Car Safety

Car Seats, Isofix, and How to Fit 3 Car Seats Across the Back

If your family currently consists of more than two young children or is due to grow in number beyond a tidy four people, then child car seats are something you probably feel you spend far too much time thinking about.

And if you’re thinking of car seats then you’re thinking of cars. Specifically, which models are going to comfortably accommodate the number of car seats your brood requires.

But you can’t go around putting all your car seats in your potential new vehicle every time you take one out for a test drive, can you? Well, maybe you could but it wouldn’t be much fun.

A few months ago, Belinda reviewed the latest Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed which she LOVED! Her feedback was glowing but some of the comments we received were that it wasn’t a true seven seater AND it didn’t fit three child car seats across the back seat.

And that got us thinking. You know what’s coming right?

So we spoke with our friends at Mitsubishi and asked them if we could have access to ALL their cars [well, maybe not all] to test how many of them would comfortably accommodate three car seats in the back. When they said ‘heck yeah!’ we then contacted our resident child restraint expert Pete Miller and asked him to come on down with all his seats and the challenge was ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!

The aim: How to fit 3 car seats in the back and what configuration worked best for each vehicle.

It was a HUGE day. The reason it’s worth every cent to have your car seat professionally fitted is you know it’s done right which means your treasures are safe but also, it’s a lot of work. Pete was gliding in out of those backseats and boots like a classical dancer though. He’s quite agile, just quietly and this bloke really knows his stuff.


[mc_block_title custom_title=”Understanding Isofix”]

Here’s the Isofix® connectors below for the Infa Secure Kompressor II in action. The red indicator lines tell you there’s not enough tension on the connection. The display will turn green when you get the tension right. Make sure each of the two indicators are both green before you use the seat.

Remember that Isofix® might be something funky and new for car seats but it doesn’t necessarily mean your car seats will be any safer. Isofix® compatible car seats must always be able to be installed using your car seat belts anyway and sometimes this can work better than the Isofix® connections!



[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 1.  Triton”]

First up was the Triton or Tritey as he’s affectionately known. Tritey is a boy. He’s a practical dual-cab ute that has two anchor points in the back seat. Perfect for a rear-facing baby capsule and a Britax full seat. This car comes with two ISO Fix child seat mountings and 2 anchor points which sit just behind the back seat.

Left: Britax Safe n Sound Trufix Isofix® / Right: Britax Safe n Sound Unity Infant Carrier with Isofix®


[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 2. ASX”]

Next was the ASX [which is code for A SEXY Car]

This car was our little dark-horse.

First up, it’s a seriously hot looking car. I know I’m not supposed to be talking about the actual car but I love it. I even texted hubby a photo as a not-so subtle hint that this could be our next vehicle purchase… maybe.

So we started with two standard child seats a rear facing capsule for the baby and one for the toddler and then thought ‘let’s see if we can get three in there’.

Man, were we surprised!

This gorgeous, sexy car can fit three forward facing child seats and two forward facing and a rear facing.

It’s like the PERFECT family car.

And they can all look at the sky through the panoramic GLASS roof that will keep them calm and peaceful during the trip… [ok that may not happen but YOU could look to the heavens as you’re counting to ten to stop yourself from going full Rambo at the traffic lights]

Left: Infa Secure Vario Booster, Right: Britax Safe n Sound Compaq (rear facing mode
Left: Infa Secure Kompressor II, Centre: Britax Safe n Sound Compaq, Right: InfaSecure Vario Booster.
Left: InfaSecure Arlo Infant Carrier, Centre: Safe n Sound Compaq, Right: Infa Secure Vario Booster

[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 3. Lancer”]

When I was young[er] all the cool people drove a Lancer. I think it’s the hatch back and sporty nose that makes them look zippy. Now, they’re a great family car. Well priced, four doors and enough room to comfortably fit two child seats.

They are fitted with child restraint compatible seatbelts or ALR [automatic locking restraint] seatbelts which means that once you’ve pulled them out all the way a lock is activated that only allows it retract. These are different to ELR [emergency locking restraints] which all cars are fitted with.

And they’re still zippy.

Left: Britax Safe n Sound Hi Liner, Right: Infa Secure Cosi Compact.

[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 4.  Pajero”]

The Pajero is one mighty vehicle. So it will be no surprise to you that this car will happily accommodate four big people and three little people with ease.

The 6th and 7th seats in this beast are easily accessible through the back and passengers can simply walk in [albeit hunched] around each side of the seat

Mitsubishi Pajero Car Seats
Left: Infa Secure Vario Booster, Centre: Britax Safe n Sound Compaq,  Right: Infa Secure Kompressor II Isofix

[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 5.  Pajero Sport”]

The Pajero Sport is one amazing vehicle and does a fabulous job of keeping you up high on the road and feeling safe as houses!

