In choosing between the Graco Contender 65 and Graco 4ever DLX, my choice would be the latter.

The rear-facing and forward-facing features of the Graco Contender 65 are present in Graco 4Ever DLX plus all other attributes that can help make children ride safely and comfortably.

Keep reading to know why it would be worth your while to spend twice as much on this all-in-one car seat.

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Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat, Kendrick
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ideal use


Graco Contender 65
Graco 4ever DLX
Rear-Facing Weight:
5 to 40 pounds
4 to 40 pounds
Rear-Facing Height Limit:
1″ below the adjuster button on headrest when fully extended
the head must be at least 1-inch below the headrest adjustment handle
Forward-Facing Weight:
20 to 65 pounds
22 to 65 pounds
Forward-Facing Height Limit:
Up to 49 inches
High Back Booster Weight Limit:
40 to 100 pounds
High Back Booster Height Limit:
43 to 57 inches
Backless Booster Weight:
40 to 120 pounds
Backless Booster Height Limit:
43 to 57 inches


Right from the get go, I could say that Graco 4Ever DLX could already show parents that it is a better choice than the Graco Contender 65. Their rear-facing capacities are almost similar however, the difference lies on the minimum weight limit (5 pounds vs 4 pounds). Children could be seated rear-facing in any of the 2 child restraints as long as the 1-inch rule is satisfied.

The Graco Contender 65 is said to have been designed to fit children from 5 pounds in weight, but this specification when tried in real-life is not achievable. Most parents find that the harness of this car seat can provide just the right fit for average-sized newborns about 7-9 pounds.

4Ever DLX has a minimum weight limit of 4 pounds and this could be a realistic rating according to many parent reviewers. When tested on preemie dolls 4 pounds in weight, the harness provided a good fit when the infant inserts were properly placed. Parents and caregivers are allowed to remove the harness covers to achieve a snug and appropriate harnessing of smaller babies. Nonetheless, you should first consult with your doctor if you could safely place a preemie infant on this convertible car seat.

Booster Mode:

While the Graco Contender 65 may last until a child is ready to use a booster seat, 4Ever DLX actually offers 2 booster modes (high back booster and backless booster). This will be the deciding factor for parents who want something that their child can grow with.  4Ever DLX, in its high back booster mode, may accommodate an 8-year-old child, provided that the highest setting is used. A backless booster mode will allow parents to maximize this car seat until the end of its lifespan.

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat (Black Carbon), 1893287
Price: $118.99
(As of: 2023/01/23 4:28 am - Details
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
You save: $51.00 (30%)
1 new from $118.990 used
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will it fit in my car?


Graco Contender 65
Graco 4ever DLX
20.75 inches
21.5 inches
26 inches
24 inches
27 inches
20 inches


Parents of multirole children will initially not favor any of these 2 car seats because they are obviously not as narrow as Diono Radian. However, once they decide to read further, they could discover that there could be ways by which they can fit any of these 2 in a single row of vehicle seats along with other slim (or not) car seats, provided that certain requirements are met.

These requirements include the appropriate configuration (combination of forward-facing and rear-facing), the car is wide enough, and there are available connectors (LATCH and/or vehicle seatbelt).

Indeed, one parent, who is also a pediatric ICU doctor, shared that she was able to fit the Contender 65 in a 3-across set up side-by-side with a Graco and Safety 1st booster seats.

Fit In Vehicles:

The Graco Contender 65 was installed rear-facing in a 2012 Dodge Journey and also rear-facing in a 2006 Scion. Its fit in a Dodge Durango was also approved by one parent. Using the LATCH system of a 2010 Toyota RAV4, another parent likewise shared that she had this mounted in a Honda Accord and did not need to move forward the front passenger seat. A 6’5” dad was still able to sit well in a 2014 Ford Fusion where this car seat was installed rear-facing and forward-facing one at a time. 

The manual of Graco 4Ever DLX states that the cup holders should be in place prior to the actual installation on the vehicle seat. Thus, its total width includes these cup holders.  

One parent applauds 4Ever DLX because it fits perfectly on the center seat of a 2016 Honda CRV with some legroom left for the front passengers. The fit in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo was also good. When installed rear-facing behind the driver seat of a 2014 Ford F150, the 6’4” father still had several inches of leg space at the front.

There was also adequate space left for the driver and the front passenger when installed in an Infiniti fx35. Rear-facing installation was also easy despite its rather commending size on the second row of the 2015 Toyota Sienna and in a 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Good Convertible Car Seats Of 2023

Consider narrowing down your options by focusing on those made with EPP or EPS foam for impact management. Both materials meet government safety regulations, but EPP foam is more elastic and less brittle than EPS foam, making it better at withstanding multiple impacts and regaining its shape.

Keep in mind that any seat involved in an accident should be replaced, regardless of the foam type.

