I learned the hard way how important it was to do research on baby car seat sizes as I couldn’t fit the first baby car seat to my Sedan.
After learning about baby car seat regulations and knowing that I’d need to get a baby car seat immediately after I deliver my newborn infant, I got a car seat without doing proper research on the car seat sizes. If you have a small car such as Toyota Corolla Sedan, you should make sure you’re getting a car seat that measures 16″ Wide or lower. They are a few car seats of such sizes and we’ve ranked the top car seats for any car with limited rear and front-seat space.
Measurements of Rear and Front Spaces of Small Cars
Below is an image of the Honda Civic, one of the most popular small cars on the market
The Honda Civic above is similar to several Sedans such as Honda Fit, Honda Odyssey, Audi, Toyota Corolla, among others. Their space at the back and at the front is not as big and they score poorly on safety. Here is a scorecard for Honda Civic:
Use Backseat Dimensions of your small cars to narrow your list of most suitable car seat brands;
Rear shoulder room:
The Rear Shoulder Room which is the measurement from one door panel to another on the interior usually ranges from 49 to 68 inches. For example, Toyota Corolla has rear shoulder room of 51.7 inches, hip room of 51.3 inches and legroom of 34.8 inches. These measurement would be found in the car’s technical specification under ‘passenger volume’ or ‘interior dimensions.’ You can also find this information on the website of the car dealership or on the website of the car manufacturer.
The average amount of space in the backseat of a small car is about 53 inches. This number will give you a rough idea of how much space is available in the backseat, but it’s important to keep in mind that there can be significant variation from one small car to another. For example, the Honda Civic has significantly more rear legroom than the Toyota Corolla.
Rear hip room:
Rear hip room usually ranges from 42 – 66 inches. IN smaller cars, such as the Honda Fit, rear hip room can be as low as 42 inches. In larger cars, such as the Toyota RAV4, rear hip room can be up to 66 inches.
Rear legroom usually ranges from 29 – 45 inches. In smaller cars, such as the Fiat 500,Ford Focus, Toyota Taxoma, rear legroom can be as low as 29 inches. In larger cars, such as the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Subaru Outback, rear legroom can be up to 45 inches.
The width of a car’s backseat also varies significantly from one model to another. The width of the backseat is typically between 36 and 40 inches. However, there are some models that have backseats that are significantly wider. For example, the Audi A3 has a backseat that is 44 inches wide.
The height of the backseat also varies from one car to another. The height of the backseat is typically between 28 and 34 inches. However, there are some models that have backseats that are significantly taller. For example, the Honda Crosstour has a backseat that is 38 inches tall.
Space in the trunk
The amount of space in the trunk or cargo area also varies from one small car to another. The trunk or cargo area is typically between 10 and 14 cubic feet. However, there are some models that have trunks or cargo areas that are significantly larger. For example, the Audi A3 has a trunk that is 14.1 cubic feet.
The average small car has about 36 inches of headroom in the front and about 35 inches of headroom in the rear. However, there can be significant variation from one model to another. For example, the Fiat 500 has 37 inches of headroom in the front and 36 inches of headroom in the rear.
The average small car has about 41 inches of legroom in the front and about 34 inches of legroom in the rear. However, there can be significant variation from one model to another. For example, the Honda Civic has 42 inches of legroom in the front and 37 inches of legroom in the rear.
The average small car has about 54 inches of shoulder room in the front and about 53 inches of shoulder room in the rear.
The average backseat dimensions in small cars are about 14 inches wide and 26 inches long.
Factors to Consider when Choosing the Perfect Car Seat for a Small Car:
To pick the best car seats for small cars, it is important to understand how these dimensions are applicable when finding the ideal-size car seat.
Besides the obvious factor of a car seat fitting into the backseat, other important considerations are how much room is available for the front passenger and whether there is enough space for the car seat to recline.
The following list provides information about finding car seats that fit well in small cars by taking into account both of these aspects:
- Look for a “narrow” car seat. These are designed to fit well in small cars while still providing enough space for the front passenger. Go for brands with a width of 17 inches or less.
