A few weeks ago, we did a quickie review of the new Harness-2-Booster Britax Frontier 90 with Click-Tight technology. We have been given the opportunity to look more in-depth at the seat, and are excited to share it with you!
When Britax announced the release of the new Frontier 90 and the Pinnacle 90, I will admit that I was pretty skeptical. As a CPST I’m used to sweating, struggling, and wrangling seats to get them installed properly. And that can only happen after figuring out whether to use LATCH, or seatbelt and determining how the seat belt locks, if I need a locking clip, or if there is a LATCH weight limit I need to account for.
Confusing, isn’t it? Thus my hesitancy – surely it couldn’t be that easy to install. I watched the videos, attended Britax webinars and slowly, I began to get excited. This kind of technology is a game changer – when seats are this easy to install, it increases the chances that they’ll be installed correctly the first time.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Forward facing weight limit: 25-90 lbs.
- Forward facing height limit: 30-58″
- High back booster weight limit: 40-120 lbs.
- High back booster height limit: 45-62″
- Highest harness position: 20.5″
- Highest booster guide position: 23″
- Expiration: 9 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs.
- Two crotch strap positions
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- Click Tight seat belt installation
- No re-thread harness
- Recline setting
- 2014 IIHS Best Bet for 2014 models
When the Frontier 90 showed up at my door, I squealed like a child on Christmas morning. I immediately opened it and, like a good CPST, read the manual from cover to cover. Unboxing the seat was very straight-forward – no assembly required. Open the box, take off the plastic, read the manual, and you are good to go. Once the seat is out of the box, you are directed right towards the Click-Tight technology.
Before installing it for the first time, I had to play with the harness heights.
The Frontier 90 has nine different harness positions; the lowest measuring 12.5″ and the highest measuring 20.5″. It is the tallest harness height available, not including special needs seats. The seat features a no-rethread harness, which makes adjusting the harness heights for multiple children a breeze. The harness adjusts from the top of the restraint, this is a nice improvement over the Frontier 85, which required the seat to be uninstalled to adjust the harness height.
There are two different crotch buckle positions and switching the buckle positions is so easy that it can be done without uninstalling the seat. There is no removing the buckle, simply slide it from one slot to another.
Another benefit to this buckle is the EZBuckle feature: it flips forward when not in use, which means no more digging under bums to find buckles!
The moment of truth! Is it really that easy? Without hesitation, I can say that yes, it really IS that easy. A solid, correct installation without fighting, sweating, and wrangling.
This picture shows the inside of the seat, where the Click-Tight technology lives.
To install, thread the seat belt through belt path as directed by the green arrows, as shown in the picture on the right. Next, fasten the seat belt and shut the compartment. Finally, the only thing left to do is to attach the tether anchor, and you are good to go! Remember that this review does not replace the instruction manual, please refer to it for full installation instructions. Additionally, the Britax Frontier requires use of a tether anchor when used in harness mode for a child weighing more than 65 pounds. For our friends in Canada, tether use is required on any forward facing harnessed seat.
For your viewing pleasure, I made a video. By the time I had made the video, I had installed the seat in about 7 or 8 vehicles, but it was just as easy the first time I did it.
Using lower anchors for installation is equally as easy, but remember that lower anchors do come with a weight limit. The Frontier 90 weighs 25 pounds and depending on your vehicle, a lower anchor installation may be short lived.
The lower anchors come neatly bundled inside of the Click-Tight compartment. To do a lower anchor installation simply attach the lower anchors and close the Click-Tight. Once again, you have a rock solid installation with no hassle.
When the lower anchors are not in use, they stow neatly inside of the of the Click-Tight compartment.
Once installed, it makes for a very comfortable seat. The EZ-Buckle really does make a difference when strapping the kiddo into the seat.
The model to the left is 3.5 years old, 34 lbs, and 39.5″ tall. Her opinion of the seat can be seen in her smile. In words, she calls it comfy and soft. Sleeping in the seat has also proved to be comfortable, and we have not seen any head slump.
The model to the right is 8 years old, 49” and right at the 90lb limit of the seat in harness mode. Even right at the limits, he still fits into the harness well, and comfortably.
