With more than 65 years under their belt, Graco is one of the most trusted baby gear companies worldwide. Here we take a look at one of their best selling car seats, the Altas 65, to help you figure out whether this is the car seat for you.
Graco Atlas 65 Review: The Low-Down On This 2-in-1 Harness Car Seat
The Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 harness booster car seat is a forward-facing car seat with an inbuilt 5-point harness and a high-back booster seat. The seat grows with your child from 22 pounds to 100 pounds. It converts from a harness booster to a highback booster and is a great choice for a child who has outgrown their infant seat.
The Graco atlas 65 seat is a well-built flexible car seat that is easily moved from one car to another. The seat is FAA-approved for air travel and can be used for bus and RV travel. It has two cup holders, one on each side.
The Graco Atlas 65 is Sized for Different Types of Vehicles
The Atlas occupies the amount of space equivalent for one seat since it is less bulky as compared to convertible car seats. It also fits in vehicles with less space in the back seat. The Atlas 65 car seat also fits in vehicles with jump seats.
According to Graco, vehicles from different manufacturers such as SUVs and Vans have been used to test the Atlas 65 seat for fit. Before fitting the Atlas in other cars, it is good to measure the space available first. This booster car seat is usable with the vehicle’s seat belts or a latch system, and this gives more options if you need to fit more than one car seat.
Atlas 65 is Strong and Durable
The Graco Atlas 65 car seat is designed to accommodate the child from toddler to youth. It has a steel-reinforced frame which gives it strength and durability to sustain a crash. It has undergone the crash test and side-impact test and met or exceeded the US standards. The Atlas car seat’s headrest is composed of energy-absorbing foam to provide solid impact energy management.
Graco’s Atlas 65 Car Seat Works with a Vehicle’s Seat Belt or a Latch System
The Atlas 65 car seat can be installed using the latch system or the vehicle’s seat belt system. The top tether should always be used despite the mode of installation chosen. The 5-point harness fitting up to 65 pounds is longer than those in most forward-facing car seats.
When using the 5-point harness, the Atlas requires that you stop using the lower anchors as soon as your child attains 45 pounds. The latch system can also be used during the transition of the car seat to a booster seat.
Installation of the Graco Atlas 65 Car Seat has Some Challenges
Correct installation of a car seat is essential to ensure your child’s safety in case of an accident. Considering the ease of installation, the Atlas 65 has various merits and drawbacks too.
- Apart from the dual cup holders, no other assembly is required for this car seat. The latch system makes it easy to install the car seat, and the instructions are simple to follow.
- There’s a front slit on the seat’s cover for you to pull the tail of the strap parallel to itself. This makes it quite easy to tighten.
- Swapping the Atlas from a forward-facing car seat to booster mode is an easy task as the base of the Atlas remains the same. Instead of removing it entirely, the harness can be tucked in a harness storage compartment situated behind the seat pad. The compartment can also be used to store the installation manual.
- Removing the crotch buckle is the last step in completing the installation to a booster seat and it comes out easily.
- It is difficult to secure the dual cup holders into place. First, the front of the cup holder is aligned and attached to the shell of the car seat. It is then lowered and the back of the cup holder rotated until it locks in place.
- It is troublesome to tighten the car seat enough when using the vehicle’s seat belts.
- Poor design of the car seat’s latch system. It fastens with a hook-style system which is difficult to operate than the click system.
- Uninstalling the Atlas to use in another vehicle takes more time than seats operating with a latch and belt system. Although the push button easily loosens the tether straps and the lower anchor, the single belt system takes more time to be tight enough.
Fit to Vehicle
The Atlas installs easily to the vehicle with lower anchors. Tightening is made easy by pulling the latch strap. Installation of the seat requires time and a lot of effort. When using the Atlas with the harness, cease to use the lower anchors after your child hits 45 pounds. It is notably easy to loosen the lower anchors and tether straps when uninstalling.
The Atlas allows the use of the latch for children of any weight if the car seat is used as a booster. The recline feature didn’t add any significant recline for the child. Sometimes reclining a car seat helps to have better installation.
Locking, Unlocking and Adjusting the Harness System is Easy
The Graco Atlas 65 car seat is equipped with the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System. This makes it easy to use as the shoulder straps are adjusted without rethreading the harness.
The harness has 10 height positions to fit children’s changing heights as they grow. At the top of the headrest is an adjuster lever that is pressed to adjust the harness height accordingly.
It has an adjustable crotch buckle. It has two positions, 41/2 inches and 61/2 inches from the back of the car seat. This feature eliminates buckle discomfort as the child grows.
Quick and Easy to Adjust the Atlas Car Seat as Your Child Grows
The Atlas 65 has features that make it easy to adjust as the toddler transitions to a youth. These are:
- A height adjuster level
- Harness adjuster level located under the seat pad
- Harness adjustment strap with covers
- LATCH adjuster
- Shoulder belt guide
The headrest has five adjustable positions. This is for the safety of the child’s head in case of a crash as well as keeping the head upright when the child falls asleep.
