2012 Nissan Sentra: Car Seat Check

Nissan's compact Sentra sedan may be one of the automaker's smallest cars, but you wouldn't know it by looking at its backseat. The Sentra's bench seat is wide and roomy, and we were surprised that we could almost fit three child-safety seats across the second row, a feat usually reserved for large sedans or crossovers.

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 smaller 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 Nissan Sentra did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system:
There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. They were difficult to access for two reasons: The seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet, is narrow, and the seat cushion is pretty firm, so we had to really cram our hands into the space to connect to the anchors. There are three tether anchors on the rear shelf. They are a little off-center, which made the tether strap hard to tighten. The Sentra's head restraints are removable and adjustable, however, easing access a little.

Booster seat:
The booster fit well, thanks to the wide, flat seat cushion. The buckles are small, so they might be tough for little hands to find. They're also on rigid bases, so they don't sink into the seat when pushed down.

Convertible seat:
The rear-facing convertible took up a lot of room in the backseat, so we had to move the front passenger seat forward two clicks to get it to fit. The front passenger still had about two inches of space before her knees hit the glove box, however. It was easier to use the convertible's rigid latch connectors to find the anchors than the traditional connectors. The forward-facing convertible also fit well on the wide, flat seat but getting at the inner Latch anchor was tough because the rigid seatbelt buckle was in its path and difficult to move out of the way.

Infant-safety seat:
The front passenger seat had to stay in its moved-up position to accommodate the infant seat. This seat's traditional connectors were tough to connect to the Latch anchors.

How many car seats fit in the second row?
Two, but three almost fit.

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.

Check Out More Car Seat Checks
2012 Nissan Sentra Review
2013 Nissan Sentra News

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