6 Best Car Seats for Small Cars
Published: February 6, 2017
The first time I attempted to install the car seat for my soon-to-be baby girl, I thought I might break my back. Not to mention, once I finally did get it installed, I barely had room to lean my front seat past a ninety-degree angle. A two-door or economy sized car isn’t necessarily the ideal place for a car seat. Buying a larger car isn’t exactly ideal either.
Why Compact Car Seats?
If you’re like me and haven’t graduated to the mini-van stage yet, and you must squeeze a big car seat into a tiny car, there are some car seats that may be a better fit and save you some back pain and make your car rides a little more enjoyable. Even if you have a minivan or a larger sedan, but you have to put more than 2 car seats in your backseat – this article is for you, too.
Compact car seats are ideal for compact cars for obvious reasons. An added benefit is that compact car seats are typically lighter in weight and therefore easier to handle. A compact car seat is also beneficial if you need to fit multiple car seats into one small backseat. It also leaves some added space for the passenger up front to actually lean their seat away from the windshield. Although this may not allow for a peaceful car-ride (at least in my case), at least you can be a bit more comfortable.
About Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats seem to be the most popular online, as it eliminates the need to purchase multiple car seats as your infant grows into the toddler and pre-school stages and beyond. Purchased separately, you would need an infant, toddler, and booster seat, at the minimum. I did some research and checked out best-seller and highest-reviewed lists to see which compact car seats were the best for small cars. I was happy to find a variety of price and style, and they all have high safety ratings as well.
6 Best Car Seats for Small Cars
There are so many different types of car seats (infant, convertible, luxury), it can be overwhelming, especially if you are a new parent. Of course, you want the safest car seat for your child. That’s affordable. And comfortable. And easy to handle. Now add “compact” to the list of requirements, and you may have quite the headache. Here are some of the best car seat options for small cars.
Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat
The Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat received the top rating due to its safety ratings and its FAA certification (which means, you can take this seat on an airplane). It has 3-in-1 features and can be used rear-facing (5-45 pounds), forward-facing (20-80 pounds and up to 57 inches in height), and as a belted booster seat (up to 120 pounds).
The Diono Radian boasts a 10 year period of use, which is another reason it is rated so high – it can be used during the infant, toddler, and booster seat stages, which some children required until they are 11 years old. This car seat is built with a steel frame, reinforced side walls, and energy-absorbing harness, so it is very safe and durable. It is made with memory foam and comes with an additional infant body support cushion, as well as adjustable headrests and one cupholder, although you are able to attach more cupholders (up to 3) if you desire.
Even better, the Diono Radian folds flat, so it is great for transferring, traveling, and again, is approved for airplane use by the FAA. The product specifications on Amazon indicate this seat weighs around 22 pounds.
Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
The Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat has a smaller range of support than the Diono, rated rear facing for 5-40 pounds and forward facing for 22-65 pounds. This seat, however, is great for small cars. The base is compact, and contains a nine-point incline and a six-point headrest adjustor. The harness is equipped with a safety lock, and although this can make fastening your little one in a little more challenging, the extra safety it provides is worth the extra couple minutes it may take.
The Chicco NextFit has bubbles that help you identify proper positioning, and boasts easy conversion from rear to forward facing. It also offers an insulated cupholder and pocket. At around 25 pounds, it is a few pounds heavier than the Diono, although it will still fit nicely in the backseat of your compact car.
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat is the #1 Best seller on Amazon for convertible car seats. It is affordable at around $58.00 and is made in the USA, which for some of us, is an important fact to note. It has been tested in safety and structural integrity and 2 times the federal standard.
This car seat comes with an attached body cushion and also a detachable head pillow for older children. There is a 5-point harness system in addition to 2 crotch buckle positions in order to provide a comfortable fit for your child. The Evenflo Tribute weighs in at a whopping 9.1 pounds – almost half the weight of the other car seats listed! So, for ease of transport, this one might take the cake! Factor in the affordability factor, and perhaps we should move this car seat to the top of the list!
Britax USA Boulevard Convertible Car Seat
The Britax USA Boulevard Convertible car seat is a compact car seat that can also be used in either rear (5-40 pounds) – or forward-facing (20 – 65 pounds) positions. It comes with impact protection and safety harness installed that they claim is one of the safest and easiest to use. Layers of impact absorbing material surround the child’s head and body, which will absorb energy during a collision.
Like the Diono, the Britax USA Boulevard car seat is built with a durable steel frame; although this does contribute to this seats’ 24 pound carrying weight. An added benefit, though, is its 14-point harness and 2-point buckle system, so it does allow for multiple adjustments as your child grows.
Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat
The Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat is designed with deep side walls and energy-absorbing material surrounding the child’s head, neck, and spine. The buckle has an indicator that lets the parent know when the buckle is fastened properly, so you’re never left wondering. This seat is compact, so it is perfect for small cars, and it comes with a removable infant cushion as well. The Combi Coccoro Convertible car seat weights almost 16 pounds, which puts it in the middle-range of the car seats listed here, and it sells for around $250.00. Another added benefit – these car seats come in really cool colors and designs, check out the Cherry Pie/Red version…pretty cool. This car seat does have limited use – rear-facing specifications are for 3-30 pounds, and forward-facing for 20-40 pounds, so it will not provide a decade of use for your child. You will have to buy an additional car seat once your child exceeds the 40-pound mark.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with Tiny Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Car Seat also comes in some cool colors and designs (check out the Bohemian blue model), and it also has an air cushioning system that protects the child’s head. This car seat can be used rear-facing (9-40 pounds) and forward-facing (22-70 pounds). At 23 pounds, this is one of the heavier models to carry around.
The Maxi-Cosi car seat offers a one-hand harness height adjustment, in addition to micro adjustment options and deep rear-facing adjustments for optimal comfort and proper fit every time. Also, it is one of the larger compact car seats included in this list, so it may not be ideal for all compact cars.This seat makes it easy to install for the rear-facing position as well.
So, there you have it. These are the best options I found for compact convertible car seats. I encourage you to check out the reviews for each one before you decide to purchase. Even with this limited selection, it may still be difficult to determine which one is the best for your child. Each car seat has its pros and cons, but at least you will know it will fit in the backseat of your small car. One last tip – if you want to be certain of the fit, dig out the tape measure and measure the back seat of your car. The dimensions and weight of each car seat is listed on Amazon, and this is a great way to make sure you won’t be sending it back. Even compact cars have different dimensions, so it’s a good idea to take some measurements and factor that in to your decision.
Categorised in: Baby Gear Reviews