Safest car on the road, that is also good for a center car seat

We are looking to buy a new car. We are looking for a car with top IIHS and NHTSA ratings, but that will also fit a center car seat (back or rear facing) as well as another adult on one side and another car seat on the other side in the back. Such a car appears to be scarce, even taking cost of the car out of the equation and taking type of vehicle out of the equation (we are now okay with any type of car - SUV, Sedan, Minivan). The only cars that seem to have high NHTSA ratings (with exception of roll over which is 4 stars for all SUVs on the list) and are IIHS top safety picks for 2018 (2019 ratings for NHTSA are not all out yet) are: Toyota Camry, BMWX3, Mercedes GLE, and Mercedes GLC. I took Subaru out of the equation because I was told its middle seat was very thin and limiting. I was also told that Mercedes was tough because the front to back seat space is difficult for rear facing car seats. That leaves the BMW and Camry. I don't know how the front to back space on the BMW compares. The Camry seems good, except that it is on the smaller side and SUVs are supposed to be safer than smaller cars.

So, two questions:
1. Is a smaller car like a Camry with higher NHTSA and IIHS reviews safer or a larger, heavier SUV with lower safety ratings like the the Volvo XC90, Audi Q5, Honda Odyssey?
2. Based on the above, any car recommendations or cars you think we should consider or reconsider?

Thank you!


New member
I think Darren covered these questions well in the other thread, but I would add that the Subaru models shouldn’t be counted out. Years ago the center seat was narrow and almost unusable, but that’s no longer the case. I know I’ve done 3 across the back of the Outback with no trouble (RF car seat, FF car seat & adult) and it was actually fairly comfortable for all involved.

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