Car Seat Showdown: Graco Contender Vs Extend2Fit Comparison

graco contender vs extend2fit comparison

Metal pushed against metal… The impact was huge… The cars were still moving…

It’s scary when you get into an accident. There’s nothing for you to do. You are powerless. Both car seats were tested in real scenarios. Lives were hanging in the balance.

Finding the right car seat is no easy task. There are a ton to choose from. This is why I’ve created this Graco Contender vs Extend2fit comparison. By reading it until the end, you will know which one of these car seats is the best choice.

Stick with me, and in a bit, I will tell you all about the real tests which these car seats were subjected to.


Here’s the bird’s eye view of the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat. It’s an excellent choice for parents who value comfort without splurging. This seat allows extended rear-facing mode.

Here’s the bird’s eye view of the Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat. Perfect for infants and up to 6 years old kiddos. It will serve your family for the years to come.

Direct Comparison Graco Contender vs Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat

  Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat
Safety Impact Absorbing Base

Steel Frame

True Shield

5-point harness

EPS Energy Absorbing Foam

Intermittent Metal Rods


5-point harness

Size Limits Rear Facing 4 – 50 pounds

Front Facing: 22-65 pounds


Rear Facing 5 – 40 pounds

Front Facing: 22 – 65 pounds


Installation One Second In Right Latch Latch Equipped Simple Install
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Bonuses and Features    
Cup Holder 2 Built In 1 Built In
Recline Position 6 No
Headrest Position 10 8
Rethread Harness No No
Extended Use Yes Yes

Breaking it down

The table above is my cheat sheet when it comes to checking out any car seat. You can copy it if you want to.

So this is how I evaluate car seats. Firs and foremost, safety is top of the list. Yes, all car seats are safe, but there’s the dirty secret that nobody talks about. So I will share it with you in a moment.

Next is size limits here I walk you through who’s this car seat for. And what are the best uses?

Now installation is a biggie. There are some brands that are notoriously hard to get that tight fit. We will see how good these Graco car seats are.

Last but not least, kids will spill stuff or stain the material, so you have to know it’s easy to clean or not.

Finally, I take a look at the minor features in case of a tie. This helps with picking a winner.

Let’s get this Graco Contender vs Extend2fit comparison started. Just one more thing…

I have something special for you in the end. I have compiled a quick pros/cons list. The things I’ve found are quite interesting, to say the least.

You may also like: Best Graco infant car seat reviews in 2024


child car seat safety 3As I mentioned before, all car seats are safe in the marketplace. If there are issues, the recall is instant. So what’s the dirty secret?

Well, every car seat has to pass government standards. Now some barely pass. Would you trust the life of your child to a seat like that? Or would you rather go that goes beyond the minimal requirements?

Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat

This incident happens to some friends of ours.

They were driving down the road, and their daughter was in the back. All of a sudden, a drunk driver hit them head-on.

The other driver was speeding excessively. The impact sound was loud. Metal twisted and bent in all shapes. The window cracked, and glass shards were everywhere. The airbags exploded, doing their job. And the crash wasn’t over yet.

The impact was so strong that the car did a 180 and landed in the ditch.

The parent got some cuts and bruises, and when they came through, they instinctively checked their daughter. She was still in the back.

She was crying. Luckily she wasn’t hurt she was just scared.

I haven’t been in an accident, so I have no clue what they felt. I’m sure they were extremely grateful for the Graco Extend2fit because that has saved their little one’s life.

The car seat is built on a steel frame. It has an energy-absorbing base, which helped a lot in this crash. Also, the Graco Extend2fit is equipped with True Shield tech. This means that your little one is protected from the rear, front, side, and even rollover crashes.

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat

This car seat has been tested as well. It happened with some acquaintances of ours.

The mother was driving, and little Suzie was in the back. They were crossing an intersection when a reckless driver ran a red light.

The car got T-boned from the driver’s side. Exactly on the side where little Suzie was sitting. The door was dented pretty hard.

There were no injuries. Everybody got out safe and sound.

Thanks to the energy-absorbing foam, the little girl was protected. The car seat is made out of hard plastic with reinforcing metal rods. The 5-point harness has kept the little one in the seat. This is the safest harness on the market today.

The Graco Contender 65 uses ProtectPlus technology. This means that your little one is safe from the rear, front, side, and ever rollover crashes.


Since they both delivered, it’s a tie.

Size Limits

These car seats are expensive. And to make things worse, they have an awfully short expiration date. So the best way to save money is by investing in the future. The more mileage you can get out of these seats, the more money you will save.

