Nothing is more important than protecting your child, especially when you're driving them around town. While car seats are a significant factor of safe driving, the type of car you drive is just as important when you have multiple kids. The best car for two car seats will keep your children safe with peace of mind.
The 3 Best Cars for 2 Car Seats: Know Car Seats and Their Laws
It’s easy to take the safety of a car for granted until you find yourself in an accident or a tragic situation. When children are a part of the equation, the need for safety is even more critical, not just in picking and correctly installing the best car seat for their age and weight, but in choosing the car with the best safety features.
When you have more than one child, or if you’re planning on having more than one child, picking the best car for two car seats can keep your children safe and bring you peace of mind. This review will go over the most reliable vehicles to own, lease, and drive when you have more than one child who requires a car seat.
Diving Deeper Into the Best Cars for Two Car Seats
What’s More Important – Picking a Safe Car or Buying the Right Car Seat?
Picking a safe car is meaningless if a car seat is not up to standard or is installed incorrectly. Conversely, the perfect, most pristine car seats won’t offer enough protection if they are installed in an automobile too cramped for safe accommodations.
What Are the Most Important Aspects of Buying a Safe Car?
Obviously, the most important factor is safety. You want a purchase that not only protects you should a collision occur, but one that actively works to prevent accidents from happening altogether.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) thoroughly tests all cars to see how well they fair in both frontal and side impact crashes. When keeping an eye towards safety, you should only purchase vehicles that meet their highest ratings: Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+.
You’ll also want to pick a car that’s practical for your needs. Think about any potential combination of adults and children that may be in your car. If you’re a single parent with two kids and never drive friends, significant others, or coworkers around, then you may not need to worry about things like whether the center back seat has a headrest. However, if you ever plan on having an adult in the back with your two kids, then you will need to factor in adult safety, as well. You want a car that will be as flexible as your needs are, so that way no one’s potential safety is harmed. Because of this, you’ll notice that our rankings do not include a single sedan, as larger cars tend to offer greater dexterity and match ongoing consumer trends.
How We Reviewed
To ensure our reviews were unbiased and backed by facts and expert opinions, we perused many online reviews and gathered the ratings of leaders in the car safety space. We looked at things like safety ratings from the IIHS, personalized reviews from the foremost experts of car seat safety like TheCarSeatLady.com, and overall reviews from Kelley Blue Book and Carmax.
Utilizing many sources ensured that no potential bias crept into our ratings. This also helped ensure that we kept safety at the forefront of our minds and were not swayed by snazzy advertising or the sleek curves of a fun, fast automobile.
Overall Price Range
The three cars rated here are similarly priced when it comes to their baseline models. The cheapest, the 2018 Honda Odyssey will set you back just under $33,000, while the other two options – the 2018 Toyota Highlander and 2018 Volkswagen Atlas – sit $200 apart at $31,230 and $31,425, respectively.
To re-state, the prices used here are for new, baseline models. Supplemental safety features will add to the cost, sometimes significantly so.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey was ranked number one across the board by a number of reviewers, and while any Odyssey model year rates highly, the 2018 model is the one to beat due to its extensive features. Its roomy interior allows for any number of child/adult combinations, and its new Magic Slide second row adds additional flexibility by allowing the seats to move forward, backward, and side-to-side. Basically, however, you want to customize your seating, you’ll be able to, all while keeping your passengers safe.
The Odyssey’s third row is another highlight, with enough room to seat three adults and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) accommodations for up to five rear-facing car seats. When it comes to safety and flexibility, that’s tough to beat.
Purchasing a brand new 2018 Odyssey will set you back at least $33,990, per the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Going top notch on all the safety requirements will knock that price a touch higher, however.
The Toyota Highlander is another perennial pick among safest cars for families due to its top-notch safety features, like Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. These features, combined with the ability to comfortably fit two car seats in either the second or third row, make this the best pick for SUVs.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist is a great way to stay safe when children in the back seat may be aiding in distracted driving (although, please always keep your focus and attention on the road). If your Highlander begins to veer into another lane, a safety alert will start to beep, and if no manual steering correction is made, the car will do it for you.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is another excellent addition to aid the practical realities of driving with children in the backseat. When set to cruise control, this feature will ensure that your car adjusts to the speeds of the vehicle in front of you, meaning there’s little to no possibility of accidentally running into another driver who is changing speeds.
Finally, as the Highlander comes in both seven- and eight-seat capacities, it’s easy to fit in multiple car seats, whether front- or rear-facing, as well as booster seats, even with adults sitting in the back as well. Starting at $36,000, this is a safe car that maintains its resale value well into year five of use.
A newcomer to the SUV market, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas offers safety, flexibility, and nifty features whose resale value means it can keep multiple families safe. The only midsize SUV whose automatic post-collision breaking comes as a standard feature, the Atlas also offers several optional safety features.
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear traffic alert
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure warning and assist
The second and third rows are surprisingly spacious, with plenty of ways to fit in multiple car seats and adults at the same time. In fact, if you install two car seats into the second row, you’ll still be able to access the third row unencumbered, due to the second row’s ability to slide forward without needing to remove or adjust the car seats.
Even large adults will find it easy to relax in either the second or third row, as well as get in or get out. Even in the roomy Highlander, larger passengers sometimes struggled to sit down with ease. Overall, seven people can fit into the Atlas easily, while still maintaining copious amounts of cargo space and smart storage.
The Atlas will set you back at least $30,000, the most expensive baseline price on this list by just under $200. Still, its resale value is expected to remain high, even as your kids grow up and move out.
Where to buy
IIHS rating: Top Safety Pick
IIHS rating: Top Safety Pick
IIHS rating: Top Safety Pick
When it comes to keeping your passengers safe, whether they are children or adults, it’s hard to beat the 2018 Honda Odyssey, especially with a maxed-out feature list. You’ll comfortably fit in several car seats and adults in multiple configurations, and its baseline price is the lowest of the cars reviewed here. Although to reiterate, while some safety features are standard, like driver and lane keeping assist, other features are not, which will increase the price.
If you’re looking for an SUV, it’s hard to go wrong with either the 2018 Toyota Highlander or the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Either one will allow for easy car seat installation, multiple passenger configurations, and additional, technologically-forward safety additions. Due to its overall spaciousness and cargo capacity, the Atlas edges out the Highlander for us.