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Discussion Starter #1
Any paciifca owners out there have success with putting three highback or harness boosters (combination of both or with one convertible is ok too) across the 3rd row? I know they would have to be installed using seatbelts and maybe tethers rather than LATCH, which is ok with us.

We have been going back and forth between buying the Pacifica and the VW Atlas and we honestly can’t agree which would be better for 5 car seats/boosters (we have 4 children right now but might have one more baby while owning this next car). I thought minivans would be self evidently best for maximum car seat installations but the more I read about this issue the less sure I am.

(Yes, we could try three across with the 8 seater middle bench and two in the back but I read most car seats installed in the center 2nd row seat on the Pacifica impede the easy tilt functiion of the outboard seats. So we’d like to be sure we could do three in the back as an option anyway).

I replied on an old thread about this topic but want to start a new thread too in case it catches someone’s eye. Thanks for your insights!
 

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I’ve done three boosters in the back but the one in the middle I had to use a much smaller one (bubble bum). Outside ones were standard graco boosters. Little effort making sure everyone’s clipped but all worked out and felt like all were safe and secure.
 

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Are you really sure you want an SUV with having 5 kids...???

The Atlas can only place two car seats in the 3rd row, and you'll be forced to place remaining three in the 2nd row.
In the Pacifica, if you can squeeze three car seats in the third row, then you can use the remaining two seats in the center and driver side 2nd row seats, leaving the passenger side second row stowed in permanently for easier ingress and egress.
In addition, you already know that with small kids come a lot more baggage while traveling. With all your interior space used up with car seats and kids (I know how quickly it fills up...:D), you'll need more space in your cargo which the Pacifica has way better than Atlas....and you can use the stow n' go space for storage as well (You won't be stowing those seats with car seats installed). Any car's interior will feel really congested after fitting several car seats. You'll feel a lot better if you have a walkway in the middle or side with the minivan.
Kids and car doors do not mate well. Sliding doors are your friend here.
There is simply no way you can convince yourself practically that an SUV is much better than a minivan in this scenario. However, if you really like an Atlas and driving it makes you feel better, sure go ahead, accept the compromises and there's nothing stopping you. After all life is full of compromises anyway.

I'm sure you'd probably have seen this review which the Atlas wins.
https://www.cars.com/articles/2017-chrysler-pacifica-vs-2018-volkswagen-atlas-he-said-she-said-1420700957054/
 

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Any paciifca owners out there have success with putting three highback or harness boosters (combination of both or with one convertible is ok too) across the 3rd row? I know they would have to be installed using seatbelts and maybe tethers rather than LATCH, which is ok with us.

We have been going back and forth between buying the Pacifica and the VW Atlas and we honestly can't agree which would be better for 5 car seats/boosters (we have 4 children right now but might have one more baby while owning this next car). I thought minivans would be self evidently best for maximum car seat installations but the more I read about this issue the less sure I am.

(Yes, we could try three across with the 8 seater middle bench and two in the back but I read most car seats installed in the center 2nd row seat on the Pacifica impede the easy tilt function of the outboard seats. So we'd like to be sure we could do three in the back as an option anyway).

I replied on an old thread about this topic but want to start a new thread too in case it catches someone's eye. Thanks for your insights!
Not exactly what you were looking for, but I couldn't resist posting the link to a photo of a van with lots of carseats.
https://www.pacificaforums.com/forum/504378-post21.html

I assume the 3rd row carseats or boosters in the photo must be seatbelted in as opposed to using the LATCH system. I don't know what the rules on child seats are, but at some point your oldest child might not need a carseat. A minivan with sliding doors makes getting kids into carseats so much easier. My four children are out of carseats, but I really liked having a van with young kids. The older ones sat in the back and the younger ones sat in the middle.

If you end up with an 8 passenger van and want the baby in the center of the second row, here is a link with a suggestion for car seats.
https://www.pacificaforums.com/forum/548343-post15.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’ve done three boosters in the back but the one in the middle I had to use a much smaller one (bubble bum). Outside ones were standard graco boosters. Little effort making sure everyone’s clipped but all worked out and felt like all were safe and secure.
Thanks! The Bubble bum wouldn't work for us (and they are changing recommendations for the safety of those apparently...) but that does help with a sense of the width potential!
 

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Thanks! The Bubble bum wouldn't work for us (and they are changing recommendations for the safety of those apparently...) but that does help with a sense of the width potential!
It may be possible to find a medium set that might go three across if you needed to always have them in place. I just needed it for a one-off so used what I had handy. Specifically the two I had on the sides were these:

AFFIX? Youth Booster Car Seat with Latch System | gracobaby.com
 

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Thanks for that info!

