Editor’s note: This Car Seat Check was written in September 2017 about the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Little of substance has changed with this year’s gas or hybrid models. To see what’s new with the RAV4 for 2018, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.
Toyota lightly updated its popular RAV4 compact SUV for 2016, but the big news is the addition of a hybrid model to the lineup. The 2017 RAV4 Hybrid offers the same legroom as the regular Toyota RAV4 version but slightly less cargo room. While it’s a win over the regular car’s model in terms of fuel economy, it earned weak marks in our Car Seat Check due to its stiff imitation leather seats; buried Latch anchors complicated connection.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Related: More Car Seat Checks
- Latch, grade B: The Toyota RAV4’s stiff seat cushions and deep-set Latch anchors complicated connection. The three top tether anchors are clearly marked, but caregivers must push past the upholstery to access them.
- Infant, grade B: Latch placement complicated installation. We moved the front passenger seat forward a bit, but the 5-foot-6-inch front passenger still had enough legroom.
- Rear-facing convertible, grade B: It was a bit easier to install this seat in the Toyota with its chunky Latch connectors, but it still required some extra muscle. It fit well; we moved the front passenger seat back for more legroom.
- Forward-facing convertible, grade B: After removing the car’s head restraint, the seat fit well. It was easier to install this seat with its chunky Latch connectors, but it still required extra oomph.
- Booster, grade A: After removing the Toyota RAV4’s head restraint, the booster fit well. The buckles are on stable but short belt stalks; kids should be able to easily grasp them.
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 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 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.
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