- Look for a car seat with a “rear-facing only” option. This will give you more space in the front seat and still provide a safe and comfortable ride for your child.
- Choose a car seat with a “no-recline” feature. This will allow you to maximize the amount of space in the front seat and still keep your child safe and comfortable.
- If you have a small car with limited space, consider using a “booster seat” instead of a traditional car seat. This will give you the ability to safely transport your child while still having plenty of room in the front seat for the driver.
- Measure the dimensions of your car’s backseat before you go shopping for a car seat. This will ensure that you get the right size seat for your vehicle. If your car has rear-seat dimensions such as 14 inches wide and 26 inches long, then you will need to find a car seat that is within these dimensions.
- Don’t forget to take into account the positioning of the front seats when measuring the backseat. If the front seats are positioned close to the dash or center console, then you will need to find a car seat with a “narrow” width in order to maximize the amount of space in the backseat.
Other Things to consider when purchasing a car seat for a small car:
- Weight and height limits
- Stroller compatibility
- Front to backspace
- Ease of removal
- Safety rating
List of our Top-rated Car Seat Brands for Small Cars with Limited Space
- Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat
- Baby Trend EX Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat
- Diono Radian R120
- Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible
- EvenFlo Lite Max 35
- B-Safe 35
- Combi Coccoro
- Clek Fllo
- Chicco NextFit Zip
- Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35XT
- Chicco KeyFit 30
- UPPAbaby MESA
- Britax Advocate
Our Reviews of Best Infant Car Seat for Small Cars:
Chicco Keyfit 30:
- Dimensions(L/D,W,H): 27.5 x 16.75 x 24 inches
Multiple reviewers report the dimensions and shape of this seat were key to fitting three car seats in a row. At 27.5 inches deep, it’s one of the slimmest seats on the market, making it a good choice for small cars. Compared to Cybex Anton 2 above, it’s 2.5 inches deeper in depth, but only half an inch wider in width.
The width and height of the Chicco Keyfit 30 are nearly identical to the Graco Extend2Fit, except that the Chicco Keyfit is slightly shallower in depth by 3/4 of an inch. This may not seem like much, but it can make a big difference when fitting three car seats across the backseat of a small car.
In addition, Chicco’s SuperCinch Force-Multiplying LATCH Tightener helps achieve a secure fit with a fraction of the effort. The Chicco Keyfit 30 also comes with a built-in lock-off for installing the seat without LATCH, making it easier to install in a rental car or other vehicle where LATCH is not available.
Chicco KeyFit seat also comes with a removable head and body support for your newborn and a canopy. Additionally, it has a SuperClinch tool that helps you to tighten the LATCH straps during installation. It is also compatible with Chicco strollers making it a great traveling asset.
- It is 17 inches wide occupying only small space
- Weight/height limit of 30 pounds/30 inches tall
- SuperClinch tool
- Adjustable straps
- Recline Sure spring level footing and RideRight bubble indicators
- Smooth underside
- Compatible with Chicco strollers
- Removable newborn head and body support for added comfort and security
- Recline Sure spring-loaded level foot and RideRight bubble level indicator to guide your installation process
- Smooth underside ensuring your car is protected
- It is a little expensive
- Although it is a convertible seat, you will need to buy a back booster eventually
- Cumbersome to move between cars
- Because it is a bit slimmer, it may be hard to fit multiple NextFit Zips in some back seats.
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
- Dimensions(L/D,W,H): 16.25 x 14.66 x 26 inches
For almost a third of the cost of the Chicco Keyfit30 above, this inexpensive Baby Trend model has the best depth suitable for small vehicles – just 16.25 inches or about 0.25 inches above my sweet depth dimension of 16 inches. While this model is at par with Keyfit30 in terms of weight, this model has narrower width, about 2.09 inches narrower.
Reviewers also say that it’s easy to install, and the harness is adjustable from the front, making it easier to get a snug fit.
Baby Trend Ex-Loc Infant car seat came second on this list and we added to it here specifically because of its affordability. Aside from its affordability, you’ll really like the sleek design of this infant car seat and it is very easy to install with two options – LATCH and belt installation.
