IIHS: Toyota, Subaru top for child car seat ease of use

Toyota and Subaru earned top marks from the IIHS for the way their cars can handle child seats.

The insurance industry-funded safety body said the two Japanese brands tied for the most “Good+” ratings, which is the highest ranking a vehicle can earn on the federal government’s hardware scale. Overall, the industry has improved vastly since the IIHS started rating car seat installation ease of use. In 2015, a majority of new vehicles were rated “Poor” or “Marginal.” Today, 21 vehicles total earn “Good+” ratings, 33 feature “Good” ratings, and 88 are “Acceptable.”

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Between Toyota and the Lexus luxury brand, the automaker offers seven vehicles with a “Good+” LATCH rating. They are:

– Lexus RX

– Lexus UX

– Toyota Avalon

– Toyota Camry

– Toyota Corolla hatchback

– Toyota Prius

– Toyota RAV4

At Subaru, the automaker also boasts seven vehicles with the highest rating for car seat use. They are:

– Subaru Ascent

– Subaru Crosstrek

– Subaru Forester

– Subaru Impreza sedan

– Subaru Impreza hatchback

– Subaru Legacy

– Subaru Outback

To earn the top rating, a vehicle must meet six criteria. Lower anchors can be no more than 3/4 of an inch deep where the seatback meets the seat cushion; lower anchors feature a 54 degree or greater clearance angle; the force required to attach the seat is fewer than 40 pounds; tether anchors are present on the rear deck or middle of the seatback; and the tether anchor area does not feature other hardware that could be confused as the tether itself. Finally, the “Good+” rated vehicles must also provide extra LATCH-equipped seating positions.

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On the other side of things, not a single American automaker sells a car rated “Good” or “Good+.” The IIHS said part of this is likely due to the fact pickup trucks are more difficult to fit LATCH requirements with.

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