When it comes to finding the suitable car seat for our child, we always want the best, the biggest, and the most advanced. But, there is one crucial, determining factor that you and I tend to forget – the size of your car! Do not make the mistake of buying an expensive and bulky car seat and ending up not being able to use it due to its oversized frame. How to avoid that, you ask? Consider the compact car seats that I am recommending in this Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars Review. You will not regret your purchase!
The Standard Size of Convertible Car Seats
Before we go ahead and check out the best convertible car seat for small cars, we need to equip ourselves with some basic knowledge.
A convertible car seat is a type of car seat for babies that is switchable front and backward. It is suitable for small toddlers. You can continue to use it as your son grows up by switching it from the rear-facing position to a front-facing.
If you are driving a minivan with about 63 inches of leg gap in the back seat, sure, you can indulge in just about any car seat. I am confident it will fit. But, if you are a proud owner of Ford Fiesta or Kia Rio, you have no choice but to be a bit selective.
Usually, the specifications focus on your child’s size or weight. Rarely can we see the dimension fact, unless if we dig a bit deeper?
But, here is info you need to know. In general, the width of most convertible car seats can range from 15 inches and up to 25 inches. As for the height, it can range from 20 and up to 50 inches tall!
For your small cars, try to choose the dimension that hits the low point of the ranges mentioned above.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars
Even though we are focusing on compact convertible car seats for your baby, there are still several important things that you need to consider.
At the end of the day, we do not only want the car seat to fit nicely in your small car, but also provides ample safety protection to your little one.
- The age/weight limit – Besides than looking at the product dimension, you should also make sure that it fits well with the age and weight of your infant.
- The product weight – Choose the one that you think you can manage on your own – in case you have to go to the shop or post office alone with your baby.
- Booster support – You should also consider the booster support. It is an additional cushion that you can install in the car seat so that you child can get an extra height.
- Frame materials – Choose frame materials that are of a high-quality. Aluminum, steel and hard plastic shell are essential elements that can give the protection your child needs.
- 5-point buckles – The convertible car seat should come with adjustable seat belts. The five-point buckle is ideal because it secures your baby nicely in his place. Plus, you should be able to adjust it so that it lies comfortably on his chest and between his thighs. Learn how to install harness correctly from this YouTube tutorial video.
- Adjustable seats – To provide optimum comfort, you should also make sure that the seat is reclinable to several positions. Your child should be able to sit straight to view outside the window and recline if he needs to rest or sleep.
- Types of Installation – Consider whether the car seat supports Latch/Anchor installation or seat belt installation. If you choose wrongly, you might not be able to install it in your vehicle. Would you like to know the proper way to install your purchased car seat? Check out the baby car seat’s installation tips from Parents Central.
Why Should You Buy A Compact Car Seat For Your Small Car?
Buying the right size of convertible car seats come with several special perks. They include:
- You can have multiple kids at the back with each one of them seated securely in their car seats.
- You will enjoy a more lightweight car seat. It will not be as bulky as other bigger car seats. Are you traveling alone with your baby? It will no longer be a hassle!
- It will meet the standard safety requirement of your car. You should give space to your child and air bags inside your vehicle, which is achievable if you install a compact car seat!
- You can also get more space in your vehicle. You can fit more passengers in the back due to the small car seat.
As you can see, it is important to purchase the right car seat that fits well to the size of your vehicle. The next big question that you might have in mind is “how do I choose?”. Easy – just consider one of the best convertible car seats for small cars below!
The Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars Review – My Top Five Pick!
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
I considered Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat as one of the best convertible car seats for compact cars for several solid reasons. Firstly, I find the dimension suits well to the tight space in the backseat of any small cars.
The width of the seat from side to side is only 18.5 inches, and the height is about 27 inches. Even though compact, it can cater to many age of children with weight in the range of 5 to 40 lbs.
I also think that this product is not only great due to its compact size but also because of it feather-light weight. If you are always out and about, carrying and transiting your baby in and off a vehicle, I bet you will love the 12 lbs weight!
Regarding design, it does not look bad either. The cushion boasts solid linen material that is also washable. You will also find the removable head cushion useful as it provides extra support to your son’s neck and head.
The only drawback that I find about Evenflo Tribute LX (as shared by many users in online reviews) is it does not support enough recline positions – it does not lean back enough when set at rear-facing.
- Extremely affordable at below $50
- The cushion is soft and easy to clean
- Comes with extended buckles and 5-point harness
- Supports Latch installation
- Compact and lightweight
- Travel friendly
- Fits well in the middle seat
- The plastic frame can be quite flimsy
- The rear-facing can be too straight for some users
- There are some sharp edges on the handles
Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat
The next best convertible car seat for your small car, say Dodge Neon or Hyundai Sonata, is Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat. At just about $85, let me just say that this car seat is right out affordable and reliable!
It will not break your bank account but at the same time, provide the much-needed protection for your child while you are out and about in your car. Plus, many users have attested that its safety ratings are very satisfying.
It comes with a width of only 17 inches, which is slightly smaller than the first car seat above. And its height is only 24 inches. If you have three little children, you will find it easy to install three of these Cosco Mighty Fit at the backseat!
