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Family car advice - two teens plus car seat in the back

31 replies

peppermintzero · 09/03/2023 09:16

I've recently passed my driving test in an auto, and about to buy first family car. We have three DC. Two are adult-size teens, the third is a preschooler so will need a big car seat still. We also sometimes ferry elderly grandparents around. So we really do need a car that will comfortably accommodate two adults in the back as well as the car seat (one of those uncomfortable narrow, lumpy rear middle seats with lap belt won't cut it!) I was thinking maybe car seat in the middle, adults/teens on either side? But then we will need a car that either has three full seats in the back or a three point seat belt on the rear middle seat. Any recommendations? Open to either petrol, electric, or hybrid, but has to be automatic and super reliable. TIA

OP posts:
poshme · 09/03/2023 10:10

Citroens often have 3 equal sized seats in the back.

Beamur · 09/03/2023 10:11

We got a Citroen for this very reason.

Loopyloooooo · 09/03/2023 10:17

Citroen 7 seater picasso...3 full size seats. Teens can go in the back when you have grandparents over.

peppermintzero · 09/03/2023 10:43

Thanks. Do the five seater Citroens tend to have three full seats in the back too? I don't think we necessarily need a 7 seater for every day (not that it wouldn't be useful from time to time, but probably not worth the cost for the occasional use it would get).

OP posts:
poshme · 09/03/2023 11:13

We have the 7 seater. Rarely use the 7 seats now, but they fold away and it feels like a 5 seater estate.

Twoshoesnewshoes · 09/03/2023 11:15

Ford S-Max
VW Touran
Peugeot 5008

although none of these brands are particularly reliable, and nor is Citroen.

Beamur · 09/03/2023 12:32

We had the 5 seater. On the plus side it was very roomy, very good fuel economy and comfortable. On the downside it lost value really fast and when it started going wrong we should have ditched it. Cost us a lot of money to keep on the road when not actually an old car.

mychildrenarealiens · 09/03/2023 13:22

I have a Hyundai Santa Fe. I sat in the back with a teen and a car seat last week on a 4 hr drive and had loads of space (the back floor is flat). It is technically a 7 seater though. I've got a hybrid and it's amazing on fuel.

BertieBotts · 09/03/2023 14:39

Basically all modern cars have a three point belt in the middle now. I would take your kids and car seat and test some out.

Noideawhatiam · 09/03/2023 15:18

If you keep your toddler in an extended rear facing seat, you will have much more shoulder space for the other passengers. Not what your asked i know, but a point you might not have considered.

seething1234 · 09/03/2023 15:34

I'm on the hunt for 3 full sized seats in the back and strangely it seems they are more common in 7 seaters which I want to get away from.

Off hand I know the Peugeot 5008, citreon c5 aircross, bmw touring, audi q7 all have 3 full seats in the back

Lcb123 · 09/03/2023 15:36

I think all newer cars have a proper middle seat now.

peppermintzero · 09/03/2023 20:14

Thanks. I hadn't realised that a lot of newer cars have a proper middle seat. We would be looking at 2nd hand, and none of the ones I've looked at so far seem to have that. There are so many options my head is spinning a bit!

Have researched further - does anyone have a Ford Focus? It looks to me as if they have three proper seat belts in the back - I assume that means it's safe to put car seat in the middle? They seem to get good reviews as a reliable family car, and second hand ones don't seem too budget-busting.

OP posts:
LER83 · 09/03/2023 20:59

We've got a Citroën c5 Picasso which has 3 proper sized seats, we had 3 car seats in it at one point. Now they are 12, 10 and 7 and fit fine. Decent sized boot too.

BertieBotts · 09/03/2023 21:13

Ford S-Max might be better?

You have to check the fitting list for the car seat and/or the car manual to see if you are able to put a seat in the middle. Some of them don't allow it.

You might want to join one of the car seat groups on FB and ask what cars people have that they have put a seat in the middle? What kind of seat do you have - a high backed booster seat is more flexible to fit than an isofix/top tether seat or one that has a support leg. Support legs can be difficult in the middle because there is often a hump there and it's not solid so you can't put a support leg on it.

I was thinking you were wanting to put the seat on one side and have the teens in middle + side. That has been more comfortable in our experience.

BertieBotts · 09/03/2023 21:14

I am talking about second hand as well - I haven't seen a lap belt in the middle seat for ages. It would only be really old cars that have that. There is often a 3/4 sized or smaller seat in the middle though meant only for occasional use.

RandomMess · 09/03/2023 21:15

We have the 5 seat Citroen Picasso and yes full size adult seats with plenty of leg room in the back and front

peppermintzero · 09/03/2023 22:17

@BertieBotts thank you, I will check out the Ford S-Max too.

Car seats - we don't actually have one yet (DC3 has now outgrown the old one so we need to buy new). I haven't researched next-level child seats for safety yet, so have all that still to come. I was thinking we'd choose the car first, then buy the car seat. As a new driver I really want a seat that's as safe as possible, so that will be a consideration too. I guess Isofix is more idiot proof.

You may well be right that DC1 and 2 on side and middle seats and DC3 on side will be easiest. All the middle seats just seem so tiny unless you get into SUV/7-seater territory, which I'd rather not do if possible.

OP posts:
RandomMess · 09/03/2023 22:33

The 5 seater Picasso is the same width etc as the 7 seater. Just a little shorter.

Twoshoesnewshoes · 10/03/2023 12:36

Same with Peugeot 3008, pretty much same width as the 7 seater 5008

Magenta65 · 10/03/2023 12:39

Ford focus is roomy with 2 adults in the back but not with a child seat. I’d avoid in your situation

Magenta65 · 10/03/2023 12:41

Even some SUVs are narrow. We upgraded from Ford focus to a Kuga and there’s not much difference in seat size other than more leg room. I think you’d fit a car seat in better with the Kuga or similar SUVs but will struggle in a normal car etc. large SUV, Ford a max etc or a 7 seater are your best bet. Those teens will be adult size soon enough

DistrictCommissioner · 10/03/2023 12:42

We have a Renault Grand Scenic - 3 full size seats in the back & two pop up ones in the boot.

noimaginationforausername · 10/03/2023 12:51

I have a hybrid Qashqai and it's lovely, could easily fit 2 and a car seat in the back and the boot is nice and big. It's great to drive.

Blabla81 · 10/03/2023 12:57

I’ve had a VW Toureg (second hand) for a year now and love it. Very roomy and smooth to drive. I think a lot of them are Auto - mine is.

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