The Cosco Scenera NEXT is ridiculously inexpensive– as in literally one tenth the price of some of our other favorite car seats. From a safety perspective, it is pretty bare bones (though it meets or exceeds all federal safety standards). We love this car seat best as a travel car seat or a second car seat, because it is lightweight, narrow, easy to install, and did-we-say-CHEAP?
Things We Love
- Ridiculously Inexpensive: Less than $50. Not a typo.
- Travel Friendly: The Cosco Scenera NEXT is the best car seat for traveling. It is lightweight, inexpensive, and even compatible with the Mountain Buggy Nano stroller using this clever hack.
- Easy Install: The Scenera NEXT is very easy to install with a seat belt or LATCH, but does require a bit of muscle for the belt install. Just as you would with about any other belt install, you'll have to push down on the seat while pulling on the belt to get a secure fit.
- Supports Three Across: At only 17 inches wide, the NEXT allows you to install three car seats in your car’s back row.
- Lightweight: At only 11 pounds, this is one of the absolute lightest convertible car seats available. This is great news for those schlepping their Scenera through an airport.
- Decent Looking in Moon Mist: The Cosco Scenera is available in a minefield of color combinations that are pretty rough on the eyes. However, Moon Mist, a gray/black combination, is totally acceptable for such an inexpensive car seat.
Things We Don't Love As Much
- Basic Safety: The Cosco Scenera meets or exceeds all federal safety standards and has side impact protection. Other than that, there are no bells or whistles with this car seat.
- Newborn Compatible; Not the Coziest Fit: The Scenera NEXT is compatible for newborns five pounds and up without an insert, thanks to its very low shoulder strap holes. However, while it will work and is technically safe, it is not the coziest fit and probably not the best convertible car seat for infants in general.
- Standard Rear-Facing Weight Limit: The Scenera NEXT is designed for rear-facing until 40 pounds, which most kids hit sometime between ages three and five. Because of the shortness of this seat's base, longer legs will feel very scrunched much before kiddos hit that weight limit. Do know: regardless of leg scrunch, the longer a child can rear-face, the safer they’ll be in the event of a collision. (Cue to 1:30 in this kind of disturbing video to learn more.)
- Rethread Harness: The harness must be rethreaded as your baby grows. This is very easy to do on the Scenera NEXT.
- Limited Recline: The official recline level line is suitable for infants who cannot sit unassisted, but the Scenera NEXT can also be installed at a more upright position for older toddlers. Sometimes a pool noodle or rolled up towel is necessary to achieve the proper recline angle, per the manual’s instructions.
- Install the Cosco Scenera NEXT Rear-Facing using a seat belt
- Install the Cosco Scenera NEXT Rear-Facing using LATCH
- Install the Cosco Scenera NEXT Forward-Facing using a seat belt