By Jennifer Geiger on October 1, 2012
Chevy's smallest car was made with the Millennial generation in mind, so chances are slim that this four-passenger hatchback will regularly pull family duty. Since ours was bubble-gum pink, moms and dads are probably even more likely to steer clear. However, since it has a backseat, we test it. Surprisingly, the Spark's tiny size wasn't the biggest hurdle to our child-seat installation — super firm seats and awkward tether anchors made getting the seats in difficult.
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.
Here's how the Chevrolet Spark did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of Latch anchors in the outboard seats. They're not buried that far down into the seat bight, but the cushions are stiff, so it takes a lot of force to attach the connector to the anchor. The seat belt buckles are also positioned too closely to the anchors, further complicating access.
Booster seat: The Spark's seat bottom cushion is a little narrow for our booster, so we really had to wedge it in there to buckle up. Because of this, it didn't sit flat and instead leaned a little toward the middle of the car. We also had to remove the head restraint, which was tricky because it only comes out when the seatback is leaned forward.
Convertible seat: There was enough room for the rear-facing convertible, but barely. The front passenger seat had to be moved all the way forward, and the tester's knees were jammed against the glove box. Connecting the seat was also tough thanks to the blocked inboard Latch anchor.
The forward-facing convertible had enough room, but we again ran into trouble connecting with the anchors. The top tether placement didn't help; it's located in the cargo area's rear lip. When connected, the strap spans the length of the cargo area and prevents a part of the valuable storage space from being used. Also, the cargo cover can’t be installed when the tether anchor is being used because the strap is in the way.
Infant-safety seat: This seat's traditional connectors were a better match for the Spark's anchors. They're narrower, so getting them past the stiff cushions required less of a fight. We again had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward to accommodate this rear-facing seat. The front passenger was again uncomfortably close to the glove box.
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.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer