Key features of the Britax Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT Group 1/2/3 car seat:
Age suitability: 9 months to 12 years (9-36kg)
Installation: Soft–latch ISOFIX and car seat belt
Features: Multi-stage car seat; side impact protection; harness to 18kg
The Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT is one of Britax’s latest releases for parents who want a car seat that will grow with their child.
It was unveiled in February 2017, the same time as the Advansafix III SICT: both are upgrades on earlier versions and both are suitable for children aged from 9 months to 12 years old, but they are quite different.
The Evolva is a lightweight car seat, with ‘soft’ ISOFIT latches (more like straps than the more common rigid metal bars), so it’s easy to transport between cars.
Other Group 1/2/3 seats include the Joie Bold, which is a bit cheaper at £175, and the Cosatto Hubbub (£185).
Meanwhile, the Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 (£224.99) is another lightweight seat at 6.6kg but is only suitable until 4 years old.
I’ve also been using the Advansafix III SICT (£250), which has more safety features than the Evolva, such as a ‘top tether’ that latches over the top of your car’s actual seat. But these features are just extras and the Evolva has all the safety features you need, and it’s noticeably lighter.
The high end Group 1/2/3 car seat is a competitive market, and a lot of the seats have a unique feature. You need to ask yourself what you want before you buy, whether that’s extra safety features or portability, and then go shopping.
You can buy the Britax Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT car seat from John Lewis, Amazon, and Halfords.
Watch 5 things you need to know about the Britax Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT car seat.
What’s in the box?
- Car seat
- ISOFIX guides
What were your first impressions?
It’s reassuringly solid; some car seats look flimsy. It’s also nicely padded out and with a minimalist look. It looks safe and also quite luxurious.
Who would the seat be most useful for?
Parents who want a car seat that lasts until their child is 12 (when they no longer require one), which is light and easy to transfer to other cars.
How does it install in the car?
It’s an ISOFIX seat, which can also be installed with a 3-point car seat belt alone, but is different to any ISOFIX seat I’ve used before. It has ‘soft’ ISOFIT latches. Usually car seats have the rigid metal bars, which you line up to fit into place in your car.
The new Evolva has fabric straps which can be loosened/tightened through a little side compartment. Britax say this makes the Evolva suitable to use in lots of different cars.
Or you can use the car’s seat belt without the ISOFIX when your child’s old enough.
The side impact protection is integrated into the seat and comes in the form of a tube that you twist out of the side. You only use it on the side closest to the door.
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Is it easy/hard to install?
Very easy. It’s light to put in place and the ISOFIT latches and fittings work smoothly. Most Amazon parents found the seat easy to install, but there were some, including Argos parents and parents we surveyed*, who felt that fitting the seat could have been easier. Some Amazon reviews recommended watching the video rather than following the instruction manual.
Is there anything unique about the seat?
The soft latch (the SL in the name) ISOFIT I’ve never seen before.
And Britax says its integrated side impact cushion technology (that’s the SICT in the name) is unique too.
It also has what Britax call the CLICK & SAFE audible harness.
What is the CLICK & SAFE audible harness?
The CLICK & SAFE audible harness system is a really neat feature. When pulling the harness adjuster strap you hear a click to let you know you have the right tension. This is great as sometimes I question whether my little one is strapped in tight enough, or whether they’re strapped in too tight!
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Does it feel sturdy?
Yes, the whole car seat shell feels very strong. It’s very well made. Some seats for older children can feel like they wouldn’t offer much protection, but the Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT is solid. The majority of John Lewis, Amazon, Argos and Halfords parents were also happy with the seat’s safety credentials.
How comfortable does it feel?
It’s really nicely padded, so the designers have obviously thought of comfort as well as making the seat light and sturdy. It also ticked the box for most Argos, Halfords, Amazon and John Lewis parents, as well as those we surveyed.
How light is it?
8.6kg. It is noticeably light and easy to swap between cars, or take on holiday, but some Amazon parents, as well as parents we surveyed thought that the seat was a bit heavy and difficult to carry.
How is strapping your child in?
There are two options, depending on the weight of your child.
In Group 1 (up to 18kg) there is a 5 point harness, which is simple once you’ve got the knack.
With this you can use the ISOFIX with the seatbelt and harness or just the seatbelt and harness.
My only issue is with loosening the straps, as the button you need to do so is in the fabric of the seat, which made pressing it and pulling the strap a bit more of a task than it should have been. I wasn’t alone in this, as some Argos and Amazon parents, an MFM user and a parent we surveyed also found the straps hard to adjust, although on the whole, parents didn’t find this an issue.
It also has ‘performance’ chest pads, which spread the forces of a frontal collision if one should happen.
In Groups 2 and 3, you can fold away the harness and use the car’s own seatbelt, which is very simple.
What’s the headrest like?
It’s nice and padded, and big enough so that when your child nods off their head doesn’t slip and wake them.
How many positions does the headrest have?
10! It adjusts using one hand too, which is very useful.
How many seat positions are there? Is it easy to adjust the seat?
It has 3 reclining positions, which can be changed with a quick pull of the lever. However, as some Argos and Amazon customers noted, you can’t change the recline after fitting the seat – you have to uninstall it to alter it – so make sure you’re happy with this first.
Do you think the side wings provide good protection?
Yes, they curve round in a protective shell. They’re much better than some car seats I’ve seen because of this.
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How portable and easy is it to get in and out of the car?
The ISOFIT fittings click in and out easily, and the seat is light, which is one of its big selling points – although, as previously mentioned, some parents felt that it was heavy.
What do you think of the design?
It’s minimalist but not at all basic. It has sleek contours, and is an attractive seat.
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
It measures 51cm wide by 48cm in depth, and it adjusts from 61-86cm in height. It doesn’t take up lots of room in the car, but is quite spacious.
Do you think your child will fit into the seat until they’re 12?
Yes, the back rest is high and the seat wide. Parents we surveyed were happy with how long the seat should last, with some listing this as the feature they liked best about the seat.
How does the integrated side impact system (SICT) work?
You twist them out of the side panels. They’re really easy to use. Only use them on the side closest to the door though.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes, you can take off the cover and put it in your washing machine. Saying that, parents we surveyed and some Amazon parents had mixed feelings about how easy the seat was to clean, with a few saying the seat was difficult to clean especially if your child vomits while in the car…
Is the product value for money?
You can get cheaper car seats, but I think it’s worth investing in a seat that you know will last until your little one is not so little and which is strong and solid. The Evolva got a thumbs-up for value from John Lewis, Amazon and Halfords parents, and I also think it’s a good buy.
What did you think of how the various parts adjusted?
They all work quite smoothly. It’s quite an intuitive design.
The Evolva 1-2-3 SL SICT is a well-made car seat which is attractive and light, yet reassuringly solid and strong. Overall, the seat got an average score of just over 6.5 from parents we surveyed, while 70% of Amazon parents gave it 5 stars. Well worth the asking price.
*MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users
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