Amazon.com spilled the beans earlier this week, so you may have already heard the news. Britax is introducing a new line of convertible carseats with their patented, ultra-simple seatbelt installation system. These models with ClickTight are new designs from the ground up and have some important other differences too. The current “G4″ Convertible lineup will continue to be sold at present price points alongside the somewhat more expensive ClickTight models. That is great news because the Britax G4 convertible models have a great LATCH installation system and fit into small spaces very well. Check out our review of the Britax Advocate G4 and stay tuned for our full review of the Britax Boulevard ClickTight next month. So, you know about ClickTight, but here’s what a lot of advocates and parents really want to know. First, when can you get one? Britax plans to begin shipping to stores in the first week of September, with product appearing on many virtual and brick&mortar shelves by mid-to-late September. And second, what are the height limits?! Are they a “gamechanger” or a dud? The new Britax Marathon ClickTight is only modestly taller than the current Britax Marathon G4. The top harness slot height increases from 17.5″ to 17.7″ and the top seated shoulder height from 16.75″ to 16.95″. The overall standing height limit is 49″ tall. The rear-facing height limit will also increase somewhat, to about 25.5″ tall to a point 1″ from the top of the head restraint. That point was just below the red adjustment handle at over 26.5″ tall. Somewhat taller than the Marathon G4, with the main addition of the great ClickTight installation system. (Editors note: Measurements updated for production model). Now the BIG news: The Britax Boulevard ClickTight and Advocate ClickTight get a significant height increase! The top harness slot height increases from 17.5″ to 19.5″, among the highest for current convertibles. The seated shoulder height increases from 16.75″ to 18.65″ tall in the top adjustment. The standing height limit is also 49″ tall.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day, these two models will no longer use the top of the outer shell as their reference level for rear-facing height limits! That limit will now reference 1″ from the top of the inner head restraint “shell” instead. That point is defined as roughly 1″ below the red adjustment lever for the harness height adjustment. Please keep in mind that these are approximate measurements from a final prototype, but the estimated usable rear-facing height limit should be almost 28″ tall for the Boulevard and Advocate with the head restraint in the highest position. Bam! (Editors note: Updated for production models. We measured about 29″ to the bottom of the red level for maximum height adjustment, so one inch below that gives a 28″ usable rear-facing seated height limit to the top of the child’s head). Other notable changes? They all have an new 7-position recline system with an automatic level indicator. The Marathon gets a 12-position harness height adjustment, while the Boulevard/Advocate have a 14-position adjustment. All have two crotch strap positions, similar to current G4 models. The Pavilion G4 model is being phased out, and the Click & Safe harness tension adjustment system will now be standard on all Boulevard models. These new ClickTight convertibles are a lot heavier than the G4 models, due to the ClickTight system and steel reinforced shell. They are a little bigger as well, so they won’t be as handy for travel than the non-ClickTight G4 models. And, of course, there new fashions! Stay tuned for video and more photos later today. You can also find our comparison to the current G4 models.