In late 2013, Britax updated their convertible car seats from the 70-G3 series to the G4 line.
While the seats in both generations are structurally very similar, there are a few differences. Let’s go through the list of changes and improvements.
You’ll notice that the “70” has been removed from the name of the Advocate, Boulevard, Marathon, and Pavilion seats. This is due to the listed weight limit being decreased from 70 to 65 pounds. I bet Britax didn’t want people to think they were getting less of a seat by putting “65” in the name this year. Why the change? The seats aren’t actually smaller sized than before. The reason the weight limit is lower is because of stricter vehicle safety testing standards for 2014 implemented by the NHTSA. Seats with advertised limits beyond 65 pounds need to be tested with a crash test dummy which is sized like a 10 year old child. I wouldn’t consider this change from the G3 line a downside since most children will outgrow convertible seats in height and overall comfort before they weigh 65 pounds.
G3 seats included an infant body pillow which had only a general guideline for removal – once the child can sit unsupported. The G4 seats include an infant positioning pillow which must be used up to 22 pounds and then removed. The pillow ensures the harness fits infants properly, so Britax chose to make a more precise sizing requirement for it.
For the Advocate, Boulevard, and Pavilion the design of the HUGS was updated. HUGS are harness covers used to provide more protection to the chest, particularly for toddlers and older children. These were redesigned on the three highest G4 models. A wavy patterns was added to the front which helps prevent children from moving the chest clips up or down on their own.
Britax has stitched a handy indicator line on the seat for maximum shoulder height. This shows you at a glance when your child has outgrown the seat rear-facing and it should be installed forward-facing.
The informational stickers on the seats have also been color coded to make them easier to check at a glance. Blue stickers are used for rear-facing info, green for forward facing, and red for booster seat info. Minor changes, but they still might keep you from having to dig out the instruction manual.
Dimensions and Weight
Since the G3 and G4 seats are so structurally similar that the size and weight of the seats has remained the same, with a couple exceptions.
The top-of-the-line Advocate model was known for being quite wide due to its additional side impact bolsters. These have been slimmed down a bit, which has reduced the width of from 22” to 20.5”, which helps free up some room in the back seat for passengers or additional car seats.
The Roundabout has dropped in weight from 20.8 pounds to 17.6 pounds, which is a welcome change if you plan to travel with it.
While the changes from the 70-G3 to the G4 series are fairly minor, there are some worthwhile improvements. The MSRP of all seats has remained the same, and the retailer with the best discounts on the updated seats is still Amazon.
You may be able to save about 10% more by going with a 70-G3 seat, but keep in mind that the longer you wait to purchase the less usable life the seat will have. Britax seats expire 7 years from their date of manufacture, and the last of the G3 seats were manufactured in late 2013.