List Price: $279.99
Weight Range (RF): 5 to 45 lb
Weight Range (FF Harness): 20 to 70 lb
Weight Range (FF Booster): 50 to 110 lb
Max Height: 44″ (RF) / 57″ (FF)
Average Age Range: birth to 12 years
Steel Frame: Yes
LATCH Weight Limit: 35 lbs RF / 40 lbs FF
The Good – The Diono Olympia comes with Super LATCH connectors for secure installation; Can be fitted using the adult seat belt if your vehicle does not have LATCH anchor points; Steel alloy frame with aluminium reinforced sides designed to provide added strength and Diono boldly claims that it should last a full 12 years of normal use; Reinforced deeper sidewalls are lined with energy-absorbing foam for superior head and body protection; Head rest adjusts to 12 different positions to ensure the best fit; NCAP crash tested; Multiple recline positions; Folds flat for easy travel; Can fit 3 in a row due to its narrow profile (same as Radian RXT & Radian R120 at base – 17 inches, but wider at the top – 23 inches); Safe Stop 5-point harness; Rear-facing tether connector strap; machine washable seat cover; Rear Facing up to 45lbs (same as the Diono Radian RXT)
The Bottom Line – The Olympia is an excellent car seat that comes with an impressive rear-facing weight limit (45 lbs). At 70 lbs, it has a reasonable top weight limit for a harness to booster car seat. Whilst the Britax Pinnacle 90 and Frontier 90 seats can be used harnessed up to 90 lbs, they cannot be used from birth like the Olympia can. The Pacifica is also one of the few car seats that can be tethered in the rear-facing position. If you are looking for a seat that can be used in harness mode for longer and/or has a higher overall booster mode limit, you should check out my reviews of the Rainier and Pacifica seats. Overall, this is an excellent option for those that cannot quite afford the more expensive seats in the new Diono range. The only thing that it lacks is the extra deep head wings found on the Ranier and the infant body cushion found on both the Rainier and Pacifica. The Olympia is about $90 cheaper that the Rainier and about $70 cheaper than the Pacifica.
The Diono Olympia’s Best Features
The Diono Olympia’s full list of technical specifications can be found towards the bottom of this page, but here is an explanation of some of its best features in more details.
#1 High Rear-Facing Weight Limit
Although the Rainier and Pacifica seats can boast the highest rear-facing weight limits for any car seats on the market today (50 lbs), the Olympia has a very respectable limit of 45 lbs. Until very recently, this would have been the joint highest limit available.
As I have previously stated in my reviews of the Rainier and Pacifica seats, this extra 5 lbs is actually pretty unlikely to be useable for most children. The reason for this that kids almost always outgrow the height limits before the weight limits. The rear-facing height limits of the Rainier, Pacifica and Olympia seats are identical at 44 inches.
CDC data shows that the the average height of a 5 year old boy is between 41.7 and 44.2 inches, but at the same time the average weight is 37.5 to 44.7 lbs.
This means that many kids will not be able to take advantage of the Rainier or Pacifica’s extended rear-facing – certainly those at the upper limits of the normal height/weight ranges will not get full use.
So, although it is nice to have the option of an extra 5 lbs rear-facing if your child is on the small side, the reality is that the rear-facing weight limit of 45 lbs is probably going to be perfectly adequate for the needs of the vast majority of children.
Always try to keep your child rear-facing for as long as they remain within the height / weight limits for this!
#2 New Deeper Side Wings
Diono boast that the all important head area of the seat contains a new compression wall that features a rigid double wall design. It is claimed that this provides much improved side impact protection for your child in the event of a collision, due to the fact that the outside wall compresses to absorb some of the crash energy.
Note: The Olympia does NOT come with the extra wide head wings that can be found on the more expensive Rainier seat. These head wings look very reassuring and they are definitely worth the extra $20-25 over and above the price of the Pacifica. However, the Rainier is about $90 more expensive than the Olympia and so the decision is not quite so simple.
The Rainier’s head wings are shown in the image below:
Note: Aside from the head wings, the other differences between the Olympia and the Rainier seat are:
- Olympia does NOT have the Deluxe Infant Body Support Cushion
- Olympia has lower weight limits of 70 lbs for harness mode and 110 lbs for booster mode
Personally, I would not be particularly happy to use the Olympia for my newborn baby due to the absence of the body support cushion and I would prefer to be able to harness for the full 90 lbs that is available with the Rainier and Pacifica seats.
However, if you are buying for a child that is beyond the body support cushion stage and are happy with the pretty reasonable harness and booster weight limits, the Olympia is a very nice seat at a decent price.
#3 Slim Profile Means that 3 in a Row is Possible (but not guaranteed)
Despite the added side impact protection wings, the Diono Olympia is still a very narrow car seat and you ought to be able to fit 3 in a row in most larger sized family vehicles.
