3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Will Fit In a Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester is a popular small all-wheel drive SUV chosen by a number of young professionals and families interested in a small, AWD SUV with strong safety features. It competes with offerings from other manufacturers like the Honda CR-V, Jeep Patriot, Nissan Rogue, and the Ford Escape. Even though it’s not a minivan, the truth is that you can fit a surprisingly large number of car seats in a Subaru Forester if you’re willing to take the time to fit them in. I spent the last weekend in my garage trying out car seats in a current generation Forester in order to see which car seats would and wouldn’t puzzle together. Before we get to that, however, let’s review some tenets of car seat safety: rear-facing, forward-facing, and boostering.

Perhaps 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 keep your children as safe as possible by keeping them in the right orientations as long as possible.

However, in order to make use of that information, it helps to know which car seats are going to fit well and which ones will give you trouble in your Subaru Forester. That’s where my 3 across installation guide comes in handy, and why I run this car seat blog.

In short, if you want to do 3 across, you can’t go wrong with a set of Fllos or Foonfs. However, there are more car seats that will work, and work well, and I’ve tried to list them below. This isn’t a complete list, of course, and I’ll add more seats as I try them.You can access the complete 3 across guide for every vehicle here and the complete list of recommended seats here. 3 across car seat images are courtesy of Wikipedia.

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Subaru Forester

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).

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

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Britax Parkway SGL, Combi Coccoro, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Britax Marathon ClickTight, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Clek Fllo, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Clek Foonf, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Rainier, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Pacifica, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Olympia, Britax Parkway SGL.

Chicco KeyFit 30, Diono Radian / RXT, Britax Parkway SGL.

Tips and Tricks:

This generation of the Subaru Forester is 181 inches long and 71 inches wide, which means it’s around the size of most other small SUVs in the current market. It also means you should be able to achieve 3 across installations without too much trouble side to side, although you might have some challenges when it comes to front to back room.

The installation with the KeyFit 30Parkway SGL, and Boulevard ClickTight is doable, but it’s going to be a difficult one to achieve. It’s much easier to go with the FlloFoonf, or Rainier instead of the Boulevard for that set of 3 across combinations, since the aforementioned seats are all narrower than the 18.5″ wide Boulevard ClickTight.

forester - 2011 - publicdomain2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Subaru Forester

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Combi Cocorro (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT, Diono Radian / RXT, Graco Snugride 35.

Tips and Tricks:

This generation of the Subaru Forester is 180 inches long and 70 inches wide, or one inch shorter and narrower than the following generation. It’s still possible to fit 3 Floos, Foonfs, Radians, and Coccoro’s, however, as well as a few other seats with a bit of work. Again, make seat belt installations a priority.

2002-subaru-forester-pd2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Subaru Forester

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian (x3)

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

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

Combi Cocorro (x3).

Tips and Tricks:

The second generation of the Subaru Forester is 175-176 inches long and just over 68 inches wide. I’m going to be honest; it’s a very, very tight fit to get pretty much anything to work in a 3 across setup. However, it’s possible with the right seats, and the right seats are the ones above. There are other combinations that might work too; these are just the ones I’m sure of. Naturally, you’ll want to use seat belts on all three seats.

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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