Graco Contender 65 Review – Side Impact Tested in Real Life

The brakes were screeching, but it was too late. Little Suzie was sitting behind her mother when they got T-boned on the driver’s side…

The crash was loud. Glass has shattered. Airbags deployed. It was a bad accident. The door was dented. It was hard to believe that nobody got hurt.

Look:

For some, this is just luck. As a matter of fact, it’s more than that. The parents made the necessary precautions. They got the rights seat, and they have installed properly. That’s it.

The car seat did its job. It protected the child from impact.

It has only become a recent trend to offer side impact protection. Graco is in the lead. They not only protect your little one from the front, rear, and side crashes, but it has protection from the deadliest of them all rollovers.

It’s good to know that this family has a guardian angel looking over them. So yes, the Graco Contender saved a life that day.

Before we get any further, let me give you a quick preview. This car seat comes with two modes rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds and front-facing 20 to 65 pounds. As you can see, this can be used for many years to come. While you adjust the headrest, the straps are adjusted as well.

The latch system makes the installation easy. This Graco seat is top of the line when it comes to safety if it has front, rear, side, and rollover protection.

Let’s get this Graco Contender 65 review started. If you stick with me until the end, I will tell you the pros/cons. Some of them are unexpected, to say the least.

 

Who is the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat?

This car seat is for parents who don’t want to blow a lot of money. Also, it’s for those who value convertible car seats.

Plus, for those who want to do extended rear-facing.

 

What can the Graco Contender 65 car seat do for you?

The main reason I like the Graco Contender is that they don’t cost a crazy amount of money. It’s practical, and as you have seen above, they provide good protection.

Matter of fact it’s a cheap car seat without being cheap.

This car seat is good from the infant stage through the extended rear-facing up to 65 pounds. If you want to save money, this car seat helps you do so. You buy it once, and it costs less than an infant carrier and harness combined. If you prefer extended rear-facing, it’s a safe bet that you can do it until they get to 3 years old.

This car seat is lightweight, so you can easily carry it.

The number one selling point was that there’s no more manual strap rethreading ever. That’s my kryptonite. I can’t ever get it right. The solution is genius. When you adjust the headrest, the straps are adjusted in the meantime. It’s like magic for the moms like me.

This car seat comes with a cup holder. Sadly there’s only one. I usually prefer two, so my kids can put drinks in one and toys in another. Also, it’s a great distraction while you’re strapping them in.

 

Graco Contender 65 shortcomings

Every car seat has flaws. Let’s see what I didn’t like about his Graco convertible.

It’s a bulky car seat. There’s no way around that. The truth is that most convertibles are so. Yet this one restricts the front row. If you have a compact car, you might reconsider.

They brag about the latch system, which makes it easy to install. This is true to a certain point. They are using the old version of the latch system, so it’s not that easy.

The price is quite acceptable. And here and there you get the feeling of being cheap. It’s not that padded, so it offers less comfort.

Being bulky, it’s hard to move your child in and out. The fabric can’t be removed, so you’re left with spot cleaning. Also, pick a darker color, so stains aren’t visible.

Last but not least, I have to mention that the straps tend to twist. Well, more likely, they get twisted every time I have to put my fussy baby in. It’s hard to straighten out while you’re trying to keep your crying child in place. There are better solutions for the twisting.

It doesn’t have a good recline position. So you need a towel or a pool noodle to get your little one in comfort.

These would be the negatives of this Graco Car seat. What do you think? Are they that bad? If not, let’s get to the next section.

 

How To Get The Most Out Of Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat?

The first thing you have to consider when you get the car seat is where you will install it. Here are some tips. The safest place to put it is in the middle. Now I know, I know that doesn’t work for everyone. So here’s the second spot which is right behind the driver.

Keep in mind that this car seat is bulky. To the front row has to be cramped a bit so it can fit.

The next thing you need to know is how to install it correctly. According to a recent study, 75% of car seats in the US are installed incorrectly. This means that when a crash happens, it won’t be able to do its job. If you have doubts, always reach out to a licensed professional.

 

Pros:

It allows extended rear-facing to about 3 years

It’s sturdy and has a lot of space to grow

It’s a cheap cars seat without using cheap materials

 

Cons:

It’s bulky and limits the front seats

You can’t remove the material, so spot cleaning is your only choice

 

Conclusion for the Graco Contender 65 Review

As you have seen above, this car seat is real life safer. In one of the most dangerous types of crashes, T-bones, the child was protected from harm. Graco made a good and affordable convertible car seat. Yes, it has a few flaws. And it has everything that your child needs to be safe and comfortable.

Parents who want to do extended rear-facing can do it with ease.

We have reached the end of the Graco Contender 65 Review. I hope you have learned a lot about this car seat. If this is the right fit for you, get it now. Last time I checked, supplies were almost out.

If you have feedback or questions, post it below.

Catch you next time.

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About Danny Reid
About Danny Reid

Danny here, no matter in which market you’re in it’s flooded with products. Maybe you want a new stereo, amps, speakers or subs? This is why the blog exists to cut through the clutter.
My goal with the reviews is to inform you of the best possible to make the right decision.
Plus if you’re stuck with “the blue wire is connected to???” I have many hot tips to get you out of a jam.