What car seat will best fit my compact car?
When choosing a convertible seat to fit in a small car, there are two size considerations.
First is the length of the child seat when in the rear-facing position. Since the back of the child seat is at an incline, the tops of many models stick out quite far toward the front of the car. The driver and front passenger seats also need to recline to be comfortable. This often means the seat tops fight for space, and the driver and front passenger have no choice but to move their seats into a very uncomfortable position to fit the child seat.
The next size consideration is the width of the child seat. Compact cars such as the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and Toyota Corolla have narrower bench seats than those of full-size cars, minivans, and trucks. If you plan to install more than one child seat or have adult passengers in the back seat, the width also matters.
Fortunately some manufacturers have made efforts to create more compact convertible seats which are still very safe.
The Evenflo SureRide 65 DLX is a good choice in terms of a reasonably priced, compact seat. It fits children up to 65 pounds and 54” – higher limits than some other compact seats. It also weighs only 11.1 pounds, which makes it easier to move between vehicles or travel with. The quality of the fabric is quite nice as well, but the price is still kept reasonable at under $90.
Another option is the Safety 1st onSide Air. The depth is a mere 17” while the width is quite low as well at 17.7″. This helps free up space for the driver and passenger seats to move back and recline. The onSide Air is also one of the most reasonably priced convertible seats. It can be a challenge to install this seat at a proper incline and the LATCH system can be difficult to secure, so I would consider this as an alternate choice if cost is the biggest factor.