For nearly 100 years, Evenflo has been offering decent baby products for a good price, which is an accomplishment — especially for car seats. All of their products are made in the USA (Piqua, OH…O-H! i-o!).
You see, most convertible car seats under $100 have a low-weight limit (40 lbs) and are very bare bones, but the Evenflo brand really excels in this economy category. The Tribute, the Triumph and the SureRide have been economy allstars over the last decade, but their latest and greatest is the Evenflo Sonus (and Sonus 65), which recently became our new favorite budget convertible car seat.
A newer rendition of the beloved SureRide, the Sonus offers more harness slots to keep bigger/older kids rear-facing for longer than the SureRide allowed. It also got cheaper! ($79 for the regular Sonus vs $99 for the SureRide).
The Sonus also has an airflow ventilation system that will keep your kiddo cooler in hot temps, dual cup holders (for all that double fisting toddlers do), and buckle pockets! OMG – what are buckle pockets, you say? They are these adorable little slots where you put the buckles to keep the straps OUT OF YOUR WAY so you can get your kid in and out. It’s such a silly little thing, but I just adore it!
I also love that this seat is super lightweight (11.3 lbs!), so if you do need to transfer it from car to car pretty frequently, you won’t get a hernia in the process. It’s also good for grandparents for this reason (that, and the low cost!). But keep in mind… the reason the weight is so low is because the seat is made of plastic. Compare this to higher-end steel reinforced car seats, like Britax and Clek, which are much heavier but claim to protect your child better in an accident.
The LATCH connectors on the Sonus are basic hook-style clips that attach to the lower anchors in your car, but there is a white button that you can press down to loosen the strap to make removal easier (you’re less likely to break a nail that way).
To use the seat in rear-facing mode, you’ll use the “recline stand,” which flips out and is secured with a Velcro strap. If necessary, you can place a rolled towel under the recline stand to maintain the correct recline for rear facing (this is common practice with the cheaper seats). The Sonus 65 version ($99) offers additional recline, so you’re less likely to need this.
In forward-facing mode, remove the Velcro strap and flip the foot back into the base.
Evenflo claims this seat can fit 3 across, though it really depends on how wide your car is. It also greatly helps if you can “puzzle” the seats: placing a forward-facing seat next to a rear-facing seat so they don’t hit each other at their widest points (a problem when they are all facing the same direction).
An example of puzzling below (rear facing child in the middle — which, in practice, is EXTREMELY hard to GET that middle child in and out of the harness/buckle):
The Sonus 65 version ($129) has increased forward facing weight rating (65 lbs), additional recline wedge for rear-facing installation (making it less likely that you would need to add a pool noodle or rolled up towel to achieve the proper RF recline angle), and cupholder liners that pop out for easy cleaning. This model will cost you an extra Andrew Jackson ($20).
From here, the next seat up the food chain is the Evenflo Stratos 65 (same shell as Sonus 65), but with adjustable headrest and premium push-on LATCH connectors. I LOVE the LATCH connectors in the Stratos and for me, the extra $$ is totally worth it for this feature.
Evenflo Sonus: Bottom Line
Coming in at under $100, the Evenflo Sonus and Sonus 65 are well-liked, lightweight (11.3 lbs) seats that are the Lucie’s List economy seat Best Buy. Though you can use it as your daily seat, it’s also great for travel or as a spare. It has a new, updated look and offers the basics, plus some niceties like buckle pockets and cupholders, and will last a little longer than previous versions (50 lbs for the basic Sonus and 65 for the “65”). If you have a heavier/larger kid, opt for the 65 or even the next level up, the Stratos.