3 Across Installations: Chevrolet (Chevy) Volt, Which Car Seats Fit?

The Chevy Volt is one of the more interesting plug-in hybrids on the market now. If you’re looking to spend as little money on gas as possible, it has few affordable competitors–namely other small hybrids like the Toyota Prius and a handful of dedicated electrics like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. If you have the patience to wait for it, the Tesla Model 3 will be a competitor someday, but it might take a while. The closely-named and all electric Chevy Bolt is also expected to be  a competitor when released. However, until then, the Volt will continue to gain a following among families interested in fuel-efficient transportation that doesn’t come in a Prius and has a longer range than a Leaf.

The first generation Volt was an interesting vehicle, but it only had two seats in the second row, which made it impossible to use with more than 3 passengers (one in the front passenger seat and two in the back row). A lot of families passed over it as a result, whether due to already having larger families or wanting to keep the option available of having more kids. Chevy finally fixed this in the second gen Volt, making it a theoretically 3-across-friendly vehicle. I made it my goal to see just how realistic this was.

Before looking at the results of fitting 3 car seats into the Volt, however, let’s take a look at some elements of best practices in terms of when and for how long to use infant seats, convertibles combination seats, and booster seats in vehicles.

For me, car seat safety starts with rear-facing your kids as long as you can (ideally until 4!). That’s the safest position and is worth doing as long as possible before forward-facing your little ones in harnessed convertible or combination seats (ideally until 8!). Once they outgrow their harnessed seats, I suggest keeping children in high-back boosters until they’re physically and psychologically ready to use adult seat belt systems (which typically happens between 10 and 12). The goal is to keep kids as safely restrained for as long as possible, as it’s far too late to do anything for your child’s safety in the moment before a collision.

Keeping these ideas in mind, I set to work to find which infant, convertible, combination, and booster seats would work best in 3 across combinations in the Chevy Volt. This list is likely to be the most complete on the Internet so far; there just isn’t that much information out there on car seats in plug-in hybrids and electric cars yet, though I’m trying hard to change that. If you find the list helpful when shopping for car seats, you can shop through my Amazon link below. I’ll add more seats as I test them over time.

You can access the complete 3 across guide for every vehicle here and the complete list of recommended seats here. The Canadian car seat guide is here. 3 across car seat images are courtesy of Wikipedia.

2016, 2017 Chevrolet Volt (picture of 2nd gen coming soon)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT, Diono Radian / RXT.

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Fllo, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The current generation of the Chevy Volt is 180 inches long and just over 71 inches wide, which makes it about typical for a small or compact car in the US. Practically speaking, this means you’re going to be able to fit a number of narrow seats, including several convertible seats and a few infant seats. You won’t have as many options as you would in a mid-sized car, but 3 across will at least be possible, which is a huge step over the previous generation.

Your biggest limitation will be the center seat, which is quite narrow; you’ll only want to use a 17″ seat there (e.g., one of the Dionos or Cleks or KeyFits above). There’s a huge hump in front of the seat for the battery, but this won’t make a difference for a car seat. However, the relatively short length of the Volt means you’ll want to use the angle adjuster to get as much extra room between the car seat and the vehicle’s front seats as possible if you’re planning on rear-facing with a Diono seat; this will give you extra leg room as a driver or front seat passenger.

volt - 2011 - publicdomain2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Chevrolet Volt 

Guaranteed 3 across installations: None!

Clek Fllo (x2).

Clek Foonf (x2).

Diono Radian RXT (x2).

Diono Radian R120 (x2).

Diono Radian R100 (x2).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x2).

Combi Coccoro (x2).

Tips and Tricks:

Because there are only two seats in the second row of the 1st gen Chevy Volt, it’s impossible to install 3 car seats across. That said, you’ve got a lot of freedom when it comes to installing any 2 car seats next to each other.

If you find the information on car safety, recommended car seats, and car seat reviews on this car seat blog helpful, you can bookmark and shop through this Amazon link. Canadians can bookmark and shop through this link.

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3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Fit a Ford Expedition?

