Performance Racer Roadster
Recaro Convertible Car Seats
These are now a number of different Recaro Convertible Car Seats to choose from.
Although they all look pretty similar and share a lot of the same premium convenience and safety features, there are some important differences to consider before making a purchasing decision.
This is my in-depth comparison review of the Recaro Performance Racer and Recaro Roadster seats.
So, which features do the Performance Racer and Roadster seats share and what exactly are the differences between them?
Recaro Performance Racer vs Roadster – Main Similarities
#1 Child Height & Weight Limits
Both seats have exactly the same child height and weight restrictions.
These seats can be used in the rear-facing position if your child weighs between 5 and 40 pounds and their seated height is less than 25.5 inches. (A child’s seated height is measured from top of the head to bottom of the tailbone). In addition to having a seated height of less than 25.5 inches, the top of your child’s head must also not be within 1 inch of the top edge of the headrest.
These seats can be used in the forwards-facing position if your child weighs between 20 and 65 pounds and their standing height is less than 49 inches. In addition to having a standing height of less than 49 inches, the top of your child’s ears must also be below the top edge of the headrest. A child must be at least 1 year old before using this seat in the forwards-facing position.
The maximum rear-facing weight limits on these seats are generous enough to ensure that your child will almost certainly be able to remain in the rear-facing position for significantly longer than the 2-year minimum period recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Please remember that, just because the seat can be used in the forwards-facing mode from 20 pounds and upwards, it doesn’t mean that you have to. There is compelling research (accepted by the AAP) to suggest rear-facing is about 5 times safer than forwards-facing, so its best practice to only switch them around when their height or weight exceeds the safe limits for continued rear-facing.
If you are looking for convertible car seats that are usable in the rear-facing position for even longer than 40 pounds, you can read my “Best Rear-Facing Convertible Seats” post.
#2 High Impact Energy Absorbing Seat with SIP
Both seats come fitted with a high impact energy-absorbing shell and a full body Side Impact Protection system (SIP), which includes enhanced side wings to specifically protect the head and face areas of your child.
The protective PUR foam head rests are also said to restrict head and neck movement in the event of a collision.
Recaro boasts that they have used their knowledge and 100-years’ experience as manufacturers of automotive, airline, and racing car seats to engineer a child car seat that provides excellent collision protection.
It’s always difficult to objectively verify these claims about safety levels, but you can be rest-assured that the seats will have passed the relevant Federal Safety Tests prior to being released onto the market. Beyond that, it is impossible to say that their Side Impact Protection system is any better than any other seats.
#3 Twist-Resistant HERO Harness & Safety Stripe
Proper adjustment of the 5-point safety harness and ensuring that the harness straps are not twisted is an important safety issue.
It is, however, often quite difficult for busy parents to ensure a correct and “twist-free” journey due to the usual dark color of the harness straps. It’s not always easy to even notice that these dark coloured harness straps are in fact twisted rather than perfectly straight and safe.
Fortunately, Recaro have designed what is a very simple, but also very effective way to tell if your child’s harness straps are twisted or not, and it’s called the HERO harness with Safety Stripe.
If you look at the photographs above, you will see that there is a bold white stripe that runs down the edge of both harness straps. This means that any unwanted and unsafe twist in those harness straps is immediately obvious for you to see and fix.
This is a very simple solution to a very common problem and I am surprised that the other car seat manufacturers haven’t copied it.
In addition to twist-prevention, the HERO harness is also designed to improve the chances of achieving a proper chest clip position.
Finally, the harness and headrest can be adjusted simultaneously by simply turning the 2 adjustment knobs that are found on the side of the seat. There is no absolutely need to re-thread the harness through the seat in order to do this.
By adjusting the headrest height and the height of the headrest, you are automatically adjusting the harness straps to the correct height as well.
#4 LATCH Installation, Top tether, and Lock-Off Systems
Both seats use Recaro’s simple push-button LATCH connector system for quick and easy installation.
