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2017 Graco Sequel Convertible Carseat Review and Comparison to Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Carseat

The Graco Sequel 65 is a mid-priced convertible seat with easy-to-use features such as a smooth harness adjuster and an open forward-facing belt path. It’s a tall seat—great for tall kiddos—and is similar to the Graco Extend2Fit, but doesn’t have the E2F’s higher rear-facing weight limit or leg extension tray. It’s compact front to back, which makes it a great option for tight spaces.

Weight and Height Limits:
  • Rear-facing 4-40 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below gray harness height adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing 22-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old*

*We recommend following the American Academy of Pediatrics minimum guidelines of rear-facing to at least age 2 before turning your child forward-facing. It’s safest to rear-face past the minimum of age 2 and with a seat that has a high rear-facing weight and height limit, why not?

 

Sequel 65 Overview:
  • 10-position headrest with no re-thread harness
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 6-position recline
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • EPS foam
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • FAA-approved for use on aircraft
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
Sequel Measurements:

Harness height: 7”-18”
External widest point: 19.625”
Shell height with headrest: 27”
Shoulder width: 13.75”
Crotch strap depth: 3.5”, 5.5”
Seat depth: 11”
Seat weight: 16.4 lbs.

Comparing the Sequel to the Extend2Fit Convertible

Because the Sequel is based on the Extend2Fit platform, it’s only fair to compare the two. We have a chart and pictures of the two side by side.

 

 

Installation

Installation for both rear- and forward-facing was easy when I installed the Sequel using the lower LATCH anchors and then when I switched to the seat belt. The only downside is that the lower LATCH connectors on the Sequel are the clip-on style, but you have to give up something in return for a lower price point and carseat weight. The LATCH connectors switch between rear- and forward-facing belt paths under the cover by sliding underneath a metal bar.

 

Rear-Facing Installation

3 rear-facing recline settings: Infants 3 months and younger must have a recline that allows the ball in the recline angle indicator to be fully in the light blue circle, but after that age, you can make the recline more upright as long as the ball stays in the blue. The recline handle is on the very bottom of the seat and you pull on it to engage the mechanism.

80% of the base must be on the vehicle seat: To achieve a more upright installation, you can move the Sequel base out on the vehicle seat. However, you must maintain at least 80% of the base on the vehicle seat at all times. Graco reminds you of this with a label on the side of the seat and with labels on the bottom of the base showing you just how far out you can install the carseat on your vehicle seat. Such an awesome way to help parents and caregivers get one more thing right!

    

*Disclaimer: When installed rear-facing for this review, the carseat *never* touched the front seat. It looks like it did because of the angle at which I took the photos. There was at least a finger’s width between the carseat and the front passenger seat.

Forward-Facing Installation

Unlike the Extend2Fit, there are no special rules regarding which recline to use or needing to remove harness covers. Just choose a recline you like in the orange zone, install it tightly, and attach the top tether to your vehicle’s top tether anchor. A nice feature is the opening in the cover so you can reach through and grab the seat belt or LATCH belt to pull it tight. Oh, there is one thing to remember:

Move the crotch strap to the forward position: The crotch strap has to be all the way out when forward-facing. It’s not a fancy buckle; you’ll have to turn the metal slide on the buckle and pull it out the top of the seat to remove it, then put it back down through the top of the carseat to replace it. Don’t forget to give it a tug to make sure it’s seated.

  

Rear-facing and forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 lbs.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Graco allows LATCH installation in the center seating position if the vehicle manufacturer allows it and the lower LATCH anchor bars are spaced 11” apart when measured at their centers.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Graco has determined that the Sequel CAN be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford Motor Company vehicles. Other types of inflatable seat belts are still incompatible for use with the Sequel.

Locking Clip

Like most other convertibles of its generation, the Sequel does not come with a locking clip. If your seat belts do not lock at the retractor or at the latchplate, you will need to contact Graco for a locking clip.

