I’ve been very happy with my Boulevard for the past two years (although a self-cleaning function would have been nice when we went through my daughter’s carsick phase). It was the first model with side impact protection which, like all safety features, you’re glad to have but are hoping never to use. It’s big, it’s comfy, it converts from rear to forward facing, and it installs easily, thank goodness. And lord do I love that you can raise and lower the head rest without having to rethread the belt straps as your kid gets bigger.
Britax’s latest entry is the Diplomat which is a funny enough name for a toddler seat – maybe it helps negotiate backseat squabbles? This is the model for parents who want the side impact protection but need a smaller seat and want to save about 60 bucks. The compact size means kids outgrow it at 40″ instead of 49″ but the same 65-pound weight limit as the boulevard.
At 15 pounds (versus 19) the Diplomat is a good option for parents who are going to be hauling the thing around airports.
There’s a dandy car seat comparisons tool on the Britax site you so you can line up the models side by side and see what works for you. Our advice? Where car seats are concerned, don’t get the cheapest one. Get the right one. It’s not a pair of socks, it’s a safety device.
Consider buying yours online at Hip Monkey where the prices are great and 100% of the profits are donated to the Kyle David Miller foundation to purchase car seats for kids who need them. Cool. –Liz