Car recommendations for 3 kids
Hi all, we're compact family that travels light and have done fine with two toddler carseats in the back of an old Prius. We're expecting our 3rd later this year, and probably for at least another year or year and a half, it will be the case that we still have the two toddler carseats (maybe one can be a booster), plus the new infant carseat. We cringe at the thought of buying a bigger car, but we obviously need to. Our ideal is to go all-electric, but even if that falls out of our budget, what are some of BPN's favorites for cars that fit all 3 in the back, are eco-friendlier, etc.? Thanks!
Jan 25, 2023
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When our kids were little, we fit three sets in the back of a Honda Fit (two 5 point harnesses and an infant seat) using the Diono Radian 5-point boosters. I think that they are the narrowest boosters--17" wide. It was a tight fit, but worth it to keep our smaller car. If you're not wanting to upsize cars, this is another possible solution.
The backseat of our Hyundai Sonata plugin hybrid is huge - not totally electric, but we get by on the electric charge (~23 miles or so) for most running around town, and you could definitely fit 3 car seats in there. I know people with the Hyundai Ioniq who love it - not sure about the seat space but it is all electric. Congrats on joining the 3-carseat club! ;)
We have three under three and also were not interested in, but needed to change cars when the third child came. We have no place to plug in, so electric wasn't a consideration. We went with an older model Honda Odyssey and have no regrets. The milage is not that different from a lot of SUVs. It makes life so much easier. Our set up for now, and for quite awhile, is having all three in a row right behind the driver and passenger seat, and keeping the rear row folded down for trunk space. With three small kids this flexibility is awesome. We keep the strollers and bikes in the back of the car no problem and all of the kids are next to each other. As they get bigger, we can open up all or part of the rear row, and take out the middle seat in the front row, and slide the two remaining front seats together to access the back seats. I know you're trying to probably avoid a minivan, but it is just so practical, and if you ever need to give another child or adult a ride you have the flexibility to do it.
We were happy with three car seats in the back of a Prius for over a year - the Diono Radian 3R car seats fit 3 across, so we got three of those. We didn't have the convenience of the infant seat snapping in and out, but we were very glad to keep our car.
We're currently expecting our fourth and got a hybrid Toyota Sienna minivan, which has been working well for us. I was really interested in a full electric car but none of the options made sense for us.
I only have 1 but I have many friends with 3 and I would say - be able to seat 4-5 kids. Because you are moments away from carpools, playdates, and a million other reasons that you'll need space for 1-2 extra friends. In time you will need a car that seats 2 adults and 6 kids. Really.
We are also looking for a good car, eco-friendly, for three kids (one teenager, 3 yo and 1 yo) so following this thread. We'd LOVE to not go down the minivan route.
We fit 3 kids in the back of a Honda Fit (smaller than a Prius) with 2 Diono Radians (forward facing) and a Combi Cocorro (rear facing infant seat). Our baby is now 9 and still uses one of the Dionos as a high-back booster. Cheaper and more eco than a new car! Congrats on your new one!!
We were in the market for a 7 seater car to accomodate our kids and grandparents when they're in town. We ended up buying a 3 row SUV and in retrospect that was a mistake. Minivans are objectively better over SUVs for families with kids. I did a lot of research for 5 seaters and 7 seats and love cars. My recommendations are below:
Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica Plug in Hybrid 32 miles on all electric, 82 mpge (https://www.caranddriver.com/chrysler/pacifica)
SUV: Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a great all electric SUV and should fits 3 car seats rather easily
Sedan: Honda Accord Hybrid is a great choice.
I don’t know about Hyundai ev options just yet. In my hunt for ev, I learned that Hyundai was not yet equipped to handle servicing or repairing recalls on their EVs. We had a Honda Fit and fit three car seats. Loved it before it was totaled. Now own a Kia Niro EV and it’s a little too snug. So leave the Kia Niro down on your list imo