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Rear-Facing Space Comparison: Britax G4 Convertibles vs. New Britax ClickTight Convertibles

Today we wrapped up the 10th annual Kidz in Motion (KIM) Conference in beautiful, sunny, New Mexico. It was another great conference and a good time was had by all. While I was here I had the opportunity to do some comparison testing of the current G4 Britax convertible models and the brand new Britax ClickTight convertibles that now available for pre-order. I was particularly interested in seeing how the seats compared side-by-side when installed rear-facing.

The vehicle used for this comparison was a 2014 Dodge Charger. Both the driver seat and the front passenger seat were set in the same positions at the same recline angle in order to accurately compare how much room each seat took up while rear-facing. On one side we installed the Britax Boulevard G4, on the other side we installed the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight. Both seats were installed with seatbelt.

Britax Blvd G4 and Blvd CT

Since the new ClickTight convertible models have 7 recline positions that can be used to achieve an appropriate recline, I took several different measurements so you can have an idea of how these new seats will fit rear-facing in backseats as compared with the Britax G4 convertible models which have a reputation for fitting exceptionally well in tight spaces.

Installed at a recline angle appropriate for a newborn or young baby with the headrest in a low height setting- the Boulevard ClickTight model took up approximately 3/4 of an inch (.75″) more room than the G4 model did. That’s still better (space wise) than most other convertibles currently on the market.

KIM Conference 2014 Updates – Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible, Improved Cosco Apt 50 Convertible, Diono Cambria Booster, Ingenuity InTrust 35 Pro Infant Seat & New Chicco KidFit Booster

New Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing 22-40 lbs., 29-43″ tall, AT LEAST 2 YEARS OLD
  • 5 sets of harness slots (5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″)
  • Walmart exclusive
  • Price under $50
  • Available Jan 2015

Cosco Scenera NEXT Cosco Scenera NEXT

Cosco Scenera NEXT Cosco Scenera NEXT

 

Updated Apt 50 Convertible

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing 22-50 lbs., 29-43″ tall, AT LEAST 2 YEARS OLD
  • 5 sets of harness slots (5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″, 16″)
  • Price $65
  • Available Jan 2015 at Target, Amazon, and other retailers

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Apt 50 top harness slots

 

Improved onBoard 35 Infant Seat

  • Carrier is very similar
  • Redesigned base has 5 recline positions
  • New bases will be compatible with older onBoard carseats

New onBoard 35 base

 

Working on improving DreamRide Car Bed

  • Working on a LATCH installation for this product
  • Expected availability summer 2015
  • Will continue to be available through institutional channels

DreamRide Car Bed

 

New Diono Cambria Booster - on its way to retailers now and should start shipping to consumers in the next two weeks.

Diono Cambria Diono Cambria

 

Cambria Specs and Features:

  • Diono Cambria40-120 lbs.
  • 38-63″
  • Flexible lower LATCH anchor attachments (hook style)
  • Dual cup holders
  • Can be used as highback or backless
  • Requires head support from vehicle in either mode

Cambria Measurements:

  • 21″ to belt guide opening on highest height setting
  • 14″ deep (leg/thigh support)
  • 12″ wide at narrowest point near armest
  • 17″ wide in back

 

New Ingenuity InTrust 35 Pro Rear-Facing Only Carseat

  • 4-35 lbs., up to 32″ tall
  • SmartAdjust Headrest system adjusts harness height and harness tension simultaneously
  • AirInfuse helps air flow through mesh and ventilated panels
  • Push-on lower LATCH anchor connectors
  • 3 position base
  • Bubble level indicators on both sides of base
  • Handle can be in any locked position in vehicle
  • Available Oct 2014 at BRU (not BRU exclusive – will be available at other retailers by end of year)

Ingenuity Infant Seat Ingenuity Infant Seat base Ingenuity base

 

Chicco KidFit BoosterNew Chicco KidFit Booster

  • 30-100 lbs. with backrest
  • 40-110 lbs. without backrest
  • 38-57″
  • Flexible lower LATCH anchor connectors
  • Collapsible cup holders
  • Expected release date Jan 2015
  • MSRP – to be determined (no info available yet)

More on New Britax Advocate, Marathon and Boulevard ClickTight: Sneak Peek Review

PrintWith the announcement of the ClickTight Installation System in the 2015 models of the Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate convertible carseats, Britax has indeed introduced a Game Changer into the convertible carseat market. Gone are the days of huffing and puffing and yanking on seat belts and LATCH straps to get carseats installed tightly. As technicians in the field, we know a loose install is one of the top 2 mistakes we’re going to see in a vehicle when it comes to a checkup event.  ClickTight was a big deal with the Frontier 90 and is just as big of a deal for any carseat rated above 40 pounds or so, due to new federal standards limiting the use of the LATCH system.

Britax ClickTight convertibles

Do these convertibles hold the cure for all possible misuse? Of course not. There may be some incompatibilities and the price may put it out of reach for many families but we can’t make advances in child passenger safety without advances in technology and those advances often come with a hefty price tag – at least initially.  For that price tag, you also get increased height limits and a 10-year expiration date, so there is some value added!

Kecia, our lucky reporter in the field, got to touch and feel and see these cool new seats.  We will have a full review coming in September.

*UPDATE – our comprehensive Britax Boulevard CT Review is now posted here.

For now, she took a ton of pictures for us and a video and reports that baby Jack fits beautifully in the new Marathon without the lower body insert (see pics). With the lower body insert, the bottom harness slot measures about 6.5″.

 

20" doll in Marathon CT - no lower insert needed  20" doll in Marathon CT - no lower insert needed  Marathon CT lowest harness ht measurement - with lower body insert

These pics below show the preemie doll using the lower body insert. The Britax convertibles are rated from 5 lbs. to 40 lbs. rear-facing, so our 4 lb. Huggable Images preemie doll is too small to fit in any of them, but Kecia wanted to get an idea of harness slot fit.

CTMApreemiefront  CTMApreemieside

 

Installation:

Comparisons

The Marathon CT is going to be a smaller seat for Britax while the Boulevard CT and Advocate CT have a growth spurt (see photos below).

Britax Marathon, Boulevard & Advocate ClickTight Preview: Game Changers for Installation, and Rear-Facing Too?

marathonct

Britax Marathon CT

The big news in the carseat world is that 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.

*Update: Our complete review of the Britax Boulevard with ClickTight is now posted here: Britax Boulevard ClightTight Convertible Review: Sometimes Things Just Click

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.

Britax Advocate ClickTight

Click To Enlarge

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.