UPPABaby is a US-based luxury brand that’s actually worth the money; their gear is attractive, well-designed, and their US-based customer service is top-notch. I like pretty much everything they make.
After years of no significant updates, they finally updated the seat to the V2 model, which they launched last summer. They also added an upgraded version, called the Mesa Max, which we discuss below.
The New UPPABaby Mesa v2 and Mesa Max Infant Car Seats
Ok, let’s talk turkey! The UPPAbaby MESA V2 offers new colors and features, like additional side impact protection, a larger sun canopy, and a more secure seat belt installation method. We saw a price increase from $299 to $329, which was not unexpected. The original Mesa Infant seat has now been discontinued.
While the MESA V2 uses the same base as the original Mesa, the Mesa Max has a different base that adds two safety features: a steel-reinforced load leg and an anti-rebound panel. Both anti-rebound features work to stabilize the base in a crash, limiting movement to prevent head and neck injury.
*Note that all the Mesa infant car seats fit all model years of UPPAbaby strollers, but the car seat base for the Mesa Max is not compatible with other Mesa seats.
Product Review / Overview
UPPABaby Mesa car seats are pretty incredible. Next to a Graco, for example, it’s apples and oranges. The schtick with the Mesa is ease of use and installation with a self-ratcheting base. Just clip the LATCH connectors into your car, push the base down with your body weight and BAM! He’s done. Finito. It’s seriously so darn easy to install!!
Most other seats require lots of pulling, tugging, etc.
The Mesa base has a tension indicator window, which indicates when the LATCH system is sufficiently tight to ensure maximum safety.
This is one of the reasons they earned a 5-star rating from NHTSA for “ease of use.” I LOVE self-ratcheting anything — and you will too – HA! A big thing that most people don’t realize: if you’re using LATCH, you can install this seat in any position, including the middle seat (if you have LATCH connectors in your middle seat, that is).
With the built-in lockoff, a seat belt installation is also quite easy. Both of these seat bases (the V2 and Mesa Max) have a European belt path, which makes for an easy installation without the base. The only downside to the Mesa V2 is the lack of an anti-rebound feature found in seats in this price echelon (the Pipa and the Aton, for example).
In contrast, the Mesa Max has an anti-rebound bar AND a load leg (see more below).
At 10 lbs, these seats are definitely on the heavier side for infant car seats, especially compared to its luxury competitors, links Nuna.
Fire-Retardant Free Car Seats
All of UPPABaby’s car seats (starting with v2) are now fire retardant-free. This is GREAT news because traditional fire retardants that are applied to the soft goods of juvenile products are nasty, nasty stuff.
For both the V2 and the Mesa Max, UPPABaby meets the requirement for fireproofing (FMVSS 302) in 2 ways (depending on which model you choose): SafeTech is basically polyester, and PureTech is their signature Merino wool blend. Both of these fabrics are “naturally” fire-resistant, without having to apply extra chemicals. *Note that the Merino wool (e.g. the PureTech) is going to be much more breathable in hotter temps vs. the polyester (SafeTech). Consider temperature control when deciding which colorway to purchase (yes, the PureTech costs more). Read more here.
Additionally, all Mesa seats are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, which tests for low chemical emissions and VOC’s.
UPPABaby Mesa v2
At the opening price-point ($329), the Mesa v2 gives you the 3 “SafeTech” color options: dusty pink, charcoal and grey melange (shown below). Remember: this is the polyester blend. (That pink, tho, amiright? Delish.)
For $30 more ($359), you can upgrade to the Merino fabrics (the PureTech), which are available in blue and grey melange. And you know how I feel about the Merino (chef’s kiss), especially for you mamas in the South who need to keep those babies cool…
UPPABaby Mesa Max
Now that you’ve gotten your head around the V2, you’re probably wondering what the differences are in the Mesa V2 and the Mesa Max.
For starters, $70-$100 more.
The end. (just kidding).
Seriosuly, though, dropping $400 on an infant car seat is a new thing (is that a good way of putting it?). This was not happening 10 years ago. If you’re spending $400+ on an infant car seat, make sure you’re going to be able to hand it down to someone or use it again for another baby. And make sure you’re going to be using an UPPABaby stroller. You feel me?
Ok good. Just making sure we’re on the same page.
There are really TWO big differences in the V2 and the Mesa Max: the base and the canopy.
Again, the base of the Mesa Max is completely different than the base of the v2. It has not one, but TWO anti-rebound features (I’ve never seen both of them used at the same time — this is new territory!).
Furthermore, the canopy on the Mesa Max is JINORMOUS! Yes, it covers the entire seat (below), vs. most car seat canopies, which only go down about halfway.
Again, the bases of the Mesa Max and the regular v2 (or even previous models of the UPPABaby Mesa) are not compatible.
The Mesa Max comes in 5 delicious colors, most of them are pretty dark (upside: they won’t show stains).
Forget about SafeTech, the Mesa Max deals only in PureTech and DualTech. Remember the PureTech is that yummy merino wool, while the DualTech is a synthetic blend. Both are fire-retardent-free. HOO-ray.
Again, if you are in the market for the UPPAbaby Cruz V2 or the UPPAbaby Vista V2 stroller (see Stroller Section), both of which I LOVE, you are best off with the Mesa v2 or Mesa Max. They now make The Ridge all-terrain stroller, which we have not yet reviewed.
Your problem is going to be finding a simple, lightweight frame stroller for this guy… though now UPPABaby has a lightweight travel stroller, the Minu (see also: UPPABaby Minu review), that is compatible (with an adapter). See also: Best City Strollers
And that is about it. The truth is that stroller adaptability is a weak point of this car seat, so you better like UPPABaby strollers if you want this car seat — or look elsewhere.
Bottom line: The Mesa is an awesome American luxury infant car seat. If you’re buying an UPPAbaby stroller, you’ll be very happy with it (plus, it’s all matchey-matchey). The self-ratcheting installation is amazing, and the soft goods are to die for, especially the wool versions. Downside: it’s on the heavier/clunkier side, as infant seats go, the v2 version lacks an anti-rebound feature found in similar seats at this price-point.