2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Car Seat Check

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This Car Seat Check was first published in September 2010 on MotherProof.com.

With its new look, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has garnered lots of attention. This perennial family favorite has shed its boxy ways in favor of a sleek design. To remain popular, this redesigned SUV needs to comfortably hold the kids and their child-safety seats in the backseat. While our test found that the backseat can easily accommodate three car seats, we did run into a few problems.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a rear-facing infant-safety seat, a convertible child-safety seat and a high-back booster seat, all made by Graco.

The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The child seats are installed in the second row and, if available, third row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat.

Here's how the 2011 Grand Cherokee scored in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system: The Grand Cherokee has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. Unlike many other anchors, these aren't buried in the seat cushions, but they are too close together, which makes it difficult to install a car seat because the seat covers the anchors.

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I had problems with the tether anchors, too. There are three anchors, positioned midway down the seatbacks. In the Grand Cherokee, the cargo-floor flaps, which bridge the floor gap when the seats are folded flat, cover the tether anchors. To access them, you have to pull the flaps back, but the cargo area's wheel wells keep them from moving more than a few inches. The back of the flaps have a rough plastic coating that scrapes hands when installing the tether connector.

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Booster seat: The reclining rear seats help ensure a good fit for the booster seat. However, the seat belt buckles sit way too low in the bottom seat cushions, which would make it difficult for kids to easily grasp and buckle by themselves.

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Convertible child-safety seat: Thanks to ample legroom in the backseat, a rear-facing convertible fits without moving the front passenger seat forward. The forward-facing convertible also fits easily in the Grand Cherokee. I did run into a problem with the head restraints, though. They're in a fixed position, which doesn't interfere with car-seat fit, but there's barely enough room to run the top tether strap under the head restraint. 

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Rear-facing infant-safety seat: This fit well, with enough room for the front passenger to move the seat back a few inches for extra legroom.

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Do two car seats fit? Yes

Do three car seats fit? Yes. There's enough space between the car seats that the child sitting in the booster seat can easily get to the seat buckle — if only it weren't so buried.

Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.

Comments 

DB

Note: Rear facing car seats should not be used where there is an armrest (middle seat in the Grand Cherokee). If there were an impact, there is a very good chance that the rear facing car seat would crash into the armrest if it were to come down. Very dangerous for a baby in the seat.

Jennifer

Thanks, DB. You're right. I removed the photo that featured the rear-facing infant seat in the middle seating position.

RN

What type of an infant car seat fits best and is safest in a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee? What type of convertible car seat is best in the same car?

Kelly

I have a 2012 Jeep GC Overland model and had a hard time fitting my son's infant seat/base behind my seat. I am 5'4" and the car seat is Britax Chaperone. I make it work, but it leaves me a little too crammed in the drivers seat.

Brad

I have 2011 jgc with 2 Chico key fit 30's and a britax marathon. Tight, but fits.

Any put 3 marathons back there?

Anna

The Car Seat Lady confirms that the information shared above by DP is a myth. Therefore, your page may be creating unnecessary worry for parents who choose to put a rear-racing carseat in the middle.

See: http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/rear-facing_seats_7.html

"For those of you who may have heard not to put a rear-facing child safety seat in front of a fold-down armrest, here is how that myth got started. Years ago, one child safety seat manufacturer (Evenflo) slipped this sentence into the instruction manual for all of their rear-facing safety seats: "When this restraint is used rear-facing, DO NOT place it in a seating position with a fold-down armrest. During an impact, the movement of the armrest can cause serious injury or death to your infant." Evenflo was never able to provide even one real-world example where a baby was hurt in a crash because of an armrest. None of the other child safety seat manufacturers ever even thought the arm rest was a problem. In fact, no one in the safety field is even aware of one injury to a rear-facing baby due to the arm rest. Eventually, Evenflo removed this statement from all of their seats and now allows any of their seats to be placed in front of a fold-down armrest. Remember, the study that found that kids are 43% safer in the center was from real-world crashes, with real babies riding rear-facing in front of fold-down armrests."

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