When Britax announced the release of the Frontier 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 lower anchors, or seat belt and determining how the seat belt locks, if I need a locking clip, or if there is a lower anchor 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 pounds
- Forward facing height limit: 30-58 inches tall
- High back booster weight limit: 40-120 pounds
- High back booster height limit: 45-62 inches tall
- Highest harness position: 20.5 inches
- Highest booster guide position: 23 inches
- Expiration: 9 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 40 pounds
- Two crotch strap positions
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- Click Tight seat belt installation
- No rethread harness
- Recline setting for harnessed mode
- 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.
The Frontier 90 has nine different harness positions; the lowest measures 12.5 inches; the highest is 20.5 inches. 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: it flips the crotch buckle forward when not in use, which means no more digging under bums to find buckles!
The moment of truth! Is installing the Britax Frontier really that easy? Without hesitation, I can say that yes, it really IS that easy. I was able to get solid, correct installation without fighting, sweating, and wrangling.
Installing with ClickTight: Seat Belt Install is Recommended!
To install, pinch the two clamps inside the cover of the seat to release the ClickTight panel. Once the panel is open, thread the seat belt through the belt path. The belt path is marked by the green arrows.
Next, fasten the seat belt and shut the ClickTight compartment. 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.
Video! It’s That Easy!
For your viewing pleasure, I made a video. By the time I 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.
Installation with Lower Anchors
Using lower anchors for installation is quite similar to installing the Frontier with the vehicle seat belt. Since the Frontier’s lower anchors have a 40 pound weight limit for the child, a lower anchor installation may be short-lived.
The lower anchors come neatly bundled inside of the ClickTight compartment. To do a lower anchor installation simply attach the lower anchors and close the ClickTight. 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 ClickTight compartment. Over time, they do tend to slip around a bit and can get in the way of installing the Frontier using the vehicle seat belt. If your ClickTight panel isn’t closing easily, check that the lower anchor straps are tucked out of the way.
Fit to Child
The model to the left is 3.5 years old, weighs 34 pounds, and is 39.5 inches 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.
This model is 8 years old, weighs 90 pounds and is 49 inches tall. He’s right at the harnessed weight limit of the seat but 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 ClickTight 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 of the seat.
So how is the booster fit? Perfect! The model to the right is 6 years old, weighs 45 pounds, and is 48 inches 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.
Note: the recline mode cannot be used while in booster mode.
Here, our 8-year-old model displays the fit in booster mode. He’s 8 years old, 89 pounds and 49 inches tall. for good measure, we wanted to show where the lap belt sits.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval: Great news! The Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 are now FAA approved for use on an airplane. To install on an airplane, leave the ClickTight panel closed and run the airplane lap belt over top of the ClickTight compartment. As a service to you, our fabulous reader, we travelled with a Frontier and wrote about the experience.
Blast From the Past: Frontier 85 vs Frontier 90
How does the Britax Frontier 90 compare to its 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, 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.
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 inches. The Frontier 90’s top harness slot is 20.5 inches.
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. Since the Frontier 90 has a higher harness limit, I thought that the headrest would extend farther.
Given the differences in the highest harness height, I was curious about the height of the belt guides in booster mode. There is about an inch of difference between the two — the Frontier 85 has the taller shoulder belt guide.
- Click Tight makes it extremely simple to install using the seat belt Seat belt installation is recommended with this seat.
- Highest harness height capacity available
- No rethread harness
- EZ buckle holds the buckle forward when buckling/unbuckling
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- Easy remove harness
- Can use LATCH in booster mode
- Seat is very large and heavy
- High price
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 CPSTs , 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.
You can find Britax Frontier 90 Booster Car Seat on Amazon.com.
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 our own.