CARS.COM — Pickup trucks can be great family haulers and the redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline is no exception. Its crew-cab design easily swallowed three child-safety seats across the backseat and it has three sets of lower Latch anchors across that backseat, something we rarely see. However, the Ridgeline's top tether anchors are difficult to find and use; they caused some problems for our certified child passenger safety technician.
Tether anchors in pickup trucks can be difficult to use. In the 2017 Ridgeline, the outboard rear seats' tether anchors sit near the seats' base, on the side of the seat and close to the door. To use them, route the convertible seat's tether strap through the Ridgeline's tether guide bar behind the seat's head restraint. Then hook the tether connector to the tether anchor. Our Britax Marathon convertible seat has a dual tether strap, which looks like a Y. Our car seat's tether strap is roughly 3 feet long, but it was about 7 inches shy of reaching the Ridgeline's tether anchor. Because of this, we had to install the forward convertible in the middle seat. In this position, the tether anchor sits between the middle position's Latch anchors in the seat bight, where the back and bottom seat cushions meet.
We asked Honda why it didn't revise its cumbersome Latch system when it redesigned the five-seat Ridgeline. "After evaluation of all pickup truck tether-routing options, we determined that the design of the 2017 Ridgeline allows for the easiest way to properly install a child seat," said Honda spokeswoman Jessica Pawl after speaking with the Ridgeline's chief engineer.
If the tether strap is too short, Honda recommends contacting the car-seat manufacturer for a tether strap extension. Some car-seat makers offer this accessory, but not all do. Britax, the maker of Cars.com's convertible, doesn't sell one.
It's important for parents to remember that not all car seats fit all cars, as in the case with the Ridgeline and Britax Marathon. In some case, parents may need to purchase a new car seat to ensure a good fit.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Three
What We Like
- The Ridgeline has two sets of lower Latch anchors that are exposed and easy to use.
- The rear-facing convertible installed easily and there was no need to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate it.
- Once we moved the forward-facing convertible into the middle seat, it fit well. Installation in this position, however, was time-consuming.
- Our high-back booster seat fit well in the Ridgeline's crew cab.
What We Don't Like
- The outboard tether anchor placement is difficult to find and, for us, impossible to use. The middle seat's tether placement is much easier to access than the outboard tethers, but we found the setup awkward.
- To fit the rear-facing infant seat into the Ridgeline, we had to move the front passenger seat forward quite a bit. Our 5-foot-8 tester had about 2 inches of space between her knees and the glovebox.
- The seat belt buckles in the backseat are spring-loaded and sit high in the seatback cushion when not in use. To buckle up, pull the buckle down and hold it in place before connecting. This maneuver will likely be beyond the abilities of younger kids in booster seats.
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 and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians; editor Matt Schmitz is working toward recertification.
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 shorter 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.