By Kelsey MikiUpdated Apr 14, 2018
Best forParents looking for a budget-friendly car seat with premium features, and babies who tend to run hot or cool
Top BenefitsSelf-tightening connectors for easy installation, temperature regulating fabric, no rethreading required for harness height adjustment
ConsiderationsMay require front passenger seat to be moved forward when installed rear-facing, three-walled cup holder cannot contain loose snacks, harness cannot be removed for cleaning
Bottom lineThe Evenflo Platinum Series Symphony DLX convertible car seat offers pain-free UAS installation, temperature-regulating fabric to keep your kid comfy on warm or cool rides, harness height adjustment that doesn’t require rethreading and an adjustable headrest, and lots of other features that make car rides more comfortable for parents and little ones alike.
Simple to install and outfitted with numerous user-friendly features, the Evenflo Platinum Series Symphony DLX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat provides security and comfort in one easy-to-use package. Suitable for kids five to 110 pounds, this car seat has lots of parent-appreciated details, like temperature-regulating fabric and a harness that adjusts without rethreading. This seat also features Evenflo's patented SureLATCH lower anchor system, which automatically tightens when attached to your vehicle's anchors, taking the difficult tightening process out of UAS (Universal Anchor System) installations. From a painless installation process to all the plush padding a baby could need, this seat really has the comfort of the whole family in mind.
All of the car seats we tested, including the Evenflo Platinum Series Symphony DLX, have been crash tested by the manufacturer and approved for use in Canada by Transport Canada and Health Canada. In light of the diligent testing that car seats must go through to get approved for use, we focused our assessment of each seat on the quality of materials, the seat's comfort, the ease of installation and the value for the cost.
From bruised knees to belts that just won’t tighten enough, many problems can arise when trying to install a car seat. But with the Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX's SureLATCH connectors, installing this seat both rear- and forward-facing was a dream. One tester reported her seat was installed in a “matter of minutes,” which, as anyone who has ever tried to install a car seat knows, is pretty impressive.
Before you begin installation, though, you’ll want to get acquainted with your new car seat by reading the entire instruction manual—it will not only make your life easier in the long run (trust us) but also help ensure a proper fit. For each installation they performed, our parent testers found the Evenflo manual easy to follow, and our editors agree. We especially appreciate the detailed illustrations that accompany each step, and the colour-coded pages that make navigating the sections a breeze. To make things even more clear, the colour coding in the manual corresponds to the colours marking the forward- and rear-facing belt paths on the seat, so finding what goes where is easy-breezy.
During our tests, we found threading the SureLATCH connectors through the appropriate belt path to be a pretty straightforward experience. Our editors particularly appreciated that the seat's back pad easily detaches, allowing you to get a full visual of the belt path without having to remove the seat's padding completely. It makes a huge difference when you can actually see where you're threading, and it helps prevent the strap from twisting.
Tightening a car seat is the most difficult and time-consuming part of installation, but the SureLATCH connectors made it a breeze. Once the UAS straps are threaded in the appropriate belt path, simply push the SureLATCH connectors onto your vehicle's anchors, and they will auto-retract to secure the seat tightly in place (so it can't be moved more than an inch in any direction when tugged). That means no more heaving on stubborn UAS straps—just click and push the car seat into your vehicle, helping the SureLATCH connectors tighten all the way. Just make sure the SureLATCH connectors are facing upward and that their straps are flat, as twisted straps will not tighten securely. Our editors also love how easy this seat is to uninstall, as the SureLATCH connectors detach from the vehicle's anchors with one press of a button (found on the underside of each connector)—a huge bonus if you are planning to move this car seat from car to car.
While the SureLATCH connectors cannot be used when installing the Evenflo Symphony DLX with a seat belt, we were still able to perform rear- and forward-facing installations without breaking a sweat (or a nail, for that matter). It is also good to note that seat belts in new vehicles have an auto-locking mechanism, which holds the car seat securely in place. (If you have an older vehicle without locking belts, you'll need to buy a locking clip to install this car seat with a seat belt.) To engage the auto-lock, slowly pull the seat belt all the way out and then let it retract. It can be a bit tricky to ensure the belt doesn't twist as you're letting it retract and lock, but this is crucial for keeping your child safe and secure in a crash (a twisted belt, like a twisted UAS strap, isn't as strong as a flat-lying belt). While our editors found the seat belt a little more challenging than the SureLATCH connectors to thread through the appropriate belt paths, being able to undo the Velcro of the seat's padding to get a good look was immensely helpful in making sure the belt didn't twist during this step.
Even without the SureLATCH connectors, tightening the Evenflo Symphony DLX proved pretty easy in both the rear- and forward-facing installations. While the bulkiness of the seat's padding made it slightly difficult to manoeuvre around the seat in the rear-facing position, in both installations, the angle of the belt path made getting enough leverage to securely tighten the belt effortless (not a lot of upper body strength was required). The forward-facing install was even easier, as you can apply extra pressure to the seat by inserting one knee into its basin while pulling the belt tight. This seat could definitely be installed solo.
Again, as with the forward-facing UAS installation, you'll have to secure the tether strap when installing the Evenflo Platinum with a seat belt.
Forward-facing installations require you to also attach the car seat's tether strap to the tether anchoring hook on the back, or behind, the vehicle's seat. During testing, we found the tether to be easy to attach, tighten and detach. However, after tightening, quite a bit of excess tether strap hung loose. The manual suggests rolling and securing this surplus strap with a rubber band to keep it from harming your little one.
The Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX provides storage for both the tether strap and the SureLATCH connectors when they are not in use. The seat features D-rings on its side and bottom to store the SureLATCH connectors (depending on which belt path they are threaded through) and a hook on the back of the seat for the tether. Our editors really like how this makes the seat extra portable, as nothing will be dangling when you're moving your seat to another car.
In our tests, we had no trouble getting the car seat level in the rear-facing recline position. That being said, a few of our testers did rely on a tightly rolled towel to get the seat to the proper level. While this solution is recommended in the instruction manual, always revisit your car's manual for a refresher on what is and isn't allowed in your specific vehicle. The level indicator is embossed onto the base of the car seat and is very difficult to make out, especially in a dark car. You may need to use a flashlight to ensure the level line's arrow is parallel to the ground when installing this seat in the rear-facing position.
At its tallest, the Evenflo Symphony DLX measures 30.5 inches (within the mid-to-tall range of all the car seats we tested). As a taller seat, the Evenflo Symphony DLX used in the rear-facing position may require you to reposition your vehicle's front seat. One tester reported having to move their front passenger seat forward a considerable amount to accommodate its size. You may want to keep this in mind if your vehicle's driver or front seat passenger require generous leg room.
With a width of approximately 20 inches, this car seat is one of the widest our editors tested. That means, depending on the contours of your vehicle's seats and how compact the car is, you may only be able to place one in the back seat, unless, of course, your vehicle features a third row. However, whether this is an issue will depend on the size of your family.
While bulky, the Evenflo Symphony DLX weighs in at around 21 pounds, making it one of the lighter seats awarded our seal. This makes transferring it from car to car more manageable—especially when it's installed with the UAS.
A dependable harness is crucial in keeping your child secure on the road. All of our parent testers felt their child was safe and secure in this seat's five-point harness, and found the buckle easy to open and close. We agreed, finding the whole system intuitively and smoothly snapped into place. With its “Infinite Slide Harness,” no rethreading is necessary to adjust the height as your child grows, which saves both time and your fingers. The harness height adjusts about eight inches, giving your kid adequate space to grow throughout their car seat years. Adjusting the tightness of the harness can also be done with minimal effort by pressing the harness release button to loosen and pulling the harness adjust strap to tighten. This can easily be done with your child in the seat, ensuring a secure fit on every trip.
While the harness does not include shoulder strap pads, most of our parent testers agreed it still fit comfortably against their child’s body. Parents might appreciate that the Symphony DLX includes harness storage to keep the straps out of the way while the child settles in, as well as side buckle storage, keeping metal parts out of the sun and preventing potential burns (because an uncomfortable little one is never a fun road trip partner).
The Symphony DLX features Evenflo’s E3 side-impact protection, which is composed of three layers of foam that Evenflo says reduces the force of side impact by up to 50 percent. The seat is also covered with temperature-regulating fabric that all of our testers found very breathable. One parent was particularly happy with the material, as her son, who has a history of sweaty car rides, was able to stay dry and comfortable in his Symphony DLX during a three-hour road trip. The seat also comes with a plush infant insert to offer extra support for little ones. The tester who made use of the insert strongly agreed that it was easy to use and felt her baby was comfortable. However, she only somewhat agreed that the insert provided good head support—despite the headrest's ample padding, two of our testers found their sleeping kids' heads tended to fall forward. Overall, our testers unanimously agreed the frame and fabric of the Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX was of high quality.
As anyone with a child who suffers from motion sickness (or anyone with a child, period) knows, car seats can get messy. That’s why “machine washable” are two of the most beautiful words in the English language. The cover of the Evenflo Symphony DLX doesn’t disappoint, as most of our parent testers found it easy to throw in the washer, as well as spot-clean on smaller messes. It's worth noting that our editors did find getting the cover off the frame a bit of a challenge: There are a lot of little clips to unhook, and wiggling the tightly fitted cover around the cup holders and headrest can take some time. If you need to clean the harness, you'll have to remove the cover and wipe the straps down—the harness can't be removed from the body of the seat.
As an all-in-one product, the Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX could be the only car seat your child ever uses, so you want to make sure they’ll be as comfortable as possible. The padding on this seat is so dense and plush we found ourselves wishing they made seats like this for adults. The seat also easily adjusts to three settings (upright, fully reclined and a “relaxed” position between the two) by using the recline lever on the front of the seat. Most parent testers told us their child was comfortable in all three positions and able to nap easily when seated.
The pillowy headrest was also a hit among testers, who all said it was comfortable for their child. Again, adjusting it is as easy as pie—just squeeze the headrest adjustment lever and pull up until the headrest sits at an appropriate height (guidelines for the right fit are outlined in the seat's instruction manual). One of our parent testers was very pleased with how high the headrest could extend, as she was confident her tall kiddo would be able to use this car seat for years to come.
The Evenflo Symphony DLX also comes with two cup holders, one on each side of your little passenger. One holder is made simply from a thick elastic band, allowing it to accommodate a variety of bottle and cup sizes. However, as one parent tester pointed out, if you want to fill the holder with snacks, you’ll first have to put them in a separate container.
A breeze to install with its SureLATCH connectors and decked out with details like temperature-regulating fabric, the Evenflo Platinum Series Symphony DLX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat was a hit among our parent testers. They unanimously rated the ease of use and quality of this seat as very good and would have no problem recommending it to other parents. While it's in the mid-price range of all the seats we have evaluated, our parent testers agreed it's well worth the cost and felt it offered good value, and our editors agree. Painless to install and sturdy enough to work for the long haul, the Evenflo Symphony DXL is well-designed with both parents and kids in mind.