It's anything but a party when trying to install child-safety seats into the 2012 Ford Fiesta, a subcompact car. Its small backseat made it tough to fit a rear-facing infant seat in the hatchback, and the Latch anchors were difficult to access with traditional hook-like Latch connectors. The Fiesta is also sold as a sedan.
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 seat 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 Fiesta hatchback did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Fiesta's outboard seats. These anchors sit flush against the back cushions, and to make matters worse, the cushions are stiff and nearly immovable. They're tough to get at unless you fold the seatback forward slightly.
Thankfully, the three tether anchors on the second row's seatbacks sit in the open and are easy to use.
Booster seat: It fit well in the Fiesta, but there's not a lot of legroom behind a tall driver. The floppy seat belt buckle is too close to the booster seat, making it difficult for even our installer to buckle the seat belt. The installer had to pull the booster seat partially out of the car to access the buckle. It's highly unlikely that a child could do this independently.
Convertible seat: After wrestling with the Latch anchors for a while, the forward-facing convertible fit well in the Fiesta, though the tight legroom in the backseat could lead to the front passenger's seat being kicked a lot. To fit the rear-facing convertible, we moved the front passenger seat forward roughly an inch. This left the front passenger with a livable amount of legroom.
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.