I was on the hunt for a decent child seat for my Ecosport for a while. I visited Mom&Me, Mothercare and sundry shops in Bangalore, but all were charging a premium of 50-100% over the listed dollar price of the Manufacturer. Finally, patience paid off and I got a sweet deal in December shopping discounts for Britax Advocate 70 G-3. My main requirements were these:
1. ISOFIX (LATCH)
2. Convertible seat (rear + forward facing)
3. Decent side impact protection
4. 5-point harness
5. Should support a wide range of weight (at least next 5 years)
Additional features I like about this car seat:
1. Chest pads and child seat base are made of collapsible material called SafeCell
2. Britax's safety recall policy
1. The user-guide is detailed and longish at 52 pages. It contains a lot of safety tips and minute instructions about correct installation instructions with reasoning and repercussions of doing a wrong installation. It looks like written by an engineer and is heavily cross-referenced, so it took me a week just to figure out how to use it with LATCH connectors.
2. Harness straps need to be pulled at exact angles from the buckles, or they just won't budge. Not necessarily a con, but wasn't mentioned in the user-guide.
3. In rear facing installation, the co-driver seat needs to be bent forwards.
Getting a decent car seat is the easy part; cajoling a fussy 1+ year old to sit on it is much tougher - tougher than cajoling Ford customer support, SAs, dealer and all put together ;-) Ford and it's dealer made me wait 5 months for my car and now it is exponentially harder to make a 1+ year old toddler sit on a child seat compared to a 6month infant. I'd have preferred a rear-facing installation but my fussy 1.5 year old cannot bear it and moderately enjoys the forward facing position. In Bangalore, I get a lot of disapproving stares by people who see my kid sitting alone in the back. Over here, people consider the kid sitting on the mom's lap in the front passenger seat safer ;-)
In the year end discount sale from iBhejo.com, it costed me $350 (~22K INR). Listed price by BritaxUSA.com is $380. Kudos to iBhejo.com who delivered to me from somewhere in PA, USA to my doorstep within 6 days even in peak holiday season. That too at zero shipping charge for such a big package.
I've been on highway, mountain ghats and done moderately hard braking with my kid in this childseat. The child seat sticks firmly to ISOFIX anchor points and child harness holds the kid quite snugly. Child was never in physical discomfort. So we're quite satisfied with this product. Even with child-seat in place, two moderately built adults can sit snugly at the back; but perhaps a longer journey will be uncomfortable. The side protection cushions eat up some shoulder space at the back. ADVOCATE 70-G3 - Car Seats - Britax USA
ISOFIX (LATCH) connector connected to the base of the Ecosport rear seat:
Tether connected to anchor located in the rear seat. Note how the gap between seat and rear parcel tray allows the tether strap to be slipped in easily. All reviews criticize this gap as a design flaw - but it isn't.
Side view. At this angle, my kid can doze off or sit awake comfortably.