When Baby No. 3 comes along, parents are officially outnumbered. This is when many parents think about trading in their smaller car for a three-row SUV or a minivan. Before shopping for a large family vehicle, there are two-row cars and pickup trucks that can hold three car seats across the back seat.
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At Cars.com, Jennifer Geiger and I install a Graco high-back booster seat, a Britax convertible car seat and a Graco rear-facing infant seat in nearly all the test cars that come into our Chicago offices. This allows us to test not only car-seat fit but also each car’s Latch system. We check each car to see if it can easily fit our three car seats across the back seat. For a car to win this elusive honor, we must be able to reach between the car seats to grasp the booster seat’s seat belt buckle. This doesn’t happen very often.
We are both certified child passenger safety technicians and have been performing Car Seat Checks for more than five years. In that time, we’ve come across only eight cars and pickup trucks that fit three car seats across the rear seat. Here is our list, in reverse chronological order.
Chrysler’s 300 is a full-size sedan that easily handles three car seats in the rear. The 300S is a sportier trim with stiff leather seats that can make it difficult to access the three sets of lower Latch anchors, but three car seats still fit across it. Older versions of the 300 and 300C also fit three car seats or boosters.
Who says pickups are only for cargo? They’re also for hauling kiddos, if you’re driving a 2015 F-150 SuperCrew. This roomy pickup truck made easy work of our three child-safety seats. Just pay close attention when using the truck’s top tether anchors. In this truck, parents needs to thread the tether through the anchor loop directly behind the forward-facing convertible and connect the tether hook to the middle seat’s adjacent tether loop.
A sibling of the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger shakes off those refined looks for a racier stance. This full-size sedan easily fit three car seats in the back seat, and for those parents looking to add a lot of excitement to their lives, there’s the Charger SRT Hellcat with a 707-horsepower V-8.
When it comes to pickup trucks and families, crew cabs are the way to go. These roomy cabs offer gobs of room for space-hogging rear-facing car seats. While the Ram’s two sets of lower Latch anchors sit about a half-inch between the back and bottom cushions, we needed just a little muscle to push the car-seat connectors past the stiff leather seats and onto the anchors.
Not only can the Ford Taurus fit three child-safety seats across its rear seat, but it earned A grades in all of our categories. That’s impressive. The Taurus’ two sets of lower Latch anchors are positioned closer to the middle seat, allowing a car seat in that middle position to be installed with lower Latch anchors. Parents should remember, however, that only one car seat connector can be connected to a Latch anchor. No doubling up!
One of the few things the previous-generation Impala had going for it was it could fit three child-safety seats across its back seat. The Impala was redesigned for the 2014 model year, and it gained a better ride, nicer interior and more features. Unfortunately, the new model’s more bolstered backseat means there isn’t quite enough room to fit three car seats there.
Nothing gets a parent’s motor going like the Challenger’s 305-hp V-6 engine. This is one car that’ll have Mom and Dad arguing about who gets to drive the kids to school. We were able to fit three car seats across the backseat of this older coupe, but when the 2015 version came in for testing, we ran into problems with the infant seat. The Challenger’s front seat is designed to fold and slide forward for better backseat access, and then the seat has to be pushed all the way back to lock the seatback into place. Our infant seat is so long that it prevents the front passenger seat from sliding back and locking into place.
The last-generation of Toyota’s full-size sedan offered just enough space to fit three car seats across its wide, flat backseat. The Avalon was redesigned for 2013, and its narrower backseat dimensions and more bolstered seats mean three car seats don’t quite fit in this generation.