Is the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat the answer to keep your child rear-facing longer? Find out in our new review

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham, One Size

Extended rear-facing (ERF) in car seats has been a huge topic in the car seat realm ever since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended rear-facing for a minimum of 2 years. Currently, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommends rear-facing for as long as possible. A British study found that a minimum of 4 years is even better.

Since most infant seats max out at 25-30 pounds, it would be a good investment to buy or upgrade to a convertible car seat with a higher rear-facing limit. Whether you start out with a convertible or infant seat is up to you, though many child safety experts recommend using a dedicated infant seat for your baby’s first year.

The Graco Extend2Fit convertible has one of the highest rear-facing limits we’ve seen at 50 pounds. Since the average 4 year old weighs about 40 pounds, this seat could allow a vast number of children to ride rear-facing well past their 2nd birthday.

But what about their legs? Won’t they be cramped? This is the #1 concern with ERF. Many studies have shown that it’s actually more dangerous riding forward-facing, particularly because children’s heads, necks and spines are much more susceptible to injury than their legs. Plus, kids are a lot more flexible than adults, and a broken leg is less life-threatening than a neck or head injury.

However, the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat has taken the issue of cramped legs into account with this innovative model for growing toddlers. We’ve broken down the stats for you so you can decide if this car seat is worth the hype.

Key Features of the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat

Graco Extend 2 Fit
  • 50 pound rear-facing weight limit
  • 4-position leg extension which adds an extra 5 inches of legroom
  • 10-position headrest
  • No-rethread harness
  • Buckle pockets
  • 6-position recline
  • Two removable integrated cupholders
  • 10 year expiration
  • InRight LATCH system with push-on connectors
  • 1 year standard Warranty

Parents love that this seat is still affordable even though it has a large feature set. They also appreciate that even with the leg extension the car seat is streamlined and not as bulky as you’d think it might be.

One of the biggest complaints some parents had involved removing and replacing the cover when washing it. There are a bunch of little loops that hold the cover on, and some of the hooks are small and in hard to reach areas. This is probably the most disappointing aspect of this seat. When you have babies and young toddlers, having an easy to clean seat cover is a huge time saver.

Note: There are a few other versions of the Extend2Fit, all of which are quite a bit more expensive.

  1. Extend2Fit with RapidRemove – same features but with an EASY-to-remove cover.
  2. Extend2Fit Platinum – same features but with an easy-to-remove cover and EZTight LATCH
  3. Extend2Fit 3-in-1 – same features plus can be converted to a high-back booster seat for 30 – 100 pounds.
  4. Forever Extend2Fit All-in-One – same features, but can convert to both a high back booster (30 – 100 pounds) and a backless booster (40 – 120 pounds).

What are the child sizes of the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat?

Rear-facing Forward-facing
weight range height range weight range height range
4 – 50 pounds Maximum 1 inch below headrest adjuster handle at full extension 22 – 65 pounds 49 inches or less

Like many car seats, this one has some rules regarding the recline positions, but they can be a little tricky to keep up with. Rear-facing can only be used in positions 1 – 4. In forward-facing, you would use position 4 for kids under 40 pounds and 5 or 6 for kids over 40 pounds.

You’ll see a recline angle ball indicator on the side of the seat that will help you get the right recline for babies 3 months and younger. The ball has to be within the light blue circle. After 3 months, you can set it anywhere within the 1 – 4 positions until they’re 40 pounds.

Graco Extend2Fit leg extension panel

It may take a while to get used to the leg extension panel. It says it has 4 positions, but the first position is the default, fully retracted position. You can use positions 2 – 4 for kids over 40 pounds.

Though the minimum weight of this seat is 4 pounds, this seat will likely be too big for safely transporting babies under 7 pounds. With small babies the harness may be too high and leave too much space in the hip and crotch area. This is common with a lot of convertible seats, so for a preemie or small newborn you’re better off going with an infant car seat to start.

How big is the Graco Extend2Fit and will it fit in your vehicle?

How big is the Graco Extend2Fit
  • Seat weight: 18.4 pounds
  • Seat depth: 12 inches
  • Height with headrest: 27 inches
  • Harness height range: 7 – 18 inches
  • Widest point (external): 19.6 inches
  • Height at shoulders: 13.75 inches
  • Crotch strap depths: 4.5 and 6.5 inches

Though not the bulkiest seat on the market, it will be a challenge to fit 3 car seats in a row unless you have a larger vehicle. Also, for some vehicles, the headrest may block some rear window visibility when it’s extended to its full height.

Taller front passengers have reported only a slight decrease in legroom when the seat is rear-facing and the foot extender is fully out. However, if you’re extremely tall or have a compact car this could be more of an issue. In these instances a middle of the backseat installation will probably work best.

How safe is the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat?

First of all, we were happy to discover that the seat performed well in some real life crash experiences. In one of those, both a 1 and 3 year old (each in Extend2Fit seats) were involved in a rollover (6x) accident at 70 mph and were not injured. In another, a 16 month old was involved in a spinout with side-impact crash and had no injuries.

How safe is the Graco Extend2Fit

The padding of the Extend2Fit is comfortable and attractive with a few different color choices like grey/black and pink/black. It’s adequately padded, but there are other seats with thicker padding that feels sturdier. However, the majority of parents felt the seat was very sturdy and that their children were safe and comfortable in it.

That being said, some parents reported that they couldn’t get the seat reclined enough and as a result their children’s heads slumped too much. Others had a lot of trouble tightening the harness straps. A few had issues getting the LATCH and seat belt installations tight enough to hold the seat securely.

A weird safety issue one parent discovered involved the warning labels on the cushions. Apparently, they are screen-printed on and can get really hot. So you may want to feel them first in hot weather to make sure it won’t be a burn hazard. In most instances this won’t cause a problem.

How easy is it to install and use the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat?

Most parents found LATCH installation easy. The InRight LATCH system allows you to easily snap the straps onto the vehicle’s anchors and releases with a push of a button.

Note that LATCH can only be used up to 45 pounds on this car seat. So, if you want to keep your child rear-facing past 45 pounds, you’ll need to use the seat belt and tether.

There are a few things to take note of when you’re using the seat in rear-facing and/or forward-facing mode:

  1. To use the foot extender in rear-facing mode, you can scoot the base out, but there must be 80% of the base on the seat at all times. Luckily, there are blue and orange stickers on the base to indicate where that is.
  2. In forward-facing, the crotch strap needs to be in the forward-most position, you can’t use the leg extension, and you can’t use the harness covers.

Seat belt installation rear-facing is where you might struggle. The belt path is smaller than it is in the forward-facing position, so threading it can be challenging. Once you have that done, tightening the harness could be challenging with the one-pull tightener. The chest clip is a little clunky too.

We highly recommend watching installation videos and checking in with a car seat technician, police station or fire department so they can confirm if your seat is secure.

Optional Accessories

The Extend2Fit includes everything you need to provide your baby with a safe and comfortable seat in the car. Parents can try some of these gadgets and accessories to make each ride a little more fun, comfortable, and easy.

Baby Car Mirror
This mirror comes with safety glass that won’t shatter and hooks to the backseat headrest so you can keep an eye on a rear-facing baby from your rearview mirror. Baby will also enjoy looking at his/her reflection!
Carseat Seat Protector Cover
You’ll want to put one of these under each of your installed child car seats to protect your vehicle seats from spills, crumbs, and indentations. These easy-to-clean covers work in all vehicles for both rear-facing and forward-facing car seats.

BestCarSeatHub’s Final Verdict

  • Allows for extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds
  • Adjustable leg extension for 5 inches of extra leg room
  • Ball-level for accurate incline
  • Looks big but allows for front passenger leg room even in rear-facing
  • Easy LATCH install with push-on connectors
  • Buckle pockets to keep buckles out of the way when getting child in and out
  • Performed well in real-life crash scenarios
  • Machine-washable cover (air dry only)
  • Two removable integrated cup holders
  • 6 recline positions and 10 headrest positions
  • Cover is difficult to remove and replace for cleaning
  • Seat-belt installation in rear-facing can be a challenge
  • Harness may be difficult to tighten
  • Too big for preemies and very small newborns
  • Can’t use leg extension or harness covers in forward-facing
  • Chest clip is a bit clunky
  • Versions with easy-to-remove covers are a lot more expensive

If extended rear-facing (ERF) past 2 years old is important to you, the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat is definitely a good option. With a 50 pound rear-facing limit, and a leg extension that adds 5 inches of extra legroom, this seat pretty much blows away the competition for ERF.

It’s also an affordable seat, so it’s great for families on a budget and will last until your child is ready for a booster. For preemies or very small newborns under 7 – 8 pounds, you’re better off going with a dedicated infant seat, as the Extend2Fit will not provide a snug fit.

Graco Extend 2Fit

The Extend2Fit did very well in real-life crash scenarios and is sturdy enough that it should be very safe for your child. However, installation can be tricky, especially with a seatbelt install in rear-facing mode. The harness straps can also be tricky to tighten.

To ensure you’re installing and using the seat correctly, we recommend getting a local car seat tech or fire department to inspect it. Also, watch installation videos so you’ll know how to work with the various features unique to this seat.

It’s unfortunate that the cover is difficult to remove and replace in this model and that the versions with easy-to-remove covers are so much more expensive. That’s really the biggest downside to this seat and one that Graco could and should fix to save already-busy parents some time.

Check Graco Extend2Fit Price

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  1. Grandma Jodi says:

    Hi, I am trying to find a travel system for my DIL. My Grandson is 18 mths and 22 lbs and my newborn granddaughter is 7 lbs 10oz so would like this car seat for both of them. But does it transfer to a stroller?

  2. Debbie says:

    My daughter is 9 months old and her head slouches when she sleeping. Am I able to use the recline indicator in any of the blue (including the light blue) when trying to make her more comfortable? Or does it have to be completely out of the light blue color after 3 months? Thanks!

  3. Ricki says:

    What stroller is compatible with this car seat?

  4. valerie says:

    Hi there I am finding it very difficult to tighten straps! Is there a trick??

    1. Kelly says:

      Just now seeing this and you’ve probably figured it out by now. I use one hand to pull the single strap where baby’s feet are and another hand to pull the straps on the back side (behind the seat). That second part has made a world of difference in how easy it is to tighten them!!

  5. Mary says:

    I am having an extremely hard time getting the latch strap to tighten down. I dread having to move his seat to another car. I’ve watched videos, read the manual, etc. It just shouldn’t be that hard to tighten it down to a point where I feel safe. I regret buying this model. I push down on the seat and pull the strap and it’s like the strap doesn’t want to slide through and tighten. Any tips? I’m at my wits end.

  6. Alexis says:

    I recently bought the 4Ever Extend2Fit Platinum model and I put my 17 month 23lb son in forward facing position. He looks like he’s slouching and his head falls fowars and he looks super uncomfortable. Is there any way to Ajust this or can I recline the chair back.

    1. Katie says:

      Rear face!

    2. Rachel says:

      At 17 months your son should still be rear-facing. Forward facing before 2 is incredibly dangerous. The extend2fit is specifically made for extended rear-facing. I would imagine that your son looks that way because the extend2fit only allows for a few recline options when forward facing under 40 lbs. Chances are you have it reclined to a setting that Graco does not allow. Check your manual but you should definitely consider rear-facing until a minimum of 4 years old.

    3. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Alexis, thanks for your comment. The Extend2Fit is designed to last rear-facing until your child is 50 pounds. He’s only at the minimum weight for forward facing. We’d suggest keeping him rear-facing if that will work in your vehicle. In the forward facing position, your adjustment options are limited. For kids under 40 pounds, you can only use recline position 4. You’ll have more recline options with rear-facing, which allows you to set it anywhere from positions 1 – 4 for kids under 40 pounds.

    4. jason ballard says:

      Definitely should not have a child that young and small in forward facing position. American Association of Pediatrics recommends at least 2 years rear facing. 4 year rear facing is optimal

  7. Pam D says:

    I have a hard time tightening the harness in the rear facing mode, is there a trick to it? I feel like I wrench my back to tighten it. Our infant car seat wasn’t as difficult, my daughter is 14 months, approx 22 lbs. Thank you

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Pam, thanks for your question. It’s been a common complaint for this and other seats. This seat has some tricky recline rules that could possibly affect that. When in rear facing, it should only be used in recline positions 1 – 4. Also, if you’re using a seat belt installation, that can make tightening the harness with the one-pull tightener more difficult.

