Especially for Small Cars, Crossovers, & SUVs
I searched high and low for the perfect car seat for Anna. I wanted something that would grow with her, something that would fit in my small Civic, and Evan’s Model 3 three across, since I also nanny 2 other kids (and we want to add more babies in the future), and something that looked as cute as it was safe.
After a ton of research, we landed on the Diono products to fit 3 across in the backseat.
We got the big kids the Diono Radian 3R 3 in 1. They are both forward facing now, but this car seat can be used rear facing up to 50 pounds! Since I believe rear facing is much safer for as long as possible, I definitely thought this feature was necessary for me.
More reasons we love this car seat:
- This is the original 3 across car seat. Totally fits comfortably 3 car seats in cars; even small ones like my old Honda Civic.
- It’s sleek and aesthetic. My husband was pickier about this than I was, honestly, but if you’re gonna spend the money on a car seat that you’ll likely use for an extended amount of time, you should like what it looks like.
- Easy to install. This one has clips to install in the back but can also be quickly, easily, and securely installed using a seatbelt! If you plan on moving your car seat between cars, how easy it is to remove and install certainly matters.
- This car seat grows with your child, forward facing up to 120 pounds, and can be converted to a high back booster for when your child outgrows the 5 point harness.
While I still had my Civic, and for Evan’s Tesla Model 3, we got Anna the Diono Radian 3QXT All in One.
- It easily fits 3 across with the Radian 3R.
- It had 4 in 1 newborn protection from 4-50 pounds with inserts and Safe+® steel anti-rebound bar to reduce rebound rotation by 50%. This was the main reason for me. Since she would be rear facing, I wanted that added protection for her.
- Also is sleek and aesthetic, Fit right in with the interior of Evan’s Tesla.
- Easy to install. Clips to install in the back but can also be quickly, easily, and securely installed using a seatbelt!
- The Easy Adjust 12 Position Headrest: improves child head containment and provides a 22% increase in occupancy range from the radian R series.
- It grows with your child, forward facing and high back booster up to 120 pounds.
Here’s the thing. I love, love, love our Diono car seats. They are my top pick, especially if you work with or have a lot of children. They’re amazing space savers and high quality for safety and comfort. But, as most parents will realize, sometimes the thing you love is not the one your child loves. And in typical fashion, my daughter is not very comfortable in this carseat.
Evan has the Diono 3QXT in his car still because she is comfortable enough in it for short trips. It’s the best car seat for his car so we can add more later on if we need to.
In November 2020, I upgraded to my dream car: a Chrysler Pacifica. Yes, my dream car is/was a mini van. I love being a mom and practical is my middle name. This car has everything I wanted and more, but I’ll share more about that on another day.
Since my car now has a lot more room, I am able to consider wider car seats. We ended up choosing the Maxi Cosi Magellan XP for my car. We got the Emerald Tide color because it was cheaper than the neutral colors, and we thought it was gender neutral enough to use if we ever have a boy in the future.
Here’s what we love about the Maxi Cosi:
- It’s more comfy than the Diono. There’s a lot more cushion and Anna loves it. She enjoys long car rides now and even naps in this car seat again!
- This car seat is also able to grow with your child, rear facing up to 40 pounds, forward facing up to 65, and as a booster up to 120 pounds.
- The fabric is easily removed and replaced by a zipper to be easily machine washed and is dryer safe (um, game changer am I right?)
- This car seat was ridiculously easy to install and the headrest and harness are so easy to adjust to her height you can do so without having to remove the seat from your car.
If you plan on keeping a small car, I wouldn’t recommend the Maxi Cosi because it does take up a lot of space. For small cars and SUVs I would absolutely recommend the Diono. But for comfort, aesthetic, and ease of install, the Maxi Cosi is our favorite, hands down.
We honestly love all of our car seats. The big kids think their 3Rs are great and have loved them since they got them. We are actually about to change one over to a booster very soon and we’re pretty excited about that.
Some other Car Seats I considered and would recommend:
- Evenflo Gold EveryStage Smart All-In-One
- Nuna Rava Convertible
- Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max 2-in-1
- Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1
There’s so much to consider when choosing a car seat for your little one but I hope our experience and my hours of research sheds some hours off of yours and makes this choice a bit easier for you!
I have a Civic too so i feel your pain about small cars! We chose a graco (the one you mentioned!)
That’s an excellent pick!!
Kelsey Harmony says
We just had our first daughter and when i was looking up carseats I heard a lot of great things about Diono…thanks for the review!
Yes! Absolutely love the Diono!
WE LOVE our Dionos!!! I did the same research and landed on one! WE have two girls in the back of our car both in Dionos and I LOVE that I can fit another one if need be! So many carseats are huge and really impractical if you don’t drive a van!
Yes I completely agree! Even in most SUVs it feels like the car seats are on top of each other. The Dionos are really great when it comes to that!