Graco has turned the CPS world on its head a bit with the convertible Extend2Fit car seat. The big marketing feature of the seat is the extendable tray that can give a bigger child up to 5 inches of additional rear facing legroom. We’ve found, however, that the seat’s best features are the 50 pound rear facing weight limit and how well it fits in a variety of tight spaces. When Graco announced a version that converts to a high back booster, we were excited to take a closer look at this 3-in-1 version of the seat, which has rear facing, forward facing, and high back booster modes.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range: 4-50 lbs
- Rear facing height range: 1″ below the adjuster handle when fully extended (child’s height not to exceed 49″)
- Forward facing weight range: 22-65 lbs
- Forward facing height range: under 49″
- Booster mode height range: 38-57″
- Booster mode allows for lower anchor use
- Lowest harness position: 7″ with insert
- Highest harness position: 17.5″
- Highest shoulder belt guide position: 18.5″
- Expiration: 10 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 45 lbs
- Infant pad and head pad for added comfort
- Premium push-on LATCH connectors
- Six recline positions
- Two position crotch buckle – 4.5″ and 6.5 from the back of the seat
- Ten position headrest
- No re-thread harness
- Two cup holders
- Four position foot extender
- Buckle pockets to store the crotch buckle tongues when the seat is not in use.
- Weight: 18.5 lbs
- Width at cupholders: 20″
- Shell height: 30″ tall with headrest fully extended, to the top of the adjustment handle
The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat arrives without the cupholders installed on the seat. The cupholders are required for use.
Once installed, the cupholders are required to remain installed on the seat.
The cupholders slide onto the shell of the seat, then click into place.
Installing this seat with lower anchor rear facing is pretty simple. The belt path is pretty small, so the removable cover was the best way to pull the lower anchor strap back into the belt path and get the seat secured correctly.
The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 has 6 recline positions and a few rules around their use.
- Rear facing mode: use recline positions 1-4
- Forward facing mode: use positions 4, 5, or 6 for children who weigh less than 40 lbs
- Forward facing mode: use only position 6 for children who weigh over 40 lbs
- Booster mode: use only position 6
Note: The lower anchors can be used to 45 lbs with this seat, so it’s possible a caregiver must change to the seat belt installation before the child turns forward facing.
Installing the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 using the vehicle seat belt in rear facing mode was fairly straightforward. The trickiest portion of the process was threading the belt through the belt path — it’s a little small. Unsnapping the lower portion of the seat’s cover to access the belt path helped a bit. Once the belt was threaded through the belt path, actually installing the seat in both of the vehicles we tried involved very little struggle. Just lock the seat belt, apply pressure with the non-dominant hand and pull the slack out of the lap portion of the vehicle belt until the seat moves less than an inch in any direction.
Fit to Child
5 Months Old with Insert
The Extend2Fit’s infant insert can only be used when the seat is installed rear facing. We tried our 5 month old model both with and without the insert in the seat. He seemed to get a better fit without the insert installed.
5 Months Old without Insert
This model is 5 months old, weighs 22 lbs and is 25 inches long. He’s not quite mobile yet but he’s on the top end of the growth charts. Loading him into a seat with higher sides than the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat can be a challenge so the low sides on this seat helped make that process pretty simple. The harness fit him well and he’s got plenty of room to grow!
2 Years, 10 Months Old
My main vehicle is a 2016 VW GTI that features many great things along with a pretty significant dip in the back seat that makes fitting car seats a bit of a challenge. As your intrepid reviewer, I embrace this challenge with all of my heart and seek solutions to share with you. The only recline setting that worked with the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 is fully reclined, without the tray extended. Even without the extra legroom that the tray provides, this model was quite comfortable in the seat and has plenty of room to grow!
Forward Facing using Lower Anchors
The Extend2Fit’s narrow, high base made for a simple seat belt install in my car but not so much with the lower anchors. Acheiving a snug install with less than an inch of movement at the belt path was a bit of a challenge. I found that applying pressure to the back of the seat, pushing it straight back into my vehicle seat while pulling the lower anchor’s webbing straight across the seat did the trick.
Forward Facing using the Seat Belt
Because the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 has such a narrow, high base, we’ve found that this seat fits in a variety of tight spaces, including my GTI. It’s like the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 was made to go forward facing in my car! A solid install with the vehicle seat belt was pretty easy.
The harness pads are required for children under 25 lbs who ride forward facing in this seat.
Fit to Child
6.5 Years Old
These days, this model rides in both a harnessed car seat and a booster seat. She’s 6.5 years old, 51 lbs, and 47 inches tall. Either type of seat is the right seat for her. At this point, she’s doing well with her booster training but she was happy to model this seat for us. She quickly declared the seat comfortable — it even earned the rank of her “favorite seat ever!” She’s at the very top end of the height range for this seat, which shows how long-lasting the harness mode on this seat could be for most children.
