3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Fit a Volkswagen Golf / GTI?

The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most popular European small cars sold today in the United States. Sold collectively as the Golf, Golf GTI, Golf SportWagen, Golf R, and e-Golf, the Golf competes with sedans and wagons like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Kia Soul, Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda 3, Dodge Dart, Toyota Prius, Scion xB, and Subaru Crosstrek. But how does it stand up to them?

Well, it tends to come in on the cheap end compared to many of them, and besides that, it comes with a wide range of safety features, including good moderate overlap, side, and roof scores. In particular, the Golf currently features the best level of side impact protection you can buy in a 2015 small car, per my survey here. It even features a good small overlap score! What’s not to love?

Given how loyal Golf drivers are of their little hatchbacks, I made it my goal to figure out if it was a viable vehicle for families when it came to installing 3 car seats in a row across the back seats. I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle since it’s one of the smallest cars on the road, but seeing as I’ve been able to fit 3 car seats across in some really small cars (e.g., the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent), I was willing to give it a try. Before seeing what did and didn’t work, though, it’s a good idea to check out some of the basic elements of car seat safety.

First of all, try to rear-face your kids as long as you can (ideally until 4!), before forward-facing them in harnessed convertible or combination seats (ideally until 8!). Rear-facing offers the greatest protection for kids of all ages, and there are a number of seats (such as the Fllo / Foonf) that will let them rear-face through the preschool years. Once they outgrow their harnessed seats, I suggest keeping them in high-back boosters until they’re physically and psychologically ready to use adult seat belt systems (which typically happens between 10 and 12). What we want to do is keep our kids restrained in the safest positions for as long as possible to increase their odds of surviving crash forces.

With these ideas in mind, I got out my current crop of infant, convertible, combination, and booster seats, and set out to find which ones would make 3 across combinations feasible in the Volkswagen Golf. I found several good options and a few great ones. 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.

golf - mk7 - publicdomain2015, 2016, 2017 Volkswagen Golf / GTI / e-Golf (MK7, or VII)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT, Diono Radian / RXT.

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

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Fllo, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The current generation of the Volkswagen Golf is just under 168 inches long and just under 71 inches wide. It’s definitely a small car, but you can fit a surprisingly wide range of car seats inside it, especially if you use some of the seats recommended above. It’s essential to use seat belts when attempting tight installs in a vehicle this narrow, as you simply don’t have much room to play with in that back seat.

Front to back space will also be a challenge, and you might want to consider my comparison of which popular convertible seats take up the most and least room. For example, if you’d like to use one of the Radians, you’ll definitely want to consider the angle adjuster, or you’re not going to have much front-passenger space, and it’ll be a less than enjoyable experience for tall drivers or passengers.

golf - 2010 - publicdomain2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Volkswagen Golf / GTI (MK6, or Typ 5K)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian R120 (x3).

Diono Radian R100 (x3).

Diono Radian RXT (x3).

Chicco KeyFit 30 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Clek Fllo, Diono Radian / RXT, Diono Radian / RXT.

Chicco KeyFit 30Clek Fllo, Chicco KeyFit 30.

Tips and Tricks:

The ’10-’14 generation of the Volkswagen Golf is 165 inches long (166 in the GTI) and 70 inches wide across various trim levels. It’s a bit shorter and a bit narrower than the succeeding Golf generation, in other words, which makes it an even more difficult vehicle to work with when it comes to 3 across installations. However, you can still make them work as long as you’re willing to use seat belts and narrow seats.

Once again, achieving the necessary front-to-back space will be your biggest challenge once you figure out seats that are narrow enough to fit next to each other across the back row.

As with the succeeding generation, you might want to consider my comparison of which popular convertible seats take up the most and least room. For example, if you’d like to use one of the Radians, you’ll definitely want to consider the angle adjuster, or you’re not going to have much front-passenger space, and it’ll be a less than enjoyable experience for tall drivers or passengers.

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.

You Might Also Like: