Britax Boulevard – Pros and Cons to the Boulevard lineup

Britax Boulevard 70-G3So, what’s the deal with the Britax Boulevard 70-G3 and G4 convertible car seat models you may ask?  They’re the two newest in the lineup after the Boulevard 70 and Boulevard 70 CS which have been discontinued.  They seem more expensive than the Marathon but cheaper than the Advocate, so you’re thinking they must be in the middle of the two feature wise, right?  Well, you’re exactly right!  The Boulevard has a couple additional safety features than the Marathon, but is it really worth the price increase?  Let’s look at the pros and cons.

How does the Britax Boulevard 70-G3 stack up?

Firstly, the Boulevard 70-G3, like all the 70-G3 models from Britax were discontinued in December 2013 with the new G4 models, however this is still a popular car seat and is still available at online retailers.  The Boulevard 70-G3 also gets great feedback from parents about its easy installation, easy to adjust straps and harness, as well as its durability and quality construction.

 

Quick Specs

  • Item Weight: 19.5 lbs
  • Orientation: forward and rear facing
  • Weight limits: 5 – 70 lb
  • Height limit: 49 in
  • Harness: 5 point

What are the Pros?

  1.  HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell – These chest pads have SafeCell which provides further resistance to forward movement in the event of a crash, an upgrade from the Marathon.
  2. True Side Impact Protection – This is an upgraded feature from the Marathon model.  Additional padding made from Energy Absorbing Foam has been added.  The padding helps to minimize head movement which limits potential injury to the spine.
  3. Base with SafeCell Technology – Made with SafeCell Technology to prevent the child from being propelled forward by compressing in crash and lowering the center of gravity.
  4. Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether – Attachment that anchors the top of the car seat which slows the release of forward movement.
  5. EZ-Buckle System – Keeps harness out of the way so you can place your child in easily.  This sounds like a small feature but it’s not, it’s like having a second set of hands to help you get your baby in the seat, only one word for this….AMAZING!
  6. LATCH System – Makes installation a breeze with a push button release.

And the Cons?

  1.  Wider car seat – This is definitely one the wider car seats on the market, so if you have a small car or have multiple car seats in the back, this may not be the choice for you.
  2. Could be considered heavy – At 19.5 lbs this may be difficult for some who want to take the car seat in and out, but not an issue if the car seat is staying in place.

How do consumes rate it?

As with many of the Britax car seats he Boulevard 70-G3 gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars and parents say they’d definitely recommend it to their friends.

What’s it going to cost?

Since this model has been discontinued it’s come down in price from its original $320 to about $250.  Also, since it is discontinued you’re most likely only going to find this car seat at online retailers, as I’m writing this the best price I found was on Amazon for $239.99 depending on the color you want.  This is a big discount from the original value, but when we look at the new G4 model next we’ll see not only has it been upgraded but, the price is better….waayyy better.

The Bottom Line

If you have a friend who wants to sell you their “gentle used” Boulevard 70-G3 at a great price, say under $200, or ever better at $150, TAKE IT! It’s a great car seat.  But, if you’re looking to buy new, there are better options with a cheaper price tag.

What’s new with the Britax Boulevard G4?

So now having mentioned that the Britax Boulevard G4 would be a better purchase over the previous model let’s talk about why.  In the Boulevard line, like with other G4 models there have been some key upgrades.  They’ve added a new infant pillow insert to be used until they reach 22 lbs that keeps them more secure in the car seat, after they reach 22 lbs, its as simple as removing the pillow and its recommended to do so.  Also, they’ve upgraded their HUGS system with new wavy patterns to stop kids from moving the chest clips around on their own.  The weight limit also changed from 70 to 65 lbs to comply with new guidelines for the LATCH system.

Lastly, and possibly my two favorite new features have to do with color.  They’ve added new color coded labels in red, blue, and green to provide “how to” instructions for different seat positions, this means no more having to go back and find the instructions manual, that we all know is inevitably lost.  Also, new fun colors in their range of fabric like kiwi (my personal fav) and pink giraffe for those who need a little animal print to spice up their car.  With all these upgrades, Britax has still maintained many of the feature from the previous model as we see in the pros below.

Quick Specs

  • Item Weight: 19.5 lbs
  • Orientation: forward and rear facing
  • Weight limits: 5 – 65 lb (dropped 5 lbs with new LATCH system guidelines)
  • Height limit: 49 in
  • Harness: 5 point

What are the Pros?

  1. HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell – These chest pads provide resistance to forward movement in the event of a crash.  These have been redesigned from the 70-G3 model for better fit, wavy patterns to stop kids from moving clips, and color coded sections added for easier installation.
  2. True Side Impact Protection – This is an upgraded feature from the Marathon model.  Additional padding made from Energy Absorbing Foam has been added.  The padding helps to minimize head movement which limits potential injury to the spine.
  3. Base with SafeCell Technology – Again made with SafeCell Technology to prevent the child from being propelled forward by compressing in a crash and lowering the center of gravity.
  4. Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether – Attachment that anchors the top of the car seat which slows the release of forward movement.
  5. EZ-Buckle System – Keeps harness out of the way so you can place your child in easily.  Again, I have to say it, small thing but absolutely amazing feature.
  6. LATCH system – Makes installation a breeze with a push button release.
  7. Infant pillow – New on the G4 model to your infant a more snug and comfortable fit.  Pillow is required for infants under 22 lb, take it out after.

And the Cons?

  1. Wider car seat – With basically unchanged dimensions this is still one the wider car seats on the market, so if you have a small car or have multiple car seats in the back, try and measure the space you have before purchasing to make sure it’ll fit nicely.
  2. Could be considered heavy – Like the previous model, at 19.5 lbs this may be difficult for some who want to take the car seat in and out, but not an issue if the car seat is staying in place.

How do consumers rate it?

In reviews, it gets an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and about 95% would recommend it to a friend.

What’s it going to cost?

The price on this may come as a surprise especially after just seeing the price on the older and discontinued model.  The Boulevard G4 retails at $319.99 but, when I looked online I found it on Amazon as low as $294!!!  That makes the newer model with added safety features cheaper than the older model.  Shocking…I know.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line on the Boulevard car seat is simply, good money for value, great safety ratings and features, and easy to use.  For me the weight and size aren’t cons so the pros make this a win as convertible car seats go in my book.

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