I did see that picture before posting and the kid in the back middle isn't in a booster so it's still a mystery! She also didn't say one way or the other if that configuration, with three convertible car seats in the center row, impeded the use of Easy Tilt - which is actually our main requirement for a vehicle. So if we can't reliably use that feature we won't buy. It is now recommended that children should be in boosters (preferably the high back kind) until at least 10, probably older. And they keep inching up all these recommendations every year, which is why it is obnoxious so many car companies haven't caught up with that changing reality. Wherever a child passenger could be seated a car/seat booster of some kind should fit/be accommodated.

The Pacifica is decent on this issue and there are other perks to consider, but they not the best. Safety first and all that. ;-)
 

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Thanks for that info!

I did see that picture before posting and the kid in the back middle isn't in a booster so it's still a mystery! She also didn't say one way or the other if that configuration, with three convertible car seats in the center row, impeded the use of Easy Tilt - which is actually our main requirement for a vehicle. So if we can't reliably use that feature we won't buy. It is now recommended that children should be in boosters (preferably the high back kind) until at least 10, probably older. And they keep inching up all these recommendations every year, which is why it is obnoxious so many car companies haven't caught up with that changing reality. Wherever a child passenger could be seated a car/seat booster of some kind should fit/be accommodated.

The Pacifica is decent on this issue and there are other perks to consider, but they not the best. Safety first and all that. ;-)
This was from an earlier post in the same thread mentioned above about three carseats in the center row.
Yup! And you can still tilt the seats to access the back without difficulty. I LOVE the 8th seat and flexibility the Pacifica offers. During the winter we’re thinking about stowing a seat and putting a kid in the third row.
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While we all want our children to be safe in the vehicle and may follow the extended safety recommendations, I would also check your state laws on what age/weight/height is required to be in a child seat or booster. The shape, size, height, and weight of the child may also factor in to figuring out the appropriate carseats after legal requirements are met. It may also depend on the type of vehicle you have and the type of shoulder straps available.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This was from an earlier post in the same thread mentioned above about three carseats in the center row.


While we all want our children to be safe in the vehicle and may follow the extended safety recommendations, I would also check your state laws on what age/weight/height is required to be in a child seat or booster. The shape, size, and weight of the child may also factor in to figuring out the appropriate carseats after legal requirements are met. It may also depend on the type of vehicle you have and the type of shoulder straps available.
Um. Yeah. I think since we are buying a car and have a choice here we will go with the safest possible options. Car accidents are the number 1 killer of children in this country. I am generally skeptical about things like this and even with car seats we don't do the absolute guidelines by the letter (all my kids ff, for example) I think they'll all be in high back boosters for a long time (my oldest is only 5) so we will get a car that accommodates that reality.

Appreciate you pointing out that comment in the thread. There it appears they were talking about the easy tilt functioning if you have an infant seat in the middle and take out the seat and use the tilt feature with just the base. The Car Seat Lady did say some narrow infant seats (the one we have probably qualifies) can be installed rear facing and not impact the tilt feature as well. I get that is possible but we'd want to be able to use a convertible in that seat placement without impacting Tilt. BUT your comment raises the point that the person who shared that picture might have also been able to get it work with her three ff convertibles. Earlier in the thread there was someone who tested a rf diono (narrowest convertible carseat on the market) and it impeded the tilt feature. But you never know! Something might still work.
 

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The linked article above about the Atlas basically proved the point of our conundrum. We think mini vans are the obvious choice for big families but the more we map out logistics the more complex the Pacifica gets for us. We currently drive an Explorer and the only real issue is third row access. Sliding doors and more cargo capacity is definitely on our pro list for the Pacifica, and we'd welcome an aisle if the third row truly saw three across, but the loss of AWD and the car seat conundrum is a major issue. We don't need an 8 passenger car with 2 barely usable seats, we need a 7 passenger car with 7 usable seats. SO...if you know of specific configurations of three across in the 3rd row I'd love to hear them.
 

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The linked article above about the Atlas basically proved the point of our conundrum. We think mini vans are the obvious choice for big families but the more we map out logistics the more complex the Pacifica gets for us. We currently drive an Explorer and the only real issue is third row access. Sliding doors and more cargo capacity is definitely on our pro list for the Pacifica, and we'd welcome an aisle if the third row truly saw three across, but the loss of AWD and the car seat conundrum is a major issue. We don't need an 8 passenger car with 2 barely usable seats, we need a 7 passenger car with 7 usable seats. SO...if you know of specific configurations of three across in the 3rd row I'd love to hear them.
Just a thought -- if you are going 7 seat and need access to the center aisle, using the stow+go access button on the powered front seats to advance the seat all the way forward will both ease the access to the center aisle AND give you working room to strap the child in. Only downside is someone can't remain seated in the front seat when it is pushed forward. (This may also give you tilting room with a rear facing seat..)
 

