3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Fit in an Audi A3?

The Audi A3 is one of the smallest vehicles sold by Volkswagen’s luxury brand, Audi. Manufactured in Germany, Hungary, China, and India, it shares a platform with Volkswagen Golf, and is designed to compete with other compact luxury sedans including the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Lexus IS, Acura ILX, and Lexus CT hybrid.

Like the vehicles it competes with, the A3 hits the ground running with a range of top notch crash scores and safety features, including side airbags and ESC, as well as frontal crash protection in the latest models. In fact, it’s one of the few vehicles with superior levels of rollover protection at every trim level, which is why I’ve ranked it as one of the safest luxury cars you can choose to keep you safe during a rollover.

As a result,even if you aren’t an executive or business-type, the Audi A3 is worth considering if you’re a parent interested in one of the safest sedans money can buy. As a result, I got up close and personal with the initial generation of the A3 to see just how car-seat friendly it would be for interested families.

Before looking at which car seats did and didn’t fit in the A3 in 3 across setups, it’s worth reviewing a bit of car safety, in terms of which kinds of seats to use and when.

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 Audi A3 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.

2016-a3-pd2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Audi A3

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).

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

Tips and Tricks:

The current generation A3 is 175 inches long and just under 71 inches wide, which means you won’t have too many seats to choose from when it comes to 3 across setups. However, even though the back row isn’t the widest, it’s definitely wide enough for several of the narrower seats as long as you’re willing to use your seat belts instead of LATCH for the installation. Remember that seat belts are as safe as LATCH, and in some cases, safer, depending on the weight limits of your car seats.

Because the A3 is also a rather short vehicle, you’re quite likely to find yourself compromised on front-to-back space, especially if you’ve got taller drivers or passengers. If you’re interested in which safe seats take up the least space, you’ll want to check out my front-to-back comparison chart for rear-facing convertibles.

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 safety reasons to drive with headlights / daytime running lights

unsplash-syed-headlightsWhen it comes to driving, there are four main ways to keep yourself and the ones you love safe on the road: 1. Avoiding driving entirely, 2. limiting driving, 3. driving safely, and 4. driving safe vehicles. Much like reducing, reusing, and recycling, the earlier actions are more effective than the later actions.

The safest driving technique is to avoid driving entirely. If you can’t avoid driving, you’ll want to spend as little time in passenger vehicles as possible. When that’s not possible, you’ll want to use the safest driving techniques you have at hand, and when all else fails, you’ll want to choose the safest vehicles possible when you have to be behind the wheel.

Today’s article focuses on the third tier of action: safe driving techniques. These are the things you do whenever you enter a passenger vehicle, whether as a driver or as a passenger. An example of a technique most of us use is to safely restrain ourselves and our children if we have them. Another example–which we’ll focus on today–is to drive with headlights or daytime running lights.

Why should we drive with headlights on or consider vehicles with daytime running lights (DRLs)?

DRLs are basically low-energy headlights that are programmed to light up whenever your vehicle is running. They’re a cheap, simple, and effective way to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash, particularly head-on collisions during the daytime as well as collisions involving the front corners of your vehicle. You see oncoming traffic more easily when it’s lit up, and the traffic sees you more easily when you’re lit up. Or to put it another way:

1. Headlights/DRLs reduce your risks of daytime frontal collisions. Making yourself visible means you’re less likely to have a driver drift into your lane when approaching you.

2. Headlights reduce your risks of daytime rear-end collisions. If your taillights are lit up, you’re less likely to be rear-ended. Note that most DRLs don’t activate the taillights, so this is a headlight-specific advantage.

3. DRLs keep you from driving at dawn/dusk/night/in poor weather without lights. This is a DRL-specific advantage, although it also exists in vehicles with auto headlights. If your car always has lights on or can turn them on for you, you won’t get caught driving in low light conditions without them, which both increases your safety and eliminates the risk of being pulled over for driving without headlights at night.

What if I don’t have DRLs? Are headlights as effective?

Yes! If your vehicle doesn’t come with DRLs, you can get the same effect, and often a better one, by running your low-beams all day long. Low beams are often brighter than DRLs, which gives you an additional visibility benefit, in terms of your ability to be seen, while driving during the day time. As noted above, using your headlights instead of DRLs also offers the advantage of having lit taillights, which can reduce your risk of being rear-ended during the daytime.

What do the stats and research say about DRL effectiveness?

The statistics show that DRLs provide a safety benefit that increases with the amount of darkness in an area. Estimates of multiple-vehicle crash reduction benefits have ranged from zero percent to 3% to 5% to 7%, depending on the study. Scandinavian countries show 3x the benefits from them than the US, ostensibly due to light level differences.

Given the fact that half of all auto fatalities in the US are due to multiple-vehicle collisions, any factor that can reduce their prevalence is worth considering, particularly when such factors are built into every vehicle on the road (through headlights if not through DRL systems).

If DRLs are helpful, why aren’t they required in the US? And what’s their history?

That’s a great question, and the answer, as is often the case, is political. They’re required in Canada and in many countries in Europe; Canada made them required for vehicles manufactured after December 1989, while the European Union put DRLs into law for cars and small vans after February 2011. They originated in the Scandinavian countries, which have very short days during the winter season. Sweden made them required in 1977, followed by Norway in 1986, Iceland two years later, Denmark two years after that, and Finland in 1997.

The US will likely make them a requirement someday, but there are likely a lot of lobbyists to be overcome first. When keeping in mind obvious safety features that aren’t required, remember that side airbags also aren’t legally required in the US yet, and that vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler continue to be sold without them.

What about my bulb life and fuel economy? Will I burn through bulbs or get poorer gas mileage with DRLs?

In most cases, you aren’t going to get a significantly shorter bulb life or significantly worse fuel economy while using DRLs or headlights. Low beams typically use a bit more energy than DRLs, but the effects are still negligible. If you really want long bulb life, you’ll want to switch to HID or LED bulbs over your OEM bulbs anyway. Furthermore, per NHTSA estimates, only a fraction of an mpg is lost when headlights or DRLs are used in most cases. The safety advantages far outweigh any potential losses.

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.