Britax Frontier ClickTight Review
Pros: High-quality, better crash test results, 5-point harness
Cons: Large and super heavy, rough fabric, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
In 1996, Britax launched in America after years of success in Europe as the best-selling car seat manufacturer. Britax has been making children's products for over 70 years. They believe families should live life without limits. They work to create gear with innovative designs that have safety in mind. Britax works in conjunction with a variety of car manufacturers, governments, and child passenger safety experts to test and create new products for families.
For reasons we aren't entirely sure of, the harness mode of this booster has different weight limitations for Canada than it lists in the manual for the United States. The United States manual shows the 5-point harness as appropriate for children up to 90 lbs, while the Canadian manual states the 5-point harness should only be used for children up to 65 lbs. As always, you should defer to the product's user manual when determining how to use any product.
The Britax earned a higher than average score for crash test results.
This score is above the average for the group and indicates an additional margin of protection over the lower scoring seats we tested.
The Britax head sensor data recorded 482 where the maximum allowed is 1000 (lower is better). The high in the group is closer to 760 and the best result is 456.
The Britax didn't perform as well for the head sensor (HIC); with a test result of 48, it is the highest result in the group (lower is better). The maximum allowed result is 60, so it is below the maximum and therefore considered safe, but it is higher than the competition with an impressive 39 HIC in our tests.
Ease of Use
The Britax is easy enough to use with some features designed for simplicity.
This score is one point below the high for the group. This score indicates that in general, it is easy to use compared to the competition.
Several Amazon reviewers have indicated a potential design flaw in the Frontier 5-point harness. The harness can be extremely hard to tighten when the booster is installed. After an investigation, we feel this is a result of the harness straps that run up the back of the booster and press against the vehicle seat. Depending on the shape of the vehicle seat the pressure on the harness can make it difficult or impossible to move. For this reason, we recommend purchasing the Frontier from a vendor that makes returns easy (like Amazon), so you can replace it with a different model should your vehicle seat be incompatible.
This booster can be installed using the LATCH anchors (above left) or the ClickTight method (above right) using the vehicle belt. Both ways are easy enough, and the LATCH anchors are usable in booster mode without the 5-point harness.
The headrest (above left) moves up and down smoothly without trouble, and the shoulder strap height for the 5-point harness will move along with it if it is on the seat. The shoulder belt retainer (above right) is on the headrest assembly, so it moves with the headrest when you are not using the 5-point harness.
Aligning the vehicle belt for proper fitting is easy (above left), and the retainers work well at keeping the strap secure. The 5-point harness (above right) is also easy to use.
The Britax has a recline feature with a pull lever under the front seat, and you may need to hold the base down to finish the adjustment. It also has dual cup holders on the seat bottom that are easy to access if a bit challenging to clean.
Weight and Size
The Frontier is a heavy and wider option compared to the competition. This Britax weighs 23.7 lbs which is the heaviest booster we tested. The width is 19 inches making it one of the widest.
The weight and size make this product a poor choice for travel or regular movement from car to car. If you plan to leave the seat in your car, then it may not be an issue. Otherwise, it is not a good choice for carpoolers or frequent carrying.
The Frontier isn't the most comfortable according to our child testers who felt it the bottom cushion was soft, but the headrest was too hard, and the fabric was uncomfortable.
Given the added layers of foam, we thought the seat would be comfy, but our testers disagreed when compared to the competition. We agree that the headrest is hard and we also think the design seems to offer less support for napping heads.
The Britax is a good quality seat with one of the best scores for quality in the group.
The cushion on this product is firm and thick, and it includes the higher quality EPP foam that doesn't off-gas, and it has a sturdy closed-shell even if the sides flex easier than we thought they would. The fabric is sturdy and feels durable, if a bit rough, and it wipes clean. The overall fit and finish are nice, but the fabric isn't as tight as the rest of the product.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz