How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2018 Mazda3?

2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears 2018 Mazda3 | photo by Evan Sears

Editor’s note: This Car Seat Check was written in April 2017 about the 2017 Mazda3. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. To see what’s new for 2018, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

While the Mazda3 has been updated and upgraded since its last Car Seat Check, stingy backseat legroom continues to plague the compact sedan in 2017. But if you’re starting a family and are willing to sacrifice ease of installation of rear-facing seats for discount driving pleasure, the Mazda3 certainly hasn’t gotten any worse in recent years.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

Related: More Car Seat Checks


  • Forward-facing convertible, grade A: The thicker leather cushions again impeded connection, but it was easier in forward mode. We raised the head restraint and the seat fit well.
  • Booster, grade A: Even with moderate bolstering, the booster sat flat and installed easily after we raised the head restraint. The seat belt buckles are on short, stable stalks, which should help kids buckle up independently.


  • Latch, grade B: The two sets of anchors are recessed about 1.5 inches into the cushions and you have to work to connect. The three tether anchors sit under hinged plastic covers on the rear shelf and are easily found and accessed.  
  • Infant, grade C: Installation was easy enough with the seat’s hooklike connectors, but we had to move the front passenger seat so far up that even a person of average height would have their knees in the glove box.
  • Rear-facing convertible, grade B: We struggled to find the Latch anchors with the seat’s chunky, rigid connectors, and we were also hampered by the seat’s wider base. We moved the front passenger seat back a bit, however, so front passengers would have more legroom.

Skip It

  • None

Grading Scale

Solid indicates an A grade for optimum ease of use and fit. So-So indicates B or C grades for one to two ease-of-use or fit issues. Skip It indicates D or F grades.

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: One room, fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About’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 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. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.

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.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Matt Schmitz
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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