By Jennifer Newman on May 30, 2012
Toyota has added a little sibling, the Prius c, to its expanding lineup of Prius cars, which also includes the original, the stretched Prius v and the Prius Plug-In. The 2012 Prius c is a four-door hatchback that gets an EPA-estimated 53/46 mpg city/highway. It seats five, but we found in our Car Seat Check that it will only hold two child-safety seats.
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 Prius c did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: Two sets of lower Latch anchors are in the outboard seats. The anchors were so difficult to find and use that they rivaled the anchors found in sporty coupes. The anchors sit about 2 inches deep into the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet, and then another inch or so below the bight's opening. There was no way to get at the Latch anchors with any of our car seats' connectors. We used seat belts to install all our car seats.
Three tether anchors are midway down the seatbacks and sit under hinged plastic covers. Thankfully, they were easy to use.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster fit well in the Prius c. The seat belt buckles are recessed into the bottom seat cushion, but they sit up just enough that the booster seat didn't slide over them.
Convertible seat: Both the forward- and rear-facing convertibles fit well in the Prius c.
Infant-safety seat: We had to move the front passenger seat forward a few inches to fit this rear-facing car seat. The front passenger's legroom was tight.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats mdash; 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