The GMC Acadia, along with its General Motors twins the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and now discontinued Saturn Outlook, is one of the most popular large SUVs sold today in the United States. It competes with other behemoths like the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia, and Nissan Armada among families interested in very large SUVs, whether for towing, luggage, or large family-hauling capabilities.
The Lambda SUVs (i.e., the Acadia and its twins) feature good safety scores and in the most recent years, a modicum of front crash prevention features. However, what I was most interested in was learning how many different combinations of car seats I could fit 3 across in them. As a result, I borrowed an Acadia from a friend this weekend and got to work. Before looking at the results, though, it’s worth reviewing which kinds of seats are appropriate for kids at different age ranges.
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). The overriding goal is safety, which comes from using certain kinds of seats at certain times.
The good news with the Acadia is that since it’s as wide as most minivans, it’s a lot easier to find 3 across configurations that work than 3 across configurations that don’t. My results for puzzling (installing) 3 car seats across in the GMC Acadia are below. The list isn’t complete, but it’s my goal to make it as complete as possible over time. 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.
2017 GMC Acadia
Guaranteed 3 across installations:
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 GMC Acadia
Guaranteed 3 across installations:
Clek Fllo (x3).
Clek Foonf (x3).
Tips and Tricks:
The current and only generation of the GMC Acadia is 201 inches long and 78 inches wide, which means you should have a much easier time than most in fitting the majority of car seats in 3 across configurations. However, there are a few things to consider when trying for 3 across configurations in a 3 row SUV like the Acadia.
First of all, if you have a 3 across setup in the 2nd row, it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to access the 3rd row. You might want to install only a pair of seats in the 2nd row and then another 2 or 3 in the 3rd row if you need to install or use more than 3 car seats on a regular basis.
Second, the biggest challenge in 3 across setups in the 2nd row will be fitting a pair of seats on the driver and center vehicle seats, as there’s a 60/40 split to deal with. Once you overcome that, just about any car seat will fit on the passenger end.
Third, there’s only one top tether anchor available in the 3rd row for forward-facing seats, which means that you won’t want to have more than one forward-facing seat at a time in the 3rd row if at all possible (see here for why tethering forward-facing seats is essential).
Remember, as always, to use seat belt installations instead of LATCH to maximize available space.
A reader shared that a Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Rainier (x2) combination will not work in the 2nd row due to the rigid belt buckles in the center position; they make it too difficult to install the Rainiers.
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.