Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

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UPDATE OCT. 8, 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.

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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 2015 Dodge Challenger is the latest car we’ve tested that can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. Before parents start dreaming of driving this powerful beast with the kids in tow, they should know that in our tests, a rear-facing infant seat didn’t fit in the Challenger. We had better luck fitting a rear-facing convertible into this full-size sedan, so parents with infants should consider this car seat instead of the infant seat, which has a removable carrier.

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:

By Jennifer Newman | October 8, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Car Seat Check

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The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class underwent a growth spurt during its recent redesign. The sedan grew more than 3 inches in length. Backseat occupants might notice the increase because it translates to nearly 2 additional inches of rear legroom; we certainly noticed this during our Car Seat Check when installing our rear-facing child-safety seats. Our results only apply to the C300 sedan; the C-Class coupe has yet to be redesigned.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Newman | October 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top Minivan? Nissan Quest May Offer Best Cargo Hauling in the Real World

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Minivans are known for their impressive storage wells behind the third-row seats, maximizing cargo space. But what should be said is that the area is more vertical than horizontal. It begs the question, how much of a minivan's cubic footage can you really use?

Related: Can a Minivan Be Stylish?

Well, that depends on what you're carrying. Luggage works well in minivan storage wells because it tends to be stackable and it's not too worrisome when it inevitably falls out when the liftgate is opened. And there's no feeling quite like propping that big stroller upright and still being able to see out the rear window.

But most of us don't carry luggage around in our daily lives, and eventually/thankfully the kids outgrow strollers; it's usually other items such as grocery bags that aren't as sturdy that create challenges in the cargo area. After all, there are only so many grocery bags that can be stored on top of each other.

Which minivans make the best of this cargo conundrum? And what automakers offer optional equipment to keep your stuff wrangled when the cargo space needs an assist? Let's have a look.

By Sara Lacey | October 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Car Seat Check

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With its rear doors and an additional 1.6 inches of rear legroom, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited seems like it's the family-friendly version of the smaller Jeep Wrangler. However, the Wrangler Unlimited's looks are deceiving. The Unlimited's bottom backseat cushion was nearly too short to properly fit our rear-facing infant seat's base; at least 80 percent of any car-seat base should be on the seat cushion.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two, but three car seats nearly fit.

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By Jennifer Newman | October 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

Five Things Families Should Look for in Pickup Trucks

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Parenthood is rarely glamorous, and the cars we drive around often aren't either. Of course, there is merit to the practicality of a minivan or crossover, but sometimes we parents want the world to know we haven't lost our more adventurous side.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

To achieve this, parents need look no further than a full-size pickup truck. Trucks can be practical family-haulers and show the world you've still got some pizazz. If you long to be a carpool-lane iconoclast, consider a full-size pickup truck for your next family car. When you do, be sure to look out for these five family-friendly features:

By Courtney Messenbaugh | October 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

Unexpected Family Car: 2015 Volkswagen Golf

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When my husband and I became parents, we embraced our new roles with enthusiasm - except when it came to what it might mean for us out on the road. No disrespect, but we just aren't the minivan types and we both enjoy smaller cars with a little more pizazz than your average family crossover. But it didn't take long for us to realize how much a car seems to shrink with a rear-facing car seat in the backseat and a stroller in the trunk. We chose the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta as our family car, which had the largest backseat and cargo area in its class at the time. Now life's become a little simpler with a preschooler, and Mama's thinking about a new car.

Related: 2015 Volkswagen Golf, Golf TDI: First Drive

The timing was right for my family to test the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. I had some concerns about this stylish compact hatchback, but we were off to a great start with its family-friendly lower Latch anchors. The Golf's anchors are covered by plastic doors that flip up to reveal the anchor. No digging, no sweating to install my daughter's car seat; we were off and running.

