The Britax VERSAFIX is second in the line of ISOFIX+ fitting car seats from Britax, however it can also be installed using a normal seatbelt. We get our hands on it to give it a full review.
Like the TRIFIX, the Britax VERSAFIX is a new generation of seat utilising all 3 ISOFIX+ points in newer vehicles. The 3rd point being a tether from the top of the seat that can be attached to the metal ISOFIX+ loop in the rear of the car. In addition, the Britax VERSAFIX can be used with ISOFIX, but without the top tether.
The VERSAFIX has another trick up its sleeve however. You can fit it using a regular rear seat belt as you will see later.
You can be forgiven for thinking that the VERSAFIX is a TRIFIX with an additional fixing method. It is actually a slimmed down product dispensing with features such as the Si-Pad technology and the loop based harness adjustment. This has a big benefit as the RRP drops to a very respectable £225.
• Car Seat Group: Group 1
• Child Weight: 9-18 kg
• Childs Age: 9 months to 4 years
• Height: 64 cm
• Width: 44 cm
• Depth: 46 cm
• Weight: 10kg
What Britax Say about the VERSAFIX
What's in the Box
Well a car seat and…. Actually there is something else in the box that deserves a mention. ISOFIX guides. These little plastic wonders help guide the ISOFIX connectors on the seat into place and they are a brilliant idea! Of course there is a full set of instructions in almost every language possible!!
Fitting in your vehicle
Fitting the VERSAFIX in your car could not be easier. However, initially we would always suggest you ask a trained person to fit your seat.
When you are ready to fit the seat but you feel that the instructions provided are not enough, visit the Britax website where you will find excellent instructional videos, the user manual and a list of vehicles that the VERSAFIX will fit.
The VERSAFIX will fit in your car using either the ISOFIX points (it can be used without the 3rd tether point) or by using a standard seat belt. This makes it an excellent option if you will be swapping the seat from car to car.
I started with the ISOFIX fitting process.
Britax now supply plastic ISOFIX guides that you attach to the ISOFIX points in the car before seat installation. This makes fitting the Britax VERSAFIX to the ISOFIX points a doddle!
Pull the ISOFIX attachment arms out using the green handle under the seat, slot these into the ISOFIX guides and push the seat home. It clicks home and it is done.
Green indicators show that the ISOFIX is correctly connected.
If you have a 3rd tether point in your car, the tether hooks onto this. You can then pull the straps tight using the indicator to tell if you have the right tension.
ISOFIX installation is so simple. The Quality of the Britax VERSAFIX really shows and little details like the way the ISOFIX connectors rotate to ensure effective line up combine to make fitting the VERSAFIX to the ISOFIX connectors in your car virtually foolproof.
The VERSAFIX can also be fitted using a regular seat belt. This is VERY easy. Place the seat in the location required, with the red latch undone, feed the belt buckle through the rear of the seat, push it home and buckle it in. Slide the top portion of the seat belt into the clamp and pull the red latch into place to lock it in. Done! It took literally 30 seconds to fit in this way.
Once fitted with either ISOFIX or seat belt, the Britax VERSAFIX felt very secure with almost no movement at all.
Safety and Security
The Britax VERSAFIX uses ISOFIX+ a 3 point version of the ISOFIX fitting system. In my mind this is no doubt the ultimate method to fit a car seat. The tether acts as the 3rd point hooking into the ISOFIX connection in the rear of the car. If you have this, use it. In the event of a accident, having your seat held in with 3 connections will virtually ensure it cannot move during the impact.
The method used for the standard belt fitting is also excellent and provided a very strong, stable seat when correctly fitted.
The VERSAFIX looks incredibly safe and secure. It has a deep seat with large padded ‘wings' around the head and shoulder area. These will provide excellent protection in the event of a side impact.
The harness is 5 point with a one pull adjustment at the front of the seat. The harness has what Britax call ‘Performance chest pads'. These are some of the best padded harness pads we have seen. The ridged foam on the rear is designed to reduce chest injury in an impact and we very much suspect they would.
Last but not least the ‘Pivot Link System' (part of the ISOFIX connection system) reduces your child's forward movement if you have a crash.
All in all, the Britax VERSAFIX is very reassuring when it comes to safety.
Day to Day use
I have nothing but good things to say about the VERSAFIX when it comes to use. Fitting is a doddle, and the seat is obviously very comfortable (Harry agrees!) sitting Harry up high and at a very comfortable angle.
Doing up the 5 point harness is straightforward and can almost be managed with one hand. I would like to see a better method of holding the straps apart when placing your child in the seat. You are supposed to poke the ends of the belt into the small rubber holders on the seat sides, but this is fiddly and does not work that well. You will eventually end up fishing behind your child for the belts.
The VERSAFIX is not quite as deep (8cm less) as the TRIFIX when fitted, so when it comes to tightening the harness, the issue I found on the TRIFIX about it being hard to do up does not exist.
To adjust the shoulder height of the harness, you must first remove the seat. Then you are presented with a simple mechanism requiring a pinch and pull to relocate the shoulder harness and head pad successfully. As you rarely do this, having to remove the seat is not really a problem at all.
The seat fabrics can be easily removed for cleaning and can be washed at 30 degrees. This is great as being a GROUP 1 seat, you know you will need to wash the covers at some point!
Lastly, the VERSAFIX can tilt back if required. It has to be said that it does not tilt far, but it tilts none the less.
The Britax VERSAFIX costs just £225. It may not have the ultimate safety level of the Britax TRIFIX (we gave it 4 stars when we reviewed it), but the keener price reflects this.
The quality of the product and clear impression of safety and security really add up here. The Britax VERSAFIX oozes these elements from the second you fit it to the moment your child drifts off to sleep. To find fault is near impossible. The way the seat harness will not stay open when putting your child in it blots its copy book, but this is a tiny niggle.
The fact the VERSAFIX can be fitted using 3 methods including ISOFIX+ is testament to Britax's thought and development process. It's as if Britax looked at the TRIFIX and said, ok this is brilliant, but how on earth can we make the VERSAFIX better, oh yes and we should try and reduce the price at the same time.
Well done Britax, you did it, what an excellent product. Buy it people!
We give the Britax VERSAFIX
5 out of 5 Stars.