By Jennifer Newman on February 21, 2012
Yes, we might be crazy for attempting to install child-safety seats in the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. The limited-production Boss has a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that makes a thrill-inducing 444 horsepower. It also has two rear seats, so we were compelled to take it for a spin to our Car Seat Check facility. Ahem. As you can imagine, the Boss 302 doesn't handle car seats well.
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 Mustang Boss 302 did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The Boss 302 has two sets of lower Latch anchors that are surprisingly easy to use. The two top tether anchors are problematic. There's hardly any room between the rear head restraints and the rear window. The head restraints can fold forward, but they're not removable.
Booster seat: The head restraint pushed our booster seat forward in the seat bottom cushion, and the side bolsters pushed the booster off to one side. The seat belt buckles are deeply recessed because of the large seat bolsters. Buckling up independently would be difficult for a child.
Convertible seat: When installing a convertible car seat, we sometimes have to slide the front passenger seat forward to get the rear-facing convertible to fit in the backseat. In the Boss, we had to slide the front passenger seat forward to get the forward-facing convertible to fit. Our forward-facing convertible did fit well in the Boss 302's sculpted rear seats once we moved the front passenger seat forward.
We also had to move the front passenger seat forward to fit the rear-facing convertible in the Boss. The front passenger had enough legroom to sit comfortably. The seat bolsters cradled the convertible, giving it a good fit.
Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat didn't fit well in the Boss. We moved the front passenger seat so far forward that our tester's knees were jammed into the glove box, but there still wasn't enough room for this car seat. To accommodate it, we then moved the front passenger's seatback into an uncomfortable upright position, which created enough room for the rear-facing infant-safety seat. Even with all these adjustments, a significant portion of the car seat's base hung off the bottom seat cushion.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two, but only if they're convertible car seats.
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