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2018 Graco Sequence 65 Platinum/Sequel Convertible Carseat Review

Graco has had such success with the Extend2Fit (E2F) with its ability to install in compact front to back spaces that it has expanded the line to include many different models. Not all models include the leg extension tray or the E2F’s fabulous 50 lbs. maximum rear-facing weight limit, but there are other great features it passes along to its siblings. The Sequence 65 is the same carseat as the Sequel 65; they’re just sold at different retailers (known as an exclusive). We have a review of the Sequel 65 here.

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 the limits of the seat before turning your child forward-facing. It’s safest to rear-face with a seat that has a high rear-facing weight and height limit, why not?

Sequence 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
  • MSRP $249.99
What makes it Platinum-worthy?
  • EZ Tight™ LATCH: a self-retracting premium LATCH system
  • RapidRemove™ Cover
Sequence 65 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: 17.6 lbs.

Installation

Installing the E2F platform seats are typically straightforward and easy. I had very mixed results following Graco’s installation instructions for the EZ Tight LATCH in my vehicles. In my 2011 Acura MDX and 2016 Tesla Model X, the outboard seats are molded seats and cocoon the carseat on the edges making for a tight installation after I altered how I was pushing down on the carseat. However, when I tried the Sequence in the dedicated LATCH location in the center of my MDX, I had great difficulty getting an installation tightness of 1” of movement. I took the Sequence to the child passenger safety technician class I was teaching where I had access to a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, 2014 Ford Explorer, and a 2012 Ford Escape. Other instructors and I had the same challenging experience installing the Sequence with LATCH in those vehicles as I did in my personal vehicles.


In the first pic, you can see how tight the LATCH strap looks, but in the 2nd pic, you can see how much slack there really was. The seat moved inches when I tested for movement after installing using typical parental installation techniques for installing carseats.

Here are the steps to using EZ Tight LATCH both rear- and forward-facing:

  • Press and hold on the larger blue button on the bottom of the EZ Tight casing and pull to extend the LATCH strap.
  • Attach LATCH connectors to vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors.
  • Pull up on the gray button on the side of the casing to activate the EZ Tight LATCH retractor and pull excess LATCH strap length toward retractor so it can wind up around the retractor.
  • The Sequence’s manual suggests pushing with both hands in the seat pan 3-5 times. I found that in my vehicles, this gets the slack out only but won’t get the seat less than 1” tight. To get an appropriately tight installation, I had to switch tactics and press down several times on the cup holder closest to the EZ Tight retractor (for a rear-facing installation; on the elbow curve closest to the EZ Tight retractor for a forward-facing install).
  • Additionally, you may need to pull up on the gray button a few more times and feed the excess LATCH strap length into the retractor manually while you apply pressure to the seat. This helps get that last bit of length into the retractor.

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 Sequence 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. Always read your vehicle’s owners manual to see if the carseat is allowed to touch the front 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 Sequence 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 Sequence.

Locking Clip

Like most other convertibles of its generation, the Sequence 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.

Fit to Child

Harness fit on the preemie doll was good; better than on the Sequel. There was space at the crotch that should be filled with a tightly rolled washcloth to keep the baby from sliding down; otherwise, the harness fit the doll at the shoulders. Fit on older kids is great. The headrest adjusted easily, as did the harness once kids were in the seat. My model, age 4 and 40 lbs., was able to buckle and adjust her own harness, though she’s been taught from a young age to do so since her mom is a tech.

  

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

Because it’s a RapidRemove™ cover, the cover removes easily from the front because it’s attached in several spots with Velcro and snaps. No need to remove the harness to take the cover off. Be careful taking the cover off the head wings since you don’t want to break the EPS foam. Also, a frequent question we are asked is about these 2 small loops on either side of the harness slots. Pay no attention to these as they are for retail hang 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 Sequence is FAA-approved (look for the red text on the label on the back of the seat), 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 Sequence 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 Sequence 65 issues)

  • Lacks a lockoff device for easier installations with seat belt
  • EZ Tight LATCH requires much more finessing than it should to get an adequate installation in some vehicles
  • Platinum only comes in 1 fashion: Hayden
  • Made in China

It’s easy to compare the Graco Sequence Platinum 65 to the Graco Extend2Fit because they are based on the same platform. They are very similar in shape and size, but the Sequence lacks the Extend2Fit’s pull out leg extension panel and upper rear-facing weight limit of 50 lbs. The Sequence Platinum and Sequel are the same seat with the Platinum featuring upgraded soft goods and LATCH system. If you are looking for a carseat that will fit a smaller baby better, the Sequence Platinum will be the better buy since the insert is beefier. If you’re looking for a carseat that will install with LATCH more easily or travel well, the Sequel may be a better bet for you since it lacks the EZ Tight LATCH system that doesn’t easily tighten in every vehicle and it’s lighter.

MSRP EZ Tight LATCH RapidRemove Cover Leg Extension Panel Weight
Sequence 65 Platinum $249.99 17.6 lbs.
Sequel 65 $159.99 16.4 lbs.
Extend2Fit Platinum $249.99 18.4 lbs.

 

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