Britax has officially announced the next generation Harness-2-Booster seats in the Frontier line.  They will be the Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 (with Side Impact Cushion Technology).

The biggest news?  The new ClickTight seatbelt installation system.  It’s an automatic tensioning system, similar in a way to the Cybex Aton base, but it also serves as a belt locking device.  It may also remind some of the Britax King, but it’s much easier to use than the King was.  Basically, you flip up a metal reinforced plate on the front of the shell, then route the seatbelt underneath and buckle it.  To finish, you push firmly down to close the plate and the seatbelt is tensioned and locked in one easy step!  No worries about locking a retractor or using a locking clip.  No worries about LATCH anchor weight limits.  The most difficult part of the installation process might be knowing to flip up the fabric cover to find the ClickTight system!

*UPDATE: See our complete review of the Frontier 90 HERE.  And our full review of the Pinnacle 90 HERE.

You can order at Amazon.com with free shipping and free returns.

The Britax Pinnacle 90 will have an MSRP of $369.99

The Britax Frontier 90 MSRP is $329.99

 

 

 

But wait, there’s more!  Another great improvement is the slight increase in seated shoulder height, extending what is already the industry-leading top harness height setting to a whopping 20.5″!  Many combination seats are outgrown by height well before weight, so the Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 will outlast the competition in harness mode.  The other great improvement is the front adjustable harness height system, making it much easier to adjust as your child grows, even with the carseat installed in your vehicle.  There are nine height adjustments, down to about 12.5″.  Also, the recline block is gone, so no more forgetting to flip it forward or back!  Instead, there is a more traditional recline system with two positions, and either one can be used in harness mode. And say goodbye to the separate booster height adjustment and screw!  Finally, there is no more removing the harness system or crotch strap to convert to booster mode, as they both conveniently store away in place.  Britax really did listen to a lot of suggestions from advocates and consumers yet again for this evolution.

As for some other measurements, there are now only 2 buckle strap positions, one about 7″ depth, roughly the same as the middle crotch strap slot on the Frontier 85.  The outer setting is almost 9″ depth according to Britax, slightly deeper than the outermost crotch strap slot on the Frontier 85. On the downside, the maximum booster height is decreased somewhat, but should still be among the industry’s tallest models.  If you’ve ever adjusted the current Frontier version to the maximum booster setting, you may have found it won’t even fit in your vehicle!  Britax claims seated shoulder height in booster mode is now 23″, down from 24.5″.  The Frontier 90 weighs roughly 25 pounds, with the Pinnacle weighing slightly more.  Overall dimensions are fairly similar, with the new Frontier 90 being just a hair narrower externally than the previous model, but about the same internally at the shoulders.

Britax Frontier 90 in Congo, Click for Full Size Image

Other changes?  The patented SafeCell system is present in the base to improve crash performance.  There are new fabrics, of course.  The head restraints on the Frontier/Pinnacle models will be slightly deeper than the previous models for improved side impact protection.  The EZ-Buckle system from the G3 convertibles is present, so it helps to keep the buckle from getting stuck under the child.  There will also be improved labeling to help parents find the right belt path for harness mode and booster mode.  The cover is somewhat easier to remove and this can now be done without removing the harness or uninstalling the carseat!  The small elastic loops and tedious plastic hooks have been replaced with an improved elastic system as well.  The armrests and cupholders are redesigned, also.  Fans of the reverse (long) belt path may be disappointed initially to see that it is not an option with these new seats.

I did have a chance to install a late prototype Frontier 90 with the ClickTight system.  It worked very well in each of the few vehicles available for testing.  If it works as well and as quickly in most vehicles, I don’t think we will miss the long belt path at all!  The new way appears to be just as secure, but more importantly, far easier to accomplish a correct installation!  Of course, as with any carseat, there will certainly be some compatibility issues.  The rare vehicles with rigid, angled buckle stalks come to mind as one possibility.  With the forthcoming changes from the NHTSA in regard to LATCH, Britax will indicate a 40 lb. weight limit for the lower anchor system, as ClickTight will be the preferred method of installation.  The top tether will be strongly recommended to the upper harness weight limit.  The SecureGuard crotch strap accessory will still be compatible as well.

 

Britax Pinnacle 90

  • 25-90 lbs (and over 2 years of age) with harness
  • Standing height 30″ – 58″ tall in harness mode, 45″ – 62″ tall in booster mode
  • BPB from 40 to 120 lbs
  • Industry-leading 20.5″ top harness height
  • SICT (Side Impact Cushion Technology) energy-managing side bolsters for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes
  • SafeCell technology in base
  • Integrated steel bars reinforce the shell
  • ClickTight installation system for easy and secure installations using the seatbelt
  • Quick adjust no-rethread harness
  • EZ buckle system holds belly pad out of the way when loading and unloading child
  • Front adjust recline feature
  • Easy remove cover
  • MSRP $369.99
  • Preliminary fashions are Manhattan, Broadway & Cityscape
  • 9-year lifespan
  • Made in USA!

