3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Will Fit in a Kia Forte?

The Kia Forte (and its hatchback version, the Forte5) is one of a small but growing set of compact vehicles sold in the United States. It 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.  How does the Forte compare to the aforementioned vehicles? For one thing, it’s cheaper than most of them, and for another, it holds its own with a range of safety features, including good moderate overlap, side, and roof scores. Its biggest flaw at the moment from a safety perspective is its marginal small overlap score, but Kia will doubtless address that in the future.

I borrowed a Forte this week to see how it would do when it came to installing 3 car seats together across the back row. Given that it’s a small car, I knew I had a challenge on my hands, but I seeing as I’ve fit 3 across even smaller vehicles (e.g., the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent), I felt my odds were good. Before looking at the results, though, it’s always a good idea to review some basic principles 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.

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 Kia Forte. 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.

forte - 2014 - publicdomain2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Kia Forte

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).

Clek Oobr (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 Kia Forte is 171 inches long in the 5-door wagon and 180 inches long in the sedan, and 70 inches wide in both versions. What this means is that you’re looking at a rather typically-sized small car in terms of 3-across space, and that you’ll struggle a bit with front-to-back space when using many seats. Definitely use the seat belts instead of LATCH to have side-to-side space, and be patient with the installations; they are possible.

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.

forte - 2011 - publicdomain2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Kia Forte

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT (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 2010-2013 generation of the Kia Forte is 171 inches long in the 5-door wagon, 178 inches long in the sedan, and 70 inches wide in both versions. I don’t think it’s possible to fit any car seats in the coupe besides in the front passenger seat, and since there isn’t a reliable way of disabling the front airbag, that’s not an option either.

What this means is that once again, you’re looking at a rather typically-sized small car in terms of 3-across space, and that you’ll struggle a bit with front-to-back space when using many seats. Definitely use the seat belts instead of LATCH to have side-to-side space, and be patient with the installations; they are possible.

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 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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