Our latest tests and Ratings of infant car seats/restraints (for subscribers) included the newest model from Combi, the Shuttle 33. Not only was the Shuttle 33 much improved over its predecessor, the Combi Shuttle, it’s now among the infant seats we most highly recommend. Though the Shuttle 33 costs more ($180) than the original Shuttle ($155), we think its performance is worth the added cost. (Our recommendations take into account a car seat’s evaluation and performance in three key areas—crash protection, ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle.)
The most notable differences between the Shuttle and the Shuttle 33:
- The Shuttle 33’s weight limit has increased to 33 lbs. from the original Shuttle’s 22 lbs., which allows babies to be seated rear-facing for a longer period of time—a real safety plus.
- Unlike the original Shuttle, the Shuttle 33 includes a recline-angle indicator with two ranges—the first is in a more reclined position for babies up to 22 lbs., and the second is more upright for babies weighing from 20 to 33 lbs. This dual range indicator is a great benefit, because it makes it clear to users that smaller babies need a more reclined position, and shows how much you can change the angle as a baby grows. An extra bonus: Dual-range level indicators are found on both sides of the base, so you can easily check the seat's angle no matter where you install it in the vehicle.
- The Combi Shuttle 33 is the only seat in our Ratings that scores Excellent for fit-to-vehicle using either a belt or LATCH installation—increasing the likelihood that users will install the seat securely. The fit-to-vehicle improvements in the Shuttle 33 are mainly in the base, including a belt lock-off that’s easier to use than on the original, and push-on LATCH connectors that are easier to use than the hook type on the original.
- On the downside, the Shuttle 33 was not easy to install without the base—a test we perform on all infant car seats. Though we were able to get a secure fit without the base, it required the use of a locking clip in most cars—which is always a more difficult installation step, regardless of the seat. And the 33-pound weight limit of the Shuttle 33 only applies when it’s installed and used with its base. The weight limit drops down to 22 pounds when it’s installed and used without it. See our video on infant car seat installation.