However, you should note that, although both the Radian RXT and the Olympia measure 17 inches at the base, the Olympia’s new deeper side wings make it wider at the top front apart of the seat (23 inches). So, if you have a smaller vehicle, it might be more sensible to stick with the Radian RXT or R100.
Having said that, provided you buy the seat from a retailer that offers Free Returns, you can always check the fit before fully committing to the purchase.
#4 Steel Alloy Frame & Reinforced Sides Designed to Last 12 Years
The 2 main benefits of this durable steel alloy frame and reinforced sides are pretty obvious. The frame provides an added degree of protection in the event of a collision and many other car seats are manufactured to “expire” within a few years of the purchase date. The fact that the Diono Olympia is designed to last a full 12 years means that it could well be the only car seat that you ever need to buy for your child.
If you can get 12 years of use out of this car seat, your $250 will have been an excellent investment in my opinion. If you chose to buy separate premium infant, convertible and booster car seats instead, you could easily expect to pay $500+.
#5 Folds Flat and Comes with Backpack Straps for Easy Transportation
Unlike many convertible / harness to booster car seats, the Diono Olympia is very easy to fold flat and transport using the carry straps or the backpack that come with the seat.
Given the danger and expense of trying to hire child car seats when you go on vacation, this is a very useful extra feature.
#6 Can be Installed Using Super LATCH up to 35 lbs (RF) & 40 lbs (FF)
The new LATCH laws that came into force in February 2014 mean that there is now a maximum weight limit for installing convertible car seats using LATCH connectors. The limit is generally when the combined child + seat weight exceeds 65 lbs. With the Pacifica, you have a choice of either reinstalling the seat using the seatbelt at 35 lbs if you want your child to remain rear facing, or doing it at 40 lbs if your child is forwards facing.
Full List of Specifications
The Diono Olympia comes with:
- Full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides
- Reinforced extra deep sidewalls with energy-absorbing foam for superior head and body protection
- Rear-facing from 5 to 45 lbs (up to 44″ in height)
- 5-point harness: from 20-70 lbs (up to 57″ in height)
- Booster mode for children between 50 and 110 lbs. (up to 57″ in height)
- SuperLATCH system makes installation easy (see video above)
- Space saving design allows extra room for passengers while providing spacious interior for child
- Folds flat for travel and is FAA certified
- NCAP crash tested in severe accident conditions
- Energy absorbing EPS foam and side impact protection
- Extra-long leg support for comfy road trips
- Multiple harness and buckle positions for custom fit
- Safestop® energy-absorbing harness
- Memory foam in seating for added comfort
- Additional forward-facing recline position to accommodate different types of contoured vehicle seats, 12-position adjustable headrest, 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions deliver a comfortable ride.
- Rear-facing tether capability
- Additional set of harness pads included to use only when the child is over 65 lbs in the 5-point harness
- Expandable sides and long seat bottom allow proper leg support
- Sits low on vehicle seat for easy child boarding and improved safety performance in a crash
- Angled cup holder keeps a variety of drinks upright and within easy reach
- Cover is machine washable and dryable
- Rubber bottom grips for no-slip installation
- Industry leading 12 year product life (from date of purchase)
The Diono Olympia’s User Manual
If you want to read more about the Diono Olympia’s installation and safety instructions, you can download a PDF copy of the User Manual here.
The Car Seat Lady Demonstrates How to Install RF with LATCH
Where to Buy the Diono Olympia
Diono Car Seats in Canada
Booster Mode – IIHS “Not Recommended” Rating
Since writing this comparison review, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published its November 2014 “Booster Seat Evaluation” results. Unfortunately, the Diono Pacifica and Olympia seats scored very badly in these evaluations and have been awarded a “Not Recommended” rating.
The problem seems to stem from the fact that the shoulder belt guides on the Pacifica and Olympia put the shoulder belt in a position that touched the child’s face in a number of safety belt configurations.
So, the bad news is that these seats cannot be regarded as safe to use in booster mode.
However, it is not all bad news:
- These seats can still be used in rear-facing and forwards-facing harness modes for longer than other convertible car seats;
- The Diono Rainier does NOT suffer from this problem and intact gets a “GOOD BET” rating from the IIHS. This difference is due to the fact that it has an adjustable head rest that means that the belt guides can be moved into an acceptable position. So, if you like these Diono seats and don’t want to have to change to another high-backed booster seat when your child exceeds the “Harness Mode” weight/height limits (see above), you should consider buying the Rainier instead. Alternatively, you can consider one of the older Diono seats.
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Leave a Comment
If you have any feedback or questions about my Diono Olympia Convertible Car Seat Review or want to share your views on extended rear facing car seats, please feel free to leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org