an eye out for that add a degree of safety to a car seat. Typically, car seats with more safety features are more expensive because they have those added features, but don’t assume all expensive car seats are safer, and similarly, some less expensive car seats do come with additional safety features.
NextFit iX Zip Specifications
Height and weight limitations
- Child height: 49 inches or shorter
- Rear facing weight: 5-40 pounds
- Forward facing weight: 22-65 pounds
- Weight: 26.5 pounds
- Height: 29.2 inches
- Width: 19 inches
- Depth: 21 inches
Direct Safety Features
Energy absorbing materials
The NextFit iX Zip features a steel frame, as well as energy absorbing foam. These materials help minimize the forces transferred to the child in the seat in the event of an accident. The seat features a deep shell, lined with the foam, which gives the Zip great side impact protection as well.
Newborn insert – 5-11 lbs
Most seats come with some sort of infant insert, and this Chicco seat is no different. The newborn insert included in the NextFit iX Zip helps provide additional head and neck support for infants from 5-11 pounds. So if you’re considering having a convertible seat from day 1, this seat has you covered.
Indirect Safety Features
I refer to some safety features as indirect because they won’t directly protect your child in the event of a crash, but they will help you to install the car seat correctly or properly secure your child in their seat, which in turn will help protect your child.
LockSure & SuperCinch
Car seats can be confusing and difficult to install correctly. Between reading through every instruction and making sure all the straps are tight enough, it can be easy to make a mistake.
LockSure and SuperCinch are Chicco’s easy-to-install technologies. LockSure is a feature that helps get a properly tightened installation when installing the car seat using your vehicle’s belts.
Supercinch helps the parent get the LATCH straps tight enough without an overload of effort. Both of these features help to ensure an easier installation, which in turn should result in more correctly installed car seats.
Bubble level indicator
The NextFit iX Zip features a bubble level indicator, which helps you in properly installing the seat. Different cars have different slants to their back seats. The bubble level indicator, along with the seat’s 9 recline positions, helps you achieve the proper recline no matter what kind of car you have.
A no-rethread harness means that you can adjust the harness level without completely taking the harness out of the car seat. On car seats without a no-rethread harness, you must unthread the harness straps through the back of the car seat and then reinsert them back into the car seat at the desired harness height.
With a no-rethread harness, you simply squeeze a button at the top of the car seat, and the whole back of the car seat can move up or down until you reach the desired harness height. It may sound like a basic feature, but it is so much simpler to adjust a harness that doesn’t need to be rethreaded. Plus, it reduces the chance of rethreading the harness back into the seat incorrectly.
Number of harness positions
The higher the number of harness positions, the better. The Chicco NextFit iX Zip has 9 harness positions, which is among the highest seen on convertible seats. As your child grows, you will need to adjust the harness level to be as close to their shoulder level as possible. The closer you get, the safer the harness is for your child. Therefore, the more potential harness positions available, the better.
Features for the Parent
Easy to remove seat cover
The NextFit iX Zip has the easy to remove seat cover that was initially featured on the NextFit Zip. You won’t find many seat covers on the market that are machine washable. There are horror stories out there of parents who did machine wash their seat cover, only to ruin it and need to buy a new one!
I’ve personally never removed my son’s car seat cover and washed it, so I can’t say from personal experience the importance of the easy to remove cover. However, it’s one of those things where you’ll be glad you have it when you need it.
The Zip’s cover is a breeze to take off in the event of a major spill or just to keep it tidy in general. The only downfall is that the seat cover cannot be put into your dryer – it has to hang dry. If you plan this outright, it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re looking to be able to quickly wash and dry it, you’ve got the wrong idea. Washing the seat cover will take the car seat out of commission for a bit.
This is one of those things that you don’t even realize is amazing until you have to go without it. I remember with my son’s infant seat, I would plop him in, only to have to dig under him to get to the harness straps. Doesn’t make for a happy baby. The harness straps on the NextFit iX Zip can be propped to the side, so that you can put your child in without putting them on top of the harness straps themselves. This is such a small feature, but it saves a lot of hassle.
At 26.5 pounds, this isn’t a car seat you’ll want to be lugging around a lot. Most of the weight can be attributed to the steel frame, which is there to help absorb impact forces in the event of a car accident. It doesn’t bother me personally to have a heavy seat because I don’t switch my seat between cars much. But if you will be transferring your seat between cars or taking your car seat on vacation, weight is definitely something you’ll need to consider.
I can look at dimensions on a website but it’s hard to visualize what that will look like in your car. The NextFit iX Zip is big. If you have a compact car, you may want to look into a convertible seat better suited for your sized car, especially if you will be using this rear-facing.
It is especially big depth-wise, so you may have to pull the front passenger seat up uncomfortably so in a smaller sedan, or could have issues getting the recline right. If you’re in doubt, take the measurements and try to size up how it would fit in your car. It could also help to go see it in a store so you can get a better idea of how big it is in person.
How does the NextFit iX Zip compare to the older version NextFit Zip?
I was expecting to see more changes on the NextFit iX Zip, but they’re still important to mention.
- The iX has 9 harness positions, while the older version had 6. Like I said before, the more harness positions, the better.
- The harness on the iX is easier to tighten. It uses force-multiplying technology, making it easier on the parent to properly secure their child.
- The iX features an updated chest clip that is easier for parents to use, and harder for little ones to undo.
- The iX includes an updated feature, LockSure, that makes it easier to install the car seat using your car’s seat belt.
Given these updates, while I do think the price point is fair for the new model, if you’re on the fence about the iX model, definitely check out the older model. It has most of the features of the iX and is a great car seat at a significantly lower cost.
- Babies “R” Us – 4.9 out of 5 stars, 51 reviews
- buybuyBaby – 4.9 of out 5 stars, 16 reviews
- Target.com – 4.8 out of 5 stars, 6 reviews
Other than it being heavy and big, there really is nothing bad to say about the Chicco NextFit iX Zip. It is a great car seat, loaded with features for both the child and parent.
I do see value in the added safety features. I am willing to spend extra money on certain things, and a car seat is one of them. Not only will these features protect your child in the event of an accident. They will also help ensure your child will be secured in their seat correctly for each and every car ride.