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275 of 278 people found the following review helpful
Solid Car Seat with Fantastic Latch System
on January 2, 2012
Diono RadianR100 is a great car seat for those who are looking for a car seat that will grow with your child from 5 to 100 lbs. We own the Diono RadianRXT, DionoR100, and the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1, and would have to say that the Diono is our favorite car seat for traveling purposes, but our second favorite car seat for everyday use (mainly because the kids like the Graco cup holders and armrests - more on that below). There are many things about this car seat that we love:
1. It's easy to set up and install. While I did need the instruction manual to figure many of the various parts and how to fully assemble the seat, the instructions were clear and the seat took no longer than 15 minutes for me to get set up in house, then another 15 minutes to get it installed into our cars. I did not include the unpacking time for the car seat from the box - that's just silly.
2. The Superlatch system is brilliant. With the Graco latch system, you have to shove your fingers into the seat in order to feel the latch system bar, then youhave to push down on the clip to install the latch system, and then potentially pinch your fingers because the clip. When you remove the clip, you have to shove your fingers back into the seat, feel around the evil finger pinching clip, squeeze the clip and potentially pinch your fingers again! With the Superlatch, you just shove the candy bar shaped bar onto the latch in the car until you hear a click. To remove, you push a button the top of the Superlatch, then pull out. This is awesome of epic proportions.
3. The Dionos are amazingly slim. You really could fit three of these seats in the backseat of your car. We have a 2009 Honda Odyssey and a 2006 Honda Accord and three of these seats would fit in the back if we really wanted to. We chose to install the R100 in our Accord along with the RXT, and there's enough room for both our kids to sit back there with our papillon dog in the middle.
4. While we got this car seat a little late for this purpose, the Diono allows for backward facing infants. It comes with head and side supports, as well as a large plastic piece to install under the car seat so it's inclined back for an infant to lie down in. This is great for parents who want to buy one car seat, and one car seat only to use for their child. This may be a con for some parents, as many parents like having the infant car seats to easily remove a sleeping baby from the car without having to unbelt them and potentially waking them up.
5. The thing we love about the Diono Series the most is the convenience of the Diono when traveling by airplane. This car seat actually folds down compactly, has areas on the back for all the components to clip to, has the instructional manual literally tied to the seat, and comes with backpack style straps. My husband or I can carry it through an airport as easily as another piece of luggage, as it's not as cumbersome to lug around as conventional car seats. It's thin and folds down low enough to go through x-ray machines, and not terribly difficult to set up in airline seats. This is probably the best thing about the seat.
That said, here are the aspects of the seat that we didn't particularly like.
1. Set up of the seat is not very intuitive. The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 is much more intuitive to figure out. I could easily remember how to break down the seat and assemble it without having to consult with the instructional manual. With the Diono RadianR100, I always have to refer to the manual in order to break down and stow the many pieces. I'm guessing this is because it does break down much more compactly than the Graco, as well as has all those different clips to stow the straps for traveling. The instruction manual also does not store well into the seat as the Graco - it is simply shoved behind the fabric of the car seat. If not put in well, you can feel the manual through the fabric.
2. The cup holder is poorly designed. There is a single tube of plastic that is keeping the cup holder stuck in the armrest flap of the car seat. My kids can pull out the cup holder, as it doesn't really stay in very well. We decided to not even use it with our car seat.
3. The fabric of the RadianR100 is not as comfortable as the Graco 3-in-1. The fabric and cushioning is thin in comparison, and we were able to feel some of the hidden straps underneath the fabric. We have not had to wash the car seat fabric just yet and I will update my review with the condition of the fabric after a few washes, if it can be removed easily.
4. The armrests are practically nonexistent. If it wasn't mentioned in the manual, I would have guessed that there were no armrests on this car seat. My kids didn't think there were armrests on the seats, either.
In comparison to the Diono RXT, the RXT is a slightly better purchase, but not by much. The fabric in comparison, is much better than the R100. It not only feels better, but it looks a lot nicer than the R100. The RXT also comes with the additional cup holder, a shoulder carrying strap, the infant head and side positioners, as well as head side impact cushions. The structure of the R100 and RXT is pretty much the same, although the RXT does support 20 lbs more than the R100. How much this makes a difference really depends on the weigh and height of your child, as well as the car seat laws in your state. I really don't think many kids will be riding in a car seat up to 120 lbs...I could be wrong, though.
In comparison to the Graco Nautilus, R100 is much more compact, but is more difficult to assemble/break down for cleaning. My kids think the Graco fabric and cushioning is more comfortable, and like the cup holder and arm rests better on the Graco. However, they do like that fact that the R100 is easier to get into by themselves, simply because of the lack of armrests. The R100 fits much better than the Gracos in compact cars.
All in all, I think that the Diono R100 is a fantastic car seat. It feels solid, looks great, and is comfortable for our kids. Highly recommended!