2017 Diono Radian RXT Review

As a parent, one of the most essential purchases you make is a car seat. Since the safety of your child is of utmost importance, it is critical that you buy a car seat that is sturdy, compact and has excellent safety features. The Diono Radian RXT  ticks all these boxes and is voted by parents as one of the best car seats available on the market. Even if it is no longer one of the brand-new models of car seats, it fits all the requirements of parents looking for a robust and safe 3-in-1 car seat.

The benefit of this car seat is that it can be used as a rear-facing seat, front-facing seat, as well as a booster seat. With the ability to hold a newborn baby through the toddler years and right up until elementary school, the Diono Radian RXT is well worth being considered as a safe and secure car seat option. Nothing much about the RXT has changed since its release except for the fabrics. The weight and height limits still remains the same and as far as extended rear-facing models are considered, the RXT is still one of the best car seats on the market.

So What’s the Big Deal?

Although Diono car seat models such as the Rainier, Pacifica, and Olympia have become popular today, long before they were released, the brand had already been launching a line of narrow, high-weight car seats. These car seats, even if they are not the newest on the market anymore are still worth giving a shot. As mentioned before, the Diono Radian RXT has the benefit of being an all-in-one convertible car seat that can be used in several configurations, such as a rear-facing infant seat, a forward-facing seat, and a booster seat. The RXT is a car seat that every parent should consider buying, despite the fact that it is not the latest model anymore.

Diono Radian RXT -Height and Weight Limits

Rear-facing Seat: Up to 44″ in height and 5-45 pounds. There should be at least a gap of 1.5″ from above your child’s head and the top of the headrest.

Forward-facing: Up to 57″ in height and 20-80 pounds. Your baby should be at least 1 year old, although the recommended age is 2 years. According to research on car safety, it is important  that children remain rear-facing for as long as possible and after rear-facing, they should remain forward-facing as long as possible. In Sweden, where the child fatality rate is lowest on the planet, children remain rear-facing for an average of  4 years.

Booster mode: Up to 57″ in height and 50-120 pounds. As with the newest Diono seats, your child’s shoulders must at least reach the 4th set of harness slots. One important thing to keep in mind is that children should remain in booster seats until their seat belts fit them over the shoulder, across the chest, and flat on the upper thighs.

Diono Radian RXT –  Dimensions

The widest point of the seat is at the shoulders, where the width is 17″. It is 16.5” at the widest point at thighs. The inside of the seat is around 14″ wide at the widest upper portion at the shoulders and slightly larger (14.5″) at the widest point at the thighs. The weight of the car seat is 26.5 pounds.

Using the Diono Radian RXT

2017 Diono Radian RXT Car SeatThe Diono Radian RXT car seat arrives folded nicely in a collapsed mode inside a well designed box. If you are a travel person, the good news is that the seat is airplane compliant. You can use it as a backpack by hooking straps up to it. This is a great feature if you wish to take it on an airplane. The seat belt clips and all of the LATCH straps are located in the back of the seat. The Diono Radian RXT has a robust and solid design, and it sort of forms the foundation of the engineering of the newer generations of Diono car seat models.

For first time parents, installing the seat may seem a bit hard but the learning curve is not that steep. You might have to adjust the straps out of the box. If you are using the LATCH set up to install the seat, one important thing to keep in mind is that, just like almost every car seat available in the United States, you won’t be able to install the seat in the middle of your car unless you have dedicated LATCH hookups there. The middle seat installation, therefore  might be a bit troublesome as you will require a seat belt installation along with a locking clip.

The seat has five shoulder harness positions ranging from 9″ on the low end to 17.5″ on the high end. When the seat is used a rear-facing seat, you must use the recline base. The harness height can be adjusted from the back of the seat by removing straps from the splitting plate and re-attaching them into the desired slot. Since the seat carries five different harness height slots, you are sure to find a position that fits most children comfortably for as long as they use the seat.  While the slots have to be at or below the shoulders for rear-facing, they have to be above for forward-facing seat. A unique feature of Diono is that children with shoulders above the top shoulder harness slots can be seated forward faced as long as their forward-facing weight stays within the limits and the tops of their ears remain below the top of the car seat.

Usually when car seats are used in the rear-facing configuration, an incredibly large amount of space is taken up by the seat. In order to avoid this, Dioni offers an angle adjuster that you can purchase alongside its line of products. If you set up the seat directly behind the passenger or driver seats in the first row, you may want to consider buying this, depending on the size of your car and the amount of space you require in the front seats.

Why Should You Purchase the Diono Radian RXT?

The Diono Radian RXT comes with many convenient and easy to use features that are not found in most brands of car seats. It is one among very few car seats sold in the United States that allows  rear-face seating arrangement of a child for up to 45 pounds. When compared to front facing, the safer option is to rear face your child as long as you can. So this feature of the Radian RXT is a great deal. Most parents in the US tend to use front-facing seat for their children even at the age of one. In Sweden, this is done only at four years of age. As a result, the incidents of children dying in car crashes is far far less in Sweden when compared to children in the US. This itself is a good enough reason for you to buy the Radian RXT.

Another important feature of the Radian RXT is that the seat is built with a steel frame and has a headrest, which is reinforced with aluminum, providing reinforced head support. The EPS foam around the head and body of the child increasing the side impact protection levels. The sidewalls also provide extra side protection. The RXT is also one of the few seats in the United States that can be tethered while forward-facing and while rear-facing.

2017 Diono Radian RXT Car Seat

Last but not the least, due to its narrow width of 17 inches, it is easier to install the Radian RXT than most other car seats. In fact, you can even  install 3 across in a number of smaller vehicles. The expiry period of these car seats is also one of the longest in the industry right now.  It has an 8 year life when used with a harness and a 10 year usable life when used as a booster. Another great thing about the Radian RXT that makes it worth purchasing is that it is airplane compliant.

Diono  Radian RXT vs the Newer Seats

The newer seats produced by Diono, such as the Rainier and Pacifica are not only  flashier but they also come with longer product lives. As in the case of the Rainier and Pacific, the rear facing limits are also higher. However, when it comes to effectiveness, the Radian RXT is definitely a notch above. If you are looking to save some money, then the RXT is the ideal choice.

2017 Diono Radian RXT Car Seat

Another area where the RXT is better than the newer lines of Diono car seats is the width point, which of course is a very important factor to consider. The flaring out side design of the newer Dionos car seats makes them more difficult to install, especially when you are trying to set up 3 across installations. Although it is still possible to do 3 across installations with a newer Diono car seats, it doesn’t offer the flexibility than an older model like the RXT provides. While purchasing car seats, this is an important point to keep this in mind, especially if you’re driving a small class vehicle like a Civic, Corollla or Prius.

In my opinion, the Diono Radian RXT is still one of the best car seat models currently available in the United States for children between ages zero and five. It is an excellent car seat that is safe, robust and has multiple conversion features. Compared to a lot of other convertible seats, the RXT’s narrowness to fit three in a row as well as its extended rear-facing capacity makes it a great asset. However, the main benefit of this seat is that your child can use it for a very  long time, which is a great option for parents looking for an all-in-one car seat for the most reasonable price.