Most people probably won’t find this post very interesting, but I wanted to measure the car and put something up about car seats because I’ve searched and searched and there is almost no useful information on our car and getting car seats to fit!
We totally love our FJ Cruiser (model year 2012)…it’s comfy and drives great in the snow, it’s tough and rugged and everything inside is totally washable, it came with a roof rack and off road package and it has things inside like a backup camera, satellite radio inside. It heats up quick when we want to take James out into a warm car and I’m assuming it will cool down quick during the summer and I even think it is easier for me to park and backup (even without the camera) than our old Chrysler Pacifica was. I have very few complaints about this car, I’m really glad we got it and besides wishing the trunk/cargo area was slightly larger my only two complaints deal with the back seat!
My first semi-complaint is the doors… I do wish the backseat had normal doors instead of suicide doors (and the windows do not open), it makes it more difficult to get the infant seat in and out and anybody sitting in the back seat needs to be let out by someone opening the front doors. This is only a semi-complaint because it will be rare that an adult sits in the backseat and has to deal with this. 99% of the time it will be children back there and in that case it might be a bonus that they can’t open the doors or windows! So it isn’t my favourite detail about the car but it’s manageable and you just get used to it.
My other complaint is the poor design with regards to child seats! If I could fix one thing with the car it would be this. The back does have the LATCH system but it is so cramped that most car seats, especially rear facing, will not fit anywhere except in the middle which makes it even harder to get in and out of the car. I usually set James/the carseat on the seat next to the base and then get a better grip and heft him up into the base and snap him in. I’m 5′ 6″ and probably average strength for a lady and I’m still getting James in and out of the car just fine and he is over 17lb now at 4.5 months. Joe is roughly 5′ 8″ or so and much stronger than I am and he can lift James right into/out of the base without setting him down first. So the middle position is livable for us anyways but it would be really nice to have the option of which spot in the car to place him!
I have been researching convertible car seats for a couple of months now trying to determine which one will fit in the car because it will need to be rear facing for awhile too! I will do another post on those when we get one in a few months… I think we are going to go to an actual store and do some looking/measuring to be sure it will fit because we won’t be able to buy just any seat and get it to work! Our current infant seat is a Graco Snugride Classic Connect 30 model.
Above: view of the back seat with the doors open and the front passenger seat folded forward as if I was putting in or taking out the car seat. Below: view of the backseat with the doors still open but with the front seat upright again. You can see how our car seat would not fit behind the seat. In both of these pictures the seat is in the furthest back position to give the most legroom for the front seat person. The seat could be moved up slightly but if you move it up far enough to get the car seat behind then there is no leg room.
Above/Below: From the back of the backseat to the back of the front seat (with the front seat comfortably reclined and in the furthest back position leg room wise) measures less than 2ft.
Above: From the back of the back seat to the furthest point on our car seat is about 29 inches…so several inches too long to fit behind one of the passenger seats (unless you are a very, very small person!). Below: Another view of the back seat.
If anybody ends up finding this by searching for FJ Cruiser car seat help, feel free to email me if you want some other measurements or information! I’ve read other FJ Cruiser owners who have had infant seats fit fine but they never post which models or specifics on what fits and what doesn’t. I have not had the chance to try other infant seats, but I do know that our Graco does not fit anywhere but the middle! We will need to be sure to get a convertible seat that fits in a confined space and if we have anymore kids we might have to try a different infant seat for a better fit!