When we first heard about the Graco SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 rear facing only car seat, we weren’t sure what to think. Would it be a sort of hodgepodge of different elements of Graco’s other car seats? The name certainly suggests that!
We learned very quickly that the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is a valuable car seat in its own right, filling a need for a rear facing only car seat that fits newborns well yet can be used comfortably for longer than a year. The tall shell height, extra legroom, and 35 inch height limit all add up to a long-lasting option for families on the go.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight Range: 4-35 pounds
- Height Range: 35 inches or less and the top of the child’s head is at least 1 inch below the top of the headrest
- Lowest Harness Position: about 5-6 inches with infant insert
- Expiration: 7 years from date of manufacture
- Handle Position: Any locked handle position is permitted when the car seat is in the vehicle
- Weight (carrier only without infant insert): 10 pounds
- Width of carrier at widest point: 17.25 inches
- Width of base at widest point: 14 inches
- Shell height including headrest fully extended: 20.5 inches
- Crotch buckle slots depth: 4 inches and 5.5 inches from the back of the seating area
- Front to back distance: About 27.5 inches without extender in use and 32 inches with extender fully extended
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 features Graco’s SnugLock installation system, where the SnugLock arm is lowered with relative ease to ensure a tight installation, whether with lower anchors or the vehicle seat belt.
Extension Panel with Anti-Rebound Bar
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 features a four-position extension panel on the base which can provide up to 3.5 inches of extra legroom as the child grows! Read more about this exciting features below. The end of the extension panel also serves as an anti-rebound bar, which helps stabilize the seat during the residual motion after a crash.
One-Handed Handle Adjustment
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 handle can be in any locked position in the vehicle and features one red button to push to adjust it. While it is convenient to only have to press one button, there is a stop built in so that you must press the button twice to put the handle all the way back. However, it does make it easier to not have to lean over the seat to make an adjustment!
Silent Shade Canopy
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35’s Silent Shade canopy is huge! It has a satiny portion in the middle and can be put up and down smoothly without waking the baby. I can attest that this worked with my own sleeping child in the seat.
Installation With the Base
Vehicle Seat Belt
In my Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 review, I mentioned that I installed the SnugLock base three days after a C-section. That baby, featured below, is now 20 months old, but the ease of use of the SnugLock base remains the same!
The first step before installation is completely optional –to “extend the extender,” as it’s put in the manual. If you’re installing for a newborn, you won’t need this step yet. For toddlers, it’s completely optional as well, as we know that feet hitting the vehicle seat is not a safety issue.
To extend the extender, squeeze the extender release handle and select any of the four positions. (The positions are not actually numbered on the base.)
Graco has helpfully provided a label on the side of the base that indicates how much of the base must be on the vehicle seat. This label is under the lip of the car seat base, so unfortunately the caregiver will need to crouch down to see it. In some cars, you won’t be able to use all four positions. Again, that’s ok! The car seat is safe with and without the extender extended.
Make sure you extend the extender after adjusting the recline foot, because the recline angle can change the amount of the base that hangs over the edge.
To install with the vehicle seat belt:
- Adjust the recline foot so that the level indicator is correct (more on that below)
- Extend the extender if desired
- Press the red button and raise the SnugLock arm
- Thread the vehicle seat belt through the belt path
- Pull the shoulder belt to remove the slack from the vehicle seat belt
- Close the SnugLock arm
- Check for movement at the belt path by giving a firm handshake with your non-dominant hand
And that’s it!
Caregivers who have arthritis or dexterity issues may find this base easy to use, since it requires only a small amount of force and not much leverage to close the SnugLock arm.
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 features premium lower anchor connectors. Lower anchor installation is also quite easy! Raise the SnugLock arm, attach the lower anchor connectors, remove most of the slack from the webbing, then close the arm.
Make sure that the lower anchor webbing lies above the black plastic tabs. Note that I say to remove “most of the slack,” because if the lower anchor strap is tightened until it’s taut, it’s impossible to close the SnugLock arm.
In certain cars where the vehicle seat belt buckle or anchor point is forward of the seat bight (the place where the back and bottom of the vehicle seats meet), the lower anchor installation may be more stable than seat belt installation. For example, this was the case in the captain’s chairs of a 2019 Honda Odyssey.
The indicator consists of a blue rectangular block which has required positions for 0+ months and 3+ months. It can be difficult to determine if the edge of the block is within the correct zone, and the 0+ zone is very small.
