While the 2014 Mazda3 redesign looks good on both the sedan and hatchback versions, the automaker's retooling didn't increase legroom over the 2013 model. That caused some problems while installing a rear-facing child-safety seat in the Mazda3 hatch. Our Car Seat Check results apply to both the hatchback and the sedan since the two cars have the same interior dimensions.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
What We Like
The two sets of lower Latch anchors are easy to use thanks to pliable seat cushions that allow quick access. The tether anchors are located in the top third of the seatbacks; the anchor is exposed and easy to reach.
The rear-facing convertible fit well in the Mazda3; we had to move the front passenger seat forward an inch to accommodate the seat, but the tester in the front seat still had plenty of room.
The forward-facing convertible also fit well in the Mazda3's backseat.
What We Don't
To fit the rear-facing infant seat, we had to move the front passenger seat so far forward that the tester's knees were wedged into the glove box.
The Mazda3's rear seat bolsters pushed the high-back booster seat to one side, and the seat belt buckle is recessed into the bottom seat cushion, which can be difficult for kids to use on their own.
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. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here[JN1].
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.