Thanks to one of our forum members – we have the first peek at the new Graco convertible seat – the “My Ride 65″.  The seat isn’t available yet but we’re hearing that it should be on store shelves by June.  So far, the initial reaction to the pictures has been lukewarm but we’ll just have to wait and see.    

Here’s what we know:

Rear-facing:  5-40 lbs or until top of child’s head is 1″ below the top of the shell. 

Forward-facing:  20-65 lbs or up to 49″ tall.  Top harness slot seems to measure near 17″.

Not surprisingly, it looks like a cross between the ComfortSport, the SafeSeat Toddler (aka Cozy Cline) and the Nautilus.  For those of you who don’t want to wade through the multiple pages of posts in this thread, the pictures can be found here and here

I’ll reserve my judgement until I see it with my own eyes but kudos to Graco for being the first to manufacture a rear-facing carseat with a limit above 35 lbs here in the US.  Also, I LOVE the fact that they’ve given this seat 2 different sets of flexible lower LATCH anchor attachments – one for rear-facing and one for forward-facing.  Hopefully, this will eliminate some of the frequent misuse that occurs when there is only one attachment strap and it must be moved from one beltpath to another when the direction of the seat changes.  I can only think of one other convertible that ever had two separate lower anchor attachments – and that was the short-lived Britax Galaxy.   Of course, an extra strap could mean extra trouble for the “creative types”  who love to “rig” their carseats in ways they were never designed or intended to be used.  Oh well, I guess the creative ones are always going to find ways to screw up their carseats regardless of how many straps or hooks they have to work with.  We shouldn’t let them stand in the way of progress.  And this is definitely progress as far as I’m concerned.  

I know some people were disappointed because they had hoped that this new Graco convertible would have a rear-facing tether or an anti-rebound bar or maybe even a cool foot-prop like some of the European and Scandinavian seats.  But for around $150 – that was totally unrealistic.  Plus, Graco’s target is mass-market appeal.  And that generally means cute and affordable.  Of course safety and convenience are priorities for them too but they’re not likely to go out on a limb to modify a very expensive seat to bring to the US market just to appease the small percentage of carseat board junkies who want a US version of the Swedish Graco Duologic.  Graco has a huge share of the baby gear market in this country so they’re obviously reaching their target audience.  All I have to say is – only 2  cup holders?  Pshaw!  Where’s the snack tray?  Where’s the built-in bottle warmer?  Where’s the secret compartment to hold a spare diaper and clean binky?  Where’s the built-in speakers so baby can learn a foreign language while he enjoys his “My Ride”?  This is America!  Don’t your focus groups and your big-box-store buyers tell you anything important???  ;)

Okay, so I’m being sarcastic.  But on a totally serious note -  how many other people automatically think ”Pimp My Ride 65″ when they think of this seat?  Hellooooo.  Graco – what were you thinking?  It makes me want to hold out for the Xzibit version with a flashy painted shell, custom cover, lots of blingage and maybe a built-in TV like the ones that come out of the armrest in some bulkhead seating positions on a plane!  How sick would that be?  LOL!  Anyhow, I guess the good news is that if the seat doesn’t sell as well as Graco hopes – we can look forward to the ComfortSport 65, right?