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc is a great option for a cheaper bucket-style infant seat for a small car. It is suitable for Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or any sedan. The seat is very compact and one of the narrowest rear-facing car seats in the market. It is, however, lacking in comfort with a lack of thick padding and softer fabric but considering that it costs less than $100, you’re getting real value for your money getting this seat.
Besides, this infant car seat is among the safest with a 5-point safety harness, easy one-hand harness adjustment, and push-button release. It also has eps energy-absorbing foam for superior side impact head protection.
This seat also fits 3-across as described by a user below;
|Average Rating||4.7/5 by 700+ parents|
|Price||Less than $100|
|Limits (Weight and Height)||Weight limit range of 5 to 30 pounds and 30 inches height limit (76.2cm)|
|Dimension||16.2 x 14.7 x 26 inches|
|Come with base||Yes|
|Got question, call support to find if your car can be supported||1-800-328-7363|
|Why we like it||#1 rated infant car seat for safety, and ease of installation|
- It is 16.2 inches long X 26 inches high X 14.7 inches wide
- Weighs 17 lbs.
- Rear-facing limits 5-30 pounds, up to 30 inches tall
- Has a 5-point harness
- Height-adjustable back
- EPS energy-absorbing foam giving superior side impact head protection
Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars
- Dimensions (L/D,W,H): 21.5 x 19.5 x 23.5 inches
If you want a convertible car seat that can still grow with your baby and fit in compact space in small cars, Graco’s brand called the Graco Extendfit is your best option. Despite it being 5.5 inches deeper than our preferred 16-inch depth for sedans and small SUVs, there is no other brand with better ratings and a more perfect fit to install on your car than this brand.
This car seat is the perfect solution for many small vehicles, thanks to its shortened height of 23.5 inches and depth/length of 21.5 inches. Compared to Chicco Keyfit 30 above, it’s just half an inch shorter in height, but 6 inches shorter in depth/length- making it a much more viable option for smaller cars.
- Dimensions(L/D,W,H):16 x 17 x 28.5 inches
Scarymom’s list reviewing small-car car seats noted that Diono Radian 3R was designed specifically to fit three car seats neatly in one row. With 17 inches wide and a mere 16 inches deep, these slim car seats for small cars will leave you with plenty of room to spare.
Its depth is the smallest in this list and is even shallower than the Chicco Keyfit 30 by 1.5 inches. However, it’s nearly an inch wider than the Chicco Keyfit 30.
The Diono Radian 3R is also one of the tallest seats on this list, at 28.5 inches tall. This can be both a good and bad thing- it’s good because it will give your child more headroom as they grow, but it can be bad because it may not fit well in smaller cars.
You won’t have to struggle pushing the seat all the way to get more room at the back as the Diono Radian 3R has a slim design.
COmpared to our convertible seat pick in this list, Graco Extend2Fit, the Diono Radian 3R is 5.5 inches shallower in depth and 2.5 inches wider in width. While this may not seem like much, it can really make a big difference when fitting three car seats across the backseat of a small car.
Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat
With a depth of 17 inches, this RXT model by Diono is 1 inch deeper than the Diono Radian 3R. 3R model, however, is wider by 1 inch but both models are considered excellent for tiny vehicles.
Additionally, this convertible seat is easy to transport by carrying it on your back, something you don’t get with most convertible seats. Diono RXT also comes with a steel frame and rear-facing top tether, which keeps the seat from moving in the event of an accident. It is also an excellent option for a twin car seat.
- It is 17 inches long X 28.5 inches high X 16 inches wide
- Accommodates from birth to 120 lbs.
- Weighs 27 pounds
- Steel frame and rear-facing top harness for enhanced safety
- Fits car seats such as Honda CRV, Honda Odyssey
- Excellent compact all-in-one option
- Easy to transport
- Saves you money in the long run
- Should be the only seat you will ever need
- Steel frame and rear-facing harness to secure your child
- No option to carry your baby around or attach it to a travel system
- Pricier in comparison
- Dimensions(L/D,W,H): 25. inches x 17.25 inches x 12.25 inches
While a little wider than the Chicco Keyfit 30 (half an inch), the Cybex Aton 2 is 2.5 inches shallower in depth. Compared to Chicco Keyfit 30 above and Graco ExtendFit above, it’s just 2 inches shorter in height, but 4.5 and 5.5 inches shorter in depth/length, respectively.