Good Convertible Car Seats With EPP Foam:

Good Convertible Car Seats With EPS Foam:



Graco Contender 65
Graco 4ever DLX
Do I need to use a pool noodle/rolled towel?
Yes, as indicated in the manual
Not mentioned in the installation section, but mentioned in the warning section of manual
Easy To Install Rear-Facing?
Easy To Install Forward-Facing?
Easy To Uninstall?
Recline Position
Lower Anchor Weight Limit
45 pounds


Pool Noodles/ Rolled Towels:

The use of these items to aid in achieving proper reclining is allowed, as stated in their manuals. With Graco 4Ever DLX, however, this is mentioned in the "Warning" section only and not in the installation section of the manual.


Installation-wise, I believe that the Graco Contender 65 would not come close to how parents approve of 4Ever DLX. The latter child restraint actually has a belt lock-off feature and push-on LATCH connector, which could basically make its respective vehicle seatbelt and LATCH installation easier than the competitor.


Rear-facing and forward-facing have one recline position each for Graco Contender 65. One Amazon user shared that to get the Contender 65 more reclined, the pool noodle or rolled towel would be helpful for vehicles with sloped seats. 

While both have bubble indicators for leveling, 4Ever DLX is the obvious champ due to its additional recline positions.

The rear-facing and forward-facing of 4Ever DLX each have 3 recline positions. The 3 rear-facing recline positions are labeled blue on the seat’s base. Any of the 3 can be used in rear-facing as long as the bubble in the indicator remains on the blue line.

Meanwhile, the forward-facing recline positions are not reflected in the angle indicator. Instead, the forward-facing recline positions in 4Ever DLX are strictly dependent on the child’s weight.  Children 40 pounds or less should use position 4 or 5. Children over 40 pounds should use position 6. 

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat, Kendrick
Price: --
(As of: 2023/05/20 11:59 pm - Details
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
0 new0 used
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Graco Contender 65
Graco 4ever DLX
Country Of Origin:
Steel-Reinforced Frame:
Five-Point Harness?
Side Impact Tested:
Approved For Airplane Use:
Easy To Buckle And Unbuckle?


Steel-Reinforced Frame:

While it is not exactly known if a steel-reinforced frame is better than a plastic frame in terms of safety, some parents feel that car seats with a steel frame are sturdier so these parents would likely choose Graco 4Ever DLX instead of the Graco Contender 65.  

Nonetheless, you could read from other available online resources that car seats with plastic frames like Contender 65 have passed safety tests and have been proven effective in real-life accidents. 

Real-Life Accidents:

Despite the plastic frame of Contender 65, it has proven itself effective in safeguarding children during road mishaps. For instance, an Amazon customer claimed that this car seat saved her son’s life during a horrible accident. While on a freeway, a semi-truck cut off their car. Their vehicle spun and flipped over as a result, but the child was unharmed.

If you would look for testimonials on how 4Ever DLX has performed well during an actual accident, you might be disappointed. However, there is a news article you can find online whose story would give you an idea about how sturdy the steel frame of this seat is. Apparently, the car seat (among other factors) helped stop a stray bullet from harming the child in the story.

Safety Reminder:

To help ensure safety when the 4Ever DLX is used in backless booster mode, remember to buckle it up even when it is unoccupied to prevent risks resulting from projectiles during impact and sudden stops.

the seat


Graco Contender 65
Graco 4ever DLX
Is The Material Breathable?
Seat Weight:
15.2 pounds
23 pounds
Machine Washable Cover?
No-Rethread Harness?
Comes With An Infant Body Support?
Easy To Remove Cover?
Yes (Rapid Remove Cover)
7 Years
10 Years
Comes With A Cup Holder?
Yes, 1
Yes, 2
Shoulder Harness Has Pads?
# Of Crotch Strap Positions:


It has been written that 4Ever DLX has an easier-to-maintain cover due to its Rapid Remove cover that makes removal of fabric cover faster than other Graco car seats without such a feature.


4Ever DLX is definitely heavier than the Graco Contender 65 since it has a steel-reinforced frame construction. 

Cup Holder:

Children will likely prefer the 2 cup holders of 4Ever DLX over the single cup holder in Contender 65.

My Final Verdict

There is an approximate USD 130 price difference between the Graco Contender 65 and Graco 4ever DLX. The Contender 65 is cheaper.

Contender 65 could still be an affordable choice for a secondary car seat. It is lighter which can be ideal for air traveling.

Graco 4Ever DLX may be more than twice the price of the Graco Contender 65. However, this price difference is well justified by the fact that most (if not all) of the good features of Contender 65 can be found in 4Ever DLX along with other great useful attributes.  

4Ever DLX is a more preferable option because:

  • It has a high back and backless booster modes. 
  • It is more “compact.”
  • It is easy to install in all modes. 
  • It has more recline settings.
  • It has a steel-reinforced frame construction.
  • The 5-point harness is easier to buckle and unbuckle.
  • It has an easy-to-remove cover.
  • It has a longer expiration date.
  • It has an extra cup holder.
  • It has shoulder harness pads.

Do You Need More Help To Decide Between

The Graco Contender 65 And Graco 4ever DLX?

Read My Graco Contender 65 Review

See My Graco 4ever DLX Review


What do you think? 

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below!




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