Britax Marathon ClickTight Chicco Nextfit 65
This is my in-depth comparison review of the Britax Marathon ClickTight and Chicco Nextfit 65 convertible car seats.
The normal retail price of both seats is somewhere in the region of $300, but you can buy them online at significantly discounted prices.
The Britax and Chicco companies have been manufacturing premium child car seats for many years and have become trusted brands though out the world. The Britax ClickTight and Chicco Nextfit series of convertible seats contain their latest products and, consequently comes fitted with their latest safety technology and convenience features.
When you are shopping at this premium end of the market, you can be pretty confident that whichever seat that you choose it will have high-end safety features. But, they are all slightly different and you will certainly want to make sure that you buy the seat that is the absolute best for your particular child.
The Marathon vs Nextfit 65 at a Glance
|Feature||Marathon ClickTight||Nextfit 65|
|Rear-Facing Weight||5 - 40 lbs||5 - 40 lbs|
|Rear-Facing Height||49"||None specified|
|Forwards-Facing Weight||20 - 65 lbs||22 - 65 lbs|
|Forwards-Facing Height||up to 49"||up to 49" (see below)|
|Belt Installation System||ClickTight||Standard|
|Harness Height Range||8.35 - 17.7" - 12 positions||5 - 17.5" - 9 positions|
|Recline Positions||7 (with auto indicator)||9 (with auto indicator)|
|Side Impact Protection||Britax Complete SIP||Chicco SIP|
|Seat Expiration||10 years||8 years|
|FAA Approved for Flights||Yes||Yes|
Marathon vs Nextfit 65 – Features Compared
1. Child Height & Weight Limits
The Nextfit 65 seat is suitable for use in the rear-facing position from 5 lbs to 40 lbs. It also comes with an infant insert for use between 5 and 11 lbs to provide an extra snug and cushioned fit for small babies.
The Marathon ClickTight also has a rear-facing weight range of 5 lbs to 40 lbs.
Neither seat is considered to be an extended rear-facing convertible car seat in terms of weight limits, but 40 lbs is pretty standard for a high-end convertible seat.
Although both seats say that you can switch your child around to forwards-facing at 20 lbs (Marathon) and 22 lbs (Nextfit 65) respectively, this is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. You are strongly advised to keep your child rear-facing for at least 2 years and longer if you can. By weight, both seats will allow your child to rear-face for longer than 2 years.
In rear-facing mode, it is very difficult to compare these seats.
The Marathon ClickTight has a maximum height limit of 49 inches, whereas the Nextfit 65 User Manual simply states that it can be used so long as the harness straps can be positioned at or below your child’s shoulders.
The overall maximum height and weight limits on both seats are exactly the same. The overall height limits are 49 inches and overall weight limits are 65 lbs.
2. Installing the Seats
The Marathon ClickTight seat has done away with the simple push button LATCH connectors because they are now unnecessary since the invention of the “ClickTight” installation system (see below).
The Nextfit 65 seat comes with Chicco’s SuperCinch LATCH system, which uses some kind of “force-multiplying” technology that makes it very easy to achieve a safe and secure installation with very little physical effort.
Please remember that all convertible car seats come with LATCH weight limits and, once those limits have been reached, you must re-install the seats using the vehicle’s seatbelt instead.
The LATCH weight limits for both seats are 35 lbs (rear-facing) and 40 lbs (forwards-facing).
Check the User Manual to ensure that this information remains correct at the time of puchase.
Seatbelt Installation & ClickTight
The seats have very different methods of installation using the vehicle seatbelt. Whilst the Nextfit 65 uses a pretty standard belt-installation method (although there are helpful lockoffs included), which can prove tricky for some parents and caregivers, the Britax Marathon comes with the simple and pretty much foolproof ClickTight installation system.
As a result, the Marathon ClickTight is easier to install using the seatbelt than the Nextfit 65.
Research suggests that as many as 75% of seats are incorrectly installed and this creates an increased risk of injury to your child in a collision situation. So, anything that makes it easier to install a seat safely is a big bonus.
This ClickTight installation system is one of the reasons that the NHTSA gives the Britax Marathon ClickTight seat the maximum 5-star “Ease of Use” rating when used in the forwards-facing position.
It is easier to show the ClickTight system in action rather than try to explain it in words …
3. Side Impact Protection & Other Things
You may be surprised to learn that it is not actually possible to scientifically compare the side impact protection systems on different convertible car seats in any meaningful way.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that there is no standardised side impact crash test even included as part of the Federal Safety Tests that all convertible car seats must pass before being sold in the US. Yes, there are safety tests that all seats must pass, but there are no specific side impact tests.
The NHTSA has started a campaign to get the Government to introduce rigorous side impact testing as part of the process but, as of yet, nothing has happened.
