Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats

2013-nissan-armada-3-car-seats

UPDATE 3/19/2014: Parents are often searching for the automotive holy grail: a car that's not a minivan and can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. It's a short list.

More #FamilyCarAdvice

In the more than three years that Cars.com editors have been installing car seats into test vehicles, we've come across several vehicles that can hold three car seats across a backseat.

The newest vehicles to make our list are the 2014 Honda Pilot, 2014 Toyota Highlander and the 2014 Lexus LX 570 SUV. Lexus' king-size SUV has loads of room and accessible Latch anchors in its second row, not only earning a place on this list, but also high scores in our Seat Check.

As we come across more cars that fit three child-safety seats, we'll add to this list. For now, here are the cars from our Car Seat Checks that can fit three car seats in the second row:

Minivans

If you have three or more kids in car seats, consider a minivan. They excel at hauling families and all their gear and can be quite luxurious as we found out in the Ultimate Minivan Shootout.

2014 Honda Odyssey

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan

2013 Toyota Sienna

2011 Chrysler Town & Country and 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan

2011 Honda Odyssey

2011 Nissan Quest

2011 Toyota Sienna

2011 Volkswagen Routan

Sedans

2014 Ford Taurus

2013 Chevrolet Impala

2013 Chrysler 300

2011 Chrysler 300 and 300C

SUVs

2014 Honda Pilot

2014 Lexus LX 570

2014 Toyota Highlander

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2013 Land Rover Range Rover

2013 Lexus GX 460

2013 Nissan Armada

2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

2012 GMC Yukon XL

2012 Honda Pilot

2012 Land Rover LR4

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2011 Land Rover LR4

2011 Nissan Murano

Trucks

2013 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew Cab

About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks

For Car Seat Checks, the front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats — a high-back booster seat, convertible car seat and rear-facing infant-safety seat — are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant 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; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Editor's note: The minivan section was updated on 3/20.

Comments 

Hi, I would prefer to see the booster in the center location because that child is least well protected. The rear-facing child is best protected so should be by a door; the forward-facing seat with a harness and tether is next so gets the other door location.

Michael Schlechter

My Tesla Model S can also fit three car seats across the back seat.

Mike / CTMechE

"a car that's not a minivan..."

I still find it amusing. I can understand wanting alternative choices, especially for a secondary or "occasional" daycare/school duty. I can even understand a Tesla Model S for benefits that can't be had elsewhere, but there's nothing wrong with buying a minivan.

And if you've got 3 kids, buy the car that best suits your needs.

Sliding doors, easy step-in height, and easy 3rd row access are benefits you appreciate every day.

I think Cars.com should really do a more in-depth survey or questionnaire, asking people *why* they don't like minivans.

Specifically, what car did they drive before they were a parent that was so awesome and stylish that it embodied their rebellious and unique free spirit? And why is their Highlander or Pilot that much better than a Sienna or Odyssey for what they actually do?

We're expecting kid #2 this year, and will be getting a van of some sort (Mazda5, used Odyssey, or possibly a new Ford Transit Connect). People cringe when we tell them that whatever we buy will have sliding doors, but I find it funny that most of them never owned an enviable car in their lives, let alone gave one up for family practicality.

Mike Belknap

Why is the Mazda5 on the list? It only has two second-row seats. . . and I'm fairly confident it's not the only one.

Mike S

Q: "Why is the Mazda5 on the list?"

Answer: For the same reason that all the other minivans are on this list, they have a third row, so they can carry more than two car seats.

NDC

Are there any wagons that can fit 3 seats?

Rachel

Almost any vehicle can fit 3 car seats across. It just depends what those 3 car seats are! There are some very narrow ones on the market. We have 3 kids and only just bought a van because we're expecting our 4th. We specifically bought the narrowest car seats (radians, which are suitable for newborns on up) and booster (kiddy cruiserfix pro, expensive as hell, but cheaper than a new vehicle) we could find. They fit just fine in our suzuki aerio, and also fit fine in any rental sedans we've used.

AR

My toyota camry fits a car seat in the middle and two booster seats on the side. It may fit two car seats with a booster in the middle, haven't tried.

Janelle

We put my son's 3 children in their 3 car seats in the back of my Toyota Corolla a lot. 2 yr old, barely 4 yr old, 6 yr old. Haven't needed to try it with an infant seat.

Chris

RE: NDC asked "Are there any wagons that can fit 3 seats?"

We have a Subaru Outback and snugly fit a 2 yr old in a FF Britax convertible (behind driver), a 5 yr old in a Britax Frontier (middle), and an infant RF Chicco Key Fit (behind passenger). Everyone fits safely but it's tight; ok for daily driving but we're looking to get a minivan for next year's inevitable road trips.

Jay

Thanks for the great info! We have our third due to arrive in July and we currently have a 2007 RAV4 and 2010 Altima, are there carseat combinations that will allow three across in either of those cars?

Nancy

Jay-- not sure if you're checking back on this, but you can't fit 3 across in a 2007 RAV. We have a 2009 RAV and I've done a TON of research hoping to find a "Yes" answer--but it can't be done. It doesn't have to do with what width your car seats are--it has to do with the fact that the RAV seatbelts (at least in RAVs newer than 2006) can only be used two at a time--EITHER both sides an no middle, OR one middle and one side in the backseat. #3 is on the way and we're looking for a minivan ...

Margaret

Hello,
Have you tried a Chevy Tahoe with 3 car seats? Its consistently been ranked the #1 affordable Large SUV for families...just curious as we looking to buy one.

Suzanne

In response to Mike, on why we want/need a car other than a minivan. In my case, I have no qualms about being uncool - I simply do not like driving such a large vehicle. I can't see out as well and don't feel as secure as in my 20" shorter (and way better visibility) Forester. We don't have 3 kids, but want to drive a 3-kid carpool, and it's becoming clear that's going to be hard without driving something massive.

Melissa M

My husband wants to get a 2014 Ford Focus ST. We have three boys. Two are still in car seat and one is in a booster I am worried that they wont all fit in the back! I didn't see the Focus on the list so my question is will they all fit??? Will my 5 year old in the booster be able to buckle himself??

kw

Why is the 2011 and the 2013 Chrysler 300 on the list - but not the 2012?
Whats so different. I have the 2012.

kw

Why is 2011 and the 2013 Chrysler 300 on the list but not the 2012? Whats so different? I have the 2012.

Evan

Anyone know if the nissan rogue can handle three across with narrrow carseats like the Diono Radian's etc.?

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