By Jennifer Newman on January 2, 2012
The 2012 Dodge Journey could be an ideal minivan alternative. This crossover comes with up to three rows of seats and the storage solutions and family-hauling abilities of the stereotypical mom-mobile. For our Car Seat Check, we tested the three-row Journey that seats seven and had available integrated booster seats. A two-row version is standard.
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 Journey did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The Journey has five Latch anchors in the second row. There are two sets of anchors in the outboard seats and an additional anchor in the middle seat's position. This setup allows parents to use Latch anchors to install a child-safety seat in the middle position. However, don't use more than one Latch connector with each Latch anchor; no doubling up on Latch anchors when installing car seats. There are no Latch anchors in the Journey's third row.
The Journey has three exposed tether anchors at the bottom of the second row's seatbacks. There are no tether anchors in the third row.
Booster seat: In the second row, our high-back booster seat fit well, and the seat belt buckles have stable bases, making them easy for children to use independently.
Our test car also had two integrated booster seats, which pop up from the bottom seat cushion with a tug of a strap. My older son, age 9, really liked the booster because it was inconspicuous, which is important for him as some of his friends have graduated out of their boosters (he'll be done with boosters as soon as he's 4 feet 9 inches tall).
The high-back booster also fit well in the third row, thanks to the flat seat cushions. The floppy seat belt buckles can be difficult for kids to grasp, but the seats are wide so the booster doesn't run over the buckle.
Convertible seat: Both the forward- and rear-facing convertibles fit well in the second row. The sliding second-row seats ensured that there was plenty of room for these seats. The second row's seatbacks also recline. We didn't install the forward-facing convertible in the third row because there isn't a tether anchor for the car seat.
Infant-safety seat: The rear-facing infant seat just fit in the second row without moving the front passenger seat forward.
Third-row access: With the flip of a lever, a portion of the 60/40-split second row folds and slides forward. It takes minimal effort when a car seat isn't installed there. When there's a car seat in the second row, it's difficult to get to the third row. The larger portion of the 60/40-split second row isn't wide enough to hold two of our car seats. This foiled our attempt to create third-row access by putting the two car seats on one side and folding the smaller part of the second row to create third-row access.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
How many car seats fit in third 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