By Jennifer Newman on April 23, 2012
Talk about a family car. The 2012 Chevy Tahoe can fit up to nine passengers in three rows of seats. That's more passenger-hauling ability than any new minivan currently on the market. Of course, we're looking at child-safety seats and how well they fit in this SUV. Our test Tahoe had seating for seven with captain's chairs in the first and second rows and a standard three-seat bench in the third row.
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 Tahoe did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: Even though the Tahoe has seven seats, it has only two sets of lower Latch anchors, which are in the second-row captain's chairs. The good news is the Latch anchors are visible and easy to use. The Tahoe has three tether anchors; two are at the base of the captain's chairs, and the third is at the base of the third row.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the second- and third-row seats. In both rows, the seat belt buckles could present problems for kids trying to buckle up independently. The buckles in the second and third rows are floppy and when not in use, they nest in a cutout in the bottom seat cushion.
In the third row (photo above), the 50/50-split folding bench seat holds three passengers, but in our test it only held two car seats.
Convertible seat: The forward- and rear-facing convertibles fit well in the Tahoe's second row. Although the captain's chairs recline, they don't slide forward and back. Even without this feature, there was plenty of room for the rear-facing convertible. In the third row, we installed the forward-facing convertible using a seat belt and the top tether anchor. The convertible fit easily in the third row, but it took up a lot of seat real estate.
Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat also fit well in the Tahoe's second row.
Third-row access: In our test car, passengers can get to the third row by tumbling forward a captain's chair or by using the walkway between the second-row seats.
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