2014 Toyota 4Runner: Car Seat Check

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The Toyota 4Runner sticks to its SUV roots with a mostly cosmetic redesign for model-year 2014. While its tall step-in height might make it a difficult sell to some families, the full-size SUV fits three car seats across its second row. The 4Runner seats five passengers in two rows. A third row is optional but wasn't available in our test car.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three

More Car Seat Checks

What We Like

  • The 4Runner fits three child-safety seats across its second-row bench, but the outboard seats' side bolsters caused the car seats to sit at a slight angle.
  • The rear- and forward-facing convertible fit well in the 4Runner, but installation with Latch was difficult with this seat's bulky, rigid connectors. We had to use a seat belt to install the car seat.
  • To fit the rear-facing infant seat, we had to move the front passenger seat forward a little bit. However, we were able to use the car seat's Latch connectors, which are slimmer hooks, to install the car seat.

What We Don't

  • The Latch anchors are supposed to be accessed through small openings in the 4Runner's leather seats, but the anchors were set higher than the openings. We had to tug at the leather openings to align it with the anchors before attempting to push the Latch connectors through it. We managed to install the infant seat using the Latch anchors, but the small Latch anchor openings and the convertible's bulky connectors didn't work well together, so we used the seat belt to install that car seat.
  • The booster seat fit well in the 4Runner, but we had problems with the seat belt buckle, which is set close to the seat bight and deep into the bottom seat cushion.

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Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted 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 and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat 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.

To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Comments 

Jessie

You said you installed the infant seat in the center with LATCH? So the 2014 4runner has LATCH in the center? I'm asking because I dislike our 2103 4runner since I can't correctly install our carseat with the base in the center seat. The 2013 only has LATCH on the sides and the center belt doesn't work with the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 base. It tips to the driver side when using the center belt.

Jennifer Geiger, Assistant Managing Editor, News

@Jessie,
When we install three car seats across, we put the infant seat in the middle position and install it using the seatbelt. When we install two seats, we put the infant in one of the outboard positions and use the LATCH system. There are only two sets of LATCH anchors and they are in the outboard seating positions.

marie

I've always used the latch system and the seat belt combined but with our next child on the way we are looking at a larger SUV. Is it equally safe to use the seat belt as it is to use the latch system?

Mary

Any readers should note that the carseats installed in this vehicle are 2 forward facing seats on the sides and one small infant seat in the middle. We currently own a 2007 4 Runner and it has been a nightmare to get carseats that install properly because the hump at the hinge of the seat (which this current model has done away with). The other reason is space between the second row seat and the front seat is not deep enough that the car seat can be installed properly and a passenger/driver can sit comfortably and safely. An infant seat can fit depth wise, but will not install tight enough. I can find SOME convertibles that will install tight, but they are all huge and will not be safe behind the driver. This has forced me to put my daughter in a forward facing car seat long before I wanted her in one. Also, we have the 3rd row jump seats and they are not for anyone taller than 5ft. They also lack tether anchors so no forward facing car seats.

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