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#31 of 44 Old 12-25-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annekh23 View Post
But "a lot" makes for a very long short list, I'm also not clear on what you are defining as small. I honestly don't know anyone with three kids who has a sedan and I don't think they are all rich people who'd buy an SUV or minivan anyway! With one thing and another we've hired a fair few cars over the past couple of years and only a couple would have done it, Ford Taurus and a Mazda (can't remember the number though). Neither of which were small cars, still smaller than a minivan a guess, but not much shorter, if at all. A regular SUV probably does better gas mileage and is definitely shorter. Outback from the outside looks like quite a big car, a couple of my friends who either don't have kids, or are past kids at home have them and I've ridden 3 adults in the back no problem - that's not a definite indicator, but it's a clue. So it's useful to know that it isn't likely to be possible, iirc it's available (or all are) AWD and given the amount of snow we've just had I have been trying to think outside of the get a minivan mentality!

I guess it's all in who you know... I do happen to know quite a few people that have an infant and 2 in convertable seats in a sedan (and we've test run our seating arrangement for 3 weeks from now when Amelia's born--we can in fact get 3 seats safely in the back of a Neon and a Corolla, which are two sedans).

I suspect with the economy the way it is right now, there are more people doing the 3 seats to a sedan thing. While it's certainly not the most comfortable (for the mama that has to buckle the kids all in! The kids themselves are probably fine), I've seen it more and more. With the right seat combination, it's a safe option....just not convenient. However, until the economy flips again (or until the dealerships in our town stop pricing used minivans way ABOVE blue book value), there's no minivan in our future...

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#32 of 44 Old 12-25-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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We recently had to buy a new car for much the same reason. Our car, an '00 Dodge Neon didn't really (safely) fit all three carseats, and it broke down one too many times. The carseats fit, but when you shut the doors, they hit. I wasn't comfortable with that. We bought a Dodge Grand Caravan '06 that was a lease beforehand and got it for $12,500. It's still under warranty and we actually got it for about $3k less than Kelly Blue Book value given the market. I would highly recommend a minivan. I've found with stop/go or in-town driving, the gas mileage stinks (16-19 mpg), but I get 24-26 mpg on the highway. I looooooooove my minivan!!

 

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#33 of 44 Old 12-25-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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I swear to goodness we found a way to fit 3 carseats in a mazda protege :

Luckily it wasn't for very long as we traded it in for a Mazda MPV.

Right now we drive a Nissan Pathfinder and can fit 3 carseats in the 2nd row if necessary but more often than not one or two kiddos ride in the third row.

oh yeah, I drove a 95 Volvo something or other for a little more than a year and it had a huge backseat. 3 car seats honestly fit pretty well in there. Still though, if possible I don't like to have the kids sitting directly next to one another, especially with a rear facing and forward facing combo touching. They poke and prod too much.

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#34 of 44 Old 12-27-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by annekh23 View Post
But "a lot" makes for a very long short list, I'm also not clear on what you are defining as small. I honestly don't know anyone with three kids who has a sedan and I don't think they are all rich people who'd buy an SUV or minivan anyway! With one thing and another we've hired a fair few cars over the past couple of years and only a couple would have done it, Ford Taurus and a Mazda (can't remember the number though). Neither of which were small cars, still smaller than a minivan a guess, but not much shorter, if at all. A regular SUV probably does better gas mileage and is definitely shorter. Outback from the outside looks like quite a big car, a couple of my friends who either don't have kids, or are past kids at home have them and I've ridden 3 adults in the back no problem - that's not a definite indicator, but it's a clue. So it's useful to know that it isn't likely to be possible, iirc it's available (or all are) AWD and given the amount of snow we've just had I have been trying to think outside of the get a minivan mentality!
I don't have a list of the actual small cars off the top of my head, but I am on a few other forums and have seen several people fit three car seats into small sedans. And by small, I am talking sub compact to compact. I know someone who has done three Radians in a Toyota Corolla. If you don't want to put three car seats in a sedan, that's fine, I surely wouldn't want to! All I was trying to point out is that it can be done, and many people have done it. For some reason I've gotten a lot of flack on thread for pointing it out.

I'm not sure why the Outback keeps getting brought up... maybe I missed something? I have had several Outbacks as rentals before and fit two big Britax seats comfortably, but you certainly wouldn't be able to squeeze anyone or anything in between the two. Now if it didn't have the funny back seat hump it *might* be possible to get three Radians in it. I know that I've seen two installed in outboard positions and the seat left in the middle had plenty of room for me to sit in it.

