Evenflo Sonus

Evenflo continues to bring new products to the market to meet the needs of parents, coming in at impressive price points and ease of use features that make it easier for parents to keep their kids safe in the car.

Read on to learn about the Evenflo Sonus to see if it’s a good option for your family!

 

Sonus Specs:

Rear facing: 5-40 lbs, 19-40″

Forward facing: 22-50 lbs, 28-50″, at least two years old

Lowest harness height: 5.5″ (this will fit a newborn)

Highest harness height: 18.25″ (this will fit most kids to booster readiness)

Crotch buckle positions: Two, at 4″ and 5.75″, with an option to shorten the crotch buckle with special routing instructions for use with newborns under 10 lbs (see page 40 of the manual)

Seat weight: 11lbs

Width at widest point: 18.75″ (at cup holders and at shoulders)

Width of base at back bottom edge: 9″

Harness positions: Six: four for rear facing and three for forward facing. Rear facing positions are at approximately 5.5″, 7.5″, 10″ and 12.75″. Forward facing positions are at approximately 12.75″, 15.5″, 18.25″.

Use UAS until a child weight of: 50lbs (the max weight limit of the seat)

Expiry: 6 years from date of manufacture

 

Highlights:

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent price point at $119.99 (available at Babies R Us) in Lava Red and Boomerang Green
  • Low profile sides
  • Lots of leg room
  • Buckle storage pockets for easier loading of kids (no digging around underneath your child to find the buckles)
  • Harness is not twisty
  • Chest clip does not slide easily along the harness — this is a highlight if you have a child that likes to slide it down.
  • Narrow shape at the back/bottom means it will tend to work well in narrow seating positions, and around plastic hinges in seats with fold-down benches
  • Harness pads will be available soon for purchase, directly from Evenflo
  • Realistic height and weight limits in both modes
  • DUAL CERTIFICATION! For these seats purchased in Canada they are also certified for use in the US. Cool eh? Does not apply to seats purchased in the US. This is an excellent choice for those who travel a lot, no need to worry at all about if a seat in a US rental car is strictly legal for use by visitors.
  • Side venting in the seat shell to improve air flow
  • Like all of Evenflo’s line-up of seats the Sonus is rollover tested

 

Lowlights:

  • Recline angle rear-facing is a fixed line, so no adjustability for a more upright installation for older kids
  • Chest clip does not slide easily along the harness — this is a lowlight if you struggle to adjust it
  • The harness is more narrowly set at the neck than some (harness covers will soon be available for purchase from Evenflo)
  • Tether hook adjuster is larger than average, and in vehicles where the anchor is set very close to the back of the seat, it could be difficult to remove enough slack for a proper installation (such as the parcel shelf of a sedan)

 

Fit to Vehicle

When we first received this seat and tested it quickly in a 2012 Honda Civic for a comparison shot side-by-side another Evenflo tried and true favourite, the SureRide, we were amazed and impressed at how nicely it fit in the vehicle. Here the passenger seat is only a click from all the way back.

Upon testing it in a wide variety of other vehicles we quickly discovered that the Sonus is something of an enigma when predicting whether it will be compact or not when installed rear facing. In some vehicles it surely was, such as in the Civic as shown, and in others it seemed overly large. Extra strange was that even between leather and cloth upholstery of the same make and model (for example the current generation of Honda Odyssey) the Sonus was more compact than the SureRide…or it was bigger. Weird eh? We are really perplexed by this phenomenon and overall have found it to be really excellent where it fits, and not at all a good choice where, by some magical twist of the universe, it just takes up far more room than expected.

Very important to know that there can not be ANY overhang with this seat when it is installed rear facing, so if you have a shallow back seat it may not fit properly.

Also make sure you are using the velcro strap on the flip foot when installing rear facing (see page 38 in your manual).

 

Current generation (in red) and previous (boxier style) Ford Escape – it fit nicely in both.

 

 

A 3-across possibility in some situations – and a great fit in a 2013 Mitsubishi RVR.

 

2017 Ford Explorer was a good fit as well, and if you happen to have inflatable seat belts in your Explorer then the Sonus (or SureRide) are both great options because you can use UAS for a long time.

 

Current generation Honda Odyssey with cloth seats allowed for a good fit on the captain’s seats, and even in the 3rd row middle there was ample space. If you have an Odyssey with the 2nd row middle “8th” seat then good news! Sonus has been approved for use both rear- and forward-facing in that spot where not everything fits due to the narrow size and plastic hinges, provided a tight and correct installation is achieved. Remember there can not be any overhang in rear-facing mode.

2015 Honda CR-V left a medium amount of leg room up front.

And who can resist magnificent colour coordination? One could park a yacht in a 2016 Ford Super Crew but would it be this fashionable?

