By Jennifer Newman on June 11, 2012
When it comes to three-row vehicles, third-row access is a big deal, especially when child-safety seats are part of the equation. With child-safety seats installed in a second-row bench, it can be anywhere from difficult to impossible to get into the third row without crawling over a set of seats.
The designers at Infiniti have fixed that problem with the all-new 2013 JX35 and its sliding second-row bench. The 60/40-split seat slides and tilts forward — all with a forward-facing child-safety seat installed on it — to create a walkway to 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 convertible seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seats 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 JX35 did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The JX falls down on the family-friendly front by having just two sets of lower Latch anchors in its three rows of seats. The Latch anchors are in the second row's outboard seats. The anchors are easy to use because they're not buried behind stiff seat cushions.
There are three tether anchors in the second row's seatbacks and a fourth anchor in the third row's seatback. All are easy to use, with plenty of clearance around the tether anchor.
Booster seat: In the second row, our high-back booster seat fit well (photo above), thanks to the reclining seatbacks. When buckling up, the seat belt buckle gets pushed down into the seat cushion, but then it springs back up. It's tough to tell if kids will be able to buckle up easily by themselves.
The third row has two passenger seats with head restraints that fold down. The seats are really flat and wide, making it easy for our booster seat to fit on it. However, those same flat seats make it easy for the booster to slide over the seat belt buckle that's deeply recessed in the seat cushion.
Convertible seat: Both the forward- and rear-facing (photo above) convertible seats fit well in the second row. In the third row, we installed the forward-facing convertible (photo below) using the seat belt without any problems.
Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat (photo below) had plenty of room in the JX's second row.
Third-row access: The JX's sliding second row creates a walkway to the third row — even with a forward-facing car seat in the seat.
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