This Car Seat Check was originally published in September 2011 on MotherProof.com.
BMW's 2012 X5 crossover provides lots of flexibility for families. It seats five in two rows of seats, but if you add the optional third row, seating capacity bumps up to seven. We tested the five-seater.
The X5 also has a choice of three engines: a 300-horsepower six-cylinder, a 400-hp, twin-turbo V-8 or a 265-hp, twin-turbo diesel six-cylinder and 425 pounds-feet of torque. If that's not enough, there's always the X5 M. The high-performance version can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds with a 555-hp, twin-turbo V-8. The kids will never be late for school again if you're driving them in the X5 M.
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 X5 and X5 M did in MotherProof.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The X5 comes with two sets of lower Latch anchors that are easy to use. They aren't buried in the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet, so it's easy to find them with the Latch connectors. There are three tether anchors in the X5. The outboard anchors sit halfway down the seatbacks, and the middle anchor flips up from a lower position on the seatback.
Booster seat: The high-back booster seat fits well in the X5. The seat belt buckles are on stable bases, but they're a little low. They could be difficult for kids to grasp.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible also fit well. The rear seats have some bolstering, but it isn't aggressive enough to get in the way of the convertible's fit. The rear-facing convertible also fits without having to move the front passenger seat forward.
Infant-safety seat: There was enough room for this rear-facing car seat.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
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.