3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Fit a Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the best selling midsized SUVs in the United States. Built by the Korean automaker Hyundai, it holds its own in a highly competitive market alongside midsized crossovers like the Honda Pilot, Ford Edge, Chevy Equinox, Toyota Highlander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Wrangler. The newest generation is stacked with a number of family-friendly safety features, including solid safety scores (with the exception of a marginal small overlap score), side airbags, and electronic speed control, or ESC. That said, something to keep in mind is that the 3rd row, when available, in the Santa Fe, does not feature side airbags as of 2013, which is an odd step backwards compared to previous models.

Perhaps the most important point to make about the Santa Fe is that, along with the closely-related Sorento, it’s also more affordable than most mid-sized SUV alternatives on the market.

With that in mind, I borrowed a few years of the Santa Fe this past weekend in order to figure out how well they did as 3 across vehicles for installing multiple car seats. The good news is that the seats that tend to work in smaller vehicles also work well in the Santa Fe, as well as a few seats I hadn’t expected to fit. Before looking at the seats, though, it’s worth reviewing the kinds of seats and orientations you’ll want to consider to keep your little ones at their safest.

First of all, I like to begin with rear-facing, since it’s the safest position for young children. I suggest rear-facing from day one until you can’t anymore, even if that takes you through the preschool years (ideally until 4!), before forward-facing them in harnessed convertible or combination seats (ideally until 8!). Once they outgrow their harnessed seats, it’s best to keep them restrained in high-back boosters until they’re physically and psychologically ready to use adult seat belt systems (which typically happens between 10 and 12). These suggestions may take a bit of extra work, but they provide a lot of extra safety.

My results of car seat puzzling in the Santa Fe are below. It’s not a complete list, but as with all of my 3 across guides, it’s my goal to make it the most complete on the Internet over time, especially as I get access to more seats. 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.

santafe-publicdomain2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe (DM)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Clek Fllo, Graco Size4Me 65, Diono Radian / RXT.

Clek Fllo, Graco Size4Me 65 (x2).

Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT (x2).

Graco TurboBooster, Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT.

Graco TurboBooster, Diono Radian / RXT (x2).

Tips and Tricks:

The current generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe is available in 2-row “sport” and 3-row long wheelbase versions, with the short wheelbase version clocking in at 185 inches long  (compared to 193 inches in the long version) and 74 inches wide. The width means you’ll have about as much room in the Santa Fe for 3 across installations as you would in most other midsized SUVs and a bit more width than what you’d find in most midsized sedans. However, I always recommend using seat belt installations if at all possible to maximize your space, and that doesn’t change here.

santafe-2010-publicdomain2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Clek Fllo, Graco Size4Me 65, Diono Radian / RXT.

Clek Fllo, Graco Size4Me 65 (x2).

Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT (x2).

Graco TurboBooster, Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT.

Graco TurboBooster, Diono Radian / RXT (x2).

Tips and Tricks:

The previous generation of the Santa Fe is 184 inches long and 74 inches wide, which is almost identical to the current generation. The third row seats, when available, aren’t going to be useful for nearly any car seats, since there’s just not enough room for them to fit well. The 2nd row is much more amenable to car seat installations, and you can fit the usual suspects there if you use seat belts in all seat positions instead of LATCH.

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.

Readers who read this article also read: