A convertible car seat is a reasonable option as your baby grows out of their infant car seat. After all, who wants to research a new car seat every two to three years once their baby outgrows the old one?
If you’re considering a Graco 4-in-1 car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX is a strong contender, but is it the best convertible car seat on the market? Here’s an honest review of this car seat model.
What Makes the Graco 4Ever DLX Special?
Graco is known for offering practical baby gear at an affordable price point. But the 4Ever DLX is the company’s foray into a more high-end product that’s priced as such.
As a 4-in-1 car seat, it has a rear-facing mode, a forward-facing mode, a high-back booster mode, and a backless belt-positioning booster mode.
- A wide weight range, from 4–120 lbs. (could be the only car seat you ever buy).
- Has 6 recline positions, 3 for the rear-facing car seat mode and 3 for the forward-facing seat mode.
- Multiple installation methods, depending on what mode you choose.
- Well-padded, easily removable, machine-washable car seat cover.
- Easily adjustable no-rethread harness.
- Harness storage compartment.
- Headrest with 10 positions.
- Two cup holders.
- Steel reinforced frame.
- Graco® ProtectPlus Engineered™ with a focus on crash tests and extreme car interior temperatures.
- Heavy in weight, so it can’t be used as an infant carrier like an infant car seat.
- Not suited for smaller cars.
- InRight™ LATCH system is only compatible when used as a rear-facing seat and in the forward-facing mode when the child weighs less than 45 lbs.
- The large, bulky design prevents the installation of more than two car seats at a time with little space in between.
Graco 4Ever DLX 4-In-1 Car Seat Specifications
Let’s look at this 4-in-1 car seat in terms of numbers:
- Width: 21.5 inches
- Height: 24 inches
- Depth: 20 inches
- Product Weight: 23 lbs.
- Weight Range: 4 – 120 lbs.
- Weight Limits:
- Rear-facing: 4–40 lbs.
- Forward-facing: 22–65 lbs.
- High back booster mode: 40–100 lbs.
- Backless booster mode: 40–120 lbs.
- Height Limits:
- Rear-facing: 19–49 inches
- Forward-facing: 29–49 inches
- Booster Seat: 43–57 inches
Here’s a detailed view of the 4Ever DLX’s features and what sets it apart from the competition:
The 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat was engineered with safety in mind. It was crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213.
Side-impact tests were done to make sure the baby stayed in place. And this isn’t something to worry about thanks to the 5-point rear and forward-facing harness system.
The car seat was also rear-tested according to European Rear-Impact Crash Pulse, which explains how different types of collisions can result in various injuries.
The backless booster and high-back booster seat modes also have the Best Bet rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This means the booster seat provides a “good belt fit for typical 4 to 8-year-olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV.”
The car seat is also made of quality materials that can withstand serious shock without bending out of shape. This makes it safer than lighter-weight convertible car seats that are mostly made of plastic parts.
When it comes to installing the 4Ever DLX 4-in-1, you should follow the instruction manual religiously.
There are many moving parts and steps to make sure it’s secure in place, but most convertible car seats have this as well. However, the 4Ever DLX is big and bulky, so maneuvering it is a bit trickier.
The car seat can be attached using the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) for rear-facing and forward-facing modes when your baby is under 45 lbs.
This system is known as ISOFIX in Europe and LUAS (Lower Universal Anchorage System) in Canada.
The process is simple enough, with the InRight™ LATCH attachment that snaps in place until you hear an audible click. It’s Graco’s proprietary push-in LATCH connector.
I found that tightening the LATCH belt in the rear-facing position was a bit challenging at first. But when the belt loop was threaded through a slot on the side of the seat and pulled up instead of out, it became much easier.
Once your baby is heavier than 45 lbs. in the forward-facing car seat mode, the installation mode changes. You’ll have to use the vehicle seat belt and the clip that connects to your car’s tether anchor instead of the LATCH system.
Luckily, the 4Ever DLX has an integrated belt lock off, and there’s a seat belt slot over the right shoulder that helps secure the seat belt so it stays in place.
For a convertible car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX is a versatile seat with a wide array of adjustable modes to fit your baby as they grow.
Let’s start off with the six recline positions. The first three are for your baby in their first few months of riding rear-facing (the first recline position is perfect for a newborn).
Once they’re over 40 lbs. and when they ride forward-facing, you get three more recline positions to choose from to make your child comfortable.
To adjust the headrest and five-point harness, Graco came up with the Simply Safe Adjust™ harness system. You can simply click a button on top of the headrest and pull up for ten headrest heights and harness positions.
But be careful not to pull the headrest up too much, though, as it can block rear visibility at full height.
If you don’t want to mess with the headrest but still adjust the harness, you can do that via a button on the seat that loosens it. And a strap that tightens it for a more secure fit.
When your baby grows out of the harness, there’s an integrated harness storage compartment in the back and bottom of the car seat.
Graco started off as a metal company, with the first baby product being manufactured in 1955. And ever since, the company made its name in the market of baby gear that’s both durable and affordable.
The Graco 4Ever DLX convertible car seat’s build quality matches or surpasses that of other higher-end brands.
The car seat is made up of a steel frame, and the rest of the chassis is made of metal and plastic parts. It feels sturdy, with no loose parts that wobble or move randomly, and the quality of the fabric seat covers feels quite pleasant.
And the bottom of the seat is made with your car in mind, so it’s smooth with no ridges or bumps.
I’m just like any parent who values the safety of their babies, even if a little discomfort is to be expected. However, I don’t think a convertible seat has to be uncomfortable for it to be safe.
Graco tried its best to make its convertible car seat comfy for your baby. The padding is soft, the seat cover plushy, and the shoulder straps padded. They even added head and body inserts for it to be used as an infant car seat that can be removed as your baby grows.
But the company either failed to realize there’s a ledge between the headrest and the back padding when the headrest is up or simply ignored it. This results in the child’s head slouching forward and their chin almost touching the chest clip.
I’ll have to reiterate quickly that you must use the owner’s manual to know which position works best for your baby’s size, as the headrest issue can stem from pulling it up too high.
But fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this issue. You only have to add some back padding until the back and headrest are at the same level.
What’s in the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat Box?
I’ll breathe a collective sigh of relief and say the car seat comes pre-assembled and ready for installation.
You also get the two cup holders in a plastic bag along with the English and Spanish owner’s manuals and a “quick installation guide” to keep in your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the Graco 4Ever DLX Be Used as a Baby Carrier?
As a convertible car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX is a bigger, heavier model than regular infant seats that can be detached and used in a stroller or alone.
However, most 4-in-1 car seats are too heavy to uninstall and reinstall frequently. So, they tend to remain inside your car until you have to change their position or remove them altogether.
What is the InRight™ LATCH System?
According to the Graco website, it’s “Graco’s one-second, push-in LATCH connector for easy installation.”
That means it’s a proprietary connector the company came up with to make installing the car seats easier. All it does is replace the rigid style LATCH hook with a flexible connector that has a button on top. You can click the button to attach or detach it from the LATCH anchors.
How Long Does a Graco 4EVER DLX Car Seat Last?
The Graco 4Ever DLX has a 10-year life span from the manufacturing date that you find on a sticker on the back of the car seat. It’s supposed to serve as a convertible car seat until your child is about ten years old.
Is the Graco 4Ever discontinued?
Many people come across the Graco 4Ever DLX convertible car seat because they’re looking for its parent model, the Graco 4Ever. It was discontinued in 2017 and replaced with the 4Ever DLX.
The new DLX model has an extra layer of safety thanks to the ProtectPlus Engineered™ car crash tests and the automatic belt lock-off added in the new model. It’s mostly similar to the 4Ever, but better and safer for your baby.
Final Words: Is the Graco 4Ever DLX the Best 4-in-1 Car Seat?
Looking at the Graco 4Ever DLX, it has so many good things going for it. After all, it’s supposed to be the one car seat you buy for your baby all throughout.
As far as convertible car seats go, it’s a pretty good option. The safety is outstanding, the build quality is remarkable, and the track record for Graco as a trusted baby gear company isn’t at all bad.
However, at the same price point, you can find car seats that are more luxurious and comfortable for your baby. Graco even has some awesome finds that aren’t priced as steeply, like the Graco Extend2Fit, which serves the same purpose as an all-in-1 car seat.
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