Compared to Graco Extend2Fit above, it’s just 1.5 inches shorter in height, but 2 inches shorter in depth/length- making it a more viable option for smaller cars.
Best Small-car Booster car seat:
- Dimensions(L/D,W,H): 22″ x 17.25″ x 26.75″
If you want a booster seat instead, the Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 120 is one of the best car seats for small cars. It’s a bit deeper than most (22 inches) in this list, but it’s still slim at 17.25 inches wide and 26.75 inches tall, making it easy to fit three across. Compared to Chicco Keyfit 30 above, it’s 4.5 inches deeper, but only an inch wider in width. However, it is 6 inches taller in height. Compared to Diono Radian 3R above, it’s 5.5 inches deeper in depth and 5 inches wider in width, but 6 inches shorter in height.
Reviews Of Other Top-rated Car Seats For Small Vehicles
Diono Radian R120 is an all-in-one convertible infant car seat; hence, it can be installed from three different angles. It is known for being tall and narrow. Diono Radians have several other infant car seats, including; Rainier, Pacifica, and Olympia. You can buy the Diono Angle Adjuster which fits underneath the seat. This tool helps cut down the large amount of space that the seat can take up when used in the rear-facing position. It also helps to hold the seat more uprightly. It is important to note, though, that you can’t use the angle adjuster for newborns. You can fold up this seat and attach LATCH straps and carry as a backpack when traveling.
- Accommodate forward-facing weight of up to 80 pounds, and up to 57 inches in height
- Rear-facing weight limit of 45 pounds, and up to 44 inches in height
- Booster mode weight limit of 120 pounds, and up to 57 inches in height
- Seat weight 26.5 pounds
- Reliable extended rear-facing benchmark
- The seat is compact and of good quality
- Easy to install and use
- Beautiful designs
- They are durable
- The seat is heavy
- Armrests don’t stay in the open position
Diono Radian 3RXT is our 3rd best car seat for any small car.
This convertible car seat is narrowly and beautifully sculpted to fit in small cars. It is outstanding in safety and style despite its small size. You can fit more than one Diono seat side by side on the back with a mix of rear and forward-facing. It is a bit expensive because of the Diono-designed safety features.
|Name||Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Dark Grey|
|Price||Less than $300|
|Average rating||4.5/5 by 130+ parents|
|Ranking||#73 of the top 100 convertible car seats on Amazon|
|Size of this car seat||16.1 x 16.9 x 28.4 inches|
|Max weight||120 Pounds|
- It measures 17 inches long X 28 inches high X 16 inches wide (base included)
- Weighs 28 pounds
- Booster seat weighing up to 120 pounds
- Rear-facing limits of 5-45 pounds, and up to 30 inches tall
- Forward-facing limits of up to 65 pounds
- Enhanced safety features
- Rear able to handle up to 45pounds
- Gives you value for money
- It is expensive
EvenFlo Lite Max 35
EvenFlo lite car seat is a professionally designed carrier seat specially made to be lightweight, and when combined with its ergonomic handle, it makes it highly portable. It is also a very comfy infant car seat; with a seat pad and a body pillow, both full of cushioning.
The seat is made out of temperature-regulating material and is also easily removed for machine washing. Additionally, this seat has multiple harness and crotch positions as well as level indicators to ensure the safety of your baby.
|Name||Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat|
|Rating||Rated 4.6/5 by 70+ parents|
|Price||Less than $100|
|Dimension||18.3 x 17.8 x 30 in|
|Ranking on Amazon||#28 in Infant Safety Car Seats|
|Max weight recommendation||#28 in Infant Safety Car Seats|
- The seat weighs 16 pounds
- Weight limit of 4- 35 pounds
- Height limit of 17- 32 inches
- Machine washable pads to keep your baby snuggly held in the seat
- Removable head pillow
- Ergonomic handle uniquely designed for comfort and security
- Four reclining positions
- Easy to install base with belt lock-off system
- Light in weight
- Easy to carry
- Washable pads
- Easy to assemble
- Versatile and convenient
- 5-point harness and belt lock-off system
- Due to its large size, it’s not suitable for small cars
- Doesn’t connect to most strollers
- Installation can be confusing due to the many combinations
Britax B-Safe seat is designed for children between 4 and 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. This seat is easy to install and even switch between cars. Additionally, it is compatible with Britax strollers so you can make it part of your travel system.