      Some customers have suggested a couple of tricks. One is to adjust/pull the straps from the back of the seat. Another customer suggested sliding the chest clip down to the crotch buckle, then tighten the straps, and then slide the chest clip back into position.

      If none of that works, Graco recommends calling them at 1-800-345-4109 then choosing the option to speak with a car seat technician. Hope this helps!

  8. Joyce H says:

    The straps seemed very tight for our 20 lb 11 mo old. I took out the bottom cushion that helped. How do you get extra slack for the harness straps?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Joyce, thanks for your question. To loosen the straps, there’s a button under the seat bottom where the strap comes out of the front of the car seat. You’ll push this while pulling on the straps to get them loose. Just be sure that they’re tight enough to pass the “pinch test” and you should be fine. If you have any other trouble, give the Graco Consumer Care Department a ring at 1-800-345-4109 Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm est.

    2. Rachel says:

      Pull the chest clip all the way down and pull the slack from the straps. Then tighten and push the chest clip back up to armpit level.

  9. Natalia Raymond says:

    I need to clean out the cup holders. Can they be removed???

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Natalia, thanks for your question. Yes, the cupholders are removable. Just be sure to reinstall them after each cleaning.

  10. Stacy Martinez says:

    My baby is 17lbs. I just bought the Graco forever extended fit Jovi.

    I feel like she is slouching. I took out both inserts to see if that helped and it did not.

    Can you recline the seat without unlatching it? I did and the bubble went out of the window. What’s that mean?

    How do you know what recline position to use rear facing? There are 4.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Stacy, thanks for your comment. In rear-facing mode, you can only use positions 1-4. You didn’t mention how old your baby is, but for reclining, as long as they’re over 3 months old, the angle ball indicator does NOT have to be within the light blue circle. So you may have some room for adjustments there to help keep her from slouching. You should be able to adjust the recline with the seat still installed.

      If she’s less than 3 months old, here’s what Graco suggested to one customer:
      When reclining the car seat with a new born and the line is no longer blue it you would need to use a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle cut to size to allow the car seat to become level. This can be due to the angle of your vehicle seat and fit of the car seat to that angle. Please contact our Car Seat Tech if your are not able to get the bubble in the blue by contacting our Consumer Care Department at 1-800-345-4109 Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm est

  11. Lily says:

    are you able to remove the head rest it while the child is rear facing? 9 months old

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Lily, yes you can remove the headrest padding so long as your child is able to hold his or her head up without it.

  12. Clara says:

    Thanks so much for this thorough and easy to understand comparison/review! I was having a hard time understanding the differences between the models. Do you know if all models have the same crash test results? Or do you know where I could find that data to compare?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Clara, thanks for your feedback and your question. All car seats on the market are tested and must meet or exceed federal car seat safety standards. It’s difficult to find all of those results in one place, however. Your best bet is to search on the NHTSA’s website, where you can find info on safety ratings for a host of car seat brands and models. You could also call Graco Consumer Care at 1-800-345-4109 to see if they can send you any crash test data.

  13. Seth Davis says:

    This statement is particularly vague and unfortunately unhelpful: “If you’re extremely tall, have a compact or subcompact car, however, this could be more of an issue, so a middle of the backseat installation would probably work better”
    I need to know if the Extend2Fit fits, properly reclined, into a Corolla/Prizm rear-facing behind a seat that is fully rearward and/or in the middle when both seats are fully rearward.
    Thank you very much for any further insight you can provide.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Seth, thanks for your question. The fit may depend on the model year of your Corolla, according to customer feedback we found. One customer with a 2010 Toyota Corolla found it did not fit well rear-facing unless the front seats were moved up a lot. Another with a 2014 model found it fit fine in the middle seat even with the seats all the way back, but NOT while the leg extension was extended. So it may or may not fit in your particular car with the front seats all the way back.

      To be on the safe side, try calling Graco Consumer Care at 1-800-345-4109 and select the option to speak with a Certified Car Seat Technician who can help you determine the fit. Before calling, if you can take interior measurements of your back seat, particularly the distance between the back of the backseat and the front seats when fully pushed back, that may help them give you a better idea of fit.

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