2012 Toyota Prius v: Car Seat Check


The 2012 Toyota Prius v is a family-friendly version of the Prius. It has more backseat legroom and cargo room for hauling kids, their child-safety seats and all the gear that goes along with family life. This five-seat wagon gets an EPA-estimated 44/40 mpg city/highway compared with the regular Prius’ 51/48 mpg.

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 2012 Prius v did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:


Latch system: The Prius v has two sets of lower Latch anchors in zippered pockets in the outboard seats. These pockets blend in seamlessly with the seat upholstery, and we had a difficult time finding them. The anchors are positioned somewhat close to each other, leading to many scraped knuckles when installing car seats.


The three tether anchors are at the base of the second row’s seatbacks, but the cargo floor covers them. To access them, just slide the second-row seats forward.


Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the Prius v. To get a good fit, we reclined the seatback a bit. The seat belt buckles sit low in the seat bottom cushions, but they’re not so low that the booster ran over the buckle.


Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well, and the rear-facing convertible also fit in the second row, with no need to move the front passenger seat forward.


Infant-safety seat: Even after sliding the second-row seats all the way back, we had to move the front passenger seat forward roughly a half-inch to create enough room for the rear-facing infant seat.


How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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.



i do not think the rear facing britax carseat is installed correctly. it is not at the proper angle. that is why you do not have to move the front passenger seat. if it were installed correctly, the front passenger seat would have to move forward.


If we are two adults relatively small, can we install 2 rear facing infant seats in the back and still have room for one more adult?

Jennifer Geiger, Editor at Cars.com

Technically, yes. The backseat sits three passengers, but things would be tight back there.


Could a Graco Nautilus, Britax Marathon (forward facing), and a booster seat all fit in the backseat if the booster were in the middle?


Thanks so much for this! The owner's manual doesn't show where the latches are. Hard to find.


My wife and I are faced with a real problem. Find enough room for 3 (1-to be born in Dec. 2-just turned 5. and one that just turned 2). FYI, our 5 year old live with her mother and is unfortunately with us less than half the year.
Is it realistic that we could own a Prius 5 and be a happy in the car family. We bought an 04 when the body style changed and absolutely LOVED it! I could only imagine how much more we'd love it with the 1.7 engine. That little bit of added power must be nice.
We'd be using it for basic day to day trips of 10-30 miles a day...maybe. A few trips from Ohio to the East Coast a year. And weekly or bi-weekly trips of 1 hr. here, 1 hr. back to see grandma and papa.
We are very dedicated to doing our part to help the environment, so that it a big reason we're in the market for this model.
Could go on and on... simple question. Good idea? Thank you so much!! (pardon the grammar/spelling mistakes if they show up)


Can we use the latch system in the middle seat for a rear facing convertable car seat? Right now my daughter's car seat is rear facing behind the driver's seat but the middle seat seems the safest for her..


Christine, no you don't have a dedicated middle latch in this car and it doesn't allow you to borrow from the outer seats. Latch isn't safer then a seatbelt, it's just supposed to be easier.


sorry if I missed it in the review - do the 3 seats fit all at once?


Thanks Joan. My 15month old daughter's convertible car seat is behind the drivers seat but where should we put her brother's infant car seat? In the middle or right back seat? Which is recommended and safest? For now, we will try and install it in the middle but I do worry my daughter will throw things to her left side possibly hitting our son.. :(


I was looking at pictures of the Prius V and a normal Prius, all they did was make the trunk bigger. The seating space is the same! I know old suzuki samurais fit car seats better then the Prius.

Even if we were to keep this car and get a family car, I still couldn't haul more than one kid. I will eventually have to sell this car for another one, will it be a Toyota? who knows.



Anybody knows if we have in the back 2 car seats in each side (driver & passenger), can we have an adult sitting in the middle seat comfortably?


There appears to be some confusion in the comments section. This review is for the Prius V, which is a different model than the Prius. Essentially a Prius wagon. I have a full size sedan and my wife owns the Prius V. The V is our "family car". It has more room in back and the roofline is higher than my car so it's easier load the child or seat. I don't understand how anyone could complain that this car only has room for one child. It's huge and has rear legroom that rivals most compact SUVs. However, I would not sit an adult in the middle seat with child seats on each side. While technically possible, the adult would be wishing desperately for more hip and elbow room.


I have the narrow based car seats. The Diono Radian RXT will I be able to fit three across. I need two forward facing and one rear facing. These are advertised as fitting three in a row in a matrix.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App