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  1. #1
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    Dec 2014
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    4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    I have 3 kids 4.75, 2.5 and 1. My lease is coming to an end and looking for a new car or SUV with 4WD/AWD. I need to be able to put in 3 car seats (or 2 and a booster). I am thinking CRV or Rav4 range. Any tips would be great!

    Thanks

    Adam

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  3. #2
    Moderator - CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    upstate NY
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    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    Welcome, Adam! I am not a car expert by any means, but I do know that the Rav4 will not accommodate 3 car seats at once due to the seatbelt design in the back seat.

    Generally, Subarus are very popular for AWD. I'm not sure how the current models are for 3 car seats, but I'd look into it if I were you!
    Cutie #1 (13 years) 5-stepping
    Cutie #2 (10 years) riding in a Safety 1st Incognito

    Cutie #3 (7 years) riding in a Chicco KidFit
    Cutie #4 (6 years) riding in a Frontier
    Cutie #5 (3 years) riding in a Nuna Rava

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
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    Jun 2012
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    NW WA
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    My husband just got a 2015 Subaru Legacy. We will be doing 3 across the back once #3 is here is March. 3 across is totally do able with the right mix of seats. The Outback's back seat is the same as far as width as the Legacy. The Forester, Impreza, and CrossTrek are all slightly narrower width and I would rule them out for 3 across.

    The Rav4 is completely incompatible for 3 across due to the massive overlap between the center and driver side seat belts. It is truly a 4 passenger vehicle with 5 seat belts.

    The CR-V is absoultely do able for 3 across again with the right mix of seats.
    DS1 (April '09) Britax Parkway SGL & Clek Olli, DD (March '12) Britax Frontier 90 & Evenflo Maestro, DS2 (April '15) RF Nuna Rava & RF Clek Foonf
    2011 Honda Pilot
    2009 Honda Ridgeline

  5. #4
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Location
    BC Canada
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    2,911

    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    It is impossible to put 3across in a RAV4
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

  6. #5
    CPS Technician
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    Jun 2012
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    NW WA
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    803
    As far as 3 across compatible car seats/boosters, I'd suggest keeping the 4 year old in a 5 point harness as long as you can. Buckling a booster in a tight 3 across is way bigger of a pain in the rear than buckling a kid in a 5 point harness where all the daily buckling and adjustments are made up front. The Harmony Defender ($95 from Walmart.com) is a great, super slim 5 point harness that later converts to a very good high back then backless booster.

    Is the 2 year old rear or forward facing?
    If forward facing, the Defender would also be a great slim choice. If rear facing, the Diono Radians or the Clek Foonf or Fllo are all very slim options (good for 1 year old or rear facing 2 year old).

    There are also quite a few other options in a variety of price ranges that could potentially work depending on the particular vehicle you end up with and the specifics of the kids.
    DS1 (April '09) Britax Parkway SGL & Clek Olli, DD (March '12) Britax Frontier 90 & Evenflo Maestro, DS2 (April '15) RF Nuna Rava & RF Clek Foonf
    2011 Honda Pilot
    2009 Honda Ridgeline

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy DawgDad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    307

    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    I was VERY impressed with the new 2015 CRVs...you can fit 3 across and they come in AWD if you need it. Subaru is also a favorite among parents of multiples. Their new iSight is an impressive safety feature. At the very least, those two will offer you a few more options on what can fit in your car with 3 across the back as they are a little wider than their competitors in that class.

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    24

    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    Older Subarus have a bad rep for fitting car seats but a 2010 or newer Outback or Legacy will work quite well for many 3 across combos (I've done RF Graco 4ever, Chicco KeyFit, FF Diono Radian RXT in mine). They also have a lot of front to back space. We can fit a 6'+ passenger comfortably in front of relatively compact RF seats in our 2011 Outback. In our pre-baby days we often transported 5 adults for 3+ hour each way day trips without any complaints about the space in the back seat, and with the baby we often have 2 adults in the back seat as well without problems.

    The CRV is also a good option but we didn't find the interior quite as comfortable when we were selecting a vehicle and also felt that Subaru does a better job with AWD than Honda. I'm not sure how the newest CRVs stack up though.

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    147

    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    3-across in a Subaru Forester is not impossible but extremely difficult. I'm not sure how the width of the new ones compares -- you'd want to check, if you're considering this car, but we've done various 3-across combos in an '09 with Radians and Britaxes. My sister has a newer Outback, and does 3-across with less difficulty than we do.

    Would you want to go as big as a Pilot? I'm guessing not, but it's not huge, and it is highly carseat compatible.

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    230

    Re: 4WD or AWD Car or SUV

    We did two seats (Marathon and Aton) + a comfortable adult in a 2009 Outback for a week recently and were able to do the same in a 2014 Impreza (which actually has more width in back than the old Outbacks, surprisingly!) The new Outbacks (2010+) are several inches wider so I imagine it's much easier in them, though. And our seats are pretty narrow as those things go.

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