The very first convertible seat I purchased was a Britax (a classic Marathon, in crocodile); I loved it, used it for two children, and it has since expired. I’m now a little nostalgic and pleased to be reviewing the latest in the Britax convertible line-up with this evaluation of the 2014 Britax Advocate in Zebra, commonly referred to as the G4 (4th generation).
With the G4 lineup, Britax has added a few convenience features to their well-loved convertibles (Marathon, Boulevard, Pavilion, and Advocate). They have also streamlined the model names by dropping the ‘65/70’ from the end, and due to impending February 2014 NHTSA regulation changes in the US, have reduced the upper weight limit to 65 lbs. Those familiar with these seats won’t be startled by the changes made by Britax, which is well-known for their ease-of-use features and premium options. The basic shell and shape remain the same as the previous G3 models, and continue to fit well rear-facing in small spaces. Although not the longest lasting of convertible seats by height, the Britax Advocate and its sister convertibles continue to be very easy to install and use, frequently fit in tiny back seats where many others won’t, and fill a niche for those not needing to rear-face their tall or long-torsoed children to kindergarten age.
Although Britax has dropped the upper weight limit and generation numbers from the product names, retailers may refer to the newest versions as the 2014 or “G4” models. All the convertibles share the same shell and basic safety features. Here is a list summarizing the main differences:
- Britax Roundabout: This is the most budget-friendly Britax convertible. It lacks the no-rethread harness found on some higher models, but that’s really not a big deal unless you’re frequently transporting kids of different sizes in one carseat. It has a 55 pound weight limit and a 15.75″ seated torso height limit.
- Britax Highway: Essentially similar to the Roundabout, it also lacks the no-rethread harness. It is sold only at select retailers like BuyBuyBaby and Bed Bath & Beyond. The weight limit is increased to 65 pounds and it has a higher 16.5″ seated torso height limit. It adds basic HUGS harness chest pads. The XE version is bundled with an extended warranty (7 years), a cup holder and a storage pouch.
- Britax Marathon: This model adds a no-rethread harness, up to 65 pounds and 16.75″ seated torso height. Compared to the Highway, it also adds the EZ-Buckle crotch strap and an easy-remove cover. It lacks the deeper headwings found on the Boulevard, Pavilion & Advocate models.
- Britax Boulevard: This model has all the features of the Marathon, but also has deeper internal headwings for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes. It also includes advanced HUGS pads with SafeCell technology.
- Britax Pavilion: All the features of the Boulevard plus the “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator.
- Britax Advocate: All the features of the Pavilion plus Britax’s exclusive Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT).
All the “G4” convertibles come with an included infant insert cushion (required for babies under 22 lbs,). The Britax Advocate I received also includes optional harness strap covers, the EZ buckle pad and rubbery HUGS chest pads which are mandatory when the seat is installed forward-facing.
An anti-rebound bar is now available for all Britax G4 convertibles. It is available as an accessory (for purchase separately) directly from Britax.
Britax vehicle seat protector mat, waterproof seat saver liner, protective travel bags and cup holder are also available for purchase separately.
Britax Advocate G4 Specs:
Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs., outgrown by height when head is within 1” of the top of the main shell (not head rest)
U.S.: 20-65 lbs. or up to 49” tall, seated shoulder height of 16.75” or less, tips of the ears below the top of the shell
Canada: 22-65 lbs., or up to 49″ tall, seated shoulder height of 16.75” or less, tips of the ears below the top of the shell, and able to walk unassisted
Lowest harness position with infant positioning pillow (required for children under 22 lbs.): 6”
Lowest harness position without infant positioning pillow: 8.5”
Highest harness position: 16.75”