For this review we tried something new…we asked the large and ever-growing Canadian CPST community to collaboratively create this review. We polled them, and our role here is merely amassing the comments and feedback into a readable format. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts and photos!
It was an experiment…and we are thrilled to say it works! This review is a compilation of the perspective of more than 35 seasoned technicians and instructors scattered across Canada, who among them own close to 50 of these seats and have installed hundreds combined. Of those polled it was a pretty even split between rear facing and forward facing use, with a high percentage switching back and forth as needed for different kids. We are confident that you’re getting an exceptional cross section of reality here!
The Evenflo SureRide, aka Titan 65 when found at Walmart, appeared on the market about two years ago and has fast become a go-to seat for reasons you shall see. Is it perfect for everyone? Of course not, no seat is! But it’s got some phenomenal things going for it.
Price: $150 at Walmart, about $150-180 everywhere else, often on sale somewhere for $120ish
Rear facing: 5-40lbs AND 19-40″ AND top of head at least 1″ below top of car seat back
Forward facing: 22-65lbs AND 28-54″ AND shoulders below the highest harness position AND at least one year old BUT it’s the recommendation of child passenger safety advocates (and Evenflo) to rear face as long as possible. Here’s why.
Seat weight: 11lbs
Width at widest point: 18″ at the front corners, 18.25″ at mid-shoulder height
Width of base at back bottom edge: A mere 10″
Crotch buckle positions: Two, without insert, 5.5″ and 7.5″
Harness positions: Six, three for rear facing and three for forward facing. Rear facing positions are at approximately 5.5″, 7.75″, 10″. Forward facing positions are at approximately 14.5″, 17″, 19″.
Use UAS until a child weight of: 55lbs, after which you must install with the seat belt (unless your vehicle states a lower limit)
Expiry: 6 years from date of manufacture (fun fact: Evenflo accounts for leap years when calculating the expiry date, handily printed right on the sticker with the date of manufacture and model name)
First the great stuff – a well rounded list of “pros.”
- Fits almost anywhere (rear-facing in tiny cars or extended cab trucks…maybe not…but maybe in the middle, or it has a mysterious chameleon-like ability to fit in places you wouldn’t expect it to. We can’t explain it.)
- Narrow base means it can work around icky vehicle features like big plastic hinges that tend to get in the way of other seats
- Lightweight, so easy to manoeuvre
- Lightweight, and allows use of UAS (also known as LATCH) up to a child weight of 55lbs
- Excellent for traveling – installs well on airplanes
- Readily available at most stores that sell car seats
- Cover is easily removable and washable, with a variety of colour options
- Removable body pad for extra cushioning
- Harness is replaceable
- Harness pads are available directly from Evenflo if needed
- Realistic weight and height limits in both modes
- Excellent price point for longevity
- All parts are present and remain on the seat, so there’s nothing to lose
- Fits a wide range of children: from birth to age 6-8 (depending on the size of the child of course)
- Exceptionally long lasting forward-facing: ideal for long torsoed kids or vehicles with a low roof that don’t have room for a head rest to extend
- Lots of leg room rear facing
- Newer seats have buckle storage pockets to keep the harness out of the way when loading a child into it
- Some older versions of the Walmart Titan 65 had premium push on UAS connectors but that option is no longer available
- 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.
Next the complaints – a realistic list of “cons.”
- Straps are twisty
- Basic hook-style UAS connectors
- Larger, taller kids may run out of harness length at the top end of the fit
- Three bottom slots for rear facing, three top slots for forward facing, with a large gap between the sets. This can make for some finicky or uncomfortable fit on kids at the top end of the rear-facing fit, or bottom end of the forward-facing fit (see small forward-facer photo). This means that for the medium-to-large rear-facers the harness will be quite a bit lower than shoulder level, and also that small-to-medium forward-facers will have the harness coming from pretty far up above their shoulders.
- Harness slots are set close together, bugging some kids at the neck (note: harness pads are available for purchase directly from Evenflo)
- Single recline level line for rear facing means the seat takes up how much room it takes up
- Single recline level line for rear facing is hard to see (photo below)
- No overhang allowed (off the vehicle seat) when used rear facing
- Velcro strap needed for rear facing use is often missed by parents
- Cup holder can only be used forward facing
- Cup holder may not attach securely or easily (style has changed over time, may not apply to you)
- Some covers seem to snag on jewelry and velcro (like on toddler shoes!)
- Underside has sharp edges and is not friendly to leather vehicle seats
The recline level line can be hard to see, and therefore, align correctly. Make sure it is parallel to the ground. Tech tip: put a sticky note along that edge while you’re installing so it’s easier to eyeball.
From the mouths…er, typing fingers…of techs:
“Great seat for those who care to do it right. Maybe not the best option for people who need an absolutely foolproof seat.”
“The SureRide is a great seat for daily use, and is comfortable enough that my own daughter can sleep heavily in it. I own more expensive seats, yet this one still gets a lot of mileage.”
“Best bang for your buck on the market.”
“It’s a great price and great long lasting seat that fits my kids very well. 2 year old rear facing 32″ 32 lbs, almost 4 year old and just turned forward facing 37″ 32 lbs, almost 6 year old forward facing 42″46 lbs with tons of growing room. Three across in my truck! Did I mention the price?”
“Overall a great budget seat. I buy it for all my young foster children so I know they have a safe long lasting seat to take home with them.”
And now a wide range of photos to give you an idea of how it fits in vehicles, how it fits children, and what it’s like to travel with!
Rear Facing: A good fit from birth until 3-4
Forward Facing: Ideal for average-sized 3-7 year olds
Traveling: Excellent forward facing, probably a squeeze rear facing on most planes
Light enough to make use of the lower anchors in the 3rd row centre of Dodge Grand Caravans (and Chrysler Town & Country and VW Routan) to a child weight of 55lbs to make use of the single tether anchor back there, while leaving enough room for a boostered child on the passenger side. Also a great bet for these vehicles with the 2nd row bench on the “passenger” side to allow long term use of lower anchors and not block access to the 3rd row with the seat belt.
Like it was custom made for the “8th” seat in current generation Honda Odysseys, with no overhang anywhere in forward facing mode. Note: some seats allow some overhang off the edge of a vehicle seat…some allow it forward but not rear, or vice versa. Some don’t allow any ever. Make sure to check the rules for your seat carefully, and if you aren’t sure, contact the manufacturer of your seat!
Blue Cosco Scenera NEXT (read all about it here) in the foreground, with a Titan 65 in the background for comparison, both rear facing, good to go in a 2015 Chrysler 200.
Although it’s not the narrowest seat out there, the shape of it tends to get along quite nicely in a variety of three-across scenarios. Here is a forward facing Titan 65 flanked by rear-facers in a 2011 Elantra Touring.
Would you like to win one? Well good, because we’re giving one away. As always our opinions are our own, except in this case where they also represent a cool cross section of techs who are well-positioned to speak to the pros and cons of this seat! No products were provided to us for this review. Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and to qualify make sure you ALSO post a blog comment answering this question: what should I make for dinner tonight? Comments don’t appear until we manually approve them, so just tell the Rafflecopter widget “I commented!” and trust that we’ll get to it soon. Good luck, and thanks for reading! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jen Shapka is a mom of two, teacher-by-training, Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor Trainer, military spouse, and small business owner. A co-founder of Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs, she now resides in Ontario, and recently got to hang out with this adorable fella.