2012 Dodge Durango: Car Seat Check

12Durango_CS1

This Car Seat Check was originally posted in October 2011 on MotherProof.com.

The 2012 Dodge Durango looks to build on last year's success. For the 2012 model year, the Durango added optional second-row captain's chairs with a center console.For our Car Seat Check, we tested a Durango with a three-seat bench in the second row, making it a seven-seater.

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.

12Durango_CS2

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 2012 Durango did in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system: The Durango has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row's outboard seats. The anchors are easy to find, but a little hard to use with traditional Latch connectors because the seat cushions around them are difficult to move out of the way. We found the anchors to be easier to use with our convertible car seat's rigid Latch connectors. There are three tether anchors midway down the second row's seatbacks.

The third row doesn't have any lower Latch anchors, but it does have two tether anchors about two-thirds of the way down the seatback. The anchors are partially covered by flaps that bridge the gap between the cargo floor and the seatbacks.

Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the Durango's second row. We were able to work with the Durango's fixed head restraints by reclining the seatback, so it wouldn't interfere with our booster's fit. The seat belt buckles are on stable bases, but they sit low in the seat cushion, making it easy for the booster to ride over the buckle.

12Durango_CS3

The third row's seat belt buckles are on stable bases that sit much higher than those in the second row. The booster seat also fit well in this row.

12Durango_CS4

Convertible seat: In the second row, the forward- and rear-facing convertible fit well. This was surprising because the second-row seats don't slide forward and back as they do in competing three-row SUVs. The forward-facing convertible (photo below) also fit well in the third row, where we used the seat belt to install it.

12Durango_CS5

Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing seat also fit well in the second row.

12Durango_CS6

Third-row access: The 60/40-split second row tumbles forward to create a pathway to the third row. However, if a car seat is installed in the second row getting to the third row could be a problem.

12Durango_CS7

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two. We were able to fit our three car seats in the second row, but they were tightly wedged against each other, making it difficult for a child in the booster seat to buckle independently.

How many car seats fit in third row? Two

Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats mdash; 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 

Julie

How were you able to fit three car seats in the third row when the third row has only two seats?

Heather

Is it too costly for them to put latch in every position in the rear of the vehicle? Is there any vehicle that offers latch in two locations in the 3rd row? I currently have a Grand Caravan with 1 latch location in the 3rd row. I want 2.

Kelly

i have a 2011 durango crew. if you install the infant seat behind the front passenger seat, that person will be eating the dashboard. Also, having it in the middle seat of the 2nd row makes it difficult for someone tall to sit in the driver/passenger seats!
Just purchased a convertible car seat for our 8 month old; we will not be able to use it due to the 2nd row not far enough away from driver/passenger seats. (husband is 6'9")
LOVE MY DURANGO BUT VERY FRUSTRATED WITH THE LACK OF ROOM FOR CAR SEATS!

Melissa

I'm thoroughly confused. You show a picture of an extremely poor fitting Roundabout in the 2nd row, but state that "In the second row, the forward- and rear-facing convertible fit well." But... it doesn't fit well. It's not touching the vehicle seat at all. What am I missing here?

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