Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat Review (2024)

There are plenty of options when it comes to car seats. I bet the questions that you have in mind is: Which one is good for my kid?

Well, let me give you the answers: the best car seat for your children is the one that can provide comfort, security, reliability, and durability – all at the best price that suits your budget.

In this Graco Contender 65 Reviews, I will present to you the Graco Contender 65 3-in-1 Convertible Seat that can provide you all those elements. It makes your heart feels good knowing that it can protect your loved one in the best way possible during a car crash.

  • Pros: Flexible and adjustable to two modes, high weight support for toddlers, well-designed and highly secured
  • Cons: Fixed recline position, only one cup holder, and the anchor strap is awkward to pull
  • Bottom line: An economical, secure and reliable purchase for moms who would like to use the car seat for many years to come
  • Weight Limits: rear facing: 5-40 pounds; forward facing: 20-65 pounds
  • Editors Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Manufacturer: Graco Baby


Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Convertible Car Seat


A convertible car seat is perfect for your newborn. Plus, you can still use it as he grows up and gets heavier and bigger. Since you will be using it for quite some time, it is crucial that you choose wisely. Below are some tips for you to follow:

  • Infant vs. convertible – These two types of car seats are suitable for your baby. However, the convertible model is more versatile and economical as you can put your newborn in the rear-facing mode and change it to front-facing as he grows up.
  • Adjustable harness – I also recommend you to pick the one with an adjustable harness. It is less of a hassle since no re-threading is needed. Also, it allows a proper fit as your baby gets bigger in age and body size!
  • Safety standard – Most car seats these days meet the federal safety standards. But for your peace of mind, make sure you check the labeling to confirm the qualification of the chosen car seat.
  • Fit with your car – Big and bulky might give your baby some space to move around, but it might not fit correctly on your vehicle’s seat. So, make sure you find the right size for your car type.
  • Price – Due to its versatility, a convertible car seat is more expensive than the regular infant car seat. But I can assure you that it will make an economical purchase in the long run.

*The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) and National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that infants or babies should seat on rear facing until the age of 2.

Presenting to you the top convertible car seat – Graco Contender 65 Car Seat


Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat is the ideal vehicle baby chair that can provide security for your kid. You can use the rear-facing mode for your newborn and switch it to front-facing once he becomes a toddler.

When it is facing to the back, it can support a weight up to 40 pounds, and on a front-facing mode, it caters up to 65 pounds of weight.

It is a little sibling of Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, which is an upgraded version of the 65 Convertible.

The Extend2Fit model can support your baby right from birth, and up to 50 pounds. It suits with the recommendation of the experts whereby it is a best practice to keep your baby in the rear-facing mode for as long as possible.

I love how you can adjust the headrest and harness up to eight positions for this car seat.

You can just push the headrest to the top so that his ears are never above the head part (not secure that way!).

With its flexibility and affordable price at slightly above $100, I recommend it to you if you would love to bring your kids around as you run errands. It is spacious, comfortable and excellently secure.

Plus, with the Latch system and weight of 12 pounds, you can carry and install it from one car to another quickly. It is small and slim, which is ideal if you have a compact car. Due to its portability, I’ve included it in our Best Travel Car Seat 2017 list!

However, if your son or daughter is already above 65 pounds, it is not the best car seat for you.


  • Modern and stylish
  • The cup holder is not removable
  • Durable fabric with lightweight and energy absorbing foam
  • Seat is not reclinable
  • Spacious chair, ideal for big kids
  • A bit tricky to pull the anchor strap
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness makes strapping and clapping quick and smooth
  • Meet side-impact and US standard FMVSS 213 test
  • Reasonably priced at $100
  • Car seat cover is removable for washing

Features and Benefits

Let’s look at its features and performance that I have prepared for you in this Graco Contender reviews. I will convince you that it is the one for your family!

Material and Style


Firstly, when we browse for a product, we look at the design and feel. Well, let me just say that the color of the Graco convertible car seat is eye-catching enough for little children.

It displays grey, red and black color combo, which is neutral for both boys and girls. The manufacturer named it “chili red.” This model is also known as Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat Piedmont.

It also comes in several other options which are Sapphire (it features vibrant blue colors), Brass (a black theme with yellow lining), and Glacier (looks minimalist with the all-black concept).

Size and Weight Support


This is not a booster car seat. So, the weight support is not that high. However, you should be able to use it until your son or daughter turns four or five years old.

If you are placing the chair facing the back, it can support your kids with a weight up to 40 pounds. Some moms commented that there is plenty of leg room in this mode. If you have a tall toddler, I am sure you will be happy with this feature.

There is also an indicator that shows whether you have set it to the right level and angle – it is helpful, I must say!

Once your toddler reaches the weight of 40 to 65 pounds (approximately up to eight years old), you can switch it to face to the front. Switching between the two modes is also easy. You just need to shift the anchor strap and pull it around.

Ease of Use


Thanks to the availability of Latch system, installation is super breezy! Thanks to the friendly designed crotch buckle and latch connectors, many users have applauded the ease of installation that does not take more than a few minutes. There also include an easy-to-read level indicator.

Just like any other car seats, you need to pull the strap correctly to ensure that the car seat is installed securely. You can’t do this while standing outside of the car.

I recommend you to get in your vehicle, push your knee forward and pull the strap! It is because you cannot tug the strap at certain angles. 

As mentioned earlier, turning around the car seat from one mode to another is also quick and convenient.

Comfort and Security


So, how comfortable is the product for your baby? You should know that the seat is very cushy and soft.

The foam padding provides both security and comfort to your little ones. I love how you can remove the body support and headrest as needed to give your kid more space.

As for the security, I am sure you will be happy to know that it meets US standard safety requirements. The foam padding also meets the side-impact testing.

The easy-to-adjust harness ensures that it secures your little one superbly well. Once adjusted, your child will remain seated safely, even during a car crash.

Extra Features


It also comes with several extra features. Firstly, I would like to highlight how flexible the model is.

There are many sections of the seat that you can remove and adjust as your kid grows up. The parts are the headrest, harness, padding, and seating position. It means that the model does not expire for many years to come!

I also love how it comes with a cup holder. It is built-in and does not take much space. However, it is not removable So, cleaning it from spilling drinks or stains can be quite tricky. You will need to use the screwdriver to remove it.

Another essential feature that you need to know is that its back seat is fixed. You cannot recline the chair itself. But, the base is, indeed, adjustable, which is convenient when setting it in a rear-facing position.

You can watch the overall preview via this YouTube video from GracoBaby.

The Social Proof

Frugal Momeh Blog


Elizabeth is a happy mommy who is satisfied with the Contender 65 car seat. She said that the car seat is very easy to use and handle. She loves how she can adjust the headrest with only one hand, and it is flexible enough to support up to 8 different heights for child s heads!

If you read her blog further, you will see how in love she is with the chair. The chair and its features are intuitive and straightforward to be used by moms!

4 The Love of Mummy Blog


Jessica is another mother who is also a proud owner of the model. She loves everything about it and her son can sit in the chair for hours while being happy at the same time!

She finds the non-rethread strap as a huge bonus, and she can adjust the seat without any issues.

MT Mommy Blog


Renae is a mom who emphasizes on safety when she buys a car seat. She loved the smart engineering featured in the model. It makes her breathe easily while driving knowing that her daughter is safe in her place with the Contender 65.

Some of the features that she applauded are the safe foam padding, one-hand adjustable headrest, and the cup holder!

The Alternatives

If you are a mother who loves to be given several choices, then you will be happy with the next section. I am listing three other top convertible car seats for you to consider.

Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


Evenflow Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat is the nearest resemblance to the Contender 65 model. However, I love how it brings added stylish value – the color options are gorgeous! – as well as some additional features that make operating and handling the car seat smooth and quick.

Evenflow comes with an additional cup holder and reclinable seat! You can put extra bottles in the car seat, which is ideal for a long family road trip.

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Also, I think you will appreciate the adjustable recline position of the chair when it is placed in a front-facing mode. It provides extra comfort to your little kid. The price is slightly high in the range of $120 to $130.

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is another perfect option for you if you love economic purchase! Why do I say so? It is because, by paying about $130, you will get three types of car seat from a single product.

Your kid can use the rear-facing position for your newborns up to 40 pounds, and then switch it to the front-facing mode until he reaches 65 pounds.

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Then, here’s where Safety 1st Grow and Go model offers you an additional feature: you can then use the belt-positioning booster to place your big toddler up to a weight of 100 pounds!

I love its versatility and flexibility. If you buy it, you do not have to shop for another car seat for a long time!

Disney APT Convertible Car Seat


Are you trying to save some money while buying a new car seat for your toddler? Then you should consider Disney APT Convertible Car Seat. Out of all three car seats, I am suggesting here in the Graco Contender 65 Reviews; this model is priced the least at slightly above $40.

Looking at the online reviews from other mothers, Disney APT does not disappoint at all. It comes fully-equipped with a 5-point harness, stylish design (up to 7 color options!), dual side impact protection, and adjustable buckle.

 EvenflowSafety 1stDisney
TypeConvertibleConvertible + BoosterConvertible
Kid’s Max. Weight65 pounds65 pounds40 pounds
Reclinable SeatYesNoNo
Installation SystemLatchLatchLatch
Product Weight23 pounds19 pounds12 pounds
Additional FeaturesDual cup holders, reclinable front-facing seatBooster seat, seven inches of extra legroomColorful and vibrant, three buckle locations, two integrated duo holders
Amazon Rating4.4 stars4.4 stars4.3 stars
Our Rating4.34.54.1
 Learn MoreLearn MoreLearn More

The Conclusion

Rightly priced, cozy, robust, secure, and stylish – those are some of the words that come to my mind when I think about Graco Contender 65 3-in-1 Convertible Seat.

It is not difficult to assemble and install. Most importantly, you can rely on it to protect your baby while riding together in your car. Plus, the harness, padding, and soft cushion give your little kid the comfort he needs.

Furthermore, with the high weight support, you can expect to use it for several long years. It makes the best purchase decision in the long run.

I recommend you to buy it and see how happy and secure your kid is when he is sitting inside this comfortable, stylish and well-design convertible car seat!

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat Review

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