So, all that you can do is to look at what each manufacturer has included within their products, listen to what they say about their side impact protection systems and make your own mind up. Generally, the more layers of side impact protection the better, but it is hard to draw concrete conclusions because of the lack of accurate data.
The seat manufacturers will make various claims about their protection systems, and they will have carried out their own tests, but there is no way to verify their claims.
Nextfit 65 Side Impact Protection & Steel Frame
The Nextfit 65 seat comes with energy-absorbing EPS foam around the side of the seat and within the head wings.
It also has a steel reinforced frame to add greater stability and help manage crash forces.
The Chicco Nextfit 65 is subjected to Chicco’s own side impact testing regime, but we simply don’t know exactly what that consists of.
There is the usual top tether straps to be used whilst forwards-facing so as to prevent excessive movement of the top part of the seat in a collision.
Marathon – Complete Side Impact Protection etc.
The Marathon ClickTight comes with the Britax Complete Side Impact Protection system, which basically consists of a deep foam lined shell.
It does not come with the Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT), which is only found on the Advocate version of this seat, or the enhanced foam-padded headrest, which is found on the Advocate and Boulevard versions.
The Marathon seat also comes with a number of other impact protection systems.
The Britax SafeCell Base comes with a honeycomb structure that is designed to compress in a crash. It is also supposed to lower your child’s center of gravity and prevent twisting of the seat.
The Britax Marathon ClickTight seat also comes with the SafeCell Impact Stabilising Steel frame, which provides added strength to the seat’s structure and acts to reduce its forwards flexion in the event of a collision.
The Impact Absorbing Tether is a strap that is used to secure the top part of the seat to to the lower anchors in your vehicle. This helps to prevent the seat from being thrown forwards in the event of a collision.
4. Seat Recline Positions
Nextfit 65 – 9 positions & RightRide Indicators
The Nextfit 65 has excellent recline options and Chicco boasts that the seat reclines 30% more than any of its competitors.
As a result, the Nextfit 65 is widely regarded as an excellent seat to buy if you need to install it in a small vehicle at the correct angle.
This seat also comes with dual level indicators(RightRide), which let you know when you have the seat reclined at a safe angle.
There are different indicators for rear-facing and forwards-facing because these modes of travel have different safe recline rules, so just make sure that you look at the correct one.
The dual indicator label even has a helpful reminder to ensure that the shoulder strap position is suitable for the particular mode of travel too. When rear-facing, the straps must be at or below shoulder height. When forwards-facing, the straps must be at of above shoulder height.
Marathon – 7 positions with Automatic Indicator
The Marathon ClickTight seat has 7 different recline positions that are adjusted using the red handle situated under the front of the seat. It also has an automatic level indicator to help you find a suitable position for your child.
The Britax automatic level indicator means that you can feel confident that the recline position is safe rather than simply having to guess.
The ability to choose from a variety of recline positions also makes it easier to install the seat into smaller vehicles.
5. Harnesses, Headrests & Chest Clips
The Nextfit 65 has 6 adjustable shoulder harness positions to choose from, but the Marathon ClickTight has a massive 12 positions to choose from.
You will obviously need to increase the height of the headrest and shoulder straps as your child grows. With many cheaper convertible car seats, this involves having to remove, adjust and then re-thread the harness straps. This can be quite tricky on some seats and you will probably have to remove the entire seat from the vehicle to so it.
Happily, both the Nextfit 65 and Marathon ClickTight seats have premium no re-thread harness and headrest adjustment mechanisms.
Instead of having to remove the car seat and fiddle around with harness straps, you simply squeeze the handles on the top of the particular seat’s headrest and pull it upwards until you reach the correct height setting. By adjusting the headrest, you automatically also adjust the height of the shoulder straps.
The Nextfit 65 also comes with a double-position chest clip, which has different settings for forwards-facing and rear-facing.
This is a unique system that adapts to the changing size of your child’s body. Obviously, a baby’s chest size is very different from the chest size of a 3-year old child.
Marathon ClickTight vs Chicco Nextfit 65 – Videos
Marathon ClickTight vs Nextfit 65 – My Verdict
I find it really hard to choose between these 2 seats as they are both excellent, but in slightly different ways.
If I had a very small vehicle, I would probably go for the Chicco Nextfit 65 due it it’s better recline options.
If I was someone that was unsure about my ability to install the seat into the vehicle then I would definitely go for one of the Britax ClickTight due to the foolproof installation system.
Aside from those specific requirements, there isn’t much to choose between them and I would be perfectly happy to own either one of them.
If you love the look of the Marathon ClickTight, but just want to compare it to the 2 other higher spec versions, you can read my comparison reviews here:
I have also compared the Chicco Nextfit 65 with the Chicco Nextfit Zip.
Canadian ClickTight Seats
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Get in Touch
If you have any comments or questions in relation to my Britax Marathon ClickTight vs Chicco Nextfit 65 Comparison Review, please leave a comment in the box below or send me an email.