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October 3, 2020

Best Car Seats for Small Cars (Guide 2020)

Small family cars don’t have to be challenging to fit for most car seat models. Do you drive a car that resembles a standard tiny clown car? You already know how difficult it can be to find the best car seats for small cars that will work for you. Yes, the struggle is definitely real.

Children's car seats can be bulky and large, especially when installed rear-facing. We’ve been there. If you’ve been looking for the best car seats for small cars, like we were, you’ll want to take a look at our top choices.

Best Car Seats for Small Cars

Best Car Seats for Small Cars

List of Car Seats for Small Cars that is Also Comfortable and Convenient.

  • Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
  • Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat

Best Car Seats for Small Cars in 2020

Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian 3RXT All in One Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Diono is the only car seat brand that launched the original “three across” campaign. It’s specifically made to take up little space in the small car so three car seats can sit side-by-side in the back. It’s suitable for a wide variety of family cars and can be used forward-facing or rear-facing. This car seat is suitable and safe for use by kids who weigh at least 5 pounds. It can be safely used rear-facing until your baby is 45 pounds.

Forward-facing, it simply works as a baby car seat through 65 pounds. After that, it converts to a toddler booster that’s safe for your children who weigh up to 120 pounds. This unit is approved for plane travel and is available in different colors. The harness system and car seat are both adjustable to suit your baby. When not being used, it easily folds flat for convenient and secure storage.

Reasons We Like It

Long Period Of Use: You’ll get years of use good out of this. You can even put your child in it for the first time when you’re leaving a hospital. It’ll still be appropriate for your baby to use seven years later when you’re driving them to kindergarten.

Approved for Plane Travel: This unit is great for daily usage in your small car. It’s also approved for use on plane seats by the FAA. This means you won’t need to purchase an extra car seat when you travel. This seat is compact and fits well in an airplane seat and through small aisles. It’s worth noting that this car seat is heavier than most. If you do choose to use this unit while traveling, you’ll have to look into using a good cart with it.

A Steel Alloy Frame: To beef up the security and stability, Diono Radian has used a durable steel alloy frame. Not compromising on baby's comfort to ensure optimal safety and security, Diono Radian has also made sure this unit is heavily padded. A unique newborn insert is included with the car seat to provide little ones with even more comfort.

EPS Energy-Absorbing liner Foam: EPS energy-absorbing liner foam is made to take the bulk of the impact force. It helps to absorb and disrupt any force, which better protects your baby in case of an accident. While comfortable, this unit also serves to give great side-impact protection as well.

Things to Keep in Mind

This Unit Is Quite Heavy: The advanced steel alloy frame helps to create a sturdy and substantial infant car seat that works to keep your little one safe. It does add a large amount of weight to the convertible car seat though, so you’ll need to factor that into your smart choice. This is particularly true if you are going to moving it frequently or plan to travel with this car seat. In addition to weighing heavy, this infant seat is unevenly heavy. It won’t free-stand on its own when not properly installed. To minimize dirt and sand exposure, always prop it against something when it comes to moving it.

No Armrests: This car seat is narrow, which is great for small cars. One of the main compromises you’ll make, though, is that this unit has no armrests. This may be a big issue for long rides where your baby may need a nap. It may also be a problem if you have multiple kids in the back seat.


  • Unit Weight: 28 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.14 by 16.93 by 28.35 (inches)
  • Child Minimum Weight Support: 5 pounds
  • Child Maximum Weight Support: 120 pounds

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat

Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat

This unit can be used both forward-facing and rear-facing options. It is more suitable for children who weigh about 14 pounds. They can continue to effectively rear-face until they weigh around 40 pounds. Older children can use this narrow car seat forward-facing until they weigh approximately 85 pounds. A FlexTech system in this unit helps provide your baby with great side-impact protection while an easy-to-adjust harness system helps give a good fit.

This child car seat meets all the safety standards and usually comes with a one-year limited warranty. It’s available in multiple different colors and the cover can be easily removed and washed as required. Afterward, this can also be placed in your dryer, making clean-up easy and very quick.

Reasons We Like It

LATCH System Is Easy to Using: The LATCH anchors system helps keep installation super fast and simple. The tether clips give an easy-to-use buckle that’s used in the almost same way as a safety seat belt buckle. If your small car is equipped with the LATCH anchor points, proper fit or installation can take a matter of minutes.

Offers Different Recline Positions: The right recline position for this car seat can make installation easier when in rear-facing. It can also make it more easier to get your baby in and out, as well. At the same time, it can also provide a safe and comfortable ride for your child. This unit offers three in-built recline positions to suit your baby and space needs.

Comfortable Car Seats for Long Trips or Naps: This convertible car seat has an adjustable headrest support and harness system to help give your little one a proper fit. Besides, the padding provides a cozy and more comfortable ride. A cushioned headrest feature encourages naps and relaxation. All the material used on this seat is also comfortable and not so prone to collecting sweat or dampness. Made to be machine washable, the fabric of the car seat is easy to care for.

Uses Built-in Harness System: Built-in hook harness strap holders help to make fastening your little one in just a little easier. There’s one on each side of the baby car seat. Just open the harness and simply latch it onto the strap holder. After you’ve placed your child in the seat and have gotten them all situated, strap them as usual. With the built-in harness holders, you don’t necessarily need to look for the harness trapped under your toddler's body. It also makes buckling in faster and comfortable for your baby.

Things to Keep in Mind

Not Suitable for Your Newborns: This unit is suitable for toddlers who weigh at least 14 pounds. Though it’s considered safe for rear-facing, you’ll probably want an infant car seat during those first few weeks. You’ll need to use a different unit if you’re searching for one to go from infancy through childhood.

Not a Much Comfortable for Taller Children: Though this car seat is rated for a greater amount of weight, it’s not an ideal option for a taller child. This is especially prominent when traveling rear-facing, even when it is fully reclined. If the child is on the taller side of the spectrum, you may need to go for a different model.


  • Unit Weight: 23 pounds
  • Dimensions: 29.7 by 20.8 by 19 (inches)
  • Child Minimum Weight Support: 14 pounds
  • Child Maximum Weight Support: 85 pounds

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