I did a lot of research online. Based on reviews I read on babiesrus.com and amazon.com, I decided to go to our local Babies-R-Us and take a look at two different models. We ended up looking at a third while we were there, as well. We tried:
Review-wise, Britax slightly edged out Evenflo (and Safety 1st, I discovered later). Since the Britax is regularly $279.00, I thought it was worth checking out the competition. Both had good safety reviews.
The Britax and Evenflo were next to each other in the store, making comparison easy. My husband preferred the Evenflo right away. He said that it seemed to have more padding and that it looked more comfortable. Undecided, we put Kira in the Britax. It was easy to adjust once I figured out how, and she sat there looking around happily. Then we switched her to the Evenflo. Almost immediately, she started to fidget. By the time we got everything adjusted, she was making angry noises. Kira voted no. When we tried the Safety 1st seat a little farther down, her reaction was worse. Though it was clearly designed to start out rear-facing, she didn't seem to fit well in the seat. So we moved her back to the Britax to make sure she wasn't just irritated in general and--happy baby.
Cost-wise, the Britax would be closer to $209 with Babies-R-Us' 25% trade-in deal (bring an old item for 25% off a new one), but come to find out, Amazon had this Britax model for sale for $209 without having to trade anything in. With the Amazon Prime membership I still had from when I signed up for Amazon Mom, I got free, 2-day shipping. I decided to order from Amazon.
The car seat arrived yesterday, and it was easy to install (provided you can read directions). Most importantly, Kira still seems happy with her choice: