[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 26, 2004
2043 posts
184 upvotes
Toronto

Car Seats

I'm trying to fit three car seats in my Pontiac Vibe 2009 GT. So far I have two Diono Radian RXT. One for my 7 year old the other for my 5 year old.
I'm trying to fit a rear facing seat for my third child (12 months) and would like to purchase either.

Clek Foonf or a Diono Radian RXT so that I can fit three across.

Wondering if either would work?
Which retailer has the best return policy where I can try one of them and if it doesn't work I can return them?
11 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
1689 posts
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Ottawa
I don't know if it has changed post-pandemic, but several retailers (ex: Toys r Us, Westcoast Kids) let you take the display model out to test in your car.
Member
May 31, 2017
321 posts
87 upvotes
And if you can't find a store to do that, Clek (if you buy directly from them) used to take returns for a $10 or so restocking fee.

Not sure if that has changed with covid.
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Jun 13, 2010
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GTA
Did you measure the remaining distance between the two installed seats and compare that to the width of the ones that you want to buy?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 26, 2004
2043 posts
184 upvotes
Toronto
tew wrote: Did you measure the remaining distance between the two installed seats and compare that to the width of the ones that you want to buy?
Yes but the diono ones I have look different and may have been discontinued. Width seems fine but rear facing not sure if there is enough space for the front seat on the new ones.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 21, 2004
8516 posts
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IIRC retailers do not allow returns on car seats (in case you get into an accident with them). They do not want that liability on them. Most I believe will have a tester for you to take out to the car. I HIGHLY sugguest you do that.

I've had just over 20 car seats come through my possession over the past 7 years and the process of fitting them 3 across is not simple.

You have a Vibe which is not a particularly big car. It'll be a squeeze but hopefully you can do it. We have been successful in fitting 3 Clek Fllos across my wife's STI BUT we are using 3 Clek Fllos. They are installed using seatbelts and there's <0.5cm gap left between the door and the 3 seats total. They also MUST be installed from driver side to passenger side when forward facing. You cannot install them from the passenger side first. It took me a while the first time I tried doing it until I figured out a system.

The Dionos and Cleks are 17" across which is as narrow as they get which is a good start. Do note that there'll be specific nuances you may have to work around such as the height of the base of the seats, where they bolsters are, whether your car belts buckles have straps, where your car door arm rests sit, etc. You may have some interferences that you'll have to work around that may be incompatible with your seats.

You will 99% guaranteed have to install all 3 seats using seatbelts. UAS anchors are not far enough towards the doors on either side to allow you to install 3 across. You'll need to install using seatbelts to give you the extra inches on each side and even then it may not work.

You may NOT want to get another Radian or a Foonf. The Radians have a long length footprint because they're designed to be used as a highback booster. In rear facing position unless you're short legged, it'll likely be too long and hit your front seats. The Foonf sits on a raised base with rigid UAS latches. The raised base will likely cause the same front seat interference issue in rear facing position. The rigid UAS will also not work with 3 across and be a continued hindrance. You may be better with the Foonf.

If you cannot get 3x convertibles across installed, you may be able to try using a booster (or 2) for your 7 and 5 year olds (min 4 & >40lbs). You may be able to find boosters that are narrower and have less interferance issues. However, I've found that they are harder to buckle and often have issues with spacing for the car buckles when going 3 across. Interestingly enough, I find the cheaper boosters better for 3 across. The cheap plastic is easier to work with. High end ones like the Clek's are actually >17" widths and have rigid UAS latches so they don't fit at all.

Good luck!
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2010
1442 posts
413 upvotes
I drive a Vibe as well and with the 3/4, middle seat it's just not possible to get 3 car seats in (at least none that we tried). Is your 7 year old extremely small? It's possible to do two car seats + one booster seat and most 7 year olds are well into booster seat height/weights.
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Jul 5, 2004
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Can your 7 year old use a booster seat?
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May 21, 2012
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Burlington
Are you looking for a long term solution for this vehicle? Your 7 year old may be getting too tall for the Radian, depending on his/her growth curve. Unfortunately, adding a booster to a 3 across tends to make it more difficult as you need space to buckle the booster. Something like the Chicco MyFit may be better for the 7 year old to stay harnessed and pass down the Radian to the youngest. However, I have no idea if those three seats would actually fit/install correctly in your vehicle. It would probably be a good idea to seek out a CPST (AKA car seat tech) that has good experience with 3 across combinations (and may even have seats available for fitting tests). Clek also maintains a fit database and may be able to tell you if three Cleks would fit in your vehicle. While I'm not advocating purchasing three Cleks, it may give you an idea if three across in your vehicle is possible to do safely.

I googled pictures of the backseat of your vehicle. The middle seat is fairly flat and the seatbelts don't overlap. Those are both good things when trying for 3 across. However, I'm seeing 43.7 inches as the "hip room" across the back seat. Can you measure your car and see if that is correct? If so, then you cannot get 3 across. Even three 17 inch Diono or Clek seats needs 17 * 3 = 51 inches.
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Nov 13, 2010
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Scarborough
Good luck op

I’ve recently used 3 car seats in my corolla haha. 1 car seat in middle for 3 yr old and 2 infant seats on sides. Its tight but doable as we only take kids for their immunization
Otherwise these days stay home in pandemic so we manage. Best of luck
Jr. Member
Aug 26, 2011
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What car seat are you using in the Corolla?

Thanks!
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Nov 13, 2010
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DoesltHot wrote: What car seat are you using in the Corolla?

Thanks!
1 x Graco snugride 35 (travel system from Walmart) for infant
1 x Safety 1st onboard 35 LT (travel system from walmart)
1 x safety 1st toddler seat (Alpha omega 80) also from Walmart
Infant bucket seats on sides with toddler in the middle

Its tight but enough for us as kids stayin home mostly.(not going anywhere in pandemic anyway other than dr office for vaccinations) so its doable for us. (Can’t afford minivans and related expenses/stuff anyway).

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