on October 3, 2011
After working as an EMT on an ambulance in a busy system for 7+ years, I have come to appreciate the value of a quality car seat. When installed properly they save a lot of lives. My daughter's life is one of the most important lives that I want to protect. I've seen children killed in car wrecks by improper installation and faulty design. That's why I chose to go with Britax brand. Britax is ranked the highest out of all of my research in all areas. When I think about saving my daughter's life, the price is very affordable.
I ordered this item after some careful consideration and a lot of reviewing of consumer reports, quality & crash test rating comparisons on lots of car seats. I even spent a lot of time going to the stores and looking at features of different car seats and seeing how they are designed. This one was one of the highest rated combination seats I found.
My daughter is almost 4 years old and she'll be able to have this seat until she's big enough to use a real seat belt without a booster. It has the 5 point harness and it does convert into just a booster for when she's older. She loves having 2 cup holders and I love that they are molded into the seat instead of those flimsy holders that hang on the side.
on November 17, 2010
This Britax Frontier 85 is a replacement for the Diplomat that our daughter has almost grown out of. Overall, I really like this seat since Britax has adopted a number of nice features and the unit is reasonably compact - i.e. you don't need a huge car for a tall person up front and a kid in the back row to be comfortable.
My daughter loves the cup holders even though they rarely hold cups - rather it's things she brings home from school, etc. The 5-point harness holds her very well, though the button to release the tightening web could be easier to use. Comfort levels are high, she has no issues with falling asleep in this chair.
The Versa-Tether and the Latch buckles do an excellent job of restraining this seat - once you use all three points, the seat will not budge. Tightening the straps is easy, and a really nice feature for this seat versus the diplomat is that Britax incorporated a storage option for the LATCH buckles - they no longer have to drag along the ground when you remove this chair from a car or travel by air.
The height/angle adjustment of this unit is in some ways superior to the Diplomat it replaced, and in some ways a step back. Whereas one could adjust the height on the head protection for the Diplomat inside the car, one has to remove the Frontier from the car to adjust the height of the seat. On the other hand, the Frontier incorporates a nice bolster that allows you to fit it into a greater variety of rear seats (i.e. some seats slope down backwards more than others) that the Diplomat did not have. Rethreading the 5-point harness straps to accommodate larger children can be tedious - the crotch-strap on this unit is not fun to needle through the bottom shell and the fabric above.
So, in other words, set aside some time periodically to adjust these seats - and this is very important for optimal performance during crashes (the whole point of buying these seats in the first place, right?). The manual details all the reasons, and I thought it was well-written. Unfortunately, this seat does not allow the manual to be stored inside it like some other seats, this may be useful for some owners. Shipping from Amazon was quick as usual, and the packaging did an excellent job of protecting the contents. No assembly required.
Overall, I am happy with this purchase.
on June 1, 2012
As with everything else we conscientious parents/grandparents (yes, I realize that I'm not the only psycho researcher out there), I researched booster seats religiously. This entire process took me about 3 months when I realized that my second daughter is insanely large for her age and she would be outgrowing the car seat momentarily. The funny thing is that I own a Marathon and a B-Nimble stroller and worship them both, so the Frontier 85 was the front runner right out of the gate. However, I didn't want to be hypnotized by the Britax brand (although I totally am), and let "the greatest booster seat ever" allude my grasp; hence my journey began.
I don't putz around either. I gave some lower end seats an honest investigation, because you never know where you may find a precious gem of a surprise! But alas, I didn't. Then I moved on to familiar territory: Clek, Recarro, Diono just to name drop a few. I knew two things going in: I want a 5 point harness and the best bet in the unlikely event of an accident. The Marathon (Cowmooflage) that we have owned for 3 years, is an incredibly safe and thoughtful chair, so it made sense to just upgrade to the Frontier (which is also Cowmooflage).
There are 2 points that I would like to address that other reviewers have made complaints again. Unlike the Marathon, the tightening on the LATCH system is only one sided. However, Britax has cleverly instructed us to pull the slack through the slot near the bottom right of the seat. I just installed this seat today and it is remarkably easy to do. I'll teach you a trick. Don't pull the slack straight out towards you. Kneel on the seat with all of your weight bearing down, and pull the slack in a straight line hard and to the left. Kind of like a lawn mower but in the opposite direction. When I lifted my knees, the seat didn't budge, not even to "give" from releasing my body weight. This puppy won't move an inch, Just like the Marathon. For reference, they are both installed in a Saab 9.7.
The Cowmooflage material is the only material however that is not like a thick shiny tent-like material that I'm just not down with. I've actually never seen or felt a seat with similar material, but it stays cool when it's supposed to and vice versa. You can tell it's expensive.
