By Jennifer Newman on April 17, 2013
Buick's three-row crossover, the Enclave, has been updated with exterior styling tweaks and interior updates for 2013. The Enclave comes standard with seating for seven, but the second row's captain's chairs can be replaced with an optional three-seat bench, increasing capacity to eight passengers. For our Car Seat Check, we had a seven-seat Enclave.
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 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 2013 Enclave did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are only two sets of lower Latch anchors in this three-row crossover. They're located in the second-row captain's chairs and are difficult to use because the stiff seat cushions block anchor access. The second row's tether anchors are easy to use and sit in the middle of the chairs' seatbacks.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster fit well in the second row. The captain's chairs are contoured, but that didn't impact the safety seat's fit. The chairs' buckles are on stable bases, which are easy for kids in boosters to use.
The booster didn't fit as well in the third row because the third-row seats are narrow. The seat belt buckle was pressed against our booster's base. The middle and passenger-side buckles are on stable bases, but the driver's side buckle is on a floppy strap, making it difficult for kids to use.
Convertible seat: Because the captain's chairs' Latch anchors are difficult to use, I reclined the seatback to get better access to the anchors. It helped, but only a little. The seat belt buckle crowds Latch access too. The head restraint pushed our forward-facing convertible forward on the seat cushion, but it still fit on the captain's chair. In the rear-facing position, the convertible fit well because the captain's chairs slide back and forward, creating plenty of room for this car seat.
The forward-facing convertible fit well in the third row. Because there aren't any Latch anchors back there, we used a seat belt to install it. The third row has only one tether anchor, and it's located in the middle seat position. To install the convertible, we had to use that middle spot, which isn't ideal. The seat belt comes out of the ceiling, which impacts rear visibility, and putting the bulky car seat in the middle position makes it a tight fit for those sitting on either side of it.
Infant-safety seat: It took some effort to connect to the Latch anchors, but we were able to install this rear-facing seat in the second row. While a portion of the infant seat hung off the seat cushion, it seemed to us that 80% of the car seat was firmly on the captain's chair, making it OK to use. It looked pretty close, however.
Third-row access: With the flip of a lever, the captain's chair's bottom seat cushion and seatback fold forward and move toward the front-row seats. This creates a sizable opening to the third row, and the step-in height wasn't too high.
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