The Britax Boulevard CS is a very nice car seat with some good features that may make it a good choice for your baby. For the added cost over the regular Britax Boulevard, you get the Click & Safe audible harness tightness indicator. If you don't need a clicking sound to tell you when the car seat harness is tight, you can save the extra $20-$30 and buy a regular Britax Boulevard without the Click & Safe system.
Britax Boulevard CS Features
The Britax Boulevard CS is a convertible car seat that can be used rear-facing for babies from 5-35 lbs., and forward-facing to 65 lbs. The Boulevard CS has many of the same ease-of-use features as the original Britax Boulevard, including the infinite-adjust harness height (which means you don't have to re-thread the harness to adjust its height) and the wide head wings that provide protection for side impact crashes. The lowest harness height is about 10.5 inches and the maximum harness height is about 16 inches.
The Click & Safe system is the biggest difference between the Boulevard CS and the original Boulevard. The Click & Safe system means that when you pull the harness adjuster, it will make a clicking sound when the harness is tight enough, giving parents a clearer indication that their baby is properly secured.
Other stand-out features of the Britax Boulevard CS include the Versa-tether that can be used rear- and forward-facing, wider harness straps that are less likely to twist, built-in seatbelt lockoffs, premium LATCh connectors, and cushy padding and fabrics for baby.
What I Like About The Britax Boulevard CS Convertible Car Seat
If your vehicle doesn't have side-impact airbags and your child rides in an outboard position, the true side impact protection offered by the Boulevard CS is a smart choice for additional safety. Britax has moved the head wings a little wider apart on the Boulevard CS to make kids more comfortable, too.
Britax has updated their harness buckles so you hear a click when you buckle in both sides. Before, you only heard the click when the second part of the buckle went in.
While many convertible car seats require that you un-thread the harness and choose from pre-set harness slots, the Britax Boulevard CS has two knobs on the back of the car seat, and you simply turn them to raise or lower the harness height. You can easily adjust the harness height while the car seat is installed rear- or forward-facing, placing the harness slots right at baby's shoulders for a perfect fit.
The built-in lockoffs make it very easy to get a good fit when installing with a seatbelt. If you're installing with LATCh, the sturdy LATCh connectors are easier to push into the seat crack than standard ones, and the push-button release makes them simple to undo when you need to move the car seat.
Britax's Versa-tether can be used even in the rear-facing position, adding stability to the installation and reducing rebound during a crash.
The tether has an extra bit of stitching that releases in a crash, too, showing that the car seat should be replaced.
The Boulevard CS has wider, nicer harness straps than most non-Britax car seats. You won't struggle to keep these straps smooth and untwisted.
What I Don't Like About The Britax Boulevard CS Convertible Car Seat
The Click & Safe system, which is the only reason for upgrading to the Boulevard CS versus the original Boulevard, isn't all that useful if you already know how to check for harness fit. Click & Safe doesn't tighten the harness for you. It simply gives a clicking sound when you've pulled long enough. I actually think that you can get the harness tight enough in some cases before the clicking sound happens.
The Click & Safe indicator clicks are not very loud. If you have a baby crying or a lot of parking lot noise, you may not hear the clicks. If you're relying on the clicks to know when the harness is tight, that could be a problem.
It may be difficult for some parents to pull the harness adjuster hard enough to hear the clicking sound. It takes a pretty strong pull to make the mechanism click.
There is only one position for the crotch strap on the Boulevard CS. For infants, this isn't generally a problem, but once your child gets to the larger side of the approved weight limits, the crotch strap may be underneath the child and may be a little uncomfortable or may make buckling up more difficult.
When the Britax Boulevard CS is used rear-facing, you must be careful to check your baby's height against the actual car seat shell and not the head wing portion that slides up and down. There should always be at least an inch of plastic shell (not head wings) over baby's head when rear-facing.
The Boulevard CS doesn't always sit up on its own outside of the car. It's a minor annoyance, but could be problematic if you store your car seat in the house very often.
Should You Buy A Britax Boulevard CS?
Overall, the Britax Boulevard CS is a very nice convertible car seat. Britax does an outstanding job of making convertible car seats, so the Boulevard CS isn't a bad choice unless it just doesn't fit your vehicle or baby. It offers additional side impact protection and a rear-facing tether, plus convenience features such as the built-in lockoffs and better-than-average LATCh connectors that may help more parents install the car seat correctly. The infinite harness height adjustment makes it easier to get a personalized fit versus preset harness slots.
However, all of the above features are also available on the original Britax Boulevard for $20-$30 less. The additional cost gets you the Click & Safe indicator, which will be useless to you if you already know how to get the harness tight. If you do need the audible indication that the harness is properly tightened, the Boulevard CS may be a good choice for you, but be aware that you may need to do a bit of tugging to hear the clicking sound. If you'll be installing the car seat with a seat belt, the Click Tight version may be a better choice - Britax Boulevard Click Tight Car Seat Review.
Most kids will outgrow the Boulevard CS by height well before they reach the 65 lb. weight limit. Your child should be able to use the Boulevard CS until age 5 or 6, though, so the cost is spread over a greater useful life. The Boulevard CS top harness height is a little bit shorter than that of the Britax Marathon (max harness height is almost 17 inches). If your vehicle has side impact airbags or the car seat will always be installed in the center, and you don't need the Click & Safe system, you should also consider the less-expensive Britax Marathon convertible car seat.