Editor’s note: This Car Seat Check was written in August 2018 about the 2019 Mazda CX-3. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. See what’s new for 2020 or see the models compared.
The verdict: By nature, most tiny cars just don’t have enough space to comfortably accommodate car seats. Some, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, break the mold and do quite well. Others, like the Mazda CX-3, are the mold. Inaccessible Latch anchors and a lack of rear legroom made it tough to install car seats in Mazda’s subcompact SUV.
Does it fit three car seats? No
Take a look at how the Latch system and each car seat scored below in our Car Seat Check of the 2020 Mazda CX-3.
Related: Search Car Seat Checks
- Latch: Two sets of anchors sit in slits in the upholstery. They’re deep and set high up against the seatback, so connection requires some finesse. The three top tether anchors sit on the base of the seatbacks; they’re clearly marked for easy connection.
- Forward-facing convertible: This seat fit well after we removed the head restraint, but connecting to the lower Latch anchors was complicated.
- Booster: The booster also fit well after removing the head restraint. The outboard buckles are recessed into the seat cushion, and the inboard buckle is floppy; both setups are difficult for kids.
- Rear-facing convertible: Connection was an issue, and we had to move the front passenger seat forward significantly.
- Infant: Again, Latch connection wasn’t easy and there wasn’t enough legroom for this seat. We moved the front passenger seat as far forward as it would go, and our 5-foot-6-inch-tall front passenger’s knees were sideways against the dash.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: One room, fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing the third row when available.
C: Marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. Difficult to access the third row when available.
D: Insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
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