By Jennifer Newman on December 2, 2011
With its redesign, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle didn't just get a new look. It also gained 3.3 inches in width and 6 inches in length, which surprisingly didn't help when it came to installing child-safety seats. It won't surprise many to learn that none of our car seats fit well in the four-seater, but other brands of car seats might fit better.
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 Beetle did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: This four-seater has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the rear seats. The Latch anchors are easy to see in the seat cushions -- probably the best part of our Car Seat Check. Two tether anchors are found midway down the seatbacks.
Booster seat: The bottom seat cushions' large bolsters prevented our booster seat from sitting flat on the bottom cushion. The seat belt buckles are on stable bases, making them easy for kids to buckle independently.
Convertible seat: Our forward-facing convertible didn't fit well in the Beetle. The head restraint, which isn't removable, pushed the convertible forward and partially off the bottom seat cushion. To create enough room for this forward-facing car seat, we had to move the front passenger seat forward, pushing the passenger's knees into the glove box.
The rear-facing convertible fit better in the backseat, but we also had to move the front seat forward to create enough room for this car seat. The poor front passenger's knees were once again pushed into the glove box.
Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat was too long for the Beetle's bottom seat cushion. We had to move the front passenger seat forward significantly to create enough room in the backseat for the infant seat. The seat was moved so far forward that the front passenger's knees were shifted off to the side and jammed into the side of the center console.
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.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer