2012 Nissan Murano: Car Seat Check

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Little has changed in the 2012 Nissan Murano compared with its 2011 version, but when we installed child-safety seats in this five-passenger crossover, we decided that three car seats don't fit in its backseat. That's a reversal of our assessment of the 2011 Murano: Car Seat Check.

So, what changed? Nothing, besides our minds. The 2011 and 2012 Muranos have the same interior and exterior dimensions, and we used the same car seats in both checks. The one difference is the 2011 Murano had cloth upholstery, but the 2012 version had leather seats.

Whether that explains why we think three car seats no longer fit across the backseat is debatable. It should be noted that in our most recent test, the Murano nearly fit three car seats across the backseat, but we judged that the infant-safety seat sat too close to the booster seat, making it difficult for a child to buckle up.

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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 Murano did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. The anchors positioned closest to the middle seat were difficult to use because the seat belt buckles were in the way, frustrating our installer. The rear seats recline, but even this didn't help ease the installation process.

Three tether anchors are midway down the second row's seatbacks. The anchors are hidden in slits in the seat upholstery, making them difficult to find.

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Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the Murano. However, younger kids using a booster might have a tough time buckling up independently because of the floppy seat belt buckles.

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Convertible seat: To install the forward-facing convertible, we had to remove the head restraint to get a good fit. There was plenty of room for this car seat. The rear-facing convertible fit well in the second row after we moved the front passenger seat forward an inch or so. The front passenger still had plenty of legroom.

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Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat also fit well in the Murano. There was no need to move the front passenger seat forward.

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How many car seats fit in the second row? Two, but three nearly fit. Depending on the car seats, parents might be able to fit three across the backseat.

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.

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