Part of the seat’s name is Harness-2-Booster. So how does the seat stack up as a booster? Excellent! One of the downfalls of most combination harness and booster seats is that you need to uninstall the seat to remove the harness straps to switch it to booster mode.
With the Frontier 90 you are able to switch to booster mode without totally removing the harness straps and uninstalling the seat. The crotch buckle can be laid down, and the bottom cover fastened over top of it.
To release the harness there is no re-threading through small slots. Open the Click Tight compartment, and on each side, there are holders for the harness, as shown in the picture on the above right.
Slide the harness off of each side, and close the compartment. Then roll up the straps, and tuck them under the sides, as pictured to the left.
So how is the booster fit? Perfect! The model to the right is 6 years old, 45 lbs, and 48″ tall. The belt hits low on the lap, and correctly on the shoulder. Lower anchors can be used to secure the seat in booster mode.
One thing that is important to note, the recline mode cannot be used while in booster mode.
The model below is the same one as above for the harness picture, so 8 years old, 89lbs and 49inches tall. for good measure, we wanted to show where the lap belt sits.
There are a few cons about the seat that I found, but they are minimal.
The seat is not FAA approved because an airplane seat belt would interfere with the belt path and the Click-Tight technology. This leads me to the next downside to the seat. It’s HEAVY! It weights 25 lbs, so I can’t imagine carrying it through the airport anyway.
11/2013 Update: Great news! The Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 are now FAA approved and can be used on an airplane. To install on an airplane, leave the Click Tight panel closed and run the airplane lap belt over top of the Click Tight compartment. http://www.britaxusa.com/support/faq/combination-harness-2-booster-seats
Head to Head Comparison
How does the new Britax Frontier 90 compare to it’s predecessor, the Frontier 85? In terms of installation, there is no comparison. I was a huge fan of the solid installation that the long belt path on the Frontier 85 gives, but there is a substantial learning curve, when using the long seat belt path. The Frontier 85 also has some quirks, like the recline block being forward for harness mode, and backwards for booster mode. Also, in order to access the full height of the seat for booster mode, you need to remove a screw at the back of the headrest to extend it. The Frontier 85 has three slots for the crotch buckle, and the Frontier 90 only has two, but that doesn’t seem to interfere with the performance of the seat. The distances seem to be a happy medium of the three buckle slots.
Now, onto some pictures. First up, side by side comparisons of the Frontier 85 and Frontier 90 in the lowest slot for harness, and the highest slot for harness. Keep in mind, the Frontier 85 has a screw that is required to be kept in place for harness mode. The Frontier 85 has a top harness height of 20” and the Frontier 90 has a top harness slot of 20.5.”
So lets take that screw out and check the heights to their full limit. I will admit, I was a little shocked about the differences. Given that the Frontier 90 has a higher harness limit, I thought that the headrest would extend farther.
Given the differences in height, I was curious about the height of the belt guides. There is about an inch of difference between the two, with the Frontier 85 being a taller belt guide.
The Final Verdict
My overall opinion of this seat is that Britax hit the nail on the head with the Frontier 90 for a long-lasting combination seat that is easy to install. It also turns into a long-lasting booster, that provides a great belt fit. This seat is impressive not only to CPST’s , but parents, and grandparents as well.
I have shown my Mother AND Father in law the installation, and both agree that the ease of installation is amazing, and it takes away the guesswork. They said it makes them feel confident that they can install the seat correctly, and know that their grandkids are safe. Even my husband, who is usually bored by my car seat talk, agrees that the Click-Tight Technology is exciting.
A huge thank you to Britax for providing this seat for us to review. No other form of compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
** Giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner, Ashley B! **
Find it on Amazon here: Britax Frontier 90 Booster Car Seat, Onyx
Are you excited about the Frontier 90 yet? Would you like to have one in your car? Now is your chance! Use the Widget below for a chance to win a Britax Frontier 90. This giveaway is open to residents of the US, ages 18 and over. Please remember, the Frontier 90 must be used by a child who is at least 2 years and 25 lbs. Car Seats for the Littles and Britax recommend rear facing to the maximum limits of a convertible car seat before forward facing.