Plenty of small families flock to the compact crossover class for a comfortable, capable vehicle to safely haul the kids and all their gear. The redesigned-for- 2013 Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular crossovers in the compact segment. Easy-to-access Latch anchors and a wide, flat seat meant this crossover handled two child-safety seats without a problem.
The RAV4 only seats five passengers this year, however. The optional third row was dropped for 2013.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
What We Like
It was easy to access the two sets of Latch anchors. Although they sit about an inch into the seat bight, reclining the seatback made them more accessible.
The buckles are on stable bases, so kids in boosters should have no trouble buckling up independently.
There was plenty of room for our rear-facing infant and convertible seats. They installed easily, and we didn't need to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate them.
What We Don't
The three tether anchors on the seatbacks are nestled in slits in the fabric. Because they're set rather deeply and there's not enough clearance around the hooks, connection was complicated.
After removing the headrest, the forward-facing convertible fit well on the seat. Although we had no trouble connecting to the lower Latch anchors, the top tether took a while to use.
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 when available.
C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.
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.