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  1. #1
    CPS Technician shellebelle's Avatar
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    Pioneer vs Frontier

    I actually have a car seat question for once!

    This is for my good friend's kids in her 2008 Sienna, below:
    A1 - 5 yo, 32lbs, MA 70 third row passenger
    A2 - 3 yo, 28lbs, MA 70 2nd row passenger, captain's chair slid to the middle
    C - 10 months, 20lbs, KF, 2nd row driver

    I unfortunately don't have heights on these kids, but they're all teeny tiny. They'll fit in anything and will eventually outgrow things by height and not weight. Eventually.

    C's KF is expiring so he needs to inherit A1's MA and a new seat needs to be purchased for A1. A1s friends have Frontiers, so we're familiar with the "expensive" Britax and like it. However, cost and longevity among the three kids is a consideration. My friend and her husband are fond of Britaxes, so the Pioneer is an affordable option given their needs. But what is right for their situation? Pioneer or Frontier?

    The plan right now is that A1 hangs out in this new seat until A2 outgrows her MA in a few years. Then they'll evaluate if it's time to move A1 into a booster and A2 into the Pioneer/Frontier, or will get another Pioneer/Frontier for A2 that C will eventually inherit. There may be an inexpensive dedicated booster somewhere in the mix down the line too. Or, should they be looking at something else for A1 now and then when A2 outgrows her MA they'll either buy a Pioneer or a dedicated booster?

    A few questions:
    • Is the Frontier worth $100 more? - From what I can tell, the Frontier has 20lbs more capacity in the harness, the ClickTight installation system, and improved foam around the head? Would these small kids ever make use of the extra capacity?
    • Can the Pioneer last a kid until seat belt or lowback booster readiness?
    • Can the Pioneer be latched in booster mode? - I have concerns about such a huge seat being used as a dedicated booster for A1 (too much load in a crash) - she really is crazy petite even though she will be much bigger before she would use this seat as a booster.
    • Any experience installing a Pioneer in a Sienna with the seat belt? - I have installed a friend's Frontier in the third row and had some troubles. I would need to double check, but IIRC it was just about incompatible with a seatbelt install third row driver (where this new seat will go)? I think it had something to do with the seatbelt buckle getting into the ClickTight system. When I had trouble I just moved everyone else around because that was faster and we had somewhere to be. Without the ClickTight business, it seems like the Pioneer would be a bit more forgiving of the long buckle stalks? Are three twists still allowed? I'll try to get my hands on a Pioneer to test before they buy of course. Moving the seating locations in the van is not ideal.


    Thanks for any help and insight. Also, I seem to recall a list here of vehicle manufacturers' LATCH weight limits, and then that list being broken down by seat: i.e. Toyota has 40lb kid + car seat weight limit. So, if a 15lb MA is being used you have to discontinue LATCH at 25lbs. Does anyone know where that list is? Need to check my friend's kids as they're starting to get close.
    Last edited by shellebelle; 02-02-2016 at 11:09 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Third row driver is the only spot in the 08 Sienna without a top tether. Are you sure that's where she wants the seat?

    I've had concerns about the frontier tether falling off the seat weirdly in my Sienna. You may need to do the wrap the tail around the tether trick to make it work. The pioneer may be different enough to not cause issues.

    As for your other questions- it will depend on how the pioneer installs in the Sienna if the frontier is worth the extra. Most kids will make it to booster age in the frontier well before reaching the height or weight limits, IMO. The pioneer's limits seem to be adequate for most people.

    I believe the pioneer can be latched and possibly tethered as well in booster mode.

    Latch in Toyota used to defer to the car seat manufacturer. I'm not sure if they've updated that or not. Current regulations limit latch to 65 lbs seat and child combined.




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  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy kidrepair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillipop View Post
    Third row driver is the only spot in the 08 Sienna without a top tether. Are you sure that's where she wants the seat? I've had concerns about the frontier tether falling off the seat weirdly in my Sienna. You may need to do the wrap the tail around the tether trick to make it work. The pioneer may be different enough to not cause issues. As for your other questions- it will depend on how the pioneer installs in the Sienna if the frontier is worth the extra. Most kids will make it to booster age in the frontier well before reaching the height or weight limits, IMO. The pioneer's limits seem to be adequate for most people. I believe the pioneer can be latched and possibly tethered as well in booster mode. Latch in Toyota used to defer to the car seat manufacturer. I'm not sure if they've updated that or not. Current regulations limit latch to 65 lbs seat and child combined. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I don't have experience with a Frontier/Pioneer but I have an 04 Sienna which is the same generation as the 08 and like the PP said that rear drivers side spot is the only seat in the 7 seater that has no tether.


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  5. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Britax has a 40lb LATCH limit on all their seats, I think? I concur Toyota's limit is higher than 40 of kid+seat. Definitely FR and Pio, anyway. Pio is just tougher to install with seatbelt, the open belt path is kind of weird how the belt is right behind the kid's back...? (Just from the installs I've done, others can comment if it's a long term problem...? It seemed a lot more work to get it installed tight enough, to me, personally)
    FR obviously has that fabulous Click Tight, which might be worth the investment if the seat is going to be moved much/ever. But if it were in a spot with LATCH, and tiny kids, Pioneer is really just fine. I wonder she can find another convenient way to arrange them so the oldest gets a top-tether position?
    Julie
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  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy katymyers's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    I've owned both, currently I just have a Frontier because a friend of mine desperately needed a higher limit seat when her three year old outgrew her AOE by height so I gave her the Pioneer. Her daughter is off the charts tall, she's as tall as Levi who is 50th percentile for a 6.5 year old, I actually have the first version that came out with a slightly shorter harness than the current ones and even it *should* get her at least to five if she follows her current curve. I bought the Pioneer initially because I just couldn't justify a Frontier for my average height kid and his extra short siblings. I never had problems installing the Pioneer, I put in a few different vehicles belonging to Levi's therapists, various family members, friends, and we went through a few vehicles in the time I owned it as well. It wasn't as easy as a lot of seats and required some finagling sometimes but I always got perfectly acceptable installs with it. The Pioneer can be latched and tethered in booster mode. No experience in a Sienna, just my Mazda5, Odyssey, and Grand Caravan as far as minivans. The Click Tight on the Frontier is amazing though, with my current plan it will be used by all of my kids so even though they'll never outgrow it (Levi's already boostered and Hunter is 25th percentile, the girls are 15th percentile for height), I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of it.


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  8. #6
    CPS Technician Kobain's Mommy's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    We have two FR for each kid (both have a 90 and 85). The click tight is well worth the $100 for me. I had to move car seats around when ILs came and it took longer for me to clean out the back of my SUV to get the 3rd row popped up than install the seat. My friend was impressed. She has a tiny 4 year old (days older than DD) in a HBB. She's looking to get him a FR.


  9. #7
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Bear in mind that neither the Pioneer nor the Frontier is likely to be a great choice for these kids as a booster. They fit bigger kids better.

    If they want an easy install, I would maybe look at the Argos instead. (You could sell it as Graco's high end seat, if that helps.) Similar price to the Pioneer, easier install, better fit as a booster.

  10. #8
    CPS Technician shellebelle's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    I'm dumb - A1 is third row PASSENGER in the LATCH position (with her top tether done up properly). There is indeed no tether anchor on the driver's side and it's been a problem when we're taking extra kids somewhere, lol.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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  12. #9
    CPS Technician Kobain's Mommy's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by lgenne View Post
    Bear in mind that neither the Pioneer nor the Frontier is likely to be a great choice for these kids as a booster. They fit bigger kids better.

    If they want an easy install, I would maybe look at the Argos instead. (You could sell it as Graco's high end seat, if that helps.) Similar price to the Pioneer, easier install, better fit as a booster.
    Argos/Nauti aren't particularly tall. My son has slots left on both of his FRs. He's on the last of his Nauti in my parents' vehicles. He's 5.5 yo and wears a 6/7 pants but can still fit in 4T shirts if the sleeves didn't look off.

    Seems OP isn't really looking the FR/Pion as a booster option just as a higher harness seat.


  13. #10
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    How old are the marathons? I'm wondering if those will be expiring in the next couple of years. If so it might make sense to buy a third convertible and just move the 5 year old to a dedicated booster in a couple of years.

    Otherwise I concur that the graco Argos is a better fit for small kids. My kids are short and thin and fit very well in it. My almost 9 year old still fits in the harness so I doubt her littles will need anything bigger.
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  14. #11
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Kobain's Mommy View Post
    Argos/Nauti aren't particularly tall. My son has slots left on both of his FRs. He's on the last of his Nauti in my parents' vehicles. He's 5.5 yo and wears a 6/7 pants but can still fit in 4T shirts if the sleeves didn't look off.



    Seems OP isn't really looking the FR/Pion as a booster option just as a higher harness seat.

    OP said she was looking for something for small kids that would eventually work as a booster.

  15. #12
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    Just FYI for anyone shopping, Argos has been replaced by Nautilus. That is, all Nautis now have no-rethread harness, third crotch strap position, and the 80 has a built in lockoff.
    Hmmm... not a bad choice for littler kids, honestly, might take up less space in a slightly cramp-ier third row, too.
    But I do love me some Britax for the copious leg room...
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

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  17. #13
    CPS Technician shellebelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abigaylebelle View Post
    How old are the marathons? I'm wondering if those will be expiring in the next couple of years. If so it might make sense to buy a third convertible and just move the 5 year old to a dedicated booster in a couple of years.
    The Marathons were bought new for each girl as they were needed, so A1's MA could possibly expire late next year (which doesn't help the baby who needs it). I will check DOMs and see how that affects things. Interesting angle to consider.
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  18. #14
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: Pioneer vs Frontier

    If it's passenger side, 3rd row, I can't get the tether to stay over the top of the seat with the frontier. It slips off the side. The pioneer may be different enough that it won't need the wrap around trick.


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