Recaro is a brand famous for its racing seats. Their seats are found in many high-end automobiles, and they’ve been manufacturing them since the 1960’s. Has Recaro’s experience helped them build the perfect convertible car seat? Read on for my in-depth review of the Recaro Performance RIDE.
The Performance RIDE has generous side-impact protection through the use of EPS foam in the shell. It also has padded wings built into the headrest, which of course are height adjustable to help cushion and protect the head.
While there aren’t any particularly innovative features built into the seat for safety, owners of Recaro seats have had good things to say about their protection in the event of a crash. This comes as no surprise since Recaro has built nothing but car seats for many years.
Weight and Dimensions
Depth: 22” – The depth of this seat is more than most out there. Combined with its tall base, the seat takes up quite a bit of front-to-back room in the seat when installed rear-facing. If you have tall passengers seated in front, or a compact car, this seat is not a good choice for rear-facing. If you have a large vehicle and/or shorter passengers up front, or if you only plan to use it forward-facing, this shouldn’t be a concern.
Width: 19” – The width of this seat is average, so it doesn’t get in the way of other passengers or child seats along the same bench in most cars.
Height: 27” – The Performance RIDE has a pretty tall base. This can actually make it easier to put smaller children in the seat. When it’s used forward-facing with taller children, the headrest does stand taller than a lot of seats out there which can block rear visibility.
Weight: 20.5 pounds – The weight of this seat is slightly on the high side, which isn’t unusual for seats with extra side impact protection. It’s not so heavy that weight should be a concern unless you plan to travel frequently with the seat or move it between cars often.
Ease of installation is one of the strong points for this seat.
First off, the instruction manual is well written and includes plenty of detailed pictures.
When used with LATCH, it’s simple to get the straps snug. If used with the vehicle’s belt, it’s very easy to guide the buckle through the belt path, which can be a challenge with other seats.
The Performance RIDE does not have a bubble level, but does include a level indicator line.
This seat is certified for use in airplanes both forward and rear facing.
The rear-facing weight limit of this seat is 40 pounds, which is better than most. However, due to the design of the base, leg room is not great with this seat when rear facing. If you plan to use the seat rear facing for well beyond 2 years, this may not be the best option; I’d instead go with a Foonf, Radian RXT, or Primo Viaggio. If this seat will mainly be used forward facing this won’t be an issue.
The Performance RIDE has a weight limit of 65 pounds and height limit of 50” when used forward facing. These limits are both higher than most seats on the market. This makes it a pretty good option for children in higher height or weight percentiles.
This seat does sit high, so when used with tall children the headrest does block some of your rear visibility.
Making sizing adjustments is simple with this seat. A favorite feature of mine is no-rethread harnesses – this means when you adjust the height of the shoulder harnesses, you don’t need to remove them and rethread into another row, which typically would require removing the seat. With the Performance RIDE, you simply turn a harness adjustment knob found on either side of the seat and pull up or down on the headrest. This moves the headrest and harness together. Easy!
The seat has two recline positions – one for rear and one for forward facing, easily adjusted by pulling a bar underneath the front of the seat and rotating the seat back or forward.
Fabric and Design
Recaro offers a total of ten different fabrics, eight of which are widely available.
The fabric has a nice feel to it and is easy to wipe clean.
For more thorough cleaning, the cover is removable. It takes a bit more work to get the cover off and back on again than some other brands, but it’s not too difficult other than requiring a lot of steps. One downside to this seat’s cover is that it is not machine washable. It must be hand washed with a soft cloth or sponge and hung to dry.
Warranty and Customer Service
This seat has a 1 year warranty, which is typical of convertible seats.
As far as customer service, Recaro is not as highly regarded as Britax and other companies which only make child car seats. If getting fast and thorough support is important to you, take this into consideration.
All seats have an expiration date – a date that you need to discontinue using the seat so it can continue to work properly in the event of an accident. This seat has an expiration of 6 years from the date of manufacturer.
An expiration date of 6 years is typical of many models, especially those that are less expensive. However, recently there have been more seats with 7, 8 and even 9 year expiration dates. While 6 years is still long enough for one child to grow up in the seat, families who will be using this seat for multiple children should take this into consideration.
This seat has a pretty average price tag. It costs around what most Britax and Evenflo seats do. I would consider it to be a decent value – not overpriced, but it doesn’t offer additional features which make it a bargain.
This seat includes a cup holder, which can be removed if you’d prefer. Many convertible seats include and infant insert in the box, but this seat does not. However, you can call Recaro at 1-888-9RECARO to obtain one for free.
Again, the infant insert is available directly through Recaro. This is the only optional accessory they make.
- Great overall quality
- Very easy installation
- Harness doesn’t have to be rethreaded to adjust height
- Comfortable fabric
- High forward-facing height/weight limits
- Large in height and depth
- Leg room is limited when installed rear-facing
- Cover is not machine washable
The Recaro Performance RIDE is a good seat with a few limitations. The size is the biggest concern. If leg space is at a premium for those in the front seat, and you’ll be using the seat rear facing, I would look to a different model. Legroom is also limited for the child when used rear-facing.
If this seat will only be used forward facing, I don’t hesitate to give it a recommendation. It still sits tall, but leg room no longer becomes an issue. It’s a very easy seat to install and adjust, which can greatly help in making the seat safer by ensuring it’s used properly every time. The fabric is comfortable and the seat has a nice look to it. If you’re looking at the Performance RIDE vs. the older ProRIDE, I would go with the Performance RIDE for its better fabric.