The car seat reclines in two positions ranging from 2-4 inches from a 90-degree angle to keep the child’s head from drooping during sleep. There is a recline lever located at the front to set and dismiss the recline position.
Strap adjustment is very simple. The headrest is lifted to the desired height and the straps spontaneously adjust to the new height.
The booster car seat is made to grow with your child and has an expiration date of seven years. Check the date of manufacture on the outer side of the seat to avoid inconveniences.
Lightweight and Hassle-Free Traveling with The Graco Atlas 65
The Graco booster car seat is lightweight and not bulky. It is easy to carry around in train stations, bus stations, airports, or using in taxis, rental cars, or other vehicles.
Atlas 65 is FAA-approved only when using the 5-point and not in its booster seat mode. The sticker on the car seat should indicate that it is certified for both aircraft and motor vehicle use. Check with your airline to ensure that the car seat fits with its seats. On airplanes, the car seat can only be used on forward-facing airline seats.
On trains, buses, and other vehicles with seat belts, follow instructions for vehicle seat belt installation. If they have tether and latch anchor points, install according to instructions for the latch system.
The booster car seat is also appropriate for RV travel using the 5-point harness. Use with the top tether and lap belt.
Other Information About the Graco Atlas 65 Booster Car Seat
The two cup holders are spacious. They are three inches deep and can hold food, crayons, small toys, and other items.
The seat’s parts are easy to clean. Harness covers, buckle cover, and the seat pad are all machine washable. The harness straps and buckle are cleaned with a damp cloth. The metal and plastic parts are cleaned with cool water and mild soap.
Latch weight limit: When using the harness mode, you should stop using the lower anchors as soon as the child attains 45 pounds. You may continue using the seat with the harness if you install it with the seat belt rather than the lower anchors. The latch holds the seat while the seatbelt restrains the child.
Latch borrowing: This refers to the installation of a child restraint at the middle seat of the car, using the lower anchors from both sides. According to the manual, Graco permits borrowing latch anchors to attach at the center seats with hook-type connectors. However, most vehicles do not allow latch borrowing, and so in these cases the car seat can be installed with a seat belt.
Advantages of Atlas 65
- It is affordable
- It is easy to assemble. It comes assembled except for the two cup holders.
- It installs using either the latch system or the vehicle’s seat belt system.
- It is durable
- It has a cup holder on each side
- The harness cover, buckle cover and seat pad are machine washable
- Once you’ve bought it, you won’t need to buy another
- The installation manual is easy to follow
Disadvantages of Atlas 65
- The seat is slightly padded
- It is difficult to install tightly
- It uses the hook style latch system
- Approved for use in US only
- The booster is not backless
- Seat belt installation is challenging
- It does not have a seat belt lock-off
The harness booster has a weight range of 22-65 lbs. and a height range of 27-49 inches while the high-back booster has a weight range of 30-100 lbs. and a height range of 38-57 inches.
The Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 doesn’t have a specific age limit for harness booster use. Children should remain in a forward-facing harnessed seat until they exceed the weight and height restrictions. They can then transition from a harnessed seat to a seat belt booster. This occurs when the child is around 8 years old or more.
The Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 versus The Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1
The Graco Atlas seat may be mistaken for a Graco Nautilus for they are similar. The major difference is that the Atlas transforms only from a harness booster to a high-back booster while the Nautilus converts from a harness booster to a high-back booster and a backless booster. Other similarities and differences are outlined below.
· In both seats, the harness and headrest adjust together.
· Both have 5 positions for headrest adjustment.
· Both have removable and washable seat pads.
· They have similar weight limits for both the harness booster and high-back booster positions.
· The Nautilus transits into a backless booster while the Atlas doesn’t.
· The Nautilus has three recline positions while the Atlas has two positions.
· The Atlas has dual cup-holders while the Nautilus has one.
· The Nautilus is more expensive and has armrests while the Atlas is less expensive and doesn’t have armrests.
· The Nautilus comes in four color schemes while the Atlas comes in two.
Bottom Line on the Atlas 65 Car Seat Review
The Graco Atlas 65 booster car seat is a two-in-one seat, saving you from buying two car seats as your child grows. When they outgrow the forward-facing seat, you simply convert these car seats into booster seats.
The Atlas is well-built to protect your child in case of an accident. It is also made for your child’s daily comfort with a comfortable headrest, a padded seat, and two cup holders. The headrest is adjustable in 5 positions to give your child ample comfort even when they sleep. The cup holders are spacious to keep snacks and small toys at your child’s reach.
It is affordable and has exciting functional and time-saving features. It is sturdy and safe and is suitable for frequent movement between vehicles. For ease of use, this is one of our favorite car seats on the market today.