2015 Britax Boulevard G4.1 Review: Advocate on a Budget

Britax has been running on all cylinders when it comes to releasing awesome convertible car seats lately. I’ve reviewed and recommended the Advocate ClickTightBoulevard ClickTight, and Marathon ClickTight, as well as the latest non-ClickTight version of the  Advocate, the Advocate G4.1. Each of these new convertible seats does a great job keeping kids safe, and I decided it was high time to see if the Boulevard G4.1 was worthy of keeping their company. I ordered a Boulevard G4.1 on sale from Amazon last week and put it through its paces when it arrived yesterday. Read on for details!

boulevard41-12015 Britax Boulevard G4.1 – Quick Review

The Britax Boulevard G4.1 is the most recent version of the Britax Boulevard car seat line, which Britax recently updated with the Boulevard ClickTight, and which was previously released as the Boulevard G4. The G4.1, as suggested by its name, is a Boulevard G4 update rather than a new system sharing the same name, which is what you get with the Boulevard ClickTight.

Because it’s a convertible seat, it’s usable in rear-facing and forward-facing configurations; as a rear-facing seat, you can use it with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, while as a forward-facing seat, you can use it with elementary-school aged children.

The Boulevard G4.1 joins the Advocate G4.1, Marathon G4.1, Advocate ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, and Marathon ClickTight  as one of Britax’s newest convertible seats. When you buy it, you get a number of the features present in the Boulevard ClickTight, especially when it comes to side impact protection. However, it looks like you get these benefits without having to spend nearly as much money. Let’s take a deeper look at the seat to see if it’s a worthy alternative to the ClickTight!

Buy the Britax Boulevard G4.1 on Sale at Amazon here.

Britax Boulevard G4.1 Weight and Height Limits

Rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds. The Boulevard G4.1 features a 49″ height limit based on top shell height instead of on top head wing height, which is where the height limit is in the Boulevard ClickTight. As a result, using the ClickTight version means you would get a longer overall amount of seat life based on height, but you still get a good amount of seat life in the G4.1. You get a range of 9″ to 16.75″ in seated shoulder height for your child, and your harness settings span 8.5″ to 17.5.”

Forward-facing: 20 to 65 pounds. You have a top harness height of 17.5,” which is just under 2″ shorter than the top harness slot height in the Boulevard ClickTight at 19.4.” As a result, you also aren’t going to get as much viable time forward-facing in the G4.1 compared to what you’d get in the ClickTight. The lowest harness height you can choose is again 8.5″ and it’s adjustable in 1″ increments. You have a range in seated shoulder height between 12″ and 16.75″ while forward-facing.

Even though Britax officially states it’s okay to forward-face your child once s/he reaches 20 pounds and a year, I’d recommend holding off for several more years. It’s best to rear-face as long as you can, such as until your child is 4 or even later if your seat allows him or her to. Rear-facing children are safer in crashes and are less likely to be seriously or fatally injured in car crashes. Once you turn forward-facing, you’ll then want to forward-face as long as you can in a harness before you switch to a booster seat.

Dimensions of the Britax Boulevard G4.1

The Britax Boulevard G4.1 is 18.5″ wide, 26″ tall, and 21″ in depth, front-to-back. Its width is the same as that of its ClickTight counterpart, and both as a result will be significantly easier to install in 3 across setups than the Advocate G4.1 or Advocate ClickTight, which are both 20.5″ wide. Check out the ultimate 3 across car seat installation guide to get a head start on figuring out which car seats will fit well in you car, minivan, SUV, or pickup. A big advantage to choosing the G4.1 over the ClickTight version of the Boulevard is that the G4.1 weighs 19.5 pounds, which is almost 10 pounds lighter than the 29.4 pounds of the ClickTight.

Using the Britax Boulevard G4.1

Installation, rear-and forward-facing

blvdg4.1sideFirst impressions of the Boulevard G4.1 are impressive, as it’s a big, beefy seat. That said, I’m glad it doesn’t weigh as much as the Boulevard ClickTight, even though it still feels just as solid when you’re handling it. It features a steel frame that essentially functions like a metal spine within the car seat. The frame is designed to help the seat absorb some of the energy in a collision that would otherwise enter your child’s body. This is the kind of technology you get in the seat, which isn’t surprising when you consider that it uses much of the technology present in the Advocate.

