3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Fit a Subaru Outback?

The Subaru Outback is one of the most popular hatchbacks or mid-sized cars in the United States today, competing with models like the Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, and Toyota Camry among families interested in safe and reliable transportation for their children. It’s an attractive-looking vehicle with a lot of storage, and I made it my goal the past weekend to figure out how many car seats I could fit into it, especially when it came to 3 across installations in the Subaru Outback. Here are the results of my research. However, before discussing what did and didn’t work, it’s worth reviewing some basic tenets of car seat safety.

If you’re a reader of the Car Crash Detective, you already know the basics of best practices in car seat safety: rear-face as long as possible (ideally until 4!), and then forward-face as long as possible (ideally until 8!), and then booster until a regular belt fits your child (which typically happens between 10 and 12). These guidelines are my best ideas about what it takes to keep kids as safe as possible at every stage of development.

However, for this information to be helpful, you need to know if a particular car seat will fit in your particular vehicle. Here are my experiences fitting a range of seats inside various years of the Subaru Outback. I’ll periodically update each page as I try more seats in more positions.

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

outback - 2015 - publicdomain2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Subaru Outback

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Foonf, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Fllo, Chicco KeyFit 30.

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

Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro, Diono Radian / RXT.

Cybex Aton 2, Combi Coccoro, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Tips and Tricks:

This generation of the Subaru Outback is 190 inches long and 72 inches wide, which means 3 across installations will not be any easier than they were in the previous generation, but that there will be slightly more room to play with in terms of front to back space than there was in the previous generation. The leg room makes a big difference in comfort, and as a bonus, this is also the safest Outback generation yet.

As before, you’ll definitely want to use your seat belts to maximize the effective space in the back row; save LATCH for when you’re only installing car seats in the outboard positions.

outback - 2010 - publicdomain2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Subaru Outback

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Foonf, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Fllo, Chicco KeyFit 30.

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

Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro, Diono Radian / RXT.

Cybex Aton 2, Combi Coccoro, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Tips and Tricks:

This Outback generation is 188 inches long and 72 inches wide, making it significantly wider than the previous generation. As a result, 3 across installations should be slightly easier than in the past. Once again, however, you’ll want to prioritize seat belt installations.

outback - 2005 - publicdomain2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Subaru Outback

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Britax Marathon, Diono Radian / RXT, Graco Snugride 30.

Combi Coccoro, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Cocorro.

Combi Coccoro, Diono Radian / RXT, Diono Radian / RXT.

Britax Boulevard, Diono Radian / RXT, Graco Snugride 30.

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT, Britax Marathon, Diono Radian / RXT.

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT, Britax Boulevard, Diono Radian / RXT.

Tips and Tricks:

This Outback generation is 189 inches long and 68 inches wide, which does make 3 across installations more difficult than in later generations due to the width. However, if you take your time, use seat belt installations, and go with the narrow seats recommended above, it’s definitely feasible to get 3 across here as well.

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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