The Good – Base with SafeCell technology; Integrated Steel Bars; Energy-Absorbing Versa Tether; Premium Lower LATCH Connectors; True Side-Impact Protection; No re-thread harness system; Multiple Recline Positions; Comfort foam; Cup and Snack holders.
The Bad – Unlike the other seats in this range, the 5-point harness can only be used up to 70 lbs instead of 90 lbs; The Booster seat set-up can only be used up to 110 lbs instead of 120 lbs.
The Bottom Line – The Britax Pioneer 70 is the entry level combination harness 2 booster car seat. It has almost every possible safety feature that one could imagine in a car seat. It is not quite as good as the Britax Frontier 90 ($75 more) or Britax Pinnacle 90 ($95 more), but if your budget cannot stretch that far it is an excellent alternative to those superior seats. It is a safe and comfortable seat that is easy to install and adjust.
Britax Pioneer 70 – Overview
This is my fully independent and objective Britax Pioneer 70 Review.
The Britax Pioneer 70 is a forwards-facing combination harness 2 booster seat that is designed to be used by children weighing between 25 and 110 lbs. In order to use this seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, your child must also be within the height range of 30 to 59 inches. The recommended minimum age is 2 years and so this seat complies with the American Academy of Paediatrics’ advice that children should remain in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2 years of age.
This seat promotes extended 5-point harnessing up to 70 lbs, thus avoiding the problems of trying to get your young child to sit up straight and remain safely restrained within a belt-positioning booster seat. Once your child weighs more than 70 lbs, the seat converts into a belt-positioning booster seat that can be used until your child’s weight exceeds 110 lbs.
Britax make excellent car seats. Although this is their entry level combination 2 booster seat, it is packed with great safety features (see below). There are 2 other models in the range for you to consider: Britax Frontier 90 and Britax Pinnacle 90. They have exactly the same basic features but there are a few differences that I will explain below. These 2 superior seats also allow your child to remain harnessed until their weight exceeds 90 lbs, as opposed to the 70 lbs limit with the Pioneer. They also allow your child to use the booster set set-up until they weigh more than 120 lbs. I must say that, whilst it is nice to have the option of harnessing your child up to 90 lbs, most should be mature enough to be able to sit securely within a belt-positioning booster set-up by 70 lbs.
True Side Impact Protection provides greater protection against side impact collisions due to the special energy-absorbing foam that is used to line the head restraint. This enables your child’s spine to remain straighter during side impacts, which in turn reduces the risk of injury.
The Differences Between the Pioneer 70 and the Other 2 Seats
The Pinnacle 90 has everything that the Pioneer 70 and Frontier 90 have plus Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT)
The ClickTight Installation System is a series of components engineered to simplify the process of securing your child’s car seat into your vehicle using the vehicle seat belt instead of the lower anchors that are a part of the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren).The System simultaneously tensions and locks the vehicle seat belt. The result is both a tight and secure installation using the vehicle seat belt. his feature is now even more important since the February 2014 LATCH Law changes – you will need to install this seat using the adult seat belt instead of the LATCH connectors when your child’s weight exceeds 40 lbs.
The EZ-Buckle System and Harness Holders – convenience features that simply keep the straps to the side to make it easier to place your child into the seat.
HUGS stands for “Harness Ultra-Guard System”. It assists in reducing forward movement of your child in the event of a crash by adding friction to the harness against your child’s chest as they move forward.
Side Impact Cushion Technology comprises energy-management cushions on either side of the seat that reduce side impact collision energy by 45%. The cushions absorb side impact forces before they reach your child, thereby reducing the risk of serious head injuries. It does, however, mean that the seat is significantly wider that the non-SICT versions – this can cause installation difficulties if you need to have 3 children in car seats in the same row of a standard sized vehicle.
- Tangle-Free, 5-Point Harness with 7 height positions to restrain your child and distribute collision forces across the strongest parts of their body
- 70 lb Weight Capacity in Harness Mode
- 110 lb Weight Capacity in Booster Mode
- Easy-Access Belt Paths for simple installation when using the adult seat belt
- Energy Absorbing Tether anchors the top of the car seat to the vehicle, thus minimizing the amount of forward movement of the car seat.
- Front-Adjust Recline
- Comfort Foam provides an extra layer of padding to cushion your child
- Quick-Adjust No Re-Thread for easy adjustments to the harness shoulder height and head restraint from the front of the seat
- Integrated Cup Holders and Storage
- Easy Transition from Harness to Booster Mode without removing harness straps
- Easy-Remove Cover allows easy cleaning without disassembling or uninstalling the car seat
- Color-Coded Vehicle Belt Guides provide clear indication of the path and positioning of the vehicle seat belt for use in either harness or booster mode
- Armrests provide a natural and comfortable place to rest arms
- Two Buckle Positions for your growing child
- Premium Lower LATCH Connectors included
- Certified for Aircraft Travel in Harness Mode
- Made in the USA with global components
February 2014 LATCH Guidelines
Britax now advises that the LATCH lower tethers should only be used on this model until the child weighs more than 40 lbs. You can still continue to use the seat until your child’s weight exceeds 110 lbs, but only if you re-install the seat using the adult seat belt instead. You should still use the top tethers as they are not affected by the law change.
Peace of Mind
Britax make great car seats – all 3 of my children currently use them. Although there are other models in this range that have superior features, I would not have any concerns about choosing the Pioneer 70 if my budget could not quite stretch any further.
Where to Buy the Britax Pioneer 70
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.
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