The plight of parents installing car seats is real. Granted it’s usually a thing that happens just a handful of times over the course of a child’s life, but when picking a new car for your brood, ease of child-toting should be high an any parent’s list. For 2022 electric vehicles are becoming smarter choices for parent.
Since 2010, Cars.com has graded every vehicle it tested for child seat worthiness. The site gives recommendations for the ones that got high marks in all categories. Over the past 12 years Cars has tested more than 600 vehicles for fitment. For 2022 it tested 52 new vehicles and published the list of winners.
It scores the vehicles on the ease of the LATCH system (lower anchors and top tethers), how it fits a rear-facing infant seat, a rear-facing convertible, a forward-facing convertible, a high-back booster and third row access where applicable.
The big winners this year were the 2022 Acura RDX, which got a styling update and has room for two car seats. The Audi Q5 Sportback got high marks across the board. The Cadillac XT5 and Ford Escape PHEV made the list, as did the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid and Kia EV6. This list was rounded out with the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Tiguan.
For the test Cars.com installed a Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat, a Graco Contender 65 convertible and a Graco TurboBooster. The seats were adjusted to a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. Three seats are installed in the second row with the booster behind the driver. The infant and convertible seats were installed behind the front passenger seat. For three-row SUVs and minivans it installed the forward-facing convertible and booster seat in the third row to check for access.
In the two-row category, some of the tougher vehicles in which to fit car seats include Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport. The Sport lost points for the difficulty of putting in a rear-facing convertible seat. The Hyundai Kona had average marks as well due to difficulty of getting to the lower tethers, and that the buckles were hard to use for a child. The Volvo XC40 Recharge was just a little below average for its lower anchor setup and that the top tether was difficult to use because of how the headrest fitted to the seat.
In addition to the ID.4, EV6, Escape PHEV and Tucson Hybrid, the electric/hybrid category did well with the Kia Sportage Hybrid and Hyundai Ioniq 5 also almost landing perfect marks.
Most of the three-row SUVs did will, though the Nissan Pathfinder and Kia Sorento nabbed a few “averages” for problems installing forward facing convertible seats. The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna landed almost all top marks. The Chrysler Pacifica wasn’t tested this year.
The worst category was small trucks, with the Hyundai Santa Cruz and new Ford Maverick performing below average. Sedans do worse on average than SUVs and crossovers, mostly in the booster category, and hatchbacks do even worse.