By Carrie Kim | September 26, 2014 | Comments (5)

2015 Dodge Challenger: Car Seat Check

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When it comes to child-safety seats, the 2015 Dodge Challenger is a car that allows parents to have their cake and eat it, too. Not only does this muscle car offer a 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine for starters but also its roomy backseat can fit most styles of car seats. We were also able to fit three across the backseat.

Not everything is perfect with the Challenger and car seats, however. In our tests, we found that a rear-facing infant seat, which takes up a lot of backseat space, doesn't work well with the front passenger seat. The front seat is designed to fold and slide forward for better backseat access, and then the seat has to be pushed all the way back to lock the seatback into place. From there, you can slide the seat forward to create more legroom for backseat passengers. However, the infant seat is so long that it prevents the front passenger seat from sliding back and locking into place.

We tried to work around this setup, but ultimately decided that the Challenger and infant seats don't mix. Oddly, we didn't run into this problem when we tested the 2012 Challenger. If you have an infant, use a rear-facing convertible seat in the Challenger instead, which thankfully doesn't take up as much legroom as the infant seat. In our photo, we used the infant seat to illustrate that three average-sized car seats fit across the backseat.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three, but if parents are using a rear-facing infant seat, it's likely too long to fit in the Challenger's backseat.

More Car Seat Checks

 

By Jennifer Newman | September 25, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Acura MDX Simplifies Third-Row Access

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If your family is anything like mine, you actually need to use the third row in your car. Whether it's picking up Grandma for a family dinner, hauling sixth-graders to the botanic gardens or chauffeuring teenagers to their first homecoming dance, the third row in our family car gets its fair share of abuse — make that use.

Related: 2015 Acura MDX: Car Seat Check

Third-row access in most cars is almost always an exercise in engineering aptitude: flip seat bottom, fold seatback, tumble seat forward, engage ejector ignition and so on. I don't care how easy an automaker claims it is for a 5-year-old to tumble the seat forward singlehandedly to climb into the "way back," it's almost never true. My kids give up on these systems almost instantly, favoring the graceless headfirst dive over the second-row seats into the third row.

By Kristin Varela | September 24, 2014 | Comments (4)

Ford Talks More Details on 2015 Edge

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When the 2015 Ford Edge goes on sale in spring 2015, it will start around the same price as the 2014 ($28,995) but swap the available engines. A turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the base engine, with a 3.5-liter V-6 optional, said Ford officials at a Midwest Automotive Media Association lunch on Friday. That's the opposite of today's 2014 Edge, which carries a standard V-6 and optional EcoBoost 2.0-liter.

Related 2015 Ford Edge: First Look

"You will pay more for the V-6," Ford utilities spokesman Mark Schirmer said. "We're going to try and steer people toward the 2.0-liter."

But that isn't the same 2.0-liter found in the outgoing Edge. The new EcoBoost four-cylinder employs a twin-scroll turbo and other refinements to make an estimated 245 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque — up 5 hp with no change in torque versus the last 2.0-liter EcoBoost. The new 2.0-liter also accommodates up to 3,500 pounds of towing capacity when equipped as well as optional all-wheel drive, two things the last 2.0-liter Edge did not.

By Kelsey Mays | September 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

This is the First Photo of the 2015 Honda CR-V

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Witness the first photo of the 2015 Honda CR-V. Honda characterizes the changes as an "aggressive and bold" update that "portends the significant enhancements made" to the popular SUV, which has been around in its current form since the 2012 model year.

Related: 2015 Honda Pilot: What's Changed

The 2015 CR-V mixes in some of the Accord's horizontal lighting themes; the headlights also appear to get some sort of wraparound LED piping. We won't know more about the updated CR-V until Sept. 30 when Honda says it will unveil full information. The 2015 CR-V goes on sale the next day, Oct. 1.

There are more than 35,000 2014 models in Cars.com's new-car inventory, which means people looking for the outgoing model should have plenty to choose from when the 2015s hit dealer lots.

Check out a photo of the 2014 (below) to see how different the front end truly is.

By Kelsey Mays | September 22, 2014 | Comments (3)

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