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Monthly Archive:: February 2010

Britax Frontier 85 Review: It’s All New, Is It For You?

Introduction

There’s nothing like an updated product to save time writing a full review. Find the old review, update the details and presto, new review! The original Frontier was a pretty good combination booster. In fact, I’ve been using one daily for over a year and a half. We’ve even reviewed it twice, HERE and HERE. So why the new Frontier? Basically, Britax took the old one, improved the maximum height and weight limits and then went on and addressed all the issues they heard about from customer feedback, like this thread on our forums. Plus, they did it in just over a year and a half. Very impressive!

So, the Frontier is no more. It has been replaced with the Britax Frontier 85 (see our Britax Frontier 85 SICT comparison here). In addition, the Regent will be phased out, too. The Frontier 85 is a “Harness-2-Booster” or combination (combo) forward-facing child restraint and belt-positioning booster seat. Using the harness forward-facing, it is for children over 2 years, weight from 25 to 85 pounds and from 30 to 57 inches tall. As a booster, it is rated for children starting at a minimum of 40 pounds and 42 to 65 inches tall. In booster mode, there is now a 120 pound weight limit.  This is not the same product with higher numbers attached to it. It is revised and improved in many ways

Until March 31st, you may enter to win a Britax Frontier 85, courtesy of our sponsor, Kids-N-Cribs.com!  To enter, please visit our forums for more details by clicking here.

Britax Frontier 85: The Unboxing

I’ve had to hold it all in for some time now.  It was almost unbearable when it arrived.  It’s nice to hear about cool stuff sometimes before it hits the shelves, but it’s no fun if  you can’t tell anyone!  Some information has been leaking out about the new Frontier 85 for a while, but as of today, all the details are officially released and so I can discuss them too!  By my calculation, it’s past midnight just about everywhere in North America, so…

…enough of my complaining and onto the good stuff.  First, the obligatory unboxing video!

Next, a few of the improvements.  Some readers probably already know about the big ones, but there might be a few you don’t know about yet! 

  • Harness weight limit increased from 80 to 85 pounds
  • Top harness setting increased almost 2″, from 18.25″ to about 20″ seated height.
  • Standing harness height limit increased from 53″ to 57″ (Britax numbers)
  • Standing booster height limit increased from 60″ to 65″ (Britax numbers)
  • Seated booster shoulder height limit increased from 21.5″ to 24.5″ (Britax numbers)
  • Booster weight limit is now 120 pounds (was not listed for the original model)
  • Lap belt guides updated and now seamlessly join the armrest section with no gap in between
  • Armrests have a sturdier, shorter, fixed design
  • Cupholders are now integrated into the front of the base, rather than extending from the side
  • Harness height adjuster is revised and significantly reinforced compared to the previous one
  • There are now 10 harness height positions, up from 8 in the original
  • Harness strap material is a little less flexible and may help resist folding
  • Harness splitter plate is now a single slot design
  • Chest clip now has a graphic showing correct position instead of a Britax logo

For all the rest of the changes, you’ll have to wait for my full review later this week!  I’ll also have photos, including comparisons with the original Frontier at maximum height for both harness and booster use!  Britax has increased the key weight and height limits and also addressed almost every quibble with the original Frontier.  That’s something, because the original Frontier was a pretty nice combination seat.  The new Frontier 85 is not just the old model with inflated limits.  It really has been revamped and improved.  Overall, I’m not sure for what else you could reasonably ask!  Obviously, some things haven’t changed from the original design.  It’s somewhat pricey.  It’s relatively big and heavy.  It may be incompatible with some vehicles and the long/reverse belt path has a longer learning curve than normal.   Beyond that, it really is great.  If you liked the Frontier, you will love the Frontier 85.  It’s the last child seat you will ever need once your baby is beyond 2 years old and 25 pounds!  Heck, if kids run small in your family, you can keep them in the Frontier 85 as a booster (or maybe even the harness!) until they start driving on their own!

The Maxi Cosi Rodi XR: A Quick Review

Maxi-Cosi is an international brand of carseats and strollers gaining more of a presence in North America in recent years. It is owned by Dorel Juvenile Products Group, makers of brands like Cosco, Safety 1st and Quinny. Today I am reviewing the Maxi Cosi Rodi XR Booster.  The Rodi is a high back booster that converts to a backles booster.  It is suggested for kids 30-100 pounds (40-100 in backless mode) and 34-57 inches tall (43-57 inches for backless mode).

Key features include deep side head wings lined with energy absorbing EPP foam and width-adjustable side torso wings, also lined with energy absorbing foam.  The bottom platform under the base can lowered and shifted back to adjust it from upright to reclined mode.  A basic cup holder attaches to either side of the base.  A standard lever at the top of the head rest allows for 8 height adjustments for the back.  The Rodi XR was recently rated a “Best Bet” as a high back booster in IIHS testing.

So how is the Rodi XR?

Orbit Toddler Car Seat Review: The Next Step

Orbit follows its unique infant seat with a toddler carseat built to equally impressive standards.  The Orbit Toddler Car Seat is a convertible (rear-facing and forward-facing) child restraint for kids 15-50 lbs. who are less than 49” tall.  Rear-facing the seat is rated from 15-35 lbs.  Forward-facing, it can be used for children over 1 year old who weigh between 20-50 lbs.

The Orbit Toddler Car Seat comes with a headrest, harness strap covers, braces for installation without the base, and a canopy.  It can be used with the Orbit stroller frame up to the 40 lbs. weight limit of the stroller.  For a review of the stroller, please see the Orbit Baby Infant Seat review.