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The linked article above about the Atlas basically proved the point of our conundrum. We think mini vans are the obvious choice for big families but the more we map out logistics the more complex the Pacifica gets for us. We currently drive an Explorer and the only real issue is third row access. Sliding doors and more cargo capacity is definitely on our pro list for the Pacifica, and we'd welcome an aisle if the third row truly saw three across, but the loss of AWD and the car seat conundrum is a major issue. We don't need an 8 passenger car with 2 barely usable seats, we need a 7 passenger car with 7 usable seats. SO...if you know of specific configurations of three across in the 3rd row I'd love to hear them.
Have you taken some of your current child carseats to a dealer and tried putting three of them in the back of either vehicle yet? The headrests also have to be adjusted for the seats to fit, so check that also. It doesn't look like the Atlas has three seat belts in the back row, so I'm not sure you are comparing the same features. I think the Atlas is a 7 passenger if you get a bench seat in the middle instead of captain's chairs. Have you checked the 7-8 passenger Subaru Ascent if you want AWD and seating for three in the back?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have you taken some of your current child carseats to a dealer and tried putting three of them in the back of either vehicle yet? The headrests also have to be adjusted for the seats to fit, so check that also. It doesn't look like the Atlas has three seat belts in the back row, so I'm not sure you are comparing the same features. I think the Atlas is a 7 passenger if you get a bench seat in the middle instead of captain's chairs. Have you checked the 7-8 passenger Subaru Ascent if you want AWD and seating for three in the back?
Yes we have done that, although we need to try three across on a Pacifica bench since we only saw models with captains chairs the last time we test drove. The Atlas 2nd row is wider and the 60/40 split is much more helpful/functional to keep the tllt accessible with three car seats installed in that row. The sliding feature in the Atlas is also very generous and flexible.
We can easily do 5 car seats in an atlas and keep the full access to the third row. That's the comparison. We know for sure we can do that in the Atlas. I am struggling to see how we'd comfortably do that in the Pacifica for every day function as well as long road trips. Sadly.

I had heard of the Subaru before but we were initially looking at 2018 used models to save some money and I think the Ascent is new this year. However we just started looking at 2019's on these two vehicles so that's a good idea to check it out as well. Although there aren't huge issues with the Atlas per se, there is a lot to like about it, we just also like some of the mini-van only features and the Pacifica seems like the top option for us with that kind of vehicle.

Hence the initial query. Which is really all I need help with, but I appreciate the effort to help me.
 

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. The Atlas 2nd row is wider and the 60/40 split is much more helpful/functional to keep the tllt accessible with three car seats installed in that row. The sliding feature in the Atlas is also very generous and flexible.

We can easily do 5 car seats in an atlas and keep the full access to the third row. That's the comparison. We know for sure we can do that in the Atlas. I am struggling to see how we'd comfortably do that in the Pacifica .

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I’m a little perplexed by your statement that the second row seats are wider in Atlas than in Pacifica.
I admit I haven’t personally tested an Atlas, but simply googling the specs gives me second row shoulder space 60.2” and hip space as 58” , leg room being 37.6” in Atlas.
https://www.caranddriver.com/volkswagen/atlas/specs
The equivalent numbers in Pacifica are 63” shoulder room and 64.8” hip space and leg room 39”

https://www.sleepyhollowauto.com/blog/2018-chrysler-pacifica-passenger-cargo-capacities/
Now how are the seats wider in Atlas than in Pacifica?
I understand the advantage of sliding seats and the Seats in Atlas do the tilt forward with car seat as in Pacifica, but there is simply more space in Pacifica in every dimension you look at.
Now the third row hip room is 45” vs 49.5” and the leg room 33.7” vs 35.6” all in Pacifica ‘s favor.
Just to add to your conundrum.


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I found that I couldn't safely put a Britax Frontier/Pioneer harness 2 booster in the outer third row seats. The permanent headrests were at an angle that either pushed on the boosters headrest if up or, if folded, impeded the tightening straps. I ended up getting a backless Graco Turbo Booster since my son was 8 and tall enough to use a belt. If I had the option, I wish I could have gotten the harness 2 booster back there for him.

Really I wish I could remove those headrests...
 
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