This brings me to my final point which is the price point. Don't even flinch. As soon as you open the box, your anxieties will be released. This seat feel $300, no doubt about that. My 3.5 year old daughter's face lit up when I opened the box and she said, no kidding, "Cool!" There are 2 built in cup holders- seemless, no less so nowhere for gross things to fester. Consumer reports and parents alike rave about this seat. keep your kids buckled for as long as humanly possible. If they're older, use the booster mode or park farther away from their school. Kidding. Kind of.
Bottom line, if you're on the fence, jump.
Safe travels to you all...
on March 11, 2011
So, I bought this carseat after watching it for a few days and the price had dropped about $10 extra overnight! (LOVE Amazon's prices on things! Babies R Us is charging about $80 OVER Amazon on this same seat!) I was a little nervous because I didn't have the chance to go down to my local Babies R Us and see if it would actually FIT in my cars; I have a 2008 Scion xB and a 2001 Honda Civic sedan. I read a lot of the reviews and found that they fit perfectly....in SUV's and minivans! This added to my nervousness. I KNEW I wanted this seat, but I was concerned with the fact that it just might not fit in our cars. We got the seat day before last and it fits WONDERFULLY...in BOTH cars! So, for all those out there who have smaller cars, but what their child in THIS seat, fear not and buy with confidence. Britax is a great brand, we have had our girls in Britax seats since birth and that will continue to be the case until they no longer need car seats :)
on April 6, 2011
We recently purchased a frontier 85 to replace our first one we had that was in an accident.. out son walked away with out a scratch while the rest of us had some injuries (whiplash, neck and back sprains, concussion... and he was totally fine thanks to his 5 point harness!). We had it in the gray color before, this time my son picked the Maui Blue. He has had a Frontier for the past year, and since my husband is military we travel a lot, and spend a LOT of time in the car. My son is 4.5, 36lbs, and 40 inches. We practice extended harnessing so this car seat is perfect. He is able to sleep in it with no head slump (the mild recline is perfect for this!), has a lot of room, and is very comfortable. He will be able to use this for a long time as we are only a few clicks up from the bottom now, with a LOT more to go!
-Cover comes of pretty easily
-LOTS of growing room
-Mild Recline features great for car nappers
-Lots of color options
-Britax has GREAT customer
-Great booster convertible
-If you liked how the marathon had Two independent latch hooks to tighten, this only tighens on one side, which makes it a little more challenging to install
-Small hole for belt path
-It is slightly bigger than other similar seats on the market
In my opinion, the Pro's WAY overpower the cons. We plan on keeping our little guy harnessed for a few more years, and this is my favorite car seat we have ever owned!
on November 25, 2012
We passed our Britax Boulevard down to our toddler and upgraded our preschooler to this. She loves it, and it certainly has the quality you expect from Britax. However, there is an issue with the anchors at the bottom (not the tether on top). On the other model, each anchor had its own tightening strap. On this model, they share a single strap. This prevents you form getting a rock-solid fit as I have come to expect form my other Britax. I'm not concerned enough to return it, but I would have looked for something else if I had been able to try this out in my car before buying.
Jan 2013 EDIT: dropped from 4 stars to 2 stars
After moving this between cars a lot I find the single-strap issue to be incredibly annoying. The shared strap is bad enough to start with, but the pull-system is oriented in the wrong direction so that the car seat itself interferes with the tightening process. As a result, you can't get a good angle on it to pull it tight and at times I doubt the safety of my installations.
March 2013 EDIT: dropped from 2 stars to 1
We got a new car with leather seats. This thing just won't get tight due to the shared strap design and it slides more noticeably on leather.
on February 26, 2011
I have a 43 lb. four-year-old who still fits in his Marathon but we needed a new carseat for another car. It was between the Graco Nautilus and the Frontier. I really wanted to love the Nautilus because Consumer Reports recommends it over this model and it has to be easier to install than this one (& it's less expensive). However, when I bought both of them & set them up in the living room it was no contest. Sure, they are both well-constructed and are made of high-quality materials. Both were easy to adjust and the Nautilus got fab reviews from CR (although both were rated as safe choices). But, even on the loosest setting the crotch strap on the Nautilus was barely big enough for my son! He fit perfectly into the Frontier and has of room to grow. He loves the seat, especially the 2 cupholders (one for his cup and one for sunglasses). This thing was a BEAR to install though-- much more difficult than the Marathon b/c I needed to use a locking clip (which incidentally doesn't come with the seat which is a pain if you (or your kid) is excited to install it the day that it arrives. Yes, they sent it within a couple of days, but why not include it in the box? It can't cost more than $0.50. The locking clip is included with the Nautilus. Anyway, it's in now and we like it and I would recommend it for any slightly larger than average toddler. If your child is tall and slender the Nautilus might be a good choice for you too although this one will also accomodate a slender child (3 leg settings).
on February 23, 2013
I originally started looking for a new carseat (to replace a Graco MyRide 65 that was going into Nana's car), I wanted to make sure that it would last for a long time. Since my rather large son was already forward-facing, I started looking at the seats that convert to boosters. Like many others, I was torn between the Graco Nautilus and the Britax Frontier 85. At the time, the price difference between the two was a lot bigger than it is today. Taking that into consideration along with the fact that they both get really good reviews, the fact that the only one I could view in person at a local store was the Nautilus, and the fact that we loved the MyRide 65, I decided to go with the Nautilus. As much as I wanted to love that seat, I couldn't. It was comfortable enough for my son, but it was a pain to get it installed tightly in my car. Plus, regardless of which recline position I used, he was super upright and his head would flop forward if he fell asleep. We also realized that the crotch strap was not going to leave him much, if any, room to grow.