Installation of the Boulevard G4.1 is quick and easy, and works well both through a LATCH installation and through a seat belt installation. The seat belt installation is my favorite when attempting 3 across installations, but LATCH is much easier to set up correctly when I’ve only got one or two seats to worry about. The connectors are “easy-on, easy-off” LATCH connectors, so they’re designed to connect and disconnect easily and even click audibly after a secure installation.

blvdg4.1baseThe Boulevard G4.1 base is designed to compress in a crash to absorb crash energy while helping reduce the forward movement of your child, so it functions somewhat like an anti-rebound bar. Britax includes these details while nearly no other manufacturer does, which is why they make such safe seats. Only seats like the Fllo, Foonf, Rainier, and Pacifica are on the level of the high-end Britax seats when it comes to safety technology.

You can choose from 3 recline positions, with each marked clearly via a side level indicator so your rear- and forward-facing angles  are safe for your children. You also enjoy clearly marked belt paths for rear- and forward-facing seat belt and LATCH installations. Remember to use a top tether when forward-facing, even though it’s not yet required in the US.

Harness, Fit, Safety

The Boulevard G4.1 features a 10-position no-rethread harness that makes it really easy to select your child’s best harness height setting. Keep in mind that when rear-facing, the straps must be at or below your child’s shoulders and at or above the shoulders when forward-facing. A 2-position buckle strap is also included.

Comfort-wise, the seat is padded in a number of areas, including in the shoulder pads, buckle pad, and cover. An infant positioning pillow is also included to help provide good fit for the youngest infants.

blvdg4.1harnessThe G4.1 harness is packed with impact-absorbing padding so the chest clip is more likely to stay in position in a collision. Just like the base and frame, the harness is also built to absorb some crash energy. It’s a 5-point harness that’s comfortable and snug against your child. The seat cover is easily removed and machine-washable.

The Boulevard G4.1 shell is also packed with energy-absorbing foam to help keep your child safer in a collision. Similarly, the head rest is designed to absorb impacts while keeping your child’s head and neck in a secure position. However, you don’t get the external cushions present in the Advocate G4, G4.1, or ClickTight, or in the Pinnacle 90.

Buy the Britax Boulevard G4.1 on Sale at Amazon here.

Why Buy the Britax Boulevard G4.1?

Car seats are designed to keep our little ones safe, and to keep them safe, it’s best to begin with the basics. For me, the basics start with rear-facing as long as we can. The G4.1 allows you to keep your son or daughter rear-facing until he or she reaches 40 pounds, which is great since rear-facing is the safest position for every child. Remember that there are several seats that will let you rear-face up to 50 pounds, but even if this seat isn’t one of them, it’s still a great seat. The goal here is to keep our children in the safest position possible, which means we’re not going to forward-face at 1, 2, or even 3. We try to rear-face until 4 if we can, which is what’s done in Sweden, where nearly no children die each year due to car accidents. If they can use best practices, so can we.

For me, additional reasons to buy the Boulevard G4.1 include the various shock-absorption features built into the seat to reduce crash forces. Every bit of technology that makes it more likely that a child will walk away from a crash is technology worth investing in. I’m also a fan of the fact that the seat is already approved by the FAA for aircraft travel, as well as of the fact that it’s more or less made locally in the United States and has a long product life.

In conclusion, I’d consider the Boulevard G4.1 a great ClickTight alternative compared to the Bouelvard ClickTight. It’s a solid convertible seat with a number of features borrowed from the Advocate G4.1 at substantially less cost. You can buy it here in Congo, Laguna, Onyx, Silver Birch, and Domino. Canadians can buy it here.

If you find the information on car safety, recommended car seats, and car seat reviews on this car seat blog helpful, you can bookmark and shop through this Amazon link. Canadians can bookmark and shop through this link.

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