They have the all important top tether strap (with handy storage compartment when not in use) and built-in “TrueLock” Lockoffs to make it easier to install the seat in the forwards-facing mode using the vehicle’s seat belts once the weight limit for LATCH installation has been exceeded (Child weight limit of 45 pounds applies to LATCH installation for these seats according to the User Manual).
Being able to properly install a convertible car seat using the vehicle seat belt is very important and research suggests that as many as 75% of seats are incorrectly installed. The Lockoffs essentially help you to get a secure belt installation (which means no more than 1 inch of seat movement).
Always make sure to use the Top Tether when the seat is in the forwards-facing mode and, for these models of seats, only when in the forwards-facing mode.
#5 Other Comfort & Convenience Features
If you live in an unusually warm part of the country, the CoolMesh ventilation system and shell vents are going to be really useful.
The Chest-Clip Storage Pockets make the loading and unloading of children so much easier. I have noticed that almost all car seat manufacturers are responding to parental complaints and including some sort of mechanism for keeping the harness buckles out of the way so that you can load up your child without having to fish around underneath to find the buckles … because they are sitting on them!
Although they haven’t been on the US market for very long, both seats are already receiving good user reviews.
Performance Racer vs Roadster – Shared Features
The list of shared features is as follows:
- Racing-Inspired Side Impact Protection
- Tested to International Standards
- Energy absorbing EPS foam
- Protective and comfortable PUR foam in the headrest
- Twist-resistant buckle and HERO harness technology
- Cloud Comfort Memory Foam
- Luxurious, temperature balancing fabrics
- Dual Air Flow Comfort System with CoolMesh and Built-In Shell Vents
- Performance infused fashions
- EasyAdjust no re-thread 5-point harness and headrest
- Chest-clip storage pockets
- Racing-Inspired Safety Stripe System
- Built-in LATCH system & universal top tether with storage
- TrueLock belt lock-off (forward-facing)
- Rear-facing recline for improved comfort and a precise installation
- Ergonomic shell structure
- Removable cushion insert
- Built in the USA with integrated German engineering (from over 50% components made in the USA)
Recaro Performance Racer vs Roadster – The Differences
There are 3 important differences between the Recaro Performance Racer and Recaro Roadster convertible car seats.
#1 Integrated Anti-rebound Protection & Dual Cup holders
Recaro have designed an anti-rebound protection system that uses the built-in cup holders on both sides of the seat that are said to absorb and distribute collision forces, whilst also reducing the rotation of the car seat in a crash situation when the seat is in the rear-facing position.
In addition to providing anti-rebound protection, the cup holders are obviously a very useful convenience feature. They also come with removable cup holder inserts to help you to deal with the sticky liquid and food build-up that is inevitable whenever small kids are around!
The dual cup holder anti-rebound system is only found on the Performance Rally and Performance Racer convertible seats.
The Recaro Roadster seat simply comes with a single removable cup holder that is not part of any anti-rebound system.
#2 Seat Width
The width of the Recaro Performance Racer seat is 21 inches, but the width of the Recaro Roadster seat is just 19 inches.
So, if you need to fit one (or more) of these seats into a small vehicle, this is something worth bearing in mind.
#3 Seat Styling
The only other difference between the 2 seats is the seat styling and the different number of fabric options.
The Performance Racer seat has just 2 fabric color options:
Performance Racer Styles
The Recaro Roadster comes in a massive 11 different fabric options.
Here are some of my favorite fabric options for the Roadster seat.
Find More Fabric Options Here.
Performance Racer vs Roadster – My Verdict
The Recaro Roadster is slightly cheaper than the Performance Racer Seat. For the extra money, you get the integrated dual cup holders with anti-rebound technology.
On the downside, the fabric options for the Performance Racer are very limited and it is also 2 inches wider than the Roadster.
If you remain undecided, you can read more user reviews of these seats here:
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.
Get in Touch
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