As for AWD, I can certainly understand wanting it. One of the reasons I drive an SUV is because we used to live where there was snow. At the time it was that or a wagon and we couldn't find the wagon we wanted. I believe, I am not certain, that the Sienna now has an option for AWD.
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#35 of 44 Old 12-28-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
You cannot fit 3 across in the back of an Outback, fyi.
I do. I drive an '04 Subaru Outback

I have done:
1. backless booster - Parkway - Radian FF (it's tight)
2. backless booster - Roundabout FF - Radian FF (it's roomy)
3. Parkway - BabyTrend FlexLoc - Radian FF (it's OK)
4. Radian FF - Radian RF - Radian FF (it's perfect)
5. Radian FF - Radian RF - Parkway (it's OK)
6. Radian FF - Marathon FF - Radian FF (it's tighter than with the Roundabout but still good)

I have also subsituted an adult in a belt for the backless booster in #1 and #2. #4 or #5 are our plans for when the baby is born in June when DD will be 6.5 years old and DS will be 3.5 years old and both have been approved by a certified tech.

I have learned a tremendous amount from the www.car-seat.org forums. They also have a huge thread with successful 3-across installations.
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#36 of 44 Old 12-28-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annekh23 View Post
I honestly don't know anyone with three kids who has a sedan and I don't think they are all rich people who'd buy an SUV or minivan anyway! With one thing and another we've hired a fair few cars over the past couple of years and only a couple would have done it, Ford Taurus and a Mazda (can't remember the number though).
I do. I have 3 across in my '01 Volvo wagon - a radian (both ff and rf fit), and 2 fp boosters. I was also able to fit an infant bucket, a ff radian and a booster. And although it's a tight squeeze, we can also do the radian and boosters in my husband's Civic sedan.

I think I'm one of the few people who actually want my kids to be in the same row. That's what keeping my from trading in my Volvo (I hate how unreliable the electrical system is) for a Mazda 5. Because this car has 3 rows of 2, someone would always have to be alone.
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#37 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by because View Post
I do. I drive an '04 Subaru Outback

I have done:
1. backless booster - Parkway - Radian FF (it's tight)
2. backless booster - Roundabout FF - Radian FF (it's roomy)
3. Parkway - BabyTrend FlexLoc - Radian FF (it's OK)
4. Radian FF - Radian RF - Radian FF (it's perfect)
5. Radian FF - Radian RF - Parkway (it's OK)

I have also subsituted an adult in a belt for the backless booster in #1 and #2. #4 or #5 are our plans for when the baby is born in June when DD will be 6.5 years old and DS will be 3.5 years old and both have been approved by a certified tech.

I have learned a tremendous amount from the www.car-seat.org forums. They also have a huge thread with successful 3-across installations.
I guess it varies by model/year, but there is no way on earth I can get a radian with the middle seatbelt with less than 1" of wiggle room in my '01. Maybe they improved that in other models. Now if they put latch in the middle it'd be great!

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#38 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 01:37 AM
 
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A friend of ours had to fit her 3 Radians (2 ff, 1 rf) across the back seat of our Honda Fit w/ a few inches to spare on each side.

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#39 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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we went through this earlier in the year. it's such a pain in the rump! We bought an '05 Toyota Highlander. It's got a 3rd row that seats 2, but i have all three kids in the middle row. for reference, DD1 (5.5 yo) is in a Graco Turbobooster in the middle position, DS (3.5 yo) is in a FF Radian 65 behind the passenger's seat, and the baby is RF in a Radian 65 behind the driver - but i'm the primary driver and i'm short. DH can manage without bumping the carseat but not in his ideal seat position. so if i were tall or DH drove my car more frequently, i'd probably switch the baby and DS. DD1 can buckle and unbuckle herself, and is no longer in a 5 pt harness, so i have her in the center. it's nice to have her next to the baby anyway as she's very helpful. and she and DS get along pretty amicably in the car so there's not a lot of bickering to deal with having them right next to each other.

