Graco Contender 65 Review

It`s no secret, most of us love the Graco baby products, and it`s for some good reasons.

Generally, Graco baby seats are safe, durable and comfortable, and the Graco Contender 65 car seat is no different.

The Graco 65 has superb features, such as safety, easy latching, adjustability, a good buckling system, plus comfort perks. Most importantly, this baby car seat comes at an incredibly affordable price.

In this Graco Contender 65 review, we go into details on the functionality of this car seat, features, durability, ease of use, security features as well as the flaws that you should be aware of when buying this baby car seat.

Key Features of Graco Contender 65​

Safety First

Safety is one of the factors that most newborn parents consider when choosing a car seat for their little one. Here, when I say safety, I`m not just referring to seats with ropes running across your baby`s body, but referring to seats with safety assurance and test approved.

According to Graco, this car seat has met and even exceeded the required US safety standards for side impact tests.

But is this true?

Let`s find out.

Crash Test

The Graco 65 is tailored for baby`s use, and like all products designed for infants, various rules and guidelines need to be maintained. It`s crucial that you check that your baby`s seat meets the set criteria.

One of the mandatory requirements is that it must pass the crash test, and fortunately, the Graco Contender exceeds the safety requirements set by US Standard FMVSS 213.

The proprietary SafeSeat engineering is a groundbreaking technology on the Graco Contender 65 and that adheres to the high levels of safety standards.

Beyond the impact testing, the Graco 65 meets the side impact safety requirement. This car seat underwent thorough simulations to ensure that the baby’s safety is not compromised in case of a side impact force on the vehicle.

With the side safety impact, you can now rest easy knowing that the side impact injury is the least of concerns for your child safety in case of an accident.


Further to this, the Graco 65 is designed to form EPS energy-absorbing foam. Beyond heat control and management, the EPS foam is handy in enhanced impact energy management.

The presence of energy absorbing EPS foam will allow your kid to feel more comfortable and make the journey soothing for both of you.

However, the EPS foam is much more than comfort. The foam also doubles up as a protective lining.

The product foam act as an energy management tool and this means, in case your kid faces an impact due to sudden braking or accident; the foam will minimize the injury risk for your little tot through impact energy management.

5-Point Harness System

At the epitome of the safety features on the Graco 65 is the 5-point harness system that will protect your kid from unwanted impacts.

Since the car seat remains in a rear-facing position (regarded as the safest position) through to 40 pounds, the harness system extends the safety to your little one.

This is by allowing them to sit comfortably in the car seat in a rear-facing position for long without having to switch forward.

It`s clear that Graco 65 does not skimp on the safety of your kid.

2-in-1 Feature

The Graco 65 is versatile at the very least.

With this seat, you have the freedom to use it both as a front facing and/or rear facing positions.

This two-in-one feature is based on the weight and height of your kid.

For instance, if your kid is weighing between 5-40 pounds, the Graco 65 Contender will provide the safety needs in a rear-facing position.

And when your toddler starts to grow, you can now switch to a front-facing position. The front-facing position is ideal for kids weighing 20-65 pounds.

Unlike other convertible car seats, you won’t have to get a new car seat due to your baby’s growth spurt. Besides growing with your child, the Graco 65 Contender, will provide you with the ultimate flexibility, allowing you to use it for a longer period.

Height and Weight Limit

When it comes to the weight limits, Graco goes to the extremes.

The Graco contender 65 has a weight limit of 5 lbs, and this makes it a wonderful choice for those who have or are expecting small infants.

In a nutshell, it means you can use the Graco 65 right from birth until they`re more than 65 pounds or achieve a height of 49 inches (i.e. up to six (6) to seven (7) years. The latter two (max height/weight) is pretty common for a majority of the convertible car seats.

When using the Graco 65, it should sufficiently support your kid until they are three years of age, and this is one year greater than the recommended two by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

However, you should note that even though you can face your kid forward at 22lbs, it does not necessarily mean you have to. Rear-facing is safer than front-facing, and it is recommended that they stay in that position for as long as they`re within the confines of the required height and weight limits. The Graco 65 Contender comes with a simple, safe adjust harness.

Safe Adjust Harness

The Graco 65 Contender comes with a simple, safe adjust harness.

An uncommon feature for a majority of the convertible car seats, this innovative feature provides superior convenience to you and your baby. It allows you to adjust the height of the headrest and shoulder harness without harness rethreading or changing the seat’s position. 

The Simple Safe harness system is safe and simple. You can easily adjust the harness according to the weight and height of your toddler with just one hand by squeezing then pulling the gray/red handle upwards until you achieve a perfect fit.

As a parent who first bought car seats when these "no rethread" harness mechanisms didn`t exist, I can tell you this automatic adjustment is a real blessing. Again, it`s an awesome feature, especially if you have a toddler who`s always in motion. 

Easy Installation: Latch System.

If you`ve used car seats before, you know how difficult it gets finding one with a simple installation system even among the high-performance convertible car seats.

Fortunately, for Graco 65 users, they`ll benefit from the standard LATCH installation system.

The LATCH system means you can easily install the Graco with your car`s seat belt, or with the help of the built-in LATCH system.

However, there are concerns that during rear-facing installation, the process is a tad challenging. But to make things easier for you, Graco has included a level indicator that guides you on positioning the seat correctly.

Removable Head and Body Support

Sporting 8 adjustable headrest settings, the Graco 65 offers the ultimate comfort and flexibility for your kid.

Remember that if your kid`s head is rested properly, they will stay calm and composed in the car, and this is what the Graco 65 achieves.

But what makes the headrest on the Graco an amazing feature is that you can adjust it single-handedly.

Graco Contender 65 Reviews- Other Features

Cup Holders

Babies need to stay hydrated hence the need for cup holders.

Graco created cup holders that will allow you to carry your kid`s favorite drink without spilling it in the car. Your kid can enjoy their favorite drinks just within moments of asking for it.

While cup holders are not essential, they add up a lot of extra benefits and convenience to the parent. 


1. Superb Safety

It is a top feature in this car seat. It has passed the safety test and most of its components work to enhance your munchkin’s safety.

2. Comfort.

Graco contender 65 doesn’t skimp on its comfort thanks to its Eps Foam and simple safe adjust harness.

3. Ease of installation

It doesn’t take rocket science to install Graco Contender 65 thanks to the Latch Installation system.

4. Durability.

It grows with your child right from birth up to about six to seven years.

5. Affordable.

Most parents and guardians find it not pricey as it is a worthy investment.


1. Limited rear-facing weight limit.

Unlike some high-end convertible seats with higher rear-facing limit, Graco contender 65 has a rear-facing weight limit of 40 lbs. However, note that it is within the normal range. 

2. Rear-facing installation.

Rear-facing installation can be a bit challenging. Nonetheless, with a level indicator, it becomes easier.

3. A bit bulky

Graco Contender 65 can be a bit bulky especially when in a rear-facing position.

What I Didn`t Like About the Graco 65 Contender

A slight downside with this car seat is that it comes with a limited rear-facing weight limit of 40 lbs. While this limit is within the normal range, it lacks the extended rear facing found in some convertible car seats in the market.

The good thing with this weight is that unlike most of the other car seats with higher theoretical rear-facing weight limits, most kids can use the Graco for the full 40 lbs weight limit.


While there are many deciding factors when shopping for a car seat: safety, comfort, price, durability among others, it might prove difficult finding one with all these aspects.

But with Graco 65 convertible car seat, your baby gets to enjoy all these aspects all wrapped up in one, with safety and comfort topping the list. Plus, additional features like a cup holders make things a lot convenient for both of you.

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