But, we only had the Nautilus for a short time before we got rear-ended on a road trip. The accident wasn't major, but we decided to replace the Nautilus to be on the safe side. We had to buy the replacement on vacation, but there was a BBRU nearby. I knew that I didn't want a new Nautilus, so I looked at the Frontier and the Graco SmartSeat. I will say that the Frontier BBRU had on display must have been the older model because it was not like one I just ordered. The seat cover had virtually no cushion, it was super upright and uncomfortable looking, and the cupholders flipped out. I didn't like it and I didn't believe it would comfortable. The SmartSeat is very cushioned, it functions as a rear-facing (for future kids), front-facing, as well as a booster, and has a really cool recline feature that came in handy during our long car ride home at the end of vacation. But the SmartSeat is pricey and with all the things that I like about it, I just can't seem to love it. Which brings me (finally) to the Frontier 85.
We decided to replace the Safety 1st Complete Air 65 (which we loathe) that is in my husband's car. So, since the SmartSeat is rather large and makes it hard to get the kid in and out of my car, I moved that to my husband's car (more headroom). I started researching again and once more ended up looking at the Frontier 85. Everybody always raves about Britax, but I didn't want that to be the only reason I bought this seat. The reason I decided on this seat over all the others is the simple fact that my son is tall and my previous experience with Nautilus crotch strap made me realize he will need more room. I bought this because on paper, it will clearly last the longest. I was really concerned I would hate it and have to send it back. But truthfully, I really like it. It reclines enough in the seat that my son's head doesn't flop forward. The Cowmooflage is super soft and well padded. The carseat was a breeze to install with the LATCH system and it doesn't budge a centimeter in my car. Also, it is a lot lower than the SmartSeat so it is easier to get him in and out of the car. Best of all, my son seems super comfortable in it. All in all, I am glad I finally decided to buy this seat.
on December 21, 2010
So, I never submit reviews, but I thought this was worthy. I've owned a Roundabout for about 2 years...and now that by son is turning 3, I decided that we needed to upgrade to a larger seat. After hours of research I narrowed my search to the Frontier 85 and the Recaro Young Sport. I was lucky enough to see both in the store and decided on the Britax. Let me begin by saying the adjustments (shoulder straps, crotch strap and recline) were a breeze. I (not my husband) am the expert installer...and was able to get a tight fit in about 20 minutes. This seat is much bigger, heavier and clunkier than the Roundabout (which, by the way we absolutely loved) - but that is expected. So no surprise there. I installed in the middle of our 2008 Honda CRV and used the teather with no problem. It is in there rock solid. INSERT PROBLEM: By the sound of all the reviews, no one else had this problem, but --- the strap used to tighten the harness (in between the legs) is much, much harder to tighten. I think it filters under the car seat and Britax did not leave enough breathing room for the stap to easily tighten. It's almost as if the strap is creating traction against the bottom of the CRV seat. If I loosen the car seat the strap pulls tight with no problem, but when installed properly I have a very tough time tightening the harness. It can be done...with a lot of muscle...but it really is a struggle! Maybe I am spoiled by the Roundabout. I went back to the store where I purchased the seat to see if it happened on the floor model (when also installed in the "fake" seat) and it did. I talked to the sales rep about my experience and they agreed that this was a problem. So, I would love for future posters to comment on this issue. Maybe I am alone in my struggles. I almost took the seat back, but decided to keep it. My son loves his "big boy" seat and he is much more comfortable. I am not sure I would purchase another Frontier 85 if we needed a second car seat.
on January 25, 2013
This car seat is unreal! Putting it into a 2008 Sienna XLE is a breeze, pulls down good and stays in place with leather seats. Sits nice, kids are excited and comfortable. Our 3 and 4 year old kids can easily strap themselves in (we bought 2 at the same time), although the only thing I don't like is the crotch pad. It is Huge and gets in the way. We tried the Graco Nautilus at the store, and the kids have so much more room to grow in the crotch area with the Britax. Graco's only measures 6.25 inches at the farthest notch. This one goes from 6, to 7, to 8 inches on the three levels. The CAMOOFLAUGE is nice material, looks good and will hide stains over time, we think. Overall, super nice car seat, and although a little spendy, (we are very thrifty people), this car seat will protect our kids and give them much more comfortable rides on the long trips we take. No doubt, 5 stars all the way for me.