Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Review

(Last Updated On: October 13, 2017)
Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX Preemie Doll fit

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX Preemie Doll fit

Graco has introduced a new line of car seats to their rear facing only lineup: the SnugLock series. The midpoint of this new line is the SnugRide 35 DLX. We were eager to check out its easy-to-use base and explore the one handed handle adjustment and silent canopy features. Let’s take a closer look!

Key Features of SnugRide SnugLock models:
The SnugRide SnugLock 35 has 4 harness slots and standard j-hook lower anchor connectors on the base. It does not have a no rethread harness.

This model of the seat has 4 harness slots on the infant carrier portion of the seat, a larger SnugLock arm, and premium lower anchor connectors.

The SnugRide SnugLock Platinum DLX has a no rethread harness on the infant carrier portion of the seat, the larger SnugLock arm, and premium lower anchor connectors.

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Weight range: 4-35 pounds
  • Height range: 32 inches or less and the top of the child’s head is 1 inch or more from the top of the carrier
  • Lowest Harness Position: 6 inches with infant insert
  • Expiration: 7 years from date of manufacture
  • Handle Position: Handle can be in any locked position
  • Weight (carrier only): 8.2 pounds

Features

  • SnugLock lockoff on SnugLock DLX base — allows for a simple installation!
  • One hand adjust handle
  • Infant insert for smaller infants (Can be used for infants 12 pounds or less)
  • Adjustable recline foot
  • Multi age level indicator

Measurements

  • Weight (carrier only): 7.8 pounds
  • Width of carrier at widest point: 17 inches
  • Width of base at widest point:  13.5 inches

Features

One Button Handle Adjustment

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX handle adjustment

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX handle adjustment

This seat features a one button handle adjustment. While I feel Graco is on the right track with this change, it was a bit unwieldy to use. It stops after the first click, so you must press it twice to put the handle back all the way. In addition, I found myself having to lean over the seat a bit if I tried to adjust the handle while sitting next to it.  This could present a challenge after childbirth.

Silent Shade Canopy

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Silent Shade Canopy

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Silent Shade Canopy

Graco introduces the new silent shade canopy with this seat. I really liked this canopy; as advertised, it slides forward and back without any of the clunky adjustments of the previous models. In addition, and more importantly, the fabric seems quite breathable. Many parents and caregivers make the mistake of extending the canopy when entering a warm sunny car. This only serves to create a cocoon of warmth around the baby.  This canopy should help prevent that and allow air to still circulate around the baby.

Level Indicator

Graco SnugRide SnugLock recline indicator

Graco SnugRide SnugLock recline level indicator

This base introduces a new type of recline level indicator. In general, I do not find the Graco rear facing only base level indicators the easiest to use or understand. On this level indicator, a bubble moves along a line, and there are separate ranges for newborn and up, or 3 months and up.

Important Note: The seat can be installed at the newborn range for all ages of children riding in this seat. The more reclined angle is for 0+ months. Children who are 3 months and older do not need to use the more upright angle, but they can.

Installation

With the Base: Vehicle Seat Belt

SnugLock base

Graco SnugLock DLX base

I am amazed at how simple and effortless the Snuglock DLX base is to install.  Just like the the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 base, the SnugLock arm on the base makes installation a snap.  The DLX base has red belt guides that the seat belt must be threaded under and features a wider arm.

SnugLock

Graco SnugLock DLX base

If the SnugLock base gets an A+ for ease of use, the SnugLock DLX base gets an A.

Installing the SnugLock DLX base involves just a few steps. Simply adjust the recline foot to the correct level, thread the vehicle seat belt through the belt guides, remove the slack from the seat belt, then close the SnugLock arm.

Where the SnugLock base can be installed with one hand, this SnugLock DLX model requires both hands and a little more force to close the SnugLock arm.

When installed with the vehicle seat belt, this base is a great option for center seating positions that don’t have dedicated lower anchors.

With the Base: Lower Anchors

Graco SnugRide SnugLock lower anchors

Graco SnugRide SnugLock lower anchors

The lower anchors are stored in a compartment on the base. This base features premium anchors that install just as easily as the vehicle seat belt does.

Here’s how easy the installation is with the base:
Use the recline foot to level the base. Remove the lower anchors from the compartment, making sure that the strap connecting the lower anchor strap goes through the notch at the top of the compartment.  Connect the lower anchors, putting the strap under the guides. Leave a tiny bit of slack in the webbing in order to close the SnugLock arm. Close the arm over the strap, test for less than 1 inch of movement at the belt path and you’re done!

Without the Base

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX baseless installation

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX baseless installation

Like the SnugRide SnugLock 35, European routing on a baseless installation is an unadvertised option on the SnugRide SnugLock DLX.  This seat belt routing is not mentioned on the label on the carrier, but it is mentioned in the manual as an alternate installation method.  I found both methods to be exceptionally easy on this seat, though the vehicle seat belt had a tendency to slip down on the buckle side when European routing was used.

Fit to Child

Preemie Doll

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX Preemie Doll fit

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX preemie doll fit

The Huggable Images Preemie Doll is 17 inches tall and has a 7 inch torso.  Our doll had an excellent fit with and without the inserts. The inserts are optional as long as the child reaches the straps without them — if the top insert pushes the child’s head forward, it should be removed.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Preemie Doll fit without inserts

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX preemie doll fit without inserts

The body pillow, the bottom part of the insert, can used for an infant who weighs 12 pounds or less.

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX body pillow

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX body pillow

I was happy to see this weight limit stated on the insert itself.  The headrest pillow cannot be threaded through the same set of slots as the harness.

Newborn Doll

Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 DLX newborn doll fit

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX newborn doll fit

The Snuglock 35 DLX gave a superb fit on the newborn doll.

Infant

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX infant fit

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX infant fit

I put my own little newborn doll into this carrier to check the fit. At the time of this photo, he was almost 2 weeks old, about 22 inches and 10 pounds.  He fit very well, and I liked that the sides provided padding. I did need not to use the inserts.
He’s got plenty of room to grow in this seat.

4 Months Old

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 DLX infant fit

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 DLX infant fit

Our fabulous infant model is growing with the SnugRide SnugLock DLX! He’s now 4 months old, weighs almost 15 pounds and is 25.5 inches long. He still fits in the seat exceptionally well and has room to grow.

Toddler Doll

Fit to Child: Toddler Doll

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX toddler fit

The Huggable Images Toddler Doll still fits this seat by height.  He has an excellent fit.

Side Overhang

When this car seat is installed on the plus one or jump seat of a minivan, Graco has confirmed up to 20% of the base can overhang the edge of the vehicle seat.

Important Information: Where to Find

Graco SnugRide Snuglock FAA Approval

Graco SnugRide Snuglock FAA approval sticker

FAA Approval Label: The FAA Approval Label is on the underside of the carrier.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock manual storage

Graco SnugRide SnugLock manual storage

Manual Storage: The manual is stored in a slot on the base.

IMG_6227

Graco SnugRide Snuglock DLX expiration notice

Expiration: The directions not to use the seat after 7 years after the date of manufacture are stamped onto the back of the carrier.  The white sticker on the carrier gives the date of manufacture. I wish the expiration were listed on the sticker as well.

Overall Thoughts

Graco has created an excellent, easy to install line of seats in the SnugLock series. The DLX model should appeal to families who want a base that installs with ease and  well padded, easy to use carrier at a reasonable price point.

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