Solid choice...safe and easy to install (just weighs a ton!)
March 13, 2019
This is our 3rd car seat purchased....for the same child :). An initial infant bucket seat that baby hated (why do they not give those more padding!?!?) followed by purchasing a Maxi Cosi Pria 85 MAX* once outgrew the bucket seat in length (*Pria 85 MAX is lightweight, SUPER WIDE--- even in our Tahoe SUV!, a pain in the @$$ to install BUT very cushy for baby). I never felt comfortable installing the MC-Pria (could never get the LATCH install tight enough!) so it's now perma-installed in dad's vehicle while I can easily install this Britax Boulevard in Grandma's car or a friend's vehicle should we be riding with someone else.
This thing is a tank! it's not too wide (unlike the Maxi-Cosi PRIA 85) and if you've been doing research/reading reviews, you already know that Britax with their steel shell is HEAVY. I'm 5'6, average weight and fairly fit and it's doable (although I wouldn't try to lift it if I was pregnant). The saving grace is that it's SUPER easy to install.... the only issue was a Ford vehicle which has the inflatable seatbelts (no-no for the ClickTight seatbelt install). Also, the heft of this one makes me feel like it's safer* than just plastic shell like the Maxi-Cosi (*personal opinion not based on any facts/research).
I also felt like the Britax is MUCH easier than the Maxi Cosi Pria Max 85 to get tightened. I like the rubber no slip pads on the chest b/c the velcro "comfort covers" (on this AND the Maxi Cosi) quickly get ripped off by a bored baby.
The only feature I wish Britax would adopt from Maxi-Cosi was their awesome magnetic chest clip.... that thing is magic. it practically closes itself and my child (who is fascinated and has mastered MOST buckles) still cannot undo it.
I also specifically like the fabric of this model (Spark) as it seems to stay fairly cool in the Texas heat we live in (A/C 10 months of the year) and also vacuums out crumbs easily....some of the other fabric options I looked at in stores seemed a bit rough to the touch so I am glad I opted for this one sight-unseen.
the 7 incline seemed like a big deal (Maxi Cosi Pria 85 only has 4 I think?) but honestly we've only changed it once (*figuring more inclined might induce sleep better than sitting up right). maybe it will be a bigger deal once forward facing in a couple years...?
Also worth noting - this car seat (like the Chicco NextFit) is a very "bucket" or "shell" shaped. it does NOT have easy-to-load, low sidewalls like a Diono and some Evenflo models. While it personally doesn't bother me (again, adds to the perception of safety, esp cradling their growing spine/brain) it is worth noting, especially once you're wrestling a toddler to get into the seat.
Dislikes: (1) after almost a year of owning, I did want to wash the fabric since some cheerios have been quite ground into some of the crevices. I surprised and disappointed to learn (reading the manual) that the cover is HAND WASH only and line dry.... unlike many other options like Maxi Cosi and Safety 1st car seats where you can machine wash and dry the cover. The cover is mostly easy to remove but hand washing is for the birds! (2) no drink holder (keeps carseat narrow tho!) (3) high sidewalls/turtle shell shape = most toddlers will need help getting in (no self loading like perhaps a Diono might offer). This is perhaps added frustration during stages when child fights carseats.
Pros(1)EASY to install
(3) Spark fabric (mostly) wipes/vacuums easily
(4) baby/toddler seems comfy (well padded, fabric soft on skin)
(5) and most IMPORTANT - safe!
Cons(1) NO machine wash option for cover!
(2) high sidewalls mean more parental assistance (or wrestling a toddler) getting child into the car seat
(3) No drink holder (but this also keeps it fairly narrow for fitting other passengers/car seats!)
- ClickTight install not option for any vehicles with inflatable seatbelts (Ford Explorer is the one we found out on)
- heavy (but again, my personal perception means that it's safe and not going to crumble in the heat like plastic!)
Best Usesinfant; toddler; preschooler. still rear-facing at over 2 years and plan to till 4 yrs if doesn't outgrow height!