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Car seat related - what car to fit 3 car seats?

(12 Posts)
TheCurseOfFenric Thu 02-Jan-14 20:34:03

It is time to change my car, and my head is spinning with trying to work it all out. I don't really mind what car I drive, but it needs to have room for 3x seats as explained below, and be 4x4.

I currently have a Honda CRV. After much swearing and deliberation, we managed (well, the lovely people at InCar Safety Centre in Milton Keynes did!) to fit 3 car seats - 2x high backed boosters and 1x infant seat and base.

We managed this by using:

Britax Adventure (I think) - the smallest footprint hbb available, I believe. Fitted on passenger side, for dd1 age 9. She also needs an extra suppport harness fitted, due to challenging behaviour.

A Two Way Elite fitted rear facing in the middle for dd2, age 7, and about to outgrow this height wise.

A Maxi Cosi something (pebble?) plus base for ds, now 17 months old. HE has a bit of room left, but as we are about to change cars, I need to make sure that his next seat up will fit as well, iyswim?

So, I need a car which will fit:

2x hbb for the girls, and an ERF seat for ds - could be the TWE, or could be anythign else which will fit, tbh. We do have an Izikid stored away, but this is quite a monster of a seat.

There are a few extra bits:

dd1 still need the extra harness, and cannot do up her own seatbelt, so I need to be able to reach the fastenings.

ideally, dd1 would not be placed next to ds (although we may have to bite the bullet on this as if dd2 is in the middle, then I have to unload dd1 as well at drop off since I drop dd2 off first).

Can't put ds in the middle, as don't want to be lifting him over to strap him in (he is a chunk!)

I want a 4x4 again (dd1's school is in ridicuously rural location). We have a Discovery already (dh's car) - while this fits 3 seats across the back, it is almost impossible to do up the seatbelts between the hbbs, leaving me standing in the rain fiddling about for ages!

We can't really have (well, can have, but can't use effectively) a 7 seater, as can't sensibly use the rear row of seats - can't put dd2 there, as I drop her off first, so would need to get dd1 out (and her seat) or put dd1 on the middle seat and then usually the car's seat will not fold down past the hbb, and can't put dd1 there as she can't do her own seatbelt, and I can't reach to do it, plus the same car seat folding down issue.

I can't hve another CRV (although I have loved this car) as they have a ridiculous middle seat belt system, and the clip is offset. This is ok for the TWE fitted rear facing, but won't work for virtually any other seat, and as I don't want to be hefting ds over into the middle seat (thus keeping the TWE), this will not work.


Any thoughts?

(and thank you if you have read even half of that unintelligible rant thanks)

MommyVan Thu 02-Jan-14 21:14:45

We settled on a ford Smax but also looked at Peugeot 5008. Both have 3 proper sized seats in the back, each of which wide enough for normal car seats - we currently have 2 hbbs and a forward facing stage 1 seat. Both cars have 2 pop up seats in the rear, we only use ours if we have additional passengers.

Also seat Alhambra and VW sharan are similar design.

Essentially we found we needed a car with 3 individual seats in the back, rather than 2 seats and a middle "bench" bit - I got v obsessed with the whatcar website which has lots of internal pics - cars with a 60:40 split rear seat generally won't take 3 car seats (as middle bench seat thing too narrow) and this tended to be clear from the pics.


AliceMum09 Thu 02-Jan-14 23:15:52

It's not a 4x4, but I have a Peugeot 5008 (as mentioned above) with two Britax Adventure HBBs and a Britax Multi Tech II ERF seat in the back. There is plenty of space to get to the seatbelt buckles, and the car (a 1.6 diesel) is lovely to drive. It does have the two extra seats in the back, but I don't use them often (because of having to move a child seat off one of the middle seats to get into the back row). But the boot is massive without them up, from front to back it's exactly the length of a Maclaren Quest pushchair!

I agree with the post above too - the best cars for fitting 3 child seats easily are ones with 3 separate seats in the back.

Twinsplusonesurprise Thu 02-Jan-14 23:22:40

How old are your kids? If they need lots of help getting in and out you might be limited. I have a Chrysler grand voyager which I adore. My twin DDs sit on back row, one middle row seat is flat stored down and baby DS is in rear facing behind passenger. It's the only car - I think - that means it's easy to strap them all in and I have masses of boot storage.
Not 4x4 though.
Check out Which

Newsofaarrived Thu 02-Jan-14 23:27:37

We moved on from a CRV to a Volvo XC90.

There are integral boosters (depends on year of manufacture as either middle or side) which helps during the transition across. Also has 7 seats but we've only used them on a handful of occasions.

I usually have 2 dogs in the large boot, plus I'm more than happy to tow a 7 metre long caravan with it.

TheCurseOfFenric Thu 02-Jan-14 23:46:03

thanks, everyone.

I do really want a 4x4 ideally. school run for dd1 is hairy at times, especially in winter.

dcs are: 9, 7 and 18 months. 9 year old still needs full help getting seatbelt on, and will probably need ot be in the middle seat of the car (as drop 7 year old off first, and getting 9 year old out and back in all the time willbe faff)

with all that in mind:

XC70 definitely doesn't fit 3 seats acrosss. I suspect dd1 is too big for the integrated booster in the middle (working from memory - had one way back in the mists of time, when dd1 was a baby!), and wouldn't fit on a hbb in the centre position. can't use the rear row seats, as can't strap dd1 in (if she is in the back), and can't get anyone into the back easily past other car seats anyway. I ownder what the boosters in the outside seats are like. hmmm.

Chrysler Grand Voyager is out as has a crap crash test safety rating.

I have had a look (online) at the 5008, and it does look good, but not 4x4. annoying, as the 2008 and the 3008 both are!

I cannot believe the amount of time we have spent trying to find a car we might fit in. I know we have slightly out of the ordinary requirements, as dd1 at 9 could be coming out of a hbb (she is just tall enough, so wouldn't want to be moving her just yet anyway), but does need the postural support, plus also havign to use the extra harness for her.

our best option at the moment is maybe an XC70, with dd1 in the middle not on a booster. but i'm not hugely keen on that for the reasons outlined above.

Twinsplusonesurprise Thu 02-Jan-14 23:59:47

Ummm voyager scored 4stars in 2011, are you checking most recent stats or old 2007?
It's not 4x4 though, but internal seat layout is ace.
Good luck, I know car headaches are horrible!

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 03-Jan-14 00:23:08

Are you looking at the XC70 estate car or the XC90 SUV?

TheCurseOfFenric Fri 03-Jan-14 00:39:36

sorry, Twins, you're right thanks. results were uploaded under Lancia, instead of Chrysler, as Chrysler badge only used in the UK now, not rest of Europe. But yes, not 4x4. humph.

Ilove - leaning more towards XC70, tbh. I did love my XC90 years ago, but it wasn't the most space efficient car on the road, and we really struggled with an ERF seat without compromising the passenger room. the XC70 I looked at seemed liek it would work better.

13loki Tue 07-Jan-14 20:00:50

If you want 4wd because it is bad in winter, consider winter tyres instead. We moved to Sweden, where it is illegal to drive on wintery roads without winter tyres, and winter tyres really are awesome. Expensive, but worth it. I have a grand voyager, and I have never been on a road in the UK that I wouldn't be happy driving it on with winter tyres. Especially since schools will shut if the roads around are really bad in England.

jaundicedoutlook Tue 07-Jan-14 22:34:45

We get 2 high back boosters and a baby seat in the back of our 5 series estate. It's not 4x4, but that's never stopped us going anywhere...(except off road)...

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 07-Jan-14 22:42:50

I've got a peugeot 5008 too and the seats would fit your criteria.

I've also got winter tyres on this year - though typically we've not had any snow or ice yet so I can't report on it's handling in bad conditions yet.

I know nothing about these cars, but they look big and might be worth considering: range rover, Audi q7, Nissan qashqai, Mitsubishi shogun.

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