3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Will Fit a Lexus NX?

The Lexus NX, or “Nimble Crossover,” is Lexus’ newest offering to the growing compact luxury crossover market, and is a small and sleek SUV with an impressive array of safety features. It features good frontal overlap scores, good side scores and roof scores, and even comes with front crash prevention systems in higher trim levels. Classified by the IIHS as a mid-sized luxury SUV, the NX competes with more established offerings in the 5-passenger luxury crossover market like the Volvo XC60, BMW X3, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, and its larger stablemate, the Lexus RX, among families interested in transporting up to 5-passengers without the heft and length of a 3-row luxury vehicle.

Because luxury-minded parents of small children are likely to cross shop the NX with the aforementioned SUVs, I wanted to see how competitive it was from a 3 across standpoint. In other words, how easy is it to install 3 car seats across the back row of a Lexus NX? Is it even possible, given the NX’s platform similarities to the Toyota Rav4, a vehicle notorious for overlapping seat belts and impossible 3 across installations?

Unfortunately, it’s not. I’ll go into why in a moment, as well as information on which options you do have for car seat installations in the NX. Before that, however, here are some best practice recommendations regardless of how many car seats you’re installing, and which vehicles you’re installing them inside.

The safest configuration we know of when it comes to vehicle safety is rear-facing. I recommend rear-facing your children long past age 1, which is the legal requirement in most states, and going well into 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). We want our little ones in the safest positions we know of for as long as possible to give them the greatest advantages in 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 Lexus NX. It’s my goal to make this list the most thorough 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 courtesy of yours truly.

lexus nx - 2015 - ccd32015, 2016 Lexus NX

Guaranteed 3 across installations: None!

The Lexus NX is unfortunately not capable of safely installing 3 car seats across the back row, due to the ridiculously overlapping seat belts in the back seat between the center and driver’s side outboard seats. This is also the case with the Toyota Rav4, upon which the Lexus NX is based, and all signs point to this continuing to be a “feature” of the Rav4, despite Toyota’s continued insistence that it is a 5-person vehicle.

While overlapping seat belts in and of themselves don’t automatically exclude a vehicle from 3 across capabilities (the Highlander has overlapping belts but is still a decent 3 across vehicle, for example), when the belts overlap to a significant degree (as in the current generation Corolla, Rogue, or CX-5), 3 across becomes an impossibility for safety reasons. I’ve included 2 car seat arrangements that will work easily given the available space in the NX, but until Lexus corrects this, the NX will remain a 2-across vehicle.

Clek Fllo (x2).

Clek Foonf (x2).

Britax Advocate ClickTight (x2).

Britax Boulevard ClickTight (x2).

Britax Marathon ClickTight (x2).

Britax Advocate G4.1 (x2).

Britax Boulevard G4.1 (x2).

Britax Marathon G4.1 (x2).

Diono Rainier (x2).

Diono Pacifica (x2).

Diono Radian RXT (x2).

Diono Radian R120 (x2).

Diono Radian R100 (x2).

Graco Size4Me 65 (x2).

Graco Contender (x2).

Combi Coccoro (x2).

Tips and Tricks:

The current and only generation of the Lexus NX is 180 inches long and 73 inches wide, which means you’ll have a good amount of space for any 2 car seats, though not 3 (see above). Use your seat belts to get as much space as possible for the wider seats, and remember that you can only install 2 seats in the outboard positions (i.e., behind the driver and behind the passenger seats) or in the center and passenger outboard positions. You cannot install 2 seats at the driver and center positions due to the overlapping belt issue.

If you find the information on car safety, recommended car seats, and car seat reviews on this car seat blog helpful, you can shop through this Amazon link for any purchases, car seat-related or not. Canadians can shop through this link for Canadian purchases.

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