Where to Buy:
The Britax Frontier 85 is the “cream of the crop” when it comes to combination harness to booster seats.
There’s actually two models currently available, the original which is picture above, and the Britax Frontier 85 SICT, pictured on the right.
Now the SICT is almost identical to the original except that it also offers the side impact cushions which are designed to reduce side impact crash energy by 45%. They also give a little extra protection to adjacent passengers.
Now I could bore you with a complete description of every feature, but instead I’d rather tell you what you need to know.
When to use the Britax Frontier 85?
If you haven’t heard the latest from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Admin), let me quickly explain. They now recommend keeping your child harnessed for as long as possible. The Britax Frontier 85 allows you to do just that. It has a maximum weight limit, in harness mode, of 85 pounds. Then, once your child has outgrown the harness mode, the Britax Frontier 85 than converts into a belt-positioning booster seat that can be used up to 120 pounds.
Now, the NHTSA also recommends keeping your child rear-facing for as long as possible, up to 40 pounds or 4 years of age. That is the only real drawback to the Britax Frontier 85. It’s a forward-facing only car seat/booster seat. So, even though it has a minimum weight limit of 25 pounds and 2 years, if you follow the NHTSA recommendations, you’ll need to first use a convertible car seat before moving your child to the Frontier.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the features.
- 2 years and 25 lbs to 85 lbs – Forward-facing and harnessed
- 40 lbs to 120 lbs and 5’5 tall – Belt-positioning booster seat
- Tangle-Free 5 point harness with front-adjust
- 10 harness height adjustments
- 3 buckle positions
- Adjustable head rest – This actually adjusts the shoulder height
- LATCH installation with push-button release – makes it super easy
- Seat belt installation using the long belt path
- Naturally positioned armrests
- Dual cup holders – Integrated
- Comfort foam seat with posture support
- Removable and washable cover
- Certified for aircraft travel in the harness mode only
- True Side Impact Protection – Rigid shell, deep side walls, and addition head restraint with energy absorbing foam.
- Energy absorbing versa-tether – Anchors to the top of the seat in two location, then to your vehicle. Offers staged-release webbing that is designed to slow down forward rotation.
- Energy absorbing base and lining – Basically, there’s EPS foam everywhere!
- Harness Ultra Guard System (HUGS) – These are found on the harness. They are designed to further reduce forward movement in the event of a crash.
- Side Impact Cushions – ONLY ON SICT MODEL - designed to reduce side impact crash energy by 45%
Britax Frontier 85 Booster Seat Review:
As I said above, the Britax Frontier 85 is the “cream of the crop”. It’s the best in terms of safety and comfort.
There isn’t anything I don’t like about it, aside from the price tag. But when you account for the fact that you can use it from 25 pounds up to 120 pounds, plus all of the safety features, and the time it took to design and test those safety features, I’d say it’s worth it.
Because I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the Britax Frontier 85 or the Britax Frontier 85 SICT, I decided to comb through the reviews and see what I could find.
With 486 out of 531 reviewers rating the original 4 to 5 stars, and 128 out of 136 rating the SICT 4 to 5 stars, that’s a 92% customer satisfaction rating. That’s incredibly good! Most absolutely loved their Britax Frontier 85 stating that it was a MUST-HAVE item. Many reviewers loved it so much that they bought several, one for each vehicle, and Grandma’s car.
As for negative feedback, I was able to dig up a few issues that resulted in 1 and 2 star reviews. The most common complaint was regarding installation, with several reviewers stating that the Britax Frontier 85 was difficult to install.
Part of the problem had to do with the lower LATCH connectors. Instead of having two separate anchor straps to tighten, the Britax Frontier 85 only offers one that is a dual adjust strap intended to tighten both anchor latches at the same time. The problem with this is, in some cases if you pull it tight, it twists and tangles.
A few reviewers gave the Britax Frontier 85 a 1 star review simply because it would not fit properly in their car. Whether it was because the latch systems were different, like the BMW 3 Series Sedan, or because their vehicle lacked a latch system entirely. The thing is, all LATCH systems have a weight limit. Most vehicles will only allow you to use LATCH up to about 48 pounds, and that includes the weight of the seat. So really, you should be using seat belt installation anyways once your child reaches about 28 pounds. So don’t depend on LATCH installation when it comes to any booster seat, because chances are you won’t be able to use it for long. Click here for more on LATCH weight limits.
Other cars that seemed to have problems upon installation were an 04 Dodge Durango, and 06 Honda Odyssey, a 2010 Mazda 5, and a 2000 Honda Passport. The manufacturer does state that the Britax Frontier 85 should fit in most mid-sized cars, minivans, and SUV’s.
I will say this, watching the installation video’s is a huge help. One reviewer stated that he was able to install his Britax Frontier 85 within 10 minutes in his 05 Highlander, however, if he hadn’t watched the Britax Installation Video, he probably would’ve had a much tougher time.
Aside from those few complaints, most of the reviewers were unanimous, stating that the Britax Frontier 85 is by far the BEST booster car seat available on the market today. The peace of mind you get just knowing that your little one is as safe as possible is priceless!
Where to Buy:
Still undecided? Watch the video demo below or check out more Britax Frontier 85 Reviews on Amazon.
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