2019 Britax Frontier ClickTight Review
Since the Britax Frontier ClickTight came out, it’s been a popular carseat for its ability to harness kids for a long time. The ClickTight technology it introduced has proved revolutionary and spawned a line of convertible carseats. We also have a full review of the very similar Britax Pinnacle ClickTight (with Side Impact Cushion Technology).
What’s the big deal? The frustrations of having to use a seatbelt to install a carseat are now a thing of the past, as you will see in our video demonstrations. Without further ado, here are the features:
Britax Frontier ClickTight Overview:
- 25-90 lbs., 30″-58″ tall (and over 2 years of age) with 5-pt harness
- 40-120 lbs., 45″-62″ tall as belt-positioning booster
- Industry-leading 20.5″ top harness height
- Shoulder belt guide at highest position: 23″
- ClickTight installation system for easy and secure installations using the seatbelt
- EZ buckle system holds belly pad out of the way when loading and unloading child
- 9 harness height adjustments
- 2 buckle positions
- SafeCell technology in base
- Integrated steel bars reinforce the shell
- Quick adjust no-rethread harness
- Front adjust recline feature
- Easy remove cover in Cool N’ Dry, Nanotex, and Cool Flow fabrics
- 9-year lifespan
- MSRP $309.99
Of all these features, the one that really sets the Frontier apart from its competition is the new ClickTight seatbelt installation system. It’s basically an automatic seatbelt tensioning system that does the work of tightening the seatbelt for you.
You simply lift up the cover to open up the ClickTight panel (photo, left), route the seatbelt through the appropriate green routing path, buckle it, then close the ClickTight cover and presto! In most vehicles, the installation should be secure in just a few minutes and the only other task is to attach the top tether strap to the tether anchor for that seating position. No worries about locking a retractor, using a locking clip, complex vehicle seat belt routing paths or LATCH anchor weight limits. All those things that most parents never even realized might be a potential problem! With a few exceptions, it really should be that easy to install in most vehicles.
Main Features and Advantages:
5-point Harness to 90 pounds and 20.5″ tall: The Frontier has the industry-leading top harness height setting at a whopping 20.5″! Many combination seats are outgrown by height well before weight because their top harness height limit is only 18″ to 19″ tall. So, the Frontier and Pinnacle will outlast the competition in harness mode, even though kids in the tallest percentiles will outgrow it before they reach 90 lbs. It’s also easy to use, so older kids can do it themselves, with adult supervision, of course!
ClickTight Seatbelt Installation System: With LATCH becoming nearly useless for extended-weight seats beyond 40 pounds, many 5-point harness models will be using seatbelts again for installation. Fortunately, the era of locking clips and putting your entire body in the carseat to tighten it are over. The ClickTight system is as simple as it sounds, as you will see in the video:
Inflatable Seat Belts: Not a problem with the Frontier! Follow Britax’s installation instructions if you have Ford or Lincoln inflatable seat belts in your car.
Multiple Harness Height Settings with Front Adjust: Adjusting the harness height is easy; squeeze the red handle at the top of the seat and pull up or push down. There are 9 height adjustments, from 20.5″ down to about 12.5″.
Crotch Strap Adjustment: 2 settings for crotch strap depth, adjustable even while installed. Plus, the EZ-Buckle system flips the crotch strap buckle forward when not in use. That means it’s always easy to find and you are never digging around under your child to find it. It’s also easier for older kids to buckle themselves. In booster mode, you may replace the harness buckle with the optional SecureGuard lap belt clip.
Other Features: Along with steel reinforcement, the patented SafeCell system is present in the base to improve crash performance. There is also improved labeling to help parents find the right belt path, green for harness mode and red for booster mode (photo, right). The cover is easy to remove and this can be done without removing the harness or uninstalling the carseat!
Britax has implemented new technologies to design fabrics that are easier for parents to use and keep their children cooler. Cool N’ Dry is a bamboo charcoal-blend designed to wick moisture away from your child. Nanotex is a Crypton fabric that shuns water and dirt—for the messier ones in your life ;). Cool Flow is a mesh fabric that improves air flow behind your child’s back.
Booster Use: It’s one of the tallest boosters among combination seats. I measure almost 23 inches to the shoulder belt guide at the top setting. Plenty of room for my almost-8-year old son on the second highest setting and also a good fit on the highest setting, one that will barely fit in some vehicles!
The maximum booster height is still among the industry’s tallest models. Britax claims seated shoulder height in booster mode is 23″, plenty tall for an 8-year old (photo, right). The Frontier ClickTight weighs roughly 25 pounds, with the Pinnacle weighing slightly more. Below you can see the top harness height, booster shoulder height and shoulder width measurements, roughly 20.5″, 22.5″ and 19″, respectively.
There are 2 buckle strap positions, one about 7″ depth, the outer setting is almost 9″ depth. Here is the seat width and depth below, along with inner crotch buckle position.
Below are some comparison photos with the Britax Frontier 85, which is now discontinued.
With the changes from 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. LATCH storage is hidden under the ClickTight compartment cover, in order to encourage seatbelt installations. The top tether will be strongly recommended to the upper harness weight limit and required for kids above 65 lbs.
Installation and Fit:
We tried it in a few vehicles for this review. These include a 2010 Toyota Prius, a 2011 Toyota Highlander, a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer and a 2013 Ford Fusion. In every seating position tested, the install was rock solid within a few minutes, regardless of the experience level of the installer! How about a center seat in a compact car? No problem, as you will see in the Toyota Prius:
I can definitely recommend the Frontier ClickTight based on what I have seen so far. It has a lot of great advantages and really only a handful of minor issues that we mention for sake of completeness.
- Generous 20.5″ harness height, best in class!
- Front height adjustment usable even when installed
- ClickTight system seatbelt installations easier than LATCH!
- Deep side impact wings for head and torso (photo, right)
- Reasonably tall booster mode provides good fit
- EZ-Buckle keeps the harness buckle easy to find
- Made in USA with IMMI harness components
- Two position recline in harness mode
- 9-year Lifespan
- Harness adjuster hard to find at first for short fingers, but this makes it hard for kids to inadvertently loosen themselves
- LATCH limited to 40 lbs., but who needs LATCH with ClickTight?
- Relatively large and heavy, as are most combination seats
- Relatively expensive
- Not suitable for pet use (photo, right)
Kudos to Britax for requiring top tether use for kids above 65 pounds. This instruction may conflict with some vehicle owner’s manuals, though we recognize that relatively few children use a 5-point harness system beyond 65 pounds. At that weight, many kids will be nearing 8 years of age or above and most are likely using the Frontier in booster mode. We would still like to applaud Britax for taking this stance on using an important safety feature for the biggest kids who need it the most!
With a return to seatbelt installations inevitable for high weight harness combination carseats, the ClickTight system on the Britax Frontier is just plain awesome. The trickiest part of using it the first time is simply locating it behind the cover! Combined with the best-in-class weight and height limits, the front harness adjustments and all the other improvements, the ClickTight system makes this harness/booster carseat an excellent choice for children over the minimum requirements of 2 years old and 25 pounds! The Frontier CT is on our Recommended Seats list and I believe it will be an easy to use option that will also be the last carseat most kids will ever need until they can safely transition to using just the adult seatbelt.
Thank you to Britax for providing the Frontier ClickTight used in this review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own! Please visit them at the Britax USA website!
Updated June 2019
We bought a Frontier Clicktight XE model (with kickpad and 5yr warranty) and are pleased with the ease of installation, comfort, and safety features.
However, my 6yr old son could not release his own harness (our previous carseat, a Recaro had no such problem though it was recalled and then Recaro exited the US market).
My fear is having an accident and being unable to release him. It is also an inconvenience because I can’t activate the release mechanism from the front seat; I have to get out of the car to do so.
So I cut the side parts of the fabric “flap” so my son could successfully release his harness.
@Jason – I certainly understand wanting your 6-year-old to be able to unbuckle himself without your assistance but I wouldn’t worry about being unable to release him after a crash. You can always unbuckle the harness without loosening it. Unfortunately, the flip side for manufacturers is that if they make it too easy, then you have younger kids unbuckling when they’re not supposed to and that could potentially lead to serious or fatal injuries. In general, most manufacturers would rather inconvenience the older kids (and their parents), than risk the safety of the younger kids who figure out how to loosen their harness when it’s easily accessible. But it sounds like you found a workaround that’s working for you. As long as you just made a slit in the fabric cover and didn’t mess with any part of the central front adjuster system, that sounds like a reasonable solution which shouldn’t have any unintended consequences in a crash.
I’m having the same problem as Jamie^^^. My Frontier makes a jingling noise, both plastic and metallic sounds, when empty. Any advice??? Anyone other than us having this problem?? I bought it around May /June… wondering if it’s a defect?? Thank you!
I’ve heard of others having this problem. It’s been a long time since we’ve used our Pinnacle (same as Frontier), so I don’t remember if it made noise. Some seats just rattle.
Hi. I’m wondering if anyone has had problems with noise from this carseat (Britax Frontier Clicktight)? I just installed it, and find that the headrest portion wiggles and bangs around noisily (when no child is in it) when ever the car hits the slightest bump. It’s horrible – makes my car sound like its a junker. I’m hoping others have a fix for this, else I will return it tomorrow in exchange for a reliable Diono.
I’m having the same problem and it makes me bonkers!! Unfortunately, I have no solution to offer.
Does this seat need to be tethered in booster mode? The instructions in the manual are so confusing! My 8 year old is 80lbs.
I have heard the headrest on the newer models is flimsy… that one could probably snap it off by hand with any force. Is this true?? Also is the seat actually comfortable with the clicktight seam right under the child’s bottom??
Can this seat be installed with the cars seat belt for use with the 5 point and is there a seat belt lock off on the seat itself? Thanks so much!
I have tried and tried, but try as I might, I have not been able to get a solid install in our 2001 Chrysler Intrepid without the latchplate peeking over the edge behind the armrest, which I’m told is unsafe. Our ridiculously long, bulky buckle stalks have given us trouble with numerous carseats, including several seeming incompatibilities, this being one of them. Do you have any experience with installing the Frontier 90 or Pinnacle in an Intrepid? Also curious about using them as boosters in the Intrepid. Thanks!
my just turned 4yo (approx 35lbs) is in a peg convertible. we need to shift to a seatbelt installation. i’m wondering, in general, if you feel a 5pt harness booster is safer at this point (obviously this one makes correct seatbelt installation easier), or if there is an advantage to a convertible style seat (as opposed to a larger booster style)?
Help! I just got this seat and I can’t close the clicktight even without a seatbelt in it!
I’m also wondering why it’s listed as ‘not compatible with aircraft use’. The Britax website indicates it is certified for aircraft use. Can anyone clarify?
Hi Julia, ClickTight is used in harness mode. When the child needs the seatbelt for use in booster mode, you would not use ClickTight. You would leave the Frontier unsecured or have the option to secure it with LATCH to the vehicle, but this is not necessary when used as a booster.
This may seem like a “duh” question but i can’t seem to find this answer! Since the click tight uses the seatbelt to hold the carseat in place, when it is time to use the booster with the seatbelt on her, how can the seatbelt be used in both capacities? Do you know what I mean? It seems to me that I would need 2 seat belts! Thanks!