Guide: SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans With Third-Row Tether Anchors

Last winter, I drove a 2013 Kia Sorento on vacation; we packed the three-row crossover full of gear and passengers, including two toddlers and their child-safety seats. The plan was to put the kids in the third row, freeing up the roomier second row for the adults. It fell apart, however, once I discovered that the third row lacked tether anchors — installing forward-facing convertible car seats there is a safety no-no.

Using a top tether anchor with a forward-facing convertible reduces head and neck movement in a crash, decreasing the risk of injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, however, more than half of parents who participated in their joint 2012 car seat study failed to connect the seat’s top tether.

By law, automakers have to put two sets of lower Latch anchors and three top tether anchors in the second row, but no such rules apply to the third row. The lack of a third-row tether anchor makes a vehicle much less versatile, and it's not just a Kia problem. Many automakers skimp on this simple safety feature, but some all-stars offer more than one in the third row.

Check out our lists of the three-row SUVs, crossovers and minivans that have one or more tether anchors in the third row. This list doesn't include vehicles with optional third rows.

Three Tether Anchors

Two Tether Anchors

One Tether Anchor

Car Seats: Don't Forget to Use the Top Tether Anchor
Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?
Car Seat Checks on



I find the top tether very frustrating as the tether anchor on the car is usually too close to the seat and the strap on the seat can't be fully tightened because it can't be shortened enough. Then I have to route it over the headrest which means even if I get it tight there is still too much side-to-side play because the strap ends up pulling the car seat up instead of pulling it back.


Great article! Thanks for researching this! Allows me to quickly compare minivans! Didn't even think about asking about the number of tethers

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