 

 

 

 

Britax Frontier 90

 

 

Here is the official Britax press release:

FORT MILL, S.C. March 25, 2013 CLICK! That’s the new sound of a secure installation.  That’s the sound of a parent’s peace of mind. That’s the sound of BRITAX’s new ClickTight technology car seat installation.

New BRITAX FRONTIER™90 and PINNACLE™90 combination seats feature the ClickTight Installation System that allows parents to achieve a safe and secure installation every time*. With just three simple steps**, ClickTight allows parents to easily install the new seats with the vehicle seat belt and eliminates the frustration of putting their weight in the seat or getting into the vehicle to install the car seat.

Many caregivers use vehicle lower anchors, part of the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), to secure car seats. They are unaware that all vehicles have lower anchor weight limits. When a child’s weight exceeds the weight limits or restrictions, car seats should no longer be installed using the lower anchors. Instead, the car seat must be installed using the vehicle seat belt system. The new BRITAX ClickTight installation system allows parents to use the vehicle seat belt to achieve a safe and secure installation throughout the life of the seat, in harness mode, without worrying about the child’s weight.

“Our FRONTIER 90 and PINNACLE 90 seats are the easiest to install on the market today,” said Curtis Strong, Director of New Product Development at BRITAX. “These seats are designed with BRITAX’s revolutionary technology, safety features and unparalleled ease-of-use. Once parents hear the ‘BRITAX click,’ they’ll know their child’s seat is safely and securely installed.”

Both seats feature BRITAX leading safety technologies, offering superior head safety protection. These components include SafeCell Technology® that compresses and lowers the center of gravity and reduces forward head movement, integrated steel bars that strengthen the seat’s connection to the vehicle, reducing forward-flexing, and energy-absorbing Versa-Tether®, which is a patented stage-release tether designed to slow forward movement.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, three out of four vehicle crashes occur from the side. All BRITAX seats feature side impact protection to shield baby in the event of a side collision. Both FRONTIER 90 AND PINNACLE 90 feature True Side Impact Protection® that provides an extra layer of EPP foam to contain a child’s head, neck and body and keep her aligned in the event of a crash. The PINNACLE 90 also features energy-managing Side Impact Cushion Technology™, which diverts crash forces away from a child and provides extra protection for the adjacent passenger.

 

CONVENIENCE FOR PARENTS, COMFORT FOR CHILD

Beyond superior safety, the FRONTIER 90 and PINNACLE 90 offer many ease-of-use elements to make any parent smile, including their ability to convert from the 90 pound harness mode into belt-positioning boosters that can be used by children weighing up to 120 pounds. Both seats feature an EZ-Buckle system that holds the buckle forward, thereby eliminating the struggle to find the seat buckle from underneath the child. The seats also include a tangle-free, no-rethread adjustable harness, a front-adjust recline, integrated cup holders and storage, multiple buckle positions, fixed armrests, comfort foam and an easy-remove cover.

“At BRITAX, we remain at the forefront of innovation, as demonstrated by the ClickTight Installation System,” said Jon Chamberlain, president of BRITAX. “It is a unique technology that enables successful and secure car seat installations every time. And, importantly to our community, these new seats are assembled in the USA.”

The BRITAX FRONTIER 90 (MSRP: $329.99) and PINNACLE 90 (MSRP: $369.99) will be available at mass, online and independent retailers in a variety of fashions in late spring.

For more information about BRITAX, visit www.britaxusa.com, or find BRITAX on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

 

About BRITAX Child Safety Inc.

BRITAX manufactures and markets a full line of premium car seats, strollers, baby carriers and accessories.  Since its founding in Britain in 1939, the company has established itself as a trusted juvenile products brand, known for a commitment to thoughtful, innovative engineering of safe, top-quality and intuitively designed products.

 

In 2011 BRITAX acquired BOB Trailers, Inc.  This addition reflects the company’s commitment to offering a full line of strollers to meet the modern family’s lifestyle needs.  BRITAX and BOB offer versatility and a lifespan beyond one child.

 

BRITAX USA is located in Fort Mill, SC and employs more than 200 people.  For more information, visit www.britaxusa.com.

 

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* May not be compatible with all vehicles; see installation instructions.

** BRITAX recommends that the top tether be used at all times when installing the child seat.  The top tether must be used in harness mode for children that weigh more than 65 lbs.

 

I expect the Britax Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 to be very nice improvements from the Britax Frontier 85, one of our current Recommended Carseats and one of our favorite combination harness/booster models.  Britax really listened to feedback again on their next generation combination seat.  Based on my limited experience with the prototype, Britax has a real winner for parents and kids alike!  Please stay tuned for a full review of the shipping retail versions of both the Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 in the next few months.

 I hope to answer questions in response to this blog and on our thread at Car-Seat.Org!  Please keep in mind that not all the information from the prototype I evaluated will apply to final retail versions. On any upcoming product from any manufacturer, we always like to stress to readers that delays and changes in features, limits and prices are to be expected.  Plus, I apologize for any typos in the information above.  Mistakes happen, so please confirm with official information at the Britax USA website!