Another advantage of choosing this brand is that its installation is easy and quick. You can use the hook Latch system to secure the base to the car seat. Once your baby is in the seat, you can adjust the headrest and straps smoothly.
Most importantly, it supports side impact protection with hard shells and safety padding on both sides of the frame. Your seven-month-old baby will find the cushion snug and comfortable!
- Small size – ideal for compact cars
- The pad is removable and washable
- Affordable price tag
- Can support several ages of children
- Adjustable recline for rear mode
- Soft and comfortable cushion
- Comes with a cup holder
- The buckles do not slide smoothly into its handles
- The seat can be quite off level
- A bit hefty at 23 pounds
Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat
If you have extra money to spare and enjoy premium safety standard, additional features, and other padded supports, you might want to give Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat a try!
The Graco Size4Me car seat has passed many rigorous crash tests and comes with several safety features. Some of the security aspects that I find useful are durable built-in harness and energy absorbing padded foam. If you are interested in Graco Car Seat, make sure to read our review on Best Graco Car Seat.
You can rely on this seat to keep your son safe and sound in the case of minor accidents. It is thanks to the 5-point harness and two adjustable buckle positions. It should fit well to any small child with the weight from 4 to 65 lbs.
Other extra features that you will certainly enjoy include the extra cup holder, adjustable headrest, and washing machine washable cushions.
As for the installation, it uses the standard Latch hook system. So, all you need to do is to follow the instruction, run the seat belt to the back of the seat, and secure it to the anchor.
Are you driving a Toyota Prius? It is the best convertible car seat for you. It is compact at 19.3 inches in width and 26 inches in height!
- Premium safety standards
- The padding is shock and impact proof
- Clipping and adjusting the buckle is easy and quick
- Can fit well into tight backseat space
- Installing the car seat is a breeze
- Provides three different levels of reclines
- A bit heavy at 23 pounds
- Does not come with a complete travel system
- The cushion is easily stained
- The strap is too thin and prone to twisting
Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Convertible Car Seat
The next best convertible car seat that is ideal for your small car is Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Convertible Car Seat.
Why? Because it has a width that falls right on the low end of the standard size range, which is at only 18.5 inches. As for the height, it can cater to your taller children as the back seat goes as high as 30 inches.
Besides than being compact and slim, I also love how comfortable the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max is for your little infant. The seat comes with dual side padding. They are sturdy to protect your son but soft enough to make him seat without crying or showing tantrums.
If you are planning a family trip during the summer in your compact car, you will find your baby sits, plays, and sleeps happily in this Maxi-Cosi Pria 85!
As for the design, it features a minimalistic look. It is not flamboyant but does not look dull either.
It comes with several bells and whistles that I think you will appreciate. The chest buckle clip uses a one-of-a-kind magnetic clip. It should reduce the amount of time taken to have your child seated and secured.
Plus, it boasts an Air Protect technology. Meaning, the seat can protect your baby’s head during crashes, thanks to the innovative air cushion system!
- Excellent side impact protection
- The cushion is easily removable and washable
- The harness holders keep the long strap away from your child’s reach
- Small and slim; ideal for compact cars
- Looks expensive and uses high-quality materials
- At 24 pounds, it can be quite heavy to carry around often
- Expensive price tag due to superior safety technology
- The harness can be too tight and painful to pull
Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat is the smallest car seat in this Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars Review!
If you would like to have several inches of space saving, then you will totally appreciate the narrow width of this product (its width is only 16 inches!). With it, you can choose to either install it on the side seat or in the middle seat.
By selecting Diono Radian RXT car seat for your little child, you will still be able to enjoy more space in the back seat, which means you can have extra passengers in your car!
Just like the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 car seat above, you can also install three of these Diono car seats in the back space. It is that compact, and should fit well in your Honda Jazz or two-door Hyundai Accent!
Now, the price tag of $290 might make you cringe, but believe me; it comes with additional and beneficial supports.
For example, the seat itself can cater children with weights between 5 to 80 pounds. There is also a booster pad that is ideal for a bigger kid with a weight of 120 lbs!
Meaning, you can use it for many years to come as your son or daughter grows up – it is a well-worth, one-time investment.
- High-quality steel frame
- Comes with energy-absorbing harness system
- Supports Latch installation method
- The padded cushions feature soft memory foaming
- Offers a cup holder
- Great for traveling as it is foldable to flat position
- The strap tends to wear off and break after sometimes
- The harness is stiff and hard to tighten
- The steel frame makes it a bit heavy at 23 lbs
- The height can be too tall for your small car
As you can see, it is important to consider not only the safest car seat for your precious child but also the one with the perfect size with your vehicle! Purchasing the wrong product will put your investment effort in vain.
All five recommended convertible car seats above are ideal for your compact cars, but the top choice of mine has got to be the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat.
It comes with the perfect small size (Width x Height – 18.5 inches x 27 inches) and still provides standard safety features with its robust and sturdy frame as well as thick padding materials.
The cushion is also comfortable for my child, and in case he spills any drinks or (God Forbid!) vomit in his seat, I can easily remove the cushion and wash it in a washing machine.
Most importantly, the price is very affordable at just about $50. It is reliable, practical, and economical!