Usually, I break up this section for each car seat. The specs are the same, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself.

So these two convertible car seats cater to infants and up to 6-year-olds. There’s a slight difference between the minimum weights. The Graco Contender 65 only allows 5 pound and higher while the Graco Extend2fit allows even 4-pound newborns in the car seat.

If you want, you can use this car seat to take your newborn home from the hospital. You can use these car seats in rear and front-facing mode. It’s highly recommended to do rear-facing as long as possible. This allows the best protection for little ones.

It’s suggested to do rear-facing up to 2 years old. In some countries, 4 is normal.

The Graco Extend2fit comes with a leg extender, which can be adjusted while your little one grows.


This is a tie.


child car seat installationHere’s where the rubber meets the road. Installation is the hardest part of these car seats. For some reason, there weren’t any developments at Graco with these car seats.

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat

During the installation, the Graco Contender 65 shows it’s age. The latch technology is old school. It’s the first generation.

First, you have to adjust the recline block latch, depending on how you want to install it. After you manage to get the thing to click. You have to step in the car and push the seat forward and down with your stomach or hips while you’re tightening the straps.

The seatbelt method looks to be the easiest solution. It’s a good idea to study the manual and the training videos. No wonder that the training videos showcase the manual. It’s bloody hard to get a tight fit.

Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat

The Graco Extend2fit works a lot batter.  They have upgraded the securing system. It’s a lot faster and easier. Now, if you’re going with the latches, there’s something odd about the mounting.

To pull the strap as hard as you can, you have to remove the cover from the cup holders and then, through the gap, pull the strap towards you. If you do it from the inside, you won’t be able to make it tight.

It’s so counter-intuitive. At least the training videos are good.


The point goes to the Graco Extend2fit.


Now kids will be kids, so they will spill things and will make a mess. So you have to know how good the fabric is. I usually recommend sticking with darker colors, so the stains aren’t that visible.

The material behaves similarly, so I will go through it in one go.

It’s not that hard to remove the fabric. I mean, I heard about parents who broke the seat apart to get it off. Ok, I know there those who are strong and others can read.

If you’re stuck, there are plenty of videos of getting it done.

Washing can be done with the washing machine and, for the longest use, do it in cold water. Air drying is preferred as well.


It’s a tie.

Bonuses and Features

I usually check the secondary features. Sometimes some annoyances will switch the tides.

As you have seen in the table, the Graco Contender 65 has dropped the ball here.

First of all, it only has one cup holder. The Graco Extend2fit has two. OK, they are built in which is good. For kids, 2 cup holders are the best. One is for drinks, and the second one is for toys.

To my surprise, the Graco Contender 65 doesn’t have a recline feature. If the seat is not comfortable for your little one, there’s nothing for you to do with the angle. On the other hand, the Graco Extend2fit has 6 positions to choose from.

The headrest is movable, at least. It’s a bit shy compared to the Extend2fit, which has ten positions while the Graco Contender 65 has 8.

The good news is that both of them have no-rethread harnesses, which means that when you adjust the headrest, the straps are adjusted as well. This is good news for those who have a handicap like me with rethreading.


The point goes to Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat.

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car SeatPros:

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


It’s bulky and limits the front seats

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

Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car SeatPros:

It’s one of the easiest to install can be done in less than 5 minutes

There’s no manual rethreading of the straps ever

The fabric is easy to wash even after a vomiting incident


The release button is hidden, and if you have big hands it’s hard to reach

You need to watch videos to put the fabric back into place

Final Recount

Graco Extend2fit Convertible Car Seat won with two points (2/5)

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat lost (0/5)

The other categories were a draw.

Graco Contender vs Extend2fit Verdict

Both car seats did exceptionally well in the real crash tests. They have saved the lives of a little one. Even though that section was a tie, I don’t feel that easy with the Contender’s plastic frame.

The size limits are the same for both of the car seat. From infant stage up to 6-year-olds, any child can use them.

The Graco Contender 65 feels cheap, especially when it comes to installing. The Graco Extend2fit is easier and superior to the Graco Contender 65.

In the last section, the Graco Contender 65 dropped the ball. It doesn’t have a recline feature, while the Graco Extend2fit has 6 options. The headrest for the Graco Contender 65 is only 8, while the Graco Extend2fit offers 10. Plus, it only has one cup holder where the Extend2fit has two.

For all these reasons, the Graco Extend2fit was the winner.

We have reached the end of the Graco Contender vs Extend2fit. I hope you have learned everything there’s about the car seats. By now you should know which the best fit is for you. It’s your turn now get the winner as soon as possible because stocks are running low.