The angle of the base does not need to be changed when the child is 3 months old. The wording “0+” indicates that the base can be installed at the most reclined angle for any children who are over 0 months old. However, some older babies do prefer to be more upright.
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 carrier may be used with any Graco Click Connect or SnugLock base. Graco has confirmed that the height limit remains at 35 inches or less no matter which base (or none) is used.
Installation Without the Base
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 can be installed without the base using standard American routing or European routing, where the shoulder belt is wrapped around the back of the carrier. I did notice that when European routing is used, the belt has a tendency to slip down the back of the seat. Tightening the installation can help with this. Also, do not be confused by the red clip on the back. It’s not the seat belt guide for European belt routing.
One caution is that an industrious taller toddler who is used to more legroom may be able to kick a baseless installation out of position. If you have such a toddler, it may be worth trying a baseless installation around the neighborhood before deciding to bring the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 on a trip without the base.
An LX model of the seat is also available. This model comes with a cold weather boot, and the canopy features a zipper to shorten it.
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 includes an infant insert which can be used for a child 12 pounds or less. The insert includes two crotch buckle slots, but I cannot imagine a situation where a child 12 pounds or less would ever need the farther crotch buckle slot, with or without the insert.
To adjust the harness height, squeeze together the two red buttons on the adjuster on the back of the seat. This will move the headrest and straps up and down.
Harness Strap Covers
The seat we reviewed includes some rather stiff harness strap covers. On our tiniest models, these strap covers offer some extra comfort but they also give the appearance that the harness straps aren’t at or below her shoulders. Here’s a great illustration of how differently the harness appears with the covers off or on. The manual provides this instruction around their use:
Accessories (on select models)
Make sure that harness covers do not interfere with the placement of the chest clip at armpit level.
The covers don’t interfere with the chest clip on this model but she seems to have a slightly better harness fit without the harness covers.
Fit to Child
Since the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is rated from 4 pounds, we tried our preemie Huggable Images doll.
The seat fits our preemie doll exceptionally well. The low harness height combined with the robust insert makes for an incredible fit. The carrier ‘s headrest lines up with the back of the car seat, so the doll’s head does not slump forward.
The only issue with the preemie fit could be the crotch buckle — it’s not as close to the baby as a preemie or tiny infant might need. Graco does allow a crotch roll, but we didn’t need one with our preemie doll.
Graco also allows shortening the crotch strap by pulling the metal crotch strap anchor up through the adjacent slot, as we did with our preemie doll.
Note: The padding below the headrest must be folded under when the headrest is in the lowest few positions. The padding should not be used under the insert.
This tiny model was 2 days old when she modelled this seat for us. She weighs 8 pounds, 9 ounces and is 21 inches long. The seat fits her very well with all of the inserts in place and she’s got plenty of room to grow.
This little guy was 2 weeks old at the time of this picture and clearly takes his fashion cues from our preemie doll. He was about 8 pounds and 21 inches here. The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 fit him beautifully using the infant insert. We tried the crotch buckle on both the short and long settings, but we found that the longer setting gave him a better fit.
One Month Old
Our tiniest newborn model is growing and the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is growing right along with her! She weighs 9 pounds, 10 ounces now and she’s up to 22 inches long. She still fits best with the infant insert in place, so her family has left that in. The insert will need to come out once she weighs 12 pounds. We look forward to seeing her grow in this seat!
2 Months Old
At 2 months old, our model weighs 11 pounds and is 22 inches long. At this point, the harness pads aren’t quite working for her anymore but the infant insert is still in use for a little while longer.
Now that they’ve been using the seat regularly for a while, her family reports that the handle catches on the canopy — they have to push the canopy all the way down when they’re moving the handle between positions.
3 Months Old
Our little model is growing with the seat! She’s 12 pounds now and 23 inches long. Now that she weighs 12 pounds, her parents have removed the insert. She still fits very well in the harness and she’s got plenty of room to grow.
4 Months Old
Now that our little model is 4 months old, weighs 15 pounds, and is 25 inches long, after her recent growth spurt. Her personality is really starting to emerge! Her family has removed the infant insert and finds that she fits better in the seat without the harness covers on the harness.
7 Months Old
Our model continues to grow and the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is still offering her a great harness fit. She weighs 18 pounds and is 26 inches long.
8 Months Old
At 8 months old, our primary model is still using this seat. She now weighs 19 pounds and is 26.5 inches long. She’s getting a bit heavy to carry around but her family still brings the carrier portion of the seat into the house most of the time. They’ve had to move the headrest up a bit but she’s still got some growing room left in this seat.
8 Months Old
This young man is 8 months old. He weighs 20 pounds and is 27 inches tall. He fit very well in the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35, and his mother commented on the ease of changing the harness height, as we had to tweak it a few times to find the right setting for him.
16 Months Old
This young lady is 16 months old. She’s 28 pounds and 30 inches tall. We could not put the base’s extender out all the way because it would have caused the base to overhang the edge of the vehicle seat more than the 20% that Graco allows. Even with the extender in one of the closer positions, her legs had extra room. The harness fit her well, and she still has room to grow.
We also tried the seat without the base Though she didn’t complain, and it’s not a safety concern, her legs were more cramped than they were when the base was installed. In addition, there’s no option to install the carrier more upright baseless for older children.
16 Month Old Doll
Though we’ve got an actual 16 month old child pictured in this review already, we wanted to show how the seat fit our Huggable Images 16 month old doll who is slightly taller than that child as well. This seat’s base extends to create extra legroom for a larger child. While it’s unlikely that caregivers would take the seat in and out of the vehicle when using it for a child this size — 31 inches tall — the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit does fit our doll quite well. There are 3 clicks left to go on the headrest so this kiddo could conceivably use this car seat for a while yet!
20 Months Old
This is my son. He’s 20 months old, weighs 21 pounds and is 30 inches tall. He’s got a fun habit of taking off his shoes in the car. He’s much smaller than the average 20 month old; he’s just outgrowing many standard rear facing only seats. The extra legroom on the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 worked well for him, but it made it necessary for me to push the front seat in our Honda Civic forward, and I’m only 5 feet 2 inches tall! He found the headrest a bit cramped, but that may be because he’s used to riding in a convertible car seat already. He was definitely comfortable in this photo.
Other Extended Use Rear Facing Only Seats
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is not the only extended use rear facing only seat on the market. The Chicco Fit2 has almost identical measurements and height and weight limits, but it has some key differences. We found that the original Fit2 headrest tended to cause head slump in infants even in our neckless Huggable Images doll. Since we wrote our review, the Chicco team has changed the headrest and it’s now much thinner so this is less of an issue! The Fit2 can be installed more upright for older babies by flipping a piece on the base. This installation saves front to back space in the vehicle, gives more legroom to the tiny passenger, and can be more comfortable for young passengers who have good head and neck control. The Fit2 and SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 are similar in that baseless installation does not offer any more legroom than baseless installation on many other rear facing only car seats.
The Doona deserves a mention in this section, as it also features a 21 inch shell height but without a headrest, which means it can provide even a bit more height room. However, the infant head insert must remain in the entire time. Many older babies seem to find this confining and uncomfortable. The Doona has an overall height limit of 32 inches.
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 was a Babies R Us exclusive, and for now it is only available from the manufacturer. It has the same carrier portion as the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35, but it can be used until the child weighs 40 pounds. The Click Connect 40’s base has an extremely large front to back footprint in the vehicle. The Extend2Fit technology is a clear improvement.
So we’re crystal clear: the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 can only be used until the child weighs 35 pounds.
Will My Child Fit Until Age 2?
We’ve received this question many times in our Facebook group! First of all, we want to emphasize that even if your child does fit in this seat until age 2, the ideal next step is a rear facing convertible seat and not a forward facing seat. The answer to this question depends on whether the child carries most of their height in the legs or the torso. For a leggy child, or of course a smaller child, the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 may very well fit until 2 years old. However, for a child with a longer torso, or a taller child, the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 will probably be outgrown before age 2. For caregivers who perhaps don’t own a vehicle or need a very portable car seat, the Cosco Scenera Next is a good next step for a rear facer who has outgrown the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit.
Important Information: Where to Find
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 expires 7 years after the date of manufacture. This information can be found on a label on the underside of the carrier, and the expiration period is also etched into the bottom of the carrier.
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is approved for aircraft use when installed without the base. The FAA approval label is located on the underside of the carrier. The base is not approved for aircraft use.
The manual stores in an easy-to-access compartment on the top of the base.
The Graco SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is an exciting addition to Graco’s rear facing only car seat lineup. Many parents enjoy the convenience of the infant carrier and long for a seat with a base that accommodates older babies. To those parents: This could be the seat for you!
The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 is also a great travel seat, although toddlers used to the extra legroom may miss it if this seat is installed without the base. City dwellers who don’t own a car may find the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 a convenient option since it can be attached to strollers then easily installed in a taxi, with or without the base. The Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat has become a best seller, and we congratulate Graco on bringing this technology to the rear facing only car seat market!