Last winter, I drove a 2013 Kia Sorento on vacation; we packed the three-row crossover full of gear and passengers, including two toddlers and their child-safety seats. The plan was to put the kids in the third row, freeing up the roomier second row for the adults. It fell apart, however, once I discovered that the third row lacked tether anchors — installing forward-facing convertible car seats there is a safety no-no.
Using a top tether anchor with a forward-facing convertible reduces head and neck movement in a crash, decreasing the risk of injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, however, more than half of parents who participated in their joint 2012 car seat study failed to connect the seat’s top tether.
By law, automakers have to put two sets of lower Latch anchors and three top tether anchors in the second row, but no such rules apply to the third row. The lack of a third-row tether anchor makes a vehicle much less versatile, and it's not just a Kia problem. Many automakers skimp on this simple safety feature, but some all-stars offer more than one in the third row.
Check out our lists of the three-row SUVs, crossovers and minivans that have one or more tether anchors in the third row. This list doesn't include vehicles with optional third rows.
Three Tether Anchors
Two Tether Anchors
One Tether Anchor