There are some small cars — the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa — that are a lot roomier inside than they look outside. The Mazda2 is not one of those cars. The subcompact hatchback has lots of style and is fun to drive, but passengers may feel differently. Though there's technically room for five, the backseat is small and has only two head restraints. We were able to fit two child-safety seats in the backseat, but not comfortably.
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 Mazda2 did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of anchors in the outboard seats. Because the backseat is narrow, the buckles are crowded into the anchors, complicating access. The anchors are also set higher up into the seat bight, and you have to really push the cushion to connect to them.
Booster seat: We had to raise the head restraint all the way to fit the booster on the seat. After doing that, it fit fine on the flat cushion. The outboard buckles are on stable bases, but the middle position's buckle is floppy. Also note that the middle position is lacking a head restraint, so a neck- and head-protecting high-back booster must be used in this position.
Convertible seat: After again removing the head restraint, the forward-facing convertible was easy to install with its rigid anchors. The head restraint sits on the seatback, so it affected the convertible's angle. There are two tether anchors all the way down on the outboard seatbacks. The middle seat's anchor is at the lip of the cargo area, which would interfere with luggage.
In the rear-facing position, we had to move the front seat forward to accommodate the child-safety seat. The front passenger's knees were wedged against the glove box.
Infant-safety seat: We had to move the front passenger seat up even more to fit the infant safety seat. The front passenger was very uncomfortable.
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.