ETA: The response has been overwhelming so this has turned into a 4-post detailed photo review of the Britax Frontier. All 4 posts are quite picture heavy, so I apologize in advance to dial-up users.
Here are the posts regarding the Britax Frontier:
> Post #1 – When we first got the Frontier with comparison pix next to the Marathon.
Post #2 – Answered some visitor questions with photos of my oldest 10 yo daughter in the seat.
Post #3 – Shows car’s belt measurements of the seat installed in my 2001 Ford Taurus.
Post #4 – Shows how high the head rest goes and how much the seat slopes in recline and upright positions. My oldest 10yo daughter is shown in the seat with head rest up.
Yesterday we picked up a new car seat for my youngest daughter. Joshua needed to move up to a bigger seat and we wanted him to ride in the comfortable Brtiax Marathon. Rachel is very independent and likes to climb up into the seat herself. The Marathon is on a base so it sits high. It is hard for her to get in the seat by herself. But this new car seat is low. Perfect! So I let Rachel pick out the color she liked and hubby picked it up: a red and black Britax Frontier.
It is brand spanking new. Literally. Britax just released this model this month. No reviews are even anywhere on the net. But seeing how it was made by Britax, we figured we couldn’t go wrong.
It is nicely padded and sturdy. It goes from a 5-point harness seat to a high-back booster. We figured it would last Rachel a long time since it goes up to 100 pounds.
Problem? We can’t get a good tight install in our 2001 Ford Taurus. Because the belt path of the Frontier is behind the seat and we have long belt stalks, we can’t get the seat belt really tight. The car seat is a bit wobbly. I’m really disappointed. For the price of this seat (it runs $279), you’d think it would install easily. Like the Marathon. A nice, easy, tight, clean install.
We’re going to take it to a Certified Safety Technician on Monday to see if a professional can get it securely installed. I sure hope so, because I really am not liking anything else on the market. That coupled with the fact that not much fits 3-in-a-row in the back seat of a Taurus… yea. I hope it fits.
Here are 2 photos showing the tight fit in the back of the Taurus with a Marathon (the baby), the Frontier (toddler) and my non-carseat tween. It is tight up at the shoulders but she has plenty of leg room. Unfortunately she is doomed to be squished in the middle no matter what seat we end up with. And we don’t have the money for a bigger vehicle. Yea… hope I don’t get pregnant again anytime soon.
(Yea, she looks happy, doesn’t she?)
Here are some more photos comparing the Frontier to the Marathon for those Googling pictures of the Frontier (like I was trying to do earlier this week).
The head rest at the lowest position:
The headrest at up. This is not the highest the headrest can go. You have to unscrew it and adjust it to its highest level. I was too lazy to do so at the moment.
The cupholders (one on each side of the seat) closed and open. I wasn’t terribly impressed by these. One of them wouldn’t stay closed all the way. Annoying.
Well, there ya have it. I really like this car seat. It would last us a long time – until Rachel is out of car seats – but the installation is going to be the issue. Pray for a tight install on Monday so we don’t have the hassle of returning a car seat!
This past Tuesday we had a certified CPS try to install the seat. No luck! Several others have since received their Frontiers and have tried it in their cars. Seems the Frontier has ALOT of installation issues – maybe even more than the Sunshine Kids Radian! If you came here looking for info on the Britax Frontier, you can find alot here: Car-Seat.org Frontier thread. There are five 400-post threads. The first 5.5 parts concern mostly with speculation about what the Frontier will be like as these were posts before the Frontier was released. Starting with approx. page 12. Britax has been contacted and aware of the situation. Apparently they are going to post more detailed install instructions on their website soon. I’m not sure how that will affect us… At this point, we are planning on returning the seat to Elite Carseats and see if we can fit the Radian80, Nautilus, or Regent in the back.
We got the Frontier in a ROCK SOLID installation!! YAY!!
Britax released today “Frontier Installation Tips” PDF file (available here in post #1 of this thread and here on the Britax website). We were able to do a LBP (Long Belt Path) installation with this seat. In our 2000 Ford Taurus, the ONLY place it would install correctly was in the outboard driver’s side position. With the outboard passenger & center seats, the belts were too short for the LBP install. We can live with that since this seat will last Rachel until she out of car seats! Whoo-hoo!
I’ve added an 1 month review complete with lots of pictures and answers to some questions I’ve received over the past month. You can find it here >
More photo review posts added. See links at beginning of this post.