2012 Dodge Challenger: Car Seat Check
This Car Seat Check was first published in September 2011 on MotherProof.com.
At my house, the Dodge Challenger is the coolest car on the road. That's because it's the car that Kevin Levin drives in the animated series "Ben 10," my sons' favorite TV show. While Kevin doesn't have to fit child-safety seats into his Challenger, we found that the two-door, five-seat car was up to the task.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2011 Challenger did in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The Challenger has three sets of lower Latch anchors, with a dedicated set for the middle-seat position. The middle seat cushion sits higher than the outboard cushions, making it harder to use the center set of Latch anchors. The outboard anchors are easy to use.
Three tether anchors sit on the rear shelf under hinged plastic covers. They are easy to use.
Booster seat: The Challenger's backseat has large side bolsters that pushed our high-back booster seat off-center. We had to manhandle the booster to get a good fit. The seat belt buckles are floppy, making it difficult for younger kids to buckle independently.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit in the Challenger, but legroom was limited behind the front passenger seat. To fit the rear-facing convertible, we had to move the front passenger seat forward a bit. The front passenger had just enough legroom to sit comfortably.
Infant-safety seat: To get this car seat to fit, we had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward. The front passenger's knees were angled into the center stack, which was very uncomfortable.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two. We were able to squeeze three car seats into the backseat, but there wasn't enough room for a child sitting in the booster to reach the seat belt buckle.
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.