by Amy Venzke July 16, 2019 6 min read
Most kids will know three car seats in their lifetime: the infant car seat that carries them home from the hospital, the convertible car seat that takes them from rear-facing to forward-facing, and the booster seat that allows them to start wearing the vehicle seat belt.
But what if a single car seat could act as all three?
The Nuna EXEC is an all-in-one option that transitions from a convertible car seat to a seatbelt-positioning booster (with harness easily tucked away).
The EXEC can accommodate your child from their first ride in a car seat to their last. Car seat laws vary by state, but many states require a child to sit in a car seat until they reach age 8 and/or 57 inches (4'9").
But while the EXEC does it all, some families will still prefer a car seat built for each stage of your child's development—with most of the time spent in a convertible car seat like the Nuna RAVA.
And the two seats share much in common, like an all-steel frame, quick-and-easy installation, and convenient features like a no-rethread harness, a wide range of recline angles, and dual built-in cupholders.
In this comparison, we'll review the pros and cons of choosing the Nuna RAVA convertible car seat (and subsequently, a booster car seat) or bypassing the convertible for the Nuna EXEC all-in-one option.
Watch a video comparing the differences between the Nuna EXEC and RAVA below!
But compared with the total cost of buying a trio of Nuna car seats over the years, the EXEC actually offers a significant cost savings.
The RAVA tops out at a height limit of 49" or a weight limit of 65 pounds, which most kids will reach around age 6 or 7.
The EXEC surpasses those limits when you stow away the harness inside the seat, converting the convertible seat into a booster for kids over 40 pounds and 38" in height. To start using the booster, your child should be at least age 4 and meet both the height and weight limits. In booster form, the EXEC can fit kids up to 57" or a whopping 120 pounds.
Both seats offer a wide range of adjustments to fit a growing child and a variety of vehicles. Because it converts to a booster for a taller child, the EXEC has two more head support positions, but the RAVA offers two additional recline positions.
With their 10-year expiration, both seats can be used for the same length of time.
Nuna car seats are made of steel—literally.
Both the EXEC and RAVA feature an all-steel frame, offering heavy-duty protection compared with the plastic shells of most car seats. Plus, both seats are equipped with side-impact protection pods that absorb energy in the event of a crash.
Unique to the EXEC is an anti-rebound panel, which inhibits the car seat's motion in a crash and aids in the tightness of the installation. Plus, the anti-rebound panel doubles as a leg rest in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions, helping to keep your child comfortable (and protecting your vehicle seat from dirty shoes.)
Installing the RAVA and EXEC is similar (and similarly simple).
For both seats, Nuna recommends using the vehicle seat belt rather than the LATCH system because it eliminates confusion later on. Eventually, the combined weight of any car seat and your child will exceed the 65-pound limitation of your car's LATCH system, requiring a switch to the seatbelt, anyway.
Besides, seatbelt installation is as simple as threading the belt through Nuna's True Tension doors, closing the doors and buckling. The proper recline angles for rear-facing and forward-facing are printed and color-coded on the seat, eliminating measurements and bubble indicators seen on other seats.
While the RAVA has a one-position calf support that adds a bit of leg room to the seat, the EXEC has a leg rest that can be extended both up and out to provide more comfort. In rear-facing mode, the EXEC leg rest serves as an anti-rebound panel that prevents the car seat from rotating in a crash.
The EXEC also comes with a few extras that help keep your car seat clean: a second set of infant inserts to give you a spare while one set is in the wash, as well a machine-washable slip cover that protects the bottom and footwell of seat from dirty shoes.
Both car seats feature harness holders that make it easier to help your child in and out of the seat: For the RAVA, the harness buckles slide into a tab on the side of the seat; for the EXEC, the buckles can be secured to the sides of the seat with magnets.
Both the Nuna RAVA and EXEC are among the only car seats on the market that are free of added fire-retardant chemicals. Their bamboo-blend fabrics, in addition to being naturally fire-resistant, are also more breathable, moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic compared with the synthetic fabrics on most car seats.
On both car seats, the seat fabrics are removable and machine-washable.
The RAVA offers five color options to fit a wide range of tastes and car interiors:
The EXEC is offered in four colors: Granite with brown leatherette piping; Caviar Black with black leatherette piping; Timber, a black with tan interior and brown leatherette piping, and Lake, a deep blue with matching leatherette piping.
The decision depends on your family's unique needs, like your lifestyle, budget and the age of your children.
While the Nuna EXEC can be the only car seat you'll ever have, you may determine it's better to purchase the car seat you need right now.
Most families start with an infant car seat like the Nuna PIPA, which is specifically designed to support a newborn and offers the convenience of portability and attachment to a stroller.
Around your child's first birthday, you can transition to the RAVA, which can be used until the child reaches 49" or 65 pounds. Later on, you'll choose a booster seat, which may or may not have a seatback. (The seatback of the Nuna AACE is removable, allowing your child to eventually transition to big-kid status.)
The Nuna EXEC is an all-in-one car seat that could save you hundreds of dollars on car seat spending in the long run. The EXEC may best fit your needs if you have a tall kid or an older toddler who will need a booster sooner than later, or if you're looking for a one-and-done option to keep in a second vehicle or in a grandparent's car for years to come.
But other families may hesitate on the $650 price tag of the EXEC, along with the feasibility (and cleanliness) of using the same car seat every day for 8 years.
With either the RAVA or the EXEC, you're investing in one of the safest and highest-quality car seats that your family can use for several years to come.
Strolleria is a family-owned and operated retailer dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents.
Amy Venzke is the co-owner of Strolleria, along with her husband. Together, they have a mission to make the gear-buying experience easier on parents. Contact the Strolleria team with questions at email@example.com or 480-442-9433.