If you have any feedback or tips, let me know below.

Catch you next time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is the difference between Graco 4ever and Extend2Fit?

The difference between Graco 4ever and Extend2Fit is that the Extend2Fit car seat is a convertible and it can only be used until 65 pounds. While the Graco 4Ever is an all in one car seat so it can be used up to 120 pounds. The Extend2fit allows extended rear facing up to 50 pounds while the Graco 4ever taps out at 40 pounds.

Is the Graco Extend2Fit FAA approved?

The Graco Extend2Fit is FAA approved.

How long does a Graco Extend2Fit last?

The Graco Extend2Fit lasts for 10 year after the date of manufacture.

What’s the maximum weight limit for these convertible car seats?

The maximum weight limit is 65 pounds pounds forward-facing mode. The lower weight limit for forward-facing mode is 22 pounds. The weight limit for rear-facing mode for the Extend2fit is 50 pounds and for the Graco Contender 65 it’s 40 lbs. The 40 lbs offers great extended rear-facing infant car seat mode. They can’t be used as a booster seat. The product dimensions for the graco contender 64 are 27 x 20.8 x 26 inches  and the graco extend2fit comes with the following product dimensions 22.1 x 19.2 x 25.2 inches. The height limit for the two car seats is the same. Since they are convertibles the height limit is set to 49 inches for them both. The weight recommendation is 5 to 65 pounds. While the graco extend2fit comes with the 5-50 rear-facing mode weight recommendation (the child weight should be in this range).

What is the graco extend2fit (extend2fit graco) extension panel?

This graco convertible car seat has an extension panel. Since the seat graco does extended rear facing up to 50 pounds they came up with this extension panel as a leg support. By using the extension panel you’re giving more comfort for your child and of course head and body support.

What are the safety features for the Graco contender 65 and Extend2Fit?

These convertible car seats come with the simply safe adjust harness system for forward facing which gives head and body support. Adjustable headrest and leg room in rear-facing mode. It has great side impact protection. As you know side impact protection is a must nowadays. The more layers it has the more side impact protection it can provide. When it comes to safety standards both car seats have high ones. One of the most important ones is the side impact protection. As you know only side impact protection can keep your child safe in a T-bone accident. No wonder they have high safety standards with the simply safe adjust harness system and the latch system it’s easy to install. Some of these Graco seats come with the inright latch system.

How do you install these convertible car seats?

You can use the simply safe adjust harness system for forward facing or the latch system. As you know the latch system is faster. Make sure you check the level indicator. The level indicator gets you the perfect install. You can use the seat belt as well for install. Typically the vehicle seat belt installation tends to be the longest and hardest. When you use the seat belt installation make sure you use the belt lock-off. Other than that it’s fairly simple you feed the belt throught the belt path over the seat pad. Being convertibles make sure you pick the right belt path. The inright latch (latch system connectors) is by far the easiest to use. The harness straps will keep your child safe until 65 pounds. The inright latch connectors have to connect to the anchors and you’re done. Also pull the latch belt tight. It’s advised to adjust the headrest position before you install the car seat. The headrest position might be difficult to adjust in certain cars.

What kind of features are there for the Graco contender 65 vs Extend2Fit?

Here’s a quick list: level indicator, adjustable headrest, removable seat cover, multiple recline positions and headrest positions and we shouldn’t forget the simply safe adjust harness system. Also there’s the one hand adjustable headrest. With these convertible car seats there will be dual cup holders. On cup holder can be used for drinks and the other one for toys. The car seat cover is machine washable. This means that you can remove easily the fabric and then just go with the machine washable option. The seat pads are nice and comfy during seat use. Amongst child restrictions the EPS foam provides extra safety during a crash. As you know the comfort of these seats comes from recline positions and headrest positions. The Graco contender 64 comes with no recline positions and 8 headrest positions while the graco extend2fit comes with 6 recline positions and 10 headrest positions. The recline angle can only be adjusted with the graco extend2fit. The simply safe adjust harness system makes the use all too easy.

What is the extension panel for the Graco convertible car seat?

Not all Graco convertible car seats have an extension panel at the moment the Graco extend2fit one has it. The extension panel offers great leg room for the child and good leg room for the front row in rear-facing mode.

Graco or Maxi Cosi which car brand is the best choice?

Both car seats brands are pretty good. Maxi Cosi has more comfortable car seats.

Which one should I buy Graco vs Britax car seat?

For most parents, Britax car seats are the better choice.

Last Updated on October 27, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!