This has been a battle for the ages. I compared the UPPAbaby Mesa to Chicco Fit2 in ALL categories that make a difference – from safety and comfort, over maintenance and ease of use to price and value for money.
We have a winner, but the margin is too narrow just to announce it and label the victor and the “better seat” …because that won’t be true for everyone.
Instead, let’s take a more granular approach and compare the seats one aspect at a time.
UPPAbaby Mesa infant car seat – the basics
Specs of the car seat
|dimensions (inches)||26.5 x 17.5 x 23|
|size of the base||21.3 x 14.5 x 10.3|
|weight without the base (lbs)||11|
|weight with the base (lbs)||20|
|weight capacity (lbs)||4-35|
|maximum height (inches)||35|
|expiration after manufacturing||7 years|
Defining features of the Mesa:
- Color-coded LATCH connectors and seatbelt path – this makes the base installation much more intuitive.
- Extra layers of EPP in the head area – better absorption of G forces in an accident.
- Leveling and tightness indicator on the base – you get direct visual feedback when the base is installed correctly.
- No-retread harness (5-point) – allows you to adjust the seat size and the headrest position in one motion.
- Protective canopy with a 25+ UPF – shields your baby from direct sun and light exposure.
- Generously padded infant insert – makes the seat welcoming to babies as small as four pounds.
Available versions of the UPPAbaby Mesa (and how different are they?)
This is a common question, but I believe the difference between the four versions of the UPPAbaby Mesa is oversold.
You have the premium seats (Jordan and Henry) that are a peg more expensive because they’re padded with Merino wool.
Other than that (and the colors of the seat cover), I found no quantifiable difference in any major aspect.
Key benefits of the Mesa, and advantages over other car seats
The Jordan and Henry Mesa are the first car seats ever to meet the federal fire resistance guidelines regarding without fire-retardant chemicals.
Since UPPAbaby offered a chemical-free solution to fire resistance, we have seen an onslaught of companies launching their own versions.
As a result, the UPPAbaby Mesa is no longer unique in that aspect.
But being the first still counts for something.
EPP absorbs G forces
Expanded Polypropylene or EPP is a specialty foam that UPPAbaby uses to improve the impact resistance in the head area, especially in side collisions.
It absorbs a significant percent of the G force in an accident, which can be life-saving.
EPP is also superior to other foams used in infant car seats in shape retention, strength to weight ratio, chemical and water resistance.
Infant insert just right for a newborn baby
UPPAbaby Mesa creates a comfy riding position for newborns and preemies alike – courtesy of three features that work in unison:
- Generously padded newborn insert
- Adjustable harness
- Adjustable crotch straps settings
Ease of use – five stars from NHTSA*
The NHTSA awards each infant car seat with a star rating for ease of use, and they gave the Mesa a maximum of five.
Most of that credit for that goes to the simple base installation with direct feedback and a solid LATCH system (UPPAbaby calls it the Smart Secure System).
*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
You might also be interested in: proper car seat strap placement | how to tether a car seat without anchors |car seat do’s and don’ts |how long can a newborn be in a car seat |types of car seats by age
Chicco Fit2 – key features and benefits
The Fit2 is an upgrade to the universally praised Keyfit30 infant car seat. It packs all the functionality that made the Keyfit30 an instant industry classic and adds extended rear-facing use as a toddler positioner.
Let’s see how it compares to the UPPAbaby Mesa.
Specs of the Fit2
|seat dimensions||28 x 17 x 16|
|base dimensions||21.25 x 15 x 12.5|
|weight of the carrier (lbs)||12|
|weight with the base||22|
|weight capacity||4 – 35 lbs.|
|maximum height||35 inches|
|expiration after manufacturing||6 years|
Key features of the car seat
- Doubles as an infant and toddler car seat – can be used in a rear-facing mode for up to two years.
- The “two-stage” base converts into a spacious toddler positioner with extra legroom.
- Adjustable handle position – easy to work around when your hands are full with other baby stuff.
- Adjustable seven-position headrest – allows you to use the infant car seat longer.
- The leveling foot is spring-loaded with bubble level indicators – this makes the base install as straightforward as any.
- No retread harness – simple size adjustments.
- Lightweight car seat for a 2-in-1 – the carrier weighs only 12 pounds.
- Super-sinch LATCH install – multiplies the force your apply and tightens the connectors.
What stands out about the Fit2
Many of the features we listed here aren’t unique to the Fit2, like the no retread harness and an adjustable headrest.
Still, the fact that we’ve already seen these features doesn’t mean they’re not better than other infant car seats because they are…and the owner satisfaction is proof.
Don’t compare it to convertible car seats
I’ve seen questions about how the Fit2 compares to convertible seats.
It’s not a full-on convertible car seat because you can’t use it in forward-facing mode or as a booster seat. Still, switching the position up from infant seat to toddler mode is a massive plus.
Premium fabrics and high-end comfort
The premium Italian fabrics are combined with breathable airflow channels made of 3D mesh.
In plain terms, the inners of the padding are “hollowed-out” so that the air flows freely.
All of it is removable and machine-washable.
The shell of the Fit 2 is lined with EPS foam
EPS stands for Expanded Polystyrene (styrofoam), which is a specialty foam with high energy-absorbing properties.
It’s been the industry standard for years. Frankly, it’s a bit dated and inferior to the EPP foam used in Mesa.
Still, the foam is just a part of the safety equation.
UPPAbaby Mesa vs. Chicco Fit2 – side-by-side comparison
- Adjustable harness
- Padded chest buckle
- Level indicators on the base
- Tightness indicator
- Latch connectors retract
- 2-Stage base included
- 7-position headrest and padded
- Easy to setup
- Removable head and body support
- Compatible with Chicco strollers
Safety features of the car seats compared
To compare the safety of the two cars, I looked at two aspects of G Force crash data – head and chest region.
The scores are too close to choose a winner in the head impact category.
The Chico Fit2 bested the UPPAbaby Mesa in the chest impact protection scores, primarily in the maximum G force.
A big win for the Chicco Fit2, despite the superior EPP foam used for the Mesa. It’s most likely because of the anti-rebound bar.
Score: UPPAbaby Mesa vs. Chicco Fit2 : 0 – 1
Installation of the seats (LATCH and car seat belt)
This is typically the category where UPPAbaby Mesa blows the competition out of the water.
That’s not the case today, and Mesa has met its match.
If I had to choose one LATCh to install to save my life, I’d go with Fit2. I’m being dramatic here to stress how nuanced the differences are.
I’m giving the UPPAbaby Mesa a slight edge in the seat belt installation category because of the intuitive color-coding.
Verdict – I don’t feel confident about awarding a full point to either car seat. It’s a tie.
Score: UPPAbaby Mesa vs. Chicco Fit2 : 0.5 – 1.5
Portability, weight, and height limit
At 12 lbs, the Chico Fit2 carrier weighs a pound more than the Mesa’s (11 lbs).
The bases weigh the same (10 lbs), and Mesa’s is two inches wider.
Weight and height limits of the car seats
There is no difference in the listed weight and height capacities – both car seats can be used in the 4-35 lbs range of weight and up to 35 inches of height.
I don’t think that the slight differences justify awarding a full-on win to either of the infant car seats.
Score: UPPAbaby Mesa vs. Chicco Fit2 : 1 – 2
No chicken dinner in other categories
All other major quality categories (comfort, ease-of-use, maintenance, no-base use, stroller-compatibility, and value for money) are tied.
I won’t go into the nitty-gritty because I’d be wasting your time. I’m only mentioning these to let you know I’ve taken everything into account.