Converting to Booster Mode
Switching the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 between forward facing harnessed mode and booster mode was as easy as I’ve come to expect from Graco car seats. The Extend2Fit uses a similar storage compartment to what’s on the Milestone, Atlas, and 4Ever seats. The harness and crotch buckle all tuck into that compartment and the exposed portion of the harness is tucked behind the cover. The entire conversion process took about 2 minutes and because all of the pieces are stored on the seat itself, there’s no risk that they’ll get lost.
The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat allows the use of lower anchors and the top tether in booster mode. Unlike installing a harnessed car seat with this method, using the anchors and tether in booster mode secure the seat when a child is not riding in it. Otherwise, buckle the seat in when not in use to prevent it from becoming a projectile in the event of a crash.
Fit to Child
6.5 Years old
Here we see our model from earlier again. She’s still 6.5 years old, 51 lbs, and 47 inches tall. As a new booster rider, she’s learning the ins and outs of sitting properly. She’s a longtime fan of her beloved Graco Contender. Since the Extend2Fit has a similar shape, I wasn’t too surprised when she said this is her new favorite seat!
Like most Graco boosters, the belt fit is spot on. The shoulder belt fits right across the mid portion of her shoulder and the lap portion lays flat at the top of her thighs.
With an 18.5 inch top shoulder belt guide, the seat isn’t terribly long lasting in booster mode. It does, however, make a nice option for an older child who is transitioning to a booster. Some children prefer the comfort and known feel of a convertible style seat as they make the transition so this could be a great first booster seat. It certainly is for this model!
We’ve had a little trouble with the belt guide. This model’s height puts the headrest either at the top click or one click below. One click below the top offers the best belt fit but we ran into a few issues when it was placed there.
First, the shoulder belt slips out of the belt guide on a regular basis. This is not something I’ve encountered on any of the Graco combination, multimode, or dedicated booster seats that I’ve reviewed. I assert that the short plastic piece at the inside of the bottom portion isn’t quite long enough to keep the belt in place.
We’ve asked our friends at Graco if the belt needs to remain in the guide or if it’s acceptable for it to slip out as long as the belt fit remains good. Here’s their answer:
“…as long as the belt is correctly positioned over the shoulder of the child and there is no added resistance to the belt system (vehicle retractor) I would see no reason why the vehicle belt needs to be in the belt guide at all times.”
While reviewing this seat, our family headed off on a short trip so we took the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat along for our youngest daughter. We’ve travelled with a wide variety of car seats over the years, all of which we’ve attached to our beloved Gogo Kidz Travelmate. The Extend2Fit’s narrow belt path made keeping the seat attached to the Travelmate a bit of a challenge — any time we bumped into the car seat, it would slip off of the cart.
To board the plane, I hoisted the seat over my head and walked down the plane’s aisle. Because the seat is quite bulky in places, it bumped into the exit sign overhead upon both boarding and getting off the plane. That was a new issue for me.
Once on the plane, we struggled with the open belt path. In forward facing mode, the belt path’s high location and narrow width placed the airplane seat belt’s buckle right behind the kiddo’s back. Since we were only flying one hour on this trip, it wasn’t horrible but my kiddo had an awful lot to say about it. On the way home, we twisted the seat belt a few times to adjust the buckle’s eventual location. That helped a bit but the buckle was still behind the child.
In forward facing mode, the seat sits quite high up. This prevented our kiddo from using the tray table so she wasn’t thrilled about that situation. We didn’t get a chance to install the seat in rear facing mode on the airplane.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval Like other Graco seats, the aircraft approval statement is on the back of the seat, on the left raised rib. With the harness, this seat is aircraft approved rear and forward facing. At about 20″ wide, it should fit easily with the armrests up. Rear facing without the extender out it should fit in nearly any aircraft seat. Forward facing it should also be a fairly easy fit. As all booster seats require a lap-shoulder belt, this seat is not appropriate for use on an airplane in booster mode.
Expiration The manual states 10 years from the date on the sticker, and the seat is also stamped as such on the back, within sight of the sticker. It’s unlikely this seat will get a single child to ten years old, but at under $200 for such a fantastically long lasting seat rear facing, and a very nice forward facing seat, multiple children can get use out of it.
Manual Storage There is a clearly marked manual storage pocket at the lower back of the seat.
Manufacturer information is located on the back of the seat, inside the column on the right side of the seat. This sticker with the model number and date of manufacture is opposite of the aircraft approval label.
The Extend2Fit is a fantastic option for a well-priced, long-lasting convertible car seat. It’s possible that this seat could last most children for most, if not all of their car seat using days! The booster portion of the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 sets this particular seat apart from the Extend2Fit convertible seat. In a lot of ways, it’s not the seat’s best feature — we wouldn’t tend to advocate that caregivers purchase this seat (or any multimode car seat) solely for use as a booster. However, the Extend2Fit has a lot to offer as a convertible car seat and it makes a nice booster for the first portion of a child’s booster riding life.
Graco graciously provided this seat used in this review. As always, all opinions are our own!
Graco is also offering an Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat to one of our lucky readers. Enter below for your chance to win. Please read our giveaway terms and conditions before entering.
a Rafflecopter giveaway