i personally prefer to have them all in the center row so i can reach back to them to hand them a drink or grab a half-eaten apple or whatever. but i wanted something with a 3rd row partially for when we have visitors so we don't have to take 2 cars, and partially for when the kids get older and aren't as happy sitting so close together, especially on longer trips. but using the third row makes the trunk virtually disappear, and unless you get like a Suburban you're going to find small trunk space in minivans and mid-sized SUV's when the 3rd row is up.

if you are going to use a 3rd row regularly to seat one of your kiddos, i'd suggest getting something with two captain's chairs instead of a bench seat in the middle row. you will lose one seating position, but it makes for much easier access to the third row. with a bench seat, you need to be able to lean the seat forward (much like in a 2-door car) in order to get into the back seat, and that's pretty much impossible if you have a carseat installed on that side. but even if you have two seats side-by-side , the one in the middle position is likely to impede the seats ability to pop forward (it does in my car), and even if it doesn't, you will have to constantly climb over the seat to access the back which is kind of a PITA.

the Ford Freestyle might be a low-priced option for you. i was looking at those before settling on the Highlander. you can often find them with two captain's chairs instead of a center bench, and they are pretty inexpensive used. a friend of mine has one as she's quite happy with it, has 4 kiddos all of whom are in at least a hbb, 2 are in big Britax carseats. i have another friend with a Madza5. it only seats 4 with the two captain's chairs option, though i think there is a bench option too. seriously non-existent trunk with the seats in the back, but she hauls 4 kiddos around in there and likes it a lot. good gas mileage and pretty reasonably priced.
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#40 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pixiepunk View Post
but using the third row makes the trunk virtually disappear, and unless you get like a Suburban you're going to find small trunk space in minivans and mid-sized SUV's when the 3rd row is up.
Actually, with Stow and Go seating in my Dodge Grand Caravan, I have my oldest in the 3rd row latch seat, which allows me to stow the 40% of the 60/40 split seat. Having that stowed, I store my double stroller on top of it. That still leaves a really deep, large trunk in the back. Having Stow and Go really allows for the deep trunk when it's not (fully) in use. My DGC is an '06, so I'd assume that's pretty standard now.

 

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#41 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 04:27 PM
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We have a 2004 Ford Taurus, which fits 3 carseats perfectly.
Really, we sold our Taurus when we had our third and got a minivan. Now we drive a sequoia and love it.

Actually, though, I think since your kids are in carseats rather than boosters, that you will do better. The reason is that once they are installed, you don't have to try to reach buckles between seats. The kids will use the harnesses.

A friend has a Sedona and loves it--they bought it for the price and while it doesn't have the niceties of some of the other cars, it fits all her kids and a friend safely!

Oh, and if you do the math, you can find out how much more you will spend in gas for the year. I was SHOCKED at how small of a difference it was for me.

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#42 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 10:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bens_mommy_2005 View Post
Actually, with Stow and Go seating in my Dodge Grand Caravan, I have my oldest in the 3rd row latch seat, which allows me to stow the 40% of the 60/40 split seat. Having that stowed, I store my double stroller on top of it. That still leaves a really deep, large trunk in the back. Having Stow and Go really allows for the deep trunk when it's not (fully) in use. My DGC is an '06, so I'd assume that's pretty standard now.
that's definitely a nice feature. i think the OP was looking for slightly older model vehicles, though, due to cost. anyone know if that's an option in any slightly older vehicles?
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#43 of 44 Old 02-08-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I guess it varies by model/year, but there is no way on earth I can get a radian with the middle seatbelt with less than 1" of wiggle room in my '01. Maybe they improved that in other models. Now if they put latch in the middle it'd be great!
I came here to update a 3rd option in the '04 Subaru Outback and saw this post. The '01 and '04 are the same styling/sizes, I believe, so it really should work. The trick to getting Radians FF with a belt in the car is by twisting the belt stalk up to 3 times. This shortens it and keeps it out of the carseat's frame so you can get it tight. In the center position, you have to twist both the female buckle stalk AND the stalk of the thing that you plug the lap/shoulder combo into. Watch that they don't untwist while the belt still has slack in it. It's a challenge to get it tight (I bloodied more than one knuckle!) but I've had a tech OK both a FF and RF belt installation of a Radian in the center of my car.
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#44 of 44 Old 02-08-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I actually managed after an hour and half of struggling to get my radian rfing in the middle of my '01. But it was a royal PITA! And I managed to do it without having to twist where it came down from the ceiling, but I buckled that part last to get it tight enough.

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