|Rating||4.3/5 by over 120 parents|
|Dimension and car fitting||Rear-facing 4 to 35 pounds, seat area 13 inch D, 8.75 inch W; Dimensions 17.75 inch W x 25 inch H x 26.5 inch|
|Ranking||#132 in Infant Safety Car Seats|
- Weight/ height limit of 35 pound/ 32 inches
- Has a removable newborn body pad
- Canopy for sun protection
- Easy to install and switch between vehicles
- Body pad for added comfort of your newborn
- Can be used with Britax stroller
- Has a canopy providing excellent coverage and sun protection
- Only suitable for small babies due to its narrowness
- Fabric is not very breathable
- A bit heavier in comparison
Combi Coccoro is the lightest car seat with a small width and is ideal for any small car such as Hyundai Accent. It will fit any limited space of a sedan.
Combi Coccoro infant car seats are exquisite and compact. They are built with a fitting that does interfere with other seats, with flat sides and no handles or armrests to stick out and poke. They are small front-to-back so that even with the tiniest cars, they fit with no need to pull the front seats up when the Coccoro is installed facing the rear.
|Name||Combi Coccoro Streamlined Lightweight Convertible Car Seat|
|Rating on Jan 2022||4.5/5|
|Key feature||50% Lighter Than Other Leading Brands|
|Dimension||Rear: 17.5″ H x 15.5″ W x 28″ D Front: 23″ H x 15.5″ W x 22″ D|
|Price||Less than $250|
- Tiny seat measuring 15.5 inches wide and 26 inches tall
- Rear-facing weight/ height limits of 33 pounds/36 inches
- Forward-facing weight/ height limits of 40 pounds/ 40 inches
- Ability to fit in almost any car due to the small size
- Beautiful seats
- Does not interfere with any other seats
- Low weight and height limits, so children outgrow it fast.
Clek Fllo is a narrow side-to-side convertible seat suitable for any 3-across car seat. Though it is also tall, it is designed to take less front-seat. It stands out in ensuring safety for your baby; guarantees side-impact protection by providing an adjustable headrest with deep side wings, energy-absorbing side layers, and a metal substructure.
If you have a little more space, you can add on the anti-rebound bar, which reinforces up the absorption of forces in case of a collision. Additionally, the seat is made of Crypton Super Fabric, which is non-toxic and durable; it offers protection against stain, moisture, and odor-causing bacteria. Generally, Clek Fllo takes pride in being a compact seat without overlooking style, safety, and comfort.
- It is less than 17 inches wide
- Rear-facing weight/height limit of 50 pounds/43 inches
- Forward-facing weight/ height limit of 65pounds/ 49 inches
- Anti-rebound bar for improved stability and reduced force in the event of an accident
- EACT technology to reduce impact for your baby in the event of an accident
- Offer the highest weight and height accommodation limits on the market so far
- Enhanced safety with anti-rebound bar installation
- Easy to transport
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Comes in beautiful colors
- It’s a bit pricier
- Can’t be washed by machine
- Infant insert is extra.
Chicco NextFit Zip
This convertible infant car seat is famous for its combination of features and exceptional adaptability. You will be amazed to learn that you can install this seat from 9 different angles depending on; whether the seat is facing forward or rear and the age and weight of the child.
