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3 Car seats in a car ? Which seats and which car ?

3 car seats in the car

If you’ve read this article, it’s because you’re either about to have your 3rd child or you’re already the parent of 3 children and you’re looking for :

  • A car with space for 3 car seats in the rear
  • All three car seats can be fitted in the back of the car on the bench seat

Well, you’ve come to the right place to find all the answers to your questions ;).

With three children, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new car !

You just have to choose the right car seats 😉

I’ll explain and share my experience with you 😉

dad with 3 car seats in his arms

Is it possible to fit 3 car seats in one car ?

3 babies in 3 car seats in the back of a car

As you can see,

The answer is yes !

But you won’t be able to fit 3 car seats in all car models and with all car seat models.

I therefore invite you to read this article in its entirety, where you will find all the tips and answers to your questions, enabling you to either :

  • Choose a vehicle with room for 3 car seats in the rear
  • Choose car seats that can be installed side by side in the rear seat

How do I fit 3 car seats in one car ?

how to fit 3 car seats in the back of a car

So there are two values that will be important in determining whether 3 car seats will fit in your car.

1/ The width at the rear elbow of your vehicle

What is it ?

The elbow width at the rear of a car is a measurement that indicates the space available for passengers seated at the rear of the vehicle.

It is generally measured horizontally and represents the distance between the inner sides of the rear seats, at passenger elbow level.

This measurement is important for assessing the comfort of rear passengers, particularly on long journeys where they may need sufficient space to feel comfortable.

Or, in our case, to find out the total width that can be used to install the 3 car seats.

2/ The width of car seats

And yes, the second important value to look at is the width of the car seat.

The width of car seats varies depending on the model and whether or not you have an isofix base for the seat.

On average, a car seat will be between 40 and 50 cm wide.

The width of the 3 car seats must not exceed the elbow width of your vehicle.

You should also include 2 cm between the car seats in your calculation.

Here is the test with my personal vehicle and my various car seats:

1/ The vehicle :

  • Model : Renault Grand Scenic 4
  • Number of seats: 5 as I don’t have the 7-seater version because I wanted a large boot.
  • Width at rear elbow: 1510 cm (very important)

2/ The three car seats: (all different)

  • Cosy . CYBEX Aton 5 car seat
    • Car seat width: 43 cm
  • BEBECONFORT EvolveFix i-Size car seat
    • Car seat width: 53 cm
  • JOIE I-Spin 360 car seat
    • Width of car seat: 55 cm (excellent product but not suitable if we want to put 3 car seats in the back of the car.

Here is the test result:

Well, it’s on, but just barely !

Why ?

Because the best of my “JOIE I-Spin 360” car seats is too wide (58 cm).

Fortunately, the others are less wide.

In the photo: on the left the “JOIE I-Spin 360“, in the centre the “Cybex Aton 5” and on the right the “BEBECONFORT EvolveFix i-Size”.

3 different car seats installed in the rear of the large renault scenic

Which 3 car seats can be placed side by side in the rear ?

As we saw above, the decisive factor will be the width of the car seat with its isofix attachment base.

Choose car seats with a maximum width of 46 cm.

You can afford a car seat over 50 cm wide, but you’ll have to focus on narrower models for the others.

Most vehicles with space for 3 car seats in the rear are 140 cm wide at the elbows.

Here’s a selection of car seats that will allow you to fit 3 in the back, or that will fit between or next to other car seats you already own.

The narrowest car seats I’ve seen:

Only 43 cm wide !

The narrowest cosy I’ve ever seen (and which I also own):

Only 43 cm wide !

Which car with three car seats in the back ?

3 children in 3 car seats in the back of a car

To find a car that can accommodate 3 car seats in the back for your children, you need to focus on the SUV and MPV categories when choosing your vehicle.

List of current models of vehicles with 3 car seats in the rear :

Here is a non-exhaustive list of vehicle models that allow 3 car seats to be fitted in the rear passenger seats:

  • Audi Q7
  • Citroën C4 SpaceTourer
  • C5 Aircross
  • Citroën ë-Berlingo
  • Dacia Dokker
  • Dacia Lodgy
  • Fiat Doblo
  • Ford Galaxy
  • Ford S-Max
  • Honda CR-V
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda CX-60
  • Mercedes V-Class
  • Mercedes GLB
  • Mercedes GLS
  • Nissan X-TRAIL
  • Opel Combo
  • Opel Zafira
  • Opel Vivaro
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Peugeot Rifter
  • Renault Espace
  • Renault Grand Scenic
  • Volkswagen Sharan
  • Volkswagen Touran

As we saw earlier, you also need to choose the right car seats or booster seats for your children.

Depending on the model, the width will be greater or lesser.

Can’t find the model of vehicle you want to buy ? And do you really want to know if the vehicle can fit 3 car seats in the back ?

Here is a list of “filters” that eliminate vehicles that do not qualify for 3 seats in the rear.

  • The vehicle’s elbow width is less than 1400 cm
  • The car is a three-door
  • The car does not have 3 real seats at the back

Other questions asked about putting 3 car seats in the back seat

Here are the other questions I’m often asked about the possibility of fitting 3 car seats in a given car.

Do I need three isofix rear brackets to fit 3 car seats ?

The answer is no.

Most cars have isofix fixings only on the right and left rear seats.

In the centre there is generally no fixing.

However, you can install a car seat that can be secured using only the belt and not an isofix base.

In my example above, with my three car seats in my Renault Grand Scénic, I don’t have any Isofix mountings in the middle of the vehicle.

I fastened the car seat with the belt.

How do I know if my car has 3 isofix fixings at the rear ?

isofix mountings on the rear of the peugeot 5008

You can find the information you need on the manufacturer’s website or from your car dealer.

Alternatively, take a look at an interior photo of the rear seat and check that there are 6 slots for ISOFIX mountings (see the example in the photo with a Peugeot 5008).

Look for the Isofix attachment symbols on the rear seats of the vehicle you wish to purchase.

logo isofix car mount

Does a 7-seater car necessarily have 3 real seats in the back ?

No, a 7-seater car doesn’t necessarily have three real seats in the back.

Traditionally, a 7-seater car would have two rows of seats at the rear, with three seats in each row. However, some models may have different configurations.

For example, some vehicles can have two individual seats in the rear instead of one bench, or even fold-down seats in the boot to accommodate two extra people.

So, although most 7-seater cars have three real seats in the back, this can vary depending on the model and specific configuration of the vehicle.

I suggest you check with the manufacturer’s website whether one of these terms is available: ‘5 real seats’ or ‘5 seats’.

Do I need to use the same car seat 3 times to fit 3 car seats in the back of the car ?

The answer is no,

As you can see from my test in my Grand Scénic.

3 different car seats installed in the rear of the grand renault scenic

But you can take the same product 3 times.I invite you to test the installation of your car seat on all the seats and to measure the remaining space to imagine the installation of another car seat.

But, by the way,
Who am I ?

“A 30-year-old young dad,

embarking on the beautiful adventure of parenthood

and daily joy with my two wonderful children.

A dad who, like you, was discovering the world of parenthood three years ago.

Now, it’s my turn to help you ;)”

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