Britax Boulevard & Britax Advocate Review G4.1 Convertible Carseats 2016 Update
Britax continues to be a frontrunner with parents and caregivers looking for user features in their carseats. From the luxury padded covers to the easy peasy LATCH installations, Britax has upheld its reputation for quality products with the Boulevard G4.1 and Advocate G4.1. Parents like knowing the Boulevard will be installed quickly and easily while kids like knowing they’ll be nestling back into a comfy cover with a padded headrest that not only provides a place to sleep, but protects growing heads. This update applies to the Advocate G4.1. It is identical to the Boulevard G4.1, with the addition of the external side impact cushion technology and different fashions. Both models are more compact than average to help fit in smaller vehicles and offer easy LATCH system installation.
The G4.1 line of convertibles are the more reasonably priced seats compared to the ClickTight line, which feature an innovative panel that closes down on the seat belt to make installation a snap. Both lines feature excellent safety protection—they just differ in installation, and the Boulevard and Advocate ClickTights will accommodate taller kids.
What are the differences between the various models of Britax convertibles? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions we get. There are 6 convertible models in 2016. Three are G4.1: Roundabout, Marathon, and Boulevard. Three are ClickTights: Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate.
- Britax Roundabout: This is the most budget-friendly Britax convertible. It lacks the no-rethread harness found on some higher models, but that’s really not a big deal unless you’re frequently transporting kids of different sizes in one carseat. It has a 55 pound weight limit and a 15.75″ seated torso height limit. MSRP $179.99
- Britax Marathon: This model adds a no-rethread harness, up to 65 pounds and 16.75″ seated torso height. It also adds the EZ-Buckle crotch strap and an easy-remove cover. It lacks the deeper headwings found on the Boulevard model. MSRP $289.99
- Britax Boulevard: This model has all the features of the Marathon, but also has deeper internal headwings for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes. It also includes advanced HUGS pads with SafeCell technology and the “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator. MSRP $329.99
- Britax Marathon ClickTight: This model has a no-rethread harness and standard rubber HUGS pads. The top harness slot height and the overall height are about 2″ shorter than the Blvd CT and Advocate CT models. MSRP $329.99
- Britax Boulevard ClickTight: All the features of the Marathon CT plus SafeCell HUGS pads; deeper headwings; “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator, top harness slots and overall height 2″ taller than Marathon CT. The Boulevard CT is a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat AND Editors’ Pick. MSRP $369.99
- Britax Advocate ClickTight: All the features of the Boulevard CT plus external side-impact cushions. The Advocate CT is also a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat. The Advocate CT is a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat. MSRP $419.99
Britax Convertible Features Comparison:
*Tip: If you’re viewing from your phone – turn it sideways to see more columns of the chart in landscape mode.
Boulevard G4.1 Weight and Height Limits:
- Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs., and head is 1” below red adjustment handle
- Forward-facing: 20-65 lbs., and 49” or less, and tops of the ears are below the top of the head restraint
Boulevard G4.1 Overview:
- SafeCell™ Technology in the base: these cells compress in a crash, which lowers the center of gravity of the child and reduces forward head excursion
- Energy-absorbing EPP foam that lines the entire back and sides of the plastic shell
- Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch Versa-Tether®
- SafeCell HUGS chest pads: energy-absorbing and have a ridged edge that better keeps the chest clip in place
- Integrated steel bars strengthen the seat and keep it from flexing forward in a crash
- 2 layers of side impact protection: deep protective shell and an energy-absorbing headrest
- No re-thread harness with 10 harness height positions
- 2 crotch strap positions
- Infant cushion for children up to 22 lbs.
- Built-in lockoffs
- Dual lower deluxe push-on LATCH connectors (one strap for each side of the carseat—no feeding it through the belt path)
- Smooth bottom base with grippy edges that won’t damage vehicle upholstery
- Optional anti-rebound bar for rear-facing
- Harness height: 9”-17”, 6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion
- External widest point: 19″
- Usable shell height with headrest: 26”
- Shoulder width: 13”
- Crotch strap depth: 4 ½”, 7”
- Seat depth: 12”
- Seat weight: 18.6 lbs.
- Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.
- Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 50 lbs.
- Installation is color-coded for ease: blue for rear-facing, green for forward-facing
- Top tether length has been shortened, but for the most part, this shouldn’t be a problem. Contact Britax at 1-888-427-4829 for a tether extender. As of 2015, the tether is no longer allowed to be used rear-facing out of concern for interference with front seat airbag sensors. An anti-rebound bar is available directly from Britax for parents and caregivers who prefer that extra level of protection.
Center LATCH Installations with Non-Standard Spacing:
Permitted only in designated LATCH positions; if your vehicle doesn’t have dedicated lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position, you cannot install this carseat with LATCH.
Inflatable Seat Belts:
Britax allows their convertibles (EXCEPTION: ClickTight convertibles) to be installed with Ford and Lincoln inflatable seat belts. They do NOT allow inflatable airplane seat belt installation. See their Inflatable Seat Belt Policy.
- The infant cushion MUST be used for children weighing 22 lbs. or less in a rear-facing position. DO NOT use over 22 lbs. DO NOT use in a forward-facing position. There’s even a label on it in case you forget!
- Use the lockoff closest to the buckle if installing the Boulevard with a seat belt.
- Get best results with the Click & Safe harness adjuster by removing slack from the thighs in an upward motion through the chest first while pulling harness tight.
- The Boulevard expires 7 years after date of manufacture and Britax follows the NHTSA crash replacement policy.
- Deep headwings provide enhanced protection in side-impact crashes
- Durable EPP foam, rip-stitch tether, HUGS pads and SafeCell Technology in base all work together to absorb energy in a crash
- Click & Safe snug harness indicator provides audible and tactile feedback to let you know when the harness is sufficiently snug
- One of the easiest LATCH installs on the market!
- “Non-Handed” lower LATCH straps allow you to easily switch the connectors from rear-facing to forward-facing and vice versa
- No re-thread harness makes it easy to adjust the harness height when your child has a growth spurt
- Relatively easy to tighten and loosen harness straps
- Harness straps are thick and not prone to twisting
- Velcro on harness keeps straps out of the way when loading and unloading child from seat
- EZ-Buckle System keeps belly pad and buckle out of the way when loading child in the seat
- Buckle style is easy to buckle and unbuckle
- Harness straps are replaceable if necessary
- HUGS pads may be removed when the child is rear-facing (but they are required for forward-facing)
- Available anti-rebound bar
- Rear-facing recline angle range of 30-45 degrees allowed
- Doesn’t take up a lot of room rear-facing (especially if you don’t need a full 45* recline). This makes it a good option for smaller cars and for tall parents who may need to have the front seat all or most of the way back.
- Easy to remove cover
- Premium fabrics and extra padding for comfort
- Made in the USA!
- May be difficult to clamp the lockoffs closed in some vehicles if installing with seatbelt
- Seatbelt installation using lockoff is not intuitive – read and follow directions carefully
- Rear-facing legroom is generally less than some other competitive (non-Britax) convertible models
- Click & Safe snug harness indicator can be helpful but isn’t foolproof
- Rear-facing height limit isn’t as tall as some other models, like the new Britax ClickTight convertibles
- The Boulevard is relatively expensive at $329.99 MSRP, but is often on sale for under $250 at Amazon.com
The Britax Boulevard G4.1 sample used in this update was provided by Britax USA. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.