 

When installing rear facing, the recline level line can be hard to see, and therefore, align correctly. Make sure it is parallel to the groundTech tip: put a sticky note along that edge while you’re installing so it’s easier to eyeball. You CAN use a rolled up towel under the front edge to maintain the needed recline, but you don’t have to if your vehicle seats are perfectly sloped, or you are able to wedge the seat into the vehicle enough to hold the angle needed.

Forward-facing installation is generally straightforward. The nice high belt path means those with long seat belt buckle stalks will be happy, and the seat meshed quite well in most places. In vehicles with the tether anchor on the parcel shelf (the back sill of a sedan) it can be tricky to tighten the tether properly after installing; try pre-tightening, without going overboard and causing the seat to lift up before installation.

Forward-facing in a 2012 Honda Odyssey. Nice low profile makes for easy loading.

The narrow base and high belt path makes it a tidy fit in a lot of places.

Sonus is approved forward facing on the Odyssey 8th seat as well.

This side angle in a 2015 Honda CR-V really illustrates how nice and low it is. Those low sides makes it really easy for kids to get in and out themselves.

Forward facing installations often result in a gap between the back of the car seat and the vehicle seat. This is normal, and per Evenflo’s FAQs, is fine provided you have followed the instructions and have achieved a tight installation.

Fit to Child

Newborns fit nicely in Sonus as both the harness AND crotch buckle can be shortened to provide a proper fit on small babies. Our stand-in for a 6-ish lb baby fits really well.

Sonus’s major claim to fame is tremendous leg room. So much leg room! This 3.75 year old at 35lbs and 39.5″ tall is almost at the rear-facing max height but isn’t squished in the slightest; 11mo, 18lb child’s feet aren’t even touching the vehicle seat yet. Babe at 4.5 months and 16lbs has ages to go before she’d need to cross her legs.

   

The sleepy kiddo in the glasses is old enough to request the head pad for his comfort, but it’s optional – if you find it’s pushing your child’s head forward then remove it, as may be the case with very young babies. With the head pad removed the seat itself is very flat, and so there is no head slump at all.

 

Make sure you check your manual when re-threading the harness straps. There are rules about which can be used rear-facing vs forward.

Sonus fits for a long time forward facing too. At almost 4, 40″ tall, and 33lbs the Sonus is an excellent choice for a child of this build. His parents can be sure that it will last him to booster readiness, which for most kids is 5.5-6 at the earliest. Kids who are heavier for their age would probably be better off in something with a higher weight limit.

Do your kids like to match? These sisters sure do! Tons of room for both the 7yo and her 4yo sister. Ample shoulder width, and good thigh support as kids get taller.

This big-for-her-age 6.5 year old is right at the height AND weight limit AND harness height limit for this seat – too close for comfort to actually drive this way. But, the fact that she just squeaks in is an excellent indication that the 50lb weight limit + 50″ height limit + 18.25″ top harness slot is going to get the vast majority of kids to booster readiness. A child’s ears also need to be contained within the seat of the shell and hers are. Sonus is well-designed and realistic with its limits.

Final Thoughts

We like Sonus a lot. It’s inexpensive, readily available, has oodles of leg room, and is lightweight. The rear-facing and forward-facing limits are very realistic and will fit a wide range of kids. The 50lb harness weight limit will get most kids to booster age, but for those who are heavier for their age it might be better to choose a seat with a 65lb weight limit just in case it is needed.

The low profile of the sides make for really easy loading and unloading. Older kids have commented that it feels more grown up and they like that. Younger kids can be hoisted more easily than in seats with higher sides because there is less of a lip to clear.

The heavier weight harness webbing is nice because it isn’t twisty, but it does make the chest clip harder to slide. This is good news for those of you with kids who mess with their chest clip or try to slide it down. It will be frustrating for those who find they need to adjust the chest clip frequently as it is stiff.

The fabric and finishing is really nice, the light weight makes it ideal for travel and frequent moving between vehicles, and kids have found it comfortable in both directions.

The most perplexing part about this seat is the unexplainable and unpredictable fit rear facing. In some vehicles it’s super compact, and in others it seems enormous. For that reason we strongly recommend trying before you buy.

Huge thanks to the fabulous CPSTs and parents who provided photos for this review, and to Evenflo for providing samples to test with.

Evenflo wants you to enjoy a Sonus as well! Enter for a chance to win one – start by commenting on the blog with an answer to this question: What’s the most interesting or appealing feature of the Sonus convertible seat?

NOTE: the comment box is way, way, way at the bottom of the comments. We don’t know why and we’re working to fix it. Keep on scrolling until you see it!

And then use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Tell it “I commented” and then unlock additional entries. Good luck to all!


 

Jen Shapka is a mom of two, avid runner, CPST instructor, and likes to get a puppy fix without having to actually own a pet.

 

 

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