December 16, 2007

Volvo Integrated Booster Seats, $495/pr


A car seat built right into the car? It's an idea that makes almost as much sense as airlines providing your ticket-holding kid with a planeseat. Which is obviously why it hasn't happened before--until now.


Volvo's new stations wagons, the V70 and the XC70 offroad version, both have an optional pair of integrated booster seats and adjustable-height shoulder belts in the rear seats, for kids from 33-80 lbs. The rear seat belts also adjust the retraction tension to match the size/weight of the passenger.

Too bad station wagons are dead, because it's almost as if someone at Volvo thought that families with young kids might be a good target customer group.

Volvo XC70 Review: A Wagon Survives The Slippery Slope [nyt]

Previously: The Wheels on the Volvo XC70 go round and round


These aren't the first; similar seats have been previously available in US minivans. I think they were around at least five years ago (maybe even longer), though I never had the impression that they were a much sought-after option.

Not being a fan of minivans, I'm not up on current availability, but I remember thinking this was an expensive customization that made a whole lot more sense than putting a TV in the things.

[not being a fan of minivans, I had no idea, but again, it seems so logical. Though practically speaking, for $495, you could buy a lot of mighty fine aftermarket booster seats. -ed.]

These have been an option on Volvos for at least the last few years. (The pretensioning compensation sounds like it might be new though.) I perhaps foolishly did not get this option on our V50, but it's kind of the designated non-kid car.

[I looked through all the current Volvo models, and only the V70 and XC70 has the option right now. I think the NYT led me astray with their enthusiasm -ed.]

I'm pretty sure these are still available in the Chrysler vans... we often get a last generation Caravan through our car sharing co-op when we need to carry more than our own child (usually we just haul her car seat to whichever car we've signed out) and they're pretty damn convenient, I have to say.

Great idea for when the kids get bigger, much bigger. Until then, please, repeat after me: "five-point-harness."

[yeah, sticking an infant on a cushion with a shoulder belt going across his face: not recommended.]

These were an option when we purchased our 2006 v50, but like Scott, we foolishly did not get them. Perhaps this is justification for a new car.

Why are station wagons dead? I love station wagons. Long live station wagons!
--proud Saab 95 wagon owner

The difference with these integrated booster seats is that they have 2 steps. 1st step for bigger kids and 2nd step for smaller kinds.To my knowledge there is no other integrated booster with 2 steps.

The advantages are that you can use the existing belt to get better geometry i.e. safety, no hasle of routing the seat belt through loops as with stand alone boosters (with the inherent risk of installing it wrong with a kid screaming to get in the car), you can not forget them, if you need to give a lift to another child after the game the seat is there plus the seats do not take storage space in a garage.

Definetly not recomended for infants.

I have a 2007 v70 w/o the built in booster. Can I retro fit one into my car?

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