- Measures 20.5 inches front-to-back
- Measures 19 inches wide and 26 inches tall
- Gives you nine different angles to install from
- DouGuard side impact protection
- One-pull harness tightener for making harnessing easier
- Removable newborn cushion insert to keep your baby secure
- Easy installation
- Multiple layers for reinforced side impact protection for your baby
- The seat is sturdier in comparison to similar seats
- High rating from users
- Enjoy NextFit Zip’s micro-adjustability when rear-installing
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35XT
Graco SnugRide 35 is another infant car seat suitable for small sedans such as Honda Insight or Nissan Versa. This seat is light and is also compatible with Graco strollers, giving you an easy time switching during travel. It provides four reclining positions, a removable head, and a body pillow. Also, the seat comes with an easy-to-read level indicator to guide you on installation.
- Base width of 14 inches
- Carrier width of 18 inches
- Height length of 28 inches
- Removable head and body pillow
- Compatible with Graco strollers
- Provides four reclining positions
- Easy-to-read level indicator for you to confirm the right angle
- Offers great value with affordable price
- Fits well in small cars
- It is light in weight
- Removable head and body support ensuring your newborn is snug and secure
- Easy to install
- The canopy provided is a bit small
- Some customers express the need to get more head support for smaller newborns
This baby car seat has many impressive features suitable for babies of all sizes. It is designed for babies between 4 and 35 pounds, and up to 32 inches tall. Also, it is compatible with the UPPAbaby VISTA and UPPAbaby CRUZ strollers so you can make the seat part of your traveling system. It is made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabric.
As shown in the guide below, UPPAbaby recommends users of the Honda Civic install more than one car seat on both rear side doors. Read more here.
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat - Bryce (White and Grey Marl)
- Includes: 1 MESA Infant Car seat and 1 MESA base
- Suitable for infants 4–35 lbs and up to 32” in height
- SMARTSecure system installs in seconds, Adjustable headrest with Side Impact Protection
- Attaches directly to VISTA, CRUZ, VISTA V2, and CRUZ V2 strollers without adapters
- UPF hideaway canopy, Easily removable and washable seat fabric
- Depth of 28 inches
- Width of 17 inches
- Height of 25 inches
- Removable infant inserts for comfort
- Adjustable headrest for support
- No re-thread harness for adjusting straps, ensuring added comfort and safety.
- Indicator window to confirm that you have installed the seat correctly
- Easy to install
- Indicator window that changes color to confirm proper installation
- Compatible with UPPAbaby strollers
- Adjustable headrest
- No re-thread harness
- Removable infant insert for your newborn’s comfort and safety
- A bit expensive
- Straps can’t be removed for cleaning
- A bit heavy
Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Venti
Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat has a super compact rear seat depth and width and with the use of their patented ClickTight technology, you get a very easy-to-install car seat for any small car. The seat weighs 30 pounds and the widest part of the car seat is 20 inches with the shell of the car seat set measuring 29 inches.
Below is what a customer had to say about using Britax Advocate ClickTight on a small Toyota Camry sedan.
Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Venti
$292.49 in stock
- Easy installation: Patented ClickTight makes car seat installation as simple as buckling a seat belt
- No rethreading, ever: Quick adjust 14 position harness with Click & Safe Snug Indicator gives a click sound when the harness is tight
- Adjust accurately: Harness indicator gives an audible click when you’ve pulled to the proper tightness
- Surrounded in safety: 3 layers of side impact protection, quick adjust head protection, steel frame and impact absorbing base
- Fits: Rear facing 5-40 pounds and forward facing 20 to 65 pounds; Dimensions: 23 L x 20.5 W x 23.5 H inches
- Rear facing 5-40 pounds and forward facing 20 to 65 pounds;
- Dimensions: 23 L x 20.5 W x 23.5 H inches
- 3 layers of side impact protection, quick adjust head protection, steel frame and impact absorbing base
- Buckle strap depths: 5.25 inch/7 inch
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
- More info
Hi there! I am Kate, a mother of two and a child mobility expert here at Motherhoodhq.com. I am very passionate about creating awareness and educating parents about strollers and car seat safety. I write a lot about car seats and pay close attention to the safety ratings of different brands from NHTSA and CR. I also write about the changing car seat safety laws in different states and occasionally work as a consultant to parents looking to get some help when deciding on the best car seat, travel system, and stroller to pick. I also blog on different blogs and have been recognized as a baby mobility expert. If you have any questions, you can reach me using; firstname.lastname@example.org.