For 2013, BMW's compact sedan grew slightly longer and wider and welcomed some new powertrains to the lineup. What hasn't changed much is the 3 Series' fun-to-drive nature and luxurious interior. Despite its compact size, the five-passenger sedan offers plenty of room for two child-safety seats, and installation is a breeze thanks to Latch anchors that top our list of favorites.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
What We Like
The two sets of Latch anchors sit under exposed plastic covers and are among the easiest we've ever used.
The wide, flat seat bottom cushion was great for the booster. After we raised the head restraint, installation was easy and there was plenty of room. The buckles are on stable bases, so kids should have no problem buckling up independently.
The rear-facing convertible was easy to install. We only had to move the front passenger seat forward a tiny bit, but there was still plenty of legroom.
What We Don't
The three tether anchors on the rear shelf were tricky. The opening is small, which necessitated a bit of twisting to connect our forward-facing convertible's tether hook.
The rear-facing infant seat was easy to install, but we had to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate it. An average-size adult will have enough legroom; a taller passenger will need more.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front- passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row.
C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row.
D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.