Eddie Bauer may not be the first brand that comes to mind when shopping for a car seat, but the XRS 65 is actually made by the company that makes Safety 1st and Maxi-Cosi seats. This seat is the same as the Safety 1st Guide 65, but with different fabric. Read on for a detailed review of the XRS 65.
While there’s nothing innovative about the safety features of the XRS 65, this seat has passed all the same NHTSA crash tests that its competitors have. It does have side impact protection built into the frame, which isn’t something you’ll get with low-end car seats. If you’re looking for a more advanced seat, you’ll need to look beyond this price range and more in the neighborhood of $200+.
Weight and Dimensions
Depth: 22” – The depth of this seat is between average and on the high side. In smaller cars with the front seats most of the way back, you will likely not have room for this seat. In larger cars or with average-height height passengers in a midsize car it should fit well.
Width: 18.5” – The width is a little below average, so it allows a good amount of space for other passengers in the back seat.
Height: 25” – Height is on the low side, so it doesn’t disrupt rear visibility.
Weight: 13.6 pounds – This is a pretty lightweight seat. Combines with its relatively compact size, this makes it a good seat for travel. It’s also FAA approved for airline use.
The instruction manual is fairly well laid out. The ease of installation could be better. As with all convertible seats, the seat should be reclined more when rear facing. This seat includes a “recline bar” that you flip underneath to keep in more upright when you change to forward facing. However, there isn’t a bubble level to ensure the seat is installed at the proper angle – just a simple level line on the upper part of the seat. When forward facing, this line actually needs to tilt forward a bit for the seat to be at the proper incline, which is a bit confusing.
Both the LATCH and the seat belt installation methods can prove tricky when trying to tighten well enough to minimize movement of the seat down to under one inch as recommended. If you have this issue, I recommend trying both installation methods to see which is more secure. Unfortunately, ease of installation isn’t this seat’s strong point.
The XRS 65 can be used rear facing starting at 5 pounds and up to 40 pounds. This is a higher weight limit than many seats. The infant insert isn’t great and can get bunched up, but this is really only need until around 10-12 pounds.
As the name indicates, the XRS 65 has a 65 pound weight limit when used forward facing. This is fairly average. The height limit is 52 inches, which is a little better than most seats. This seat should fit most children until at least 7 years of age.
One weak point of this seat is tightening the harness. This is done with an adjustment strap between the legs, which is common of many seats, but this one takes quite a bit of strength to tighten. When in rear facing mode, the strap is up against the seat back and that makes this even tougher.
Otherwise, the seat has a good range of adjustability with three adjustment slots for the buckle and five for the shoulder harnesses. Moving to any of these positions requires rethreading the buckle or harness. The headrest is also adjustable to five positions using a bar in the back.
Fabric and Design
As pointed out earlier, the only difference between the XRS 65 and Guide 65 is the fabric. The Eddie Bauer seat has a stitched fabric with a look similar to some winter coats. It’s quite well padded and soft, and feels a bit nicer than the Guide 65, though at a higher cost.
The seat cover isn’t the easiest to take off, but is fully removable. Unfortunately, it’s not machine washable – it must be hand washed and air dried.
Warranty and Customer Service
This seat has a one year warranty, which is the industry standard. Dorel Juvenile Group, the maker of this seat, doesn’t have as good of service as some of the other big brands – reviews are a bit mixed. If you foresee calling for help with installation or other questions, choosing another brand in this price range such as Graco or Evenflo may be a good idea.
The XRS 65’s expiration is 6 years from the date of manufacture, which is the same as most car seats on the market.
Though there are some weaknesses with this seat, that’s typical for a lower priced car seat. It’s actually a pretty good value for the fabric quality and size/weight limits.
An infant insert is included with this seat for supporting very small babies. A removable cup holder is also included. It isn’t super sturdy, but is a nice addition to have.
- Fairly narrow and lightweight
- Nice padding and fabric for the price
- Good range of adjustment
- Good height and weight limits
- Good value
- Difficult installation
- Harness is tough to get snug
- Cover is not machine washable
Overall, the Eddie Bauer XRS 65 is a pretty good value. It’s worth comparing prices between the XRS 65 and Guide 65 since they’re so similar. If the installation was easier on these seats, I would give them very high marks. As it is, there aren’t many seats in this price range with a 65 pound weight limit, so this is about as good as it gets.
If you’re able to spend about $20-40 more, the Graco MyRide 65 LX is a great choice with easier installation.