Cars.com has released its annual Car Seat Fit Report Card, a useful tool for parents who are looking to buy a new car. The Car Seat Fit Report card matters because it grades vehicles on how they can accommodate all different types of car seats — so parents can be assured that they are investing in a car that will help their kid be protected and cared for whenever they take to the road.
The Car Seat Fit Report card is done by experts to see how well the newest cars — they looked at 51 models of cars released in 2021 — accommodate all different types of car seats. This matters because a car is not a one, or two-year purchase — for families looking to buy a new car, the ability for that car to accommodate different types of car seats from infant car seats to boosters for those for bigger kids really matters. A car is an investment for a family, and a good car is one that can keep kids safe at all stages of their growth.
To grade the cars, a Cars.com certified child passenger safety technician installs three types of car seats (infant, convertible, and booster) into the vehicle’s Latch system, along with evaluating how the vehicle is able to accommodate the different types of seats.
In order to earn the highly-coveted “A” grade, a vehicle needs to show that there is sufficient room for both the car seat and the child without impacting legroom for the driver or front-seat passenger. For the Latch system, it needs to be “easy to find and use” to show its car seat-friendliness.
“Our research shows that the majority of consumers (80%) consider child safety features to be very important in guiding their vehicle purchase, and I don’t blame them,” Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief at Cars.com, certified child passenger safety technician, and mother of two, said.
Fifty-one vehicles were evaluated for the annual report card, and only four made the top grade.
Here are the “A” Honor Roll vehicles you may want to keep in mind if you’re on the hunt for a safe-as-hell car that will grow with your kids: 2021 Nissan Sentra, 2021 Genesis GV80, 2021 Audi SQ8, and the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid.
Of course, not everyone could ace their report card and more than a few vehicles are going to be very nervous having to explain their mediocre performance to their parents.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, a very cool car that rocks, might not be the best if you’ve just brought home a baby. It earned the lone ‘F’ for its rear-facing convertible, which Cars.com said they “had to move the front passenger seat forward a significant distance.”
You can see the full Report Card for every vehicle here. It is a great resource for parents trying to make a fully informed vehicle decision.
The Car Seat Report Card is meant to alleviate the car seat confusion and exasperation that remains prevalent for parent drivers. According to a national Cars.com survey, 56 percent of parents say they have installed a car seat incorrectly, with 84 percent of parents finding some level of the process ‘frustrating.’