Child seats: Only a few cars actually pass the 'three-in-a-row' test
As we have reported in Motors many times, there is huge demand for, and interest in, cars that can accommodate three child seats in one row.
A major survey by What Car? has put that challenge in sharp focus. It reveals that only half the cars it tested - which claim to accommodate three child seats at once - can actually fit them in.
That is mainly because the size and type of child seats used for three children can vary considerably.
And that's why, the researchers say, there is so much difficulty in finding a car to take them.
The research underlines how vital it is for parents to check that their child seats will fit properly into a car before buying they consider buying it.
Only one of the eight SUVs tested - the Audi Q7 - was able to fit three child car seats across a single row.
Four of the SUVs tested couldn't fit in three seats at once in any configuration.
The results, as you can see from the chart on display, tell their own story. However, I am certain some carmakers will challenge the findings on several fronts.
As I would have predicted, the people carrier (MPV) category came up trumps, with four of the six 'seven-seat' cars trialled passing the test of taking three across the middle row.
A hatchback and an estate with three Isofix points across their second seating rows were also tested but didn't measure up, according to the research.
What Car? tested 16 of the best-sellers and used the same three children - aged seven, four and 11 months - in every car.
The youngest was in a Maxi-Cosi Pebble infant seat secured by the seat belt, while the older two were in Britax Romer Kidfix II seats with Isofix points.
What Car? consumer editor Claire Evans, who conducted the research, said that picking a car with seven seats doesn't guarantee a second row wide enough to accommodate three child seats.
"And the rearmost row of seats in a seven-seater might not be a safe or practical place to position a child," she added.
"Size doesn't always equal practicality - even some of the biggest SUVs can only accommodate two child seats."