2013 Mazda CX-5: Car Seat Check

The all-new Mazda CX-5 has its work cut out for it. This compact crossover is Mazda's latest attempt to compete in a segment chock-full of popular family vehicles. The CX-5, which replaces the Tribute SUV, seats five.

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 2013 CX-5 did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:

Latch system: The CX-5 has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. While the anchors aren't visible, they sit just inside the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. This makes them easy to use. The tether anchors are also a cinch. The outboard seats' anchors are midway down the seatbacks, and the middle seat's tether anchor is near the top of the seatback.

Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in the CX-5's flat, wide rear seats. The seat belt buckles are on rigid bases that sit low in the seat cushion. I recently test-drove the CX-5 for a weekend, and my 5-year-old son had no problem buckling up independently with the recessed buckle.

Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well in the second row. To fit the rear-facing convertible, we had to move the front passenger seat forward about an inch to create enough room for the car seat. The front passenger had about an inch of space between her knees and the glove box.

Infant-safety seat: We also had to move the front passenger seat forward — about a half-inch — to create enough room for this rear-facing car seat. The front passenger still had plenty of legroom.

How many car seats fit in the second 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.

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