Best large SUVs for three child car seats
Fitting three child seats into a car can be a challenge, so we’ve put 16 SUVs and MPVs to the test to find out which ones are most suitable...
Large SUVs have replaced MPVs as the favourite of family buyers, but how well do they cope with three children?
Citroen C5 Aircross
Citroen’s large SUV uses the same platform as the Peugeot 5008, but it can’t be had with seven seats, limiting its practicality.
It has Isofix mounts for the two outer rear seats, plus two top tether points for these, and no underfloor storage compartments, so seats with support legs can be used in both of these positions.
The three rear seats all slide back and forwards independently. Although you can't use an Isofix seat or one with a leg support in the centre rear seat, you can fit an infant carrier in, secured using a seatbelt.
Unlike its predecessor, the latest CR-V can be ordered with seven seats, and the two rearmost pews are easy to pull up out of the boot floor using straps. However, there are no Isofix mounts for these seats, and it’s not permitted to use child seats in the third row or the centre middle-row seat.
There are two Isofix mounts in the second row, and we fitted two of our seats into these with ease.
Although older children or adults could use the third row, they’d have to be pretty athletic to get there, because they’d need to climb over the flattened middle-row seat.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Seven seats are standard on Hyundai’s biggest SUV, and the two rearmost ones are bigger than most and easy to pull out of the floor. Access is good, because the second-row seats fold electrically and slide far enough forward for passengers to climb in behind them without difficulty.
However, child seats cannot be used in the Santa Fe’s third row or in the middle of the second row, so we could only transport two of our children unless we opted to utilise the front passenger seat.
Both outer second-row seats have Isofix mounts and top tether points.
As with the Santa Fe, the Sorento has two good-sized seats in the third row. There are no Isofix points back there, though, and only seatbelt-secured seats for toddlers and older children can be used there. Access is good because the middle row splits and folds 60/40 and slides forwards.
Our two larger seats fitted well into the outer second row using the Isofix mounts and top tether points. Although a child seat can’t be used in the central pew in the middle row, rear leg room is good enough for a seat to be used in the third row with another in front of it.
The CX-5 is similar in size to the Honda CR-V and Skoda Kodiaq, but it’s offered with five seats only and a child seat can’t be used in the centre of the rear bench.
It has Isofix mounts and top tether points for the outer rear seats and no underfloor storage bins, so the Maxi Cosi AxissFix could also be used with its support leg. The seats don’t slide back and forwards like the Kodiaq’s and Peugeot 5008’s, though.
Euro NCAP says it’s permissible to use the seatbelt-secured version of the Maxi Cosi CabrioFix infant seat in the front passenger position, but not our two larger seats.
The 5008 may look like an SUV, but its interior is more akin to an MPV. It has three separate seats in the second row that recline, fold and slide; each has Isofix mounts and top tether points, making it easy for us to install all three of our child seats there. If you use the infant carrier without its Isofix base, though, it is too wide to fit between the other two seats.
The third-row seats have top tether points but not Isofix mounts, so they can be used only with seatbelt-secured child seats. Leg room is limited if you try to install a seat in the third row and another in front of it.
The Kodiaq is Skoda’s first large SUV and its first to be offered with seven seats. Although it has three Isofix mounts in the middle row, it wasn’t wide enough for all three of our seats. However, if you can find narrower seats for the outer positions, it might be possible to fit three across the row, with the infant carrier in the middle.
The rearmost seats are small and don’t have Isofix points,while Euro NCAP says they can’t be used for seatbelt-secured seats.
The second-row seats fold, slide and recline, but they don’t go far enough forwards to give great access to the back.