When Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder critiqued the 2012 Toyota Prius, he called it "an exceptionally efficient car at a relatively low price for people who care more about conservation than the act of driving. Given its success, the formula seems to have worked just fine." Evidently, that formula has continued working so well that the popular hybrid has changed little in the past two model years. That comforting sameness extended to child-safety-seat installation, which remained relatively easy, garnering just a couple of minor complaints from us with regard to the head restraints and seat belts.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
What We Like
There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. Although the anchors are set deep into the seat bight, the cushions move out of the way with relative ease and both our hooklike and rigid Latch connectors are equally usable. Three sets of tether anchors are located on the seatbacks and are easily accessible.
- Our rear-facing infant seat fit well with minimal forward adjustment of the front passenger seat; while the tester would have preferred more room to stretch out, she had ample room for her knees.
- Our convertible seat fit well in the rear-facing position without needing to move the front passenger seat forward.
What We Don't
- While the convertible seat also fit well in the forward-facing position, securing the tether anchor required threading it under the head restraint, which isn't removable. When the head restraint is raised, it flops forward and remains connected to the seat; this made securing the tether strap awkward.
- The booster seat also fit well behind the driver seat, but the seat belt buckles are on floppy straps, which could make them difficult for children to use.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.
C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.
D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks Editors
Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted 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 and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible 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; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears; manufacturer image