More about the tether: the tether is on the shorter side. It was *just* long enough to make it to the tether anchor at the bottom of my Tesla Model X seat back. One really nice thing about the tether, though, is the labeling on it. It has a bright white picture of the tether anchor symbol on it—match it up to the tether anchor symbol (that should be in your vehicle) and it helps you place the tether in the correct position in your car. I first noticed it when it was attached to the tether anchor in my Acura MDX and thought it was funny that it was upside down, but when it’s attached to the tether storage on the carseat, it’s right-side up. Clever!

 

Fit to Child

The Sequel is designed to fit children from 4-65 lbs. and to fit small babies, a very comfy body support is included. The body support must be used if the baby’s shoulders are below the bottom harness slots; otherwise, its use is optional. The body support must be removed when the Sequel is turned forward-facing. Use of the harness covers are optional.

The fit for my 4 lbs. preemie doll in the Sequel 65 was poor; this is not a carseat that will work for a very small newborn. The harness was too high, there was too much space around the hips and crotch, and the buckle dug into the doll’s abdomen when properly tightened. My doll, Romeo, is about the size of an 8-9 lbs. newborn and he fits well without the body support. In the rear-facing fit section, the instruction manual specifies that the harness height must be at or below the child’s shoulders.

 

Fit on older kids was great. The headrest adjusted easily, as did the harness once the kids were in the seat. My models were easily able to buckle and adjust their own harnesses, though they’ve been taught from a young age to do so since their mom is a tech.

James is 1 and 28 lbs.

Lydia is 4 and 36.6 lbs. She can safely rear- or forward-face in the Sequel.

 

Sam is 6 and 44.5 lbs. and is forward-facing.

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

The cover that shipped on my seat was easy to remove and fairly easy to put replace. It has several elastics on the main body and a couple on the headrest to secure them in place which take some time and patience to hook on; otherwise, the cover slides on and secures with clips. For those observant folks who notice the 2 tiny elastic loops on the front of the cover where the harness comes out; they don’t hook to anything once the seat is out of the box. They’re for retail tags.

The nicely padded cover can be washed in the washing machine on cold and air-dried.

The harness is one long length, but it has a butterfly attachment in the middle under the child’s bum area, so there’s not a possibility of one side being longer than the other. It can be cleaned like any other: dip a washcloth in water and use a drop of mild soap (Dawn, Dreft) to clean it. Be sure to wipe off that soap with the wet washcloth and let the harness thoroughly dry. Set it in full sun if it still stinks.

Graco has gone to a 1-harness-slot set design on their no re-thread convertibles, which means that it will be more difficult to tighten and loosen the harness in lower “slot” positions because the headrest is pushing on it, causing friction. As your child gets older and taller, there will be less friction and it will be easier to use.

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines

The Sequel is FAA-approved, but you will most likely need to raise the armrests on the airplane seat to get it to fit because of the cup holders.

The Sequel has a lifespan of 10 years and Graco wants you to replace it after any crash.

Advantages
  • 10-position headrest with no re-thread harness
  • Fuss Free Harness Storage pockets on both sides of seat for storing buckle tongs out of the way
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 6-position recline
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Easy install in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions
  • Doesn’t have the mandated ultra-recline for forward-facing light 30-40 lbs. kids that sometimes makes other Graco carseats incompatible with some vehicles
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • FAA-approved for use on aircraft
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
Disadvantages 

(In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Sequel 65 issues)

  • Lacks a lockoff device for installations with seat belt
  • Lacks deluxe push-on LATCH connectors
  • Cover difficult to remove and reattach in front
  • Only comes in 2 fashions: blue and lilac (and it is lilac—trust me, as a hobbyist photographer who wants colors correct, I went down that Google rabbit hole)
  • Made in China
Conclusion

It’s easy to compare the Graco Sequel 65 to the Graco Extend2Fit because they are based on the same platform. They are very similar in shape and size, but the Sequel lacks the Extend2Fit’s pull out leg extension panel and upper rear-facing weight limit of 50 lbs. However, when you consider the MSRP on the Sequel is $40 less than the E2F, it definitely is worth a look if you don’t need the higher weight limit rear-facing.

The Sequel is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.

 

Thank you to Graco for providing the Graco Sequel 65 used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.