The Ford Expedition is the largest SUV sold by Ford, which makes sense since its T platform is based on a modified F-150 platform. Built for markets around the world in Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky factory, it competes with other mega-SUVs locally like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Durango, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Nissan Armada, as well as with some extra-large variants like the Chevy Suburban. It even comes in extra-large versions like the Expedition EL, which replaces the now-discontinued Ford Excursion. While it’s not the most comfortable SUV on the road, it definitely has one of the largest cargo and hauling capacities you can buy while transporting up to eight passengers. Its luxury equivalent is the Lincoln Navigator.

As a result, it’s no surprise that many turn to the Expedition for its hauling ability and passenger-seating capability.  Prior to 2007, you could seat up to 9 passengers in certain trim levels (those with front bench seats), although you’re limited to “only” 8 passengers from 2007 onward. With that in mind, I wanted to figure out just how well it did when it came to fitting car seats across the 2nd and 3rd rows.

Before going into which seats worked (a lot of them) and which ones didn’t (very few), let’s take a quick look at which kinds of seats you’ll want to use with your children, when you’ll want to use them, how you’ll want to face them, and why.

For me, the most basic and essential part of car seat safety involves rear-facing. It’s the safest position we know of, and the longer our kids rear-face, the safer they’ll be, regardless of what kind of vehicle they travel in. I recommend keeping children in rear-facing infant or convertible seats as long as possible (ideally until 4!), then keeping them harnessed in forward-facing seats for several years more (ideally until 8!), and then only switching them out of booster seats when they pass the 5 step test (which typically happens between 10 and 12). The goal is to keep kids in the safest kinds of seats for as long as possible to increase their odds of surviving serious car crashes.

With that all in mind, I got to work with my seats to create what I believe to be the most detailed 3 across guide for the Ford Expedition on the Internet. If you find the list helpful when shopping for car seats, you can shop through my Amazon link below. I’ll add more seats as I test them over time.

You can access the complete 3 across guide for every vehicle here and the complete list of recommended seats here. The Canadian car seat guide is here. 3 across car seat images are taken by yours truly or are courtesy of Wikipedia.

expedition-2007-publicdomain2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Ford Expedition (U324)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Head Wise 65 (x3).

Graco Fit4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Radian / RXT, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The 3rd generation Expedition is just over 206 inches long and just under 79 inches wide, which means it’s ever so slightly longer and no wider than the second gen. Once again, you’ll be able to fit pretty much any combination of car seats in the 2nd or 3rd rows as long as you’re willing to use seat belts instead of LATCH. The 3rd row isn’t as wide as the 2nd row, so I’d start with the 2nd row for installations and move on back unless you need to keep the 2nd row clear for adults or to make 3rd row access easier.

A notable change in this gen compared to the previous 2 gens is that the 9-passenger option for the Expedition has disappeared due to the 1st row only coming with bucket seats instead of with a bench option.

expedition-2003-publicdomain2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Ford Expedition (U222)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Head Wise 65 (x3).

Graco Fit4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Radian / RXT, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The 2nd gen Expedition is just under 206 inches long and just under 79 inches wide, which means you’ll be able to fit pretty much anything you try to in the 2nd and 3rd rows as long as you stick with seat belts. You’ll be able to fit a lot of seats with LATCH anchors too, but to get extra flexibility in 3 across setups, I usually just go with seat belts from the get go to save me time and frustration.

This is the last generation of the Expedition that comes with the optional 9th seat via a 1st row bench. It’s also the first gen to feature manual stow-away seats in the 3rd row, a feature common on minivans.

expedition-1997-publicdomain1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Ford Expedition (UN93)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Head Wise 65 (x3).

Graco Fit4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Radian / RXT, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The 1st gen Expedition is just under 205 inches long and just under 79 inches wide. The width remains essentially the same through all three generations, which means you have about the same amount of room to work with no matter which Expedition you’re driving with. It also means that the seats that will fit in one will fit in pretty much any other Expedition.

If you find the information on car safety, recommended car seats, and car seat reviews on this car seat blog helpful, you can bookmark and shop through this Amazon link. Canadians can bookmark and shop through this link.

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35,000 Americans will die this year on the road. You don't have to be one of them. A car seat and car safety blog to promote best practices for families.