Best cars for three child car seats: verdict

Fitting three child seats into a car can be a challenge, so we’ve put 15 SUVs and MPVs to the test to find out which can accommodate three seats safely and comfortably...

Children running towards camera

There aren't many five-seater cars that are wide enough to take three child car seats in their second row, but our 2023 Car of the Year, is capable of just that.

The 5-seat wildcard

Volkswagen ID Buzz

Child car seats ID.Buzz

NCAP overall safety rating 5 stars
Child occupant score 87%
Price from £58,915
Target Price from £58,915

The fully electric ID Buzz comes with only five seats for now, with a long-wheelbase seven-seater due to join it later in 2023. The relative shortage of seats doesn’t hamper its ability to accommodate three children, though, because it’s wide enough to fit three child seats abreast on the rear bench. There wasn’t much space to fasten seatbelts and there are Isofix fixings only on the two outer seats, but there was plenty of space for our bulky infant seat and its stabilisation leg.

The 60/40 split rear bench slides back and forth and the seatbacks can be reclined or folded down, although the seats can’t be removed entirely like they can in the Volkswagen Multivan.

Those in the back get picnic tables with cupholders and large bins in the doors, which slide back, so getting children and large child seats in or out is easy. 

Child car seats ID.Buzz

Red tick = Isofix mounted child seat
Blue tick = seatbelt secured child seat
Black tick = other seatbelt secured child seat might fit
Black cross = not enough space for a child seat

Read our full Volkswagen ID Buzz review or see Volkswagen ID Buzz deals


Our research shows that many of the latest seven-seaters can accommodate three child seats with ease. Although we couldn’t fit all three of our test seats into the second rows of more than half of the models, having the third row as an alternative option gives parents scope to find positions that give three children enough space and have good access for those fitting them into the seats.

In the luxury SUV category, the BMW X7 is the best option for carrying three or more kids in child seats; it has more interior space than its rivals and offers all passengers an array of creature comforts, including their own air-con controls and electric buttons in the boot to lower each of the five rear seats separately.

Children in child car seats

The Hyundai Santa Fe is also a great seven-seater, being the roomiest large SUV in our test, yet it’s affordable, with a starting price just over £40,000.

Although MPVs have fallen out of favour with families somewhat in recent years, they’re still outstanding people-carriers, with some extremely practical and affordable models available. The Dacia Jogger stands out for being by far the cheapest seven-seater you can buy, and there are a growing number of van-based MPVs with electric power, including the cavernous Citroën e-Spacetourer, which can officially cover up to 136 miles between charges. 

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