These 6 Cars Have Fixed An Unavoidable Pain Point For Parents Of Young Kids
Cars.com ranked 2022-2023 vehicle models that solve the most frustrating part of driving with young kids.
A car seat is one of the first must-haves a parent puts on their baby registry. After all, this ultra-important piece of safety equipment is a necessity for car travel and can be ultra-expensive too. But as important as the safety of the car seat itself is the safety and accessibility of the kind of car you put it in. Not all cars are equally car-seat — or family — friendly. That’s why Cars.com released its annual Car Seat Fit Report Card, which tallies a year’s worth of data to find the cars that are best for seat safety and ease of use.
“From minivans and three-row SUVs to tiny crossovers and sedans, we’ve installed child-safety seats into each one and evaluated how well the vehicles accommodate a variety of them,” Cars.com news editor Jennifer Geiger and editor-in-chief Jenni Newman — both are certified child passenger safety technicians — said of the annual report.
The experts tested 56 vehicles — all 2022-2023 models — and ranked them against each other, looking at Latch systems, as well as top and bottom anchors and tethers. They also assessed how well the vehicle accommodates rear-facing infant seats, rear-facing convertible seats, forward-facing convertible car seats, and boosters. To test the minivans and three-row SUVs, the testers installed a booster seat and forward-facing convertible in the third row to “assess how easy or difficult it is to access the third row.”
Each of these metrics was given a letter grade from A to D, with A being the best. After looking at all the results, six 2023 vehicles landed in Cars.com’s most car seat-friendly honor roll, a designation that’s given to vehicles that ace all categories.
The most car seat-friendly 2023 vehicles are:
1. 2023 Acura RDX: The report commended this vehicle for added safety features and easy-to-use connectivity tech — its Latch anchors and space received another call-out because it can easily accommodate two car seats. Fatherly ranked the Acura RDX as one of the most family-friendly vehicles for parents of 3+ kids.
2. 2022 and 2023 Audi E-Tron: This is a win for parents looking for an electric vehicle without giving up space and comfort. The testers also noted the roomy interior and easy Latch system made this EV a stand-out. Fatherly ranked the Audi E-Tron Premium Plus as one of the best luxury family-friendly vehicles.
3. 2023 Chevrolet Equinox: Another vehicle that was favored for its generous legroom and easy-to-access Latch system. The report also notes it was easy to install the car seats, a big bonus for parents, most of whom have struggled at point or another, to install a car seat in 90-degree weather, sweating bullets.
4. 2023 Kia EV6: Another electric vehicle on the list, the Kia EV6 offers five seats, and in each, there is enough room for a car seat. Fatherly named the Kia EV6 G-Line as one of the best family cars for families with 1+ kids.
5. 2023 Volkswagen ID.4: The ID.4 represents Volkswagen's electric compact SUV, and accommodates five passengers and has a surprisingly roomy rear seat. Fatherly ranked the 2023 ID.4 the best family car for kids with 2+ kids.
6. 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan: This vehicle scored big for its generous legroom and conveniently positioned anchors, which makes installing the car seat a breeze.
Most car seat-friendly vehicles, based on the type of vehicle:
Best Two-Row SUV: The 2022 Honda Passport scored As and Bs in every category except for forward-facing convertibles, for which it got a C.
Best Three-Row SUV: The 2022 Land Rover Discovery, though a luxury vehicle, had an impressive report card for most metrics, only falling short for third-row access.
Best Minivan: The 2023 Kia Carnival scored huge in every metric and was named Cars.com’s Best Family Car of 2023. Fatherly also ranked the Kia Carnival as one of the most family-friendly cars of 2023.
Best Pickup Truck: The 2022 Honda Ridgeline received top marks in each category, though it fell short in the forward-facing convertible category, and was slightly behind for booster car seats.
Best EVs, PHEVs, and Hybrid: The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning scored top marks, receiving a B only for forward-facing convertible.
Best Sedan: The 2023 BMW 840i Gran Coupe received the best marks for sedans, though fell short in the forward-facing convertible category. The Gran Coupe was named one of Fatherly’s most family-friendly cars for families with 1+ kids.
Purchasing a car doesn’t come cheap, and family-friendly vehicles have to be able to adapt to growing families, with thoughtful compatibility for a variety of car seats, and easy installation that compromises neither kids’ safety nor parental sanity.
To read the full report, check out Cars.com.