The Pajero Sport has 2 ISOFIX mounting points in the outboard seating positions and 3 child restraint anchorages in the roof.

The 60/40 split fold rear seat worked a treat for keeping master 4 in his seat but allowing room for bulkier/larger items to be loaded in the boot with ease.

The Pajero Sport is also fitted with child restraint compatible seatbelts or ALR [automatic locking restraint] seatbelts ensuring that once you’ve pulled them out all the way a lock is activated that only allows it retract. Great for ensuring the tension on the belts never increases!

The Infasecure Quattro Treo is perfect from 0 to 4 years and the 60/40 split fold rear seat allows for maximum flexibility with boot space.
Top: Infasecure Evolve (Aqua & Purple) Bottom Left: Infasecure Quattro Treo Bottom Right: Infasecure Quattro Trio Purple and Infasecure Vario Treo Grey

And we’ve saved the best for last! 

[mc_block_title custom_title=”Car 6.  Outlander”]

Now we’re in Bel’s favourite Outlander Exceed… and we’re going to bust some myths people.

We heard a lot of you say that it’s not large enough to fit three seats across the backseat and it isn’t a genuine seven seater … ahem!

Here it is with FIVE kids all safely seated in there. Three young ones in harnessed in seats AND two teens in the back-back… with plenty of leg-room too!


Left: Infa Secure Cosi Compact, Centre: Britax Safe n Sound Compaq, Right: Britax Safe n Sound Trufix Isofix

[mc_block_title custom_title=”The Final Word”]

What WE learned from this exercise is that there needs to be a shift in thinking when considering family cars and child seats. Instead of buying a car to fit your seats perhaps flip it and buy a car to meet your needs [size, fuel economy, budget] and then tailor your child seats around that.

We were amazed at the size range of child seats available which all meet Australian safety standards. Biggest does not always mean best and as you can see with some clever configuring [just like tetris!] many of the popular mid-size vehicles should safely accommodate three child seats across the back.

Remember, if you’re looking to see how to fit 3 car seats then the choice of seat will make a BIG difference to your overall outcome. There’s a stack of narrow seats on the market especially aimed at helping fit 3 car seats in a tight space.

Read the full Mitsubishi story here.

Now, a couple of disclaimers.

If you’ve got three child seats across the back, the only way to access the 6th and 7th seat is through the boot. Which is totally doable when you’re thirteen years old but probably not so easy if you’re thirty plus. So asking the grandparents to hop in the back is not going to cut it.

However, if you only have two child seats in the back, then the 6th and 7th seat is able to access from the back door and totally possible for grown-ups to sit there without throwing their hip out.

 The Car Seats we used:


2016-found-it-day-10-questinoCongratulations you found it!

Today’s prize in our 12 Days of Christmas is 4 x $50 Caltex Woolworths Petrol Cards thanks to Mitsubishi.

To enter, simply answer the question in the graphic above (the answers in this article) and click here to complete the entry form and you could be one of today’s 4 winners!


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  1. Avatar of Blossom

    Yes, they fit in some cars but are hard up against each other. Not easy to fit by any stretch of the imagination. Even some experts think that.

  2. Avatar of AmyMcC

    What a timely article for my family!
    I’ve just been googling narrow infant car seat/capsules the last few days as baby 3 joins our family end of October.
    We have two narrow profile car seats already that miss 2 and miss 4 are in already in our 99 Honda Civic, and yesterday tried out the fit with our Safe N Sound Unity capsule.
    It does fit. BUT we have decided that in an accident which ever of our other kids was beside the capsule would likely be killed or very badly injured by the capsules big plastic handle thing in the middle as the sides project out over the side of the car seat next to it.

    Not worth risking in our opinion!
    We are aiming to have saved enough to replace the Civic with a newer used car by the end of the year, but in the meantime have to get a new baby seat that won’t endanger our children!

    It’s definitely interesting the topic of three car seats across, because some cars will only ever fit two, while others will fit three, as long as they are narrow profile and still other cars will fit three of almost any car seat!!

  3. Avatar of Christina Chambers
    Christina ChambersReply

    I have 4 kids under 6. 2 booster seats, a toddler forward facing and a capsule for our latest addition. All of them need to be accessible so I can do up seatbelts suggestions?
    Plus would like enough boot room to fit the pram, Dads big toolbox (tradie) and school/kinder bags

  4. Avatar of Chad

    So does the Pajero sport fit 3 car seats across the back? Your article doesn’t really make this clear.

    • Avatar of Mum Central

      Hi Chad. Sorry just saw this. The Pajero Sport really only comfortably fits 2 car seats on the back otherwise they’d be hard up against each other. This is due to the back seat design due to the high wheel arches. By far the Outlander is best suited for 3 across the back. Hope that helps.

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