FJ Cruiser and Child Car Seats

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!



10 thoughts on “FJ Cruiser and Child Car Seats

  1. So helpful! Just had my little girl in September and love my fj! Have you found a convertible rear facing car seat yet? We are looking now! Thanks

    • We love our FJ too! Too bad they stopped making them! You must have found an infant seat that would fit? I think our next one we might need to find a smaller infant seat so it can go behind one of the main seats because it won’t fit in the middle then. Our convertible seat is a Britax Marathon. So far it works really well… rear facing it does need to go in the middle still and it fits between the two front seats a bit but forward facing it fits fine behind the passenger seat. That is usually my spot so it can be up a bit more to give James some leg room. It fits nicely on the seat and works fine with the Latch system – which is what we have it using… I imagine it would work fine with the seatbelt though too. It is kind of wide though so I don’t think you could fit three across if you ever would need it.

      • We have been using the Britax infant seat (B Agile…part of the travel system) and it is behind the passenger seat. My 5’11” hubby can sit in the passenger seat but his knees do touch the glove box. Our daughter is almost 18 months and need to find a convertible that fits there if possible. I don’t want to have to get into the car to get her in and out. Email me if this is possible!

      • Hello! The rear facing convertible is tough! When we first got one it was in the middle and I had to get in the car everytime to get him in and out too! We ended up turning him around a bit early to make it easier.  We moved from the UP to Seattle earlier this year, and then had a second baby… we used the FJ with the forward convertible, and rear facing infant for almost 5 months but a week ago today we traded it in for a Toyota Sienna. We decided it was big to drive in parking decks (bigger tires and the roof rack made it nearly impossible) and with the 2 kids it was just too small…I have absolutely no idea how we would have done a passenger side rear convertible. Even if one fits, how do you get the kid in and out?? We loved and miss our FJ, especially my husband, but we are now mini-van people. And, to be honest it is absolutely amazing to travel with kids in the van because they can climb in and out on their own, can’t kick the seat in front of them and you don’t have to lift a carrier so high to get it in. And there is leg room! I think somehow we would have made it work for awhile longer, but eventually the kids were destined to want more travel space…so we just did it. But still….we miss the FJ, a van isn’t the same! Sorry I can’t be more help!

  2. What convertible car seat did you end up getting? I have an FJ too . I cannot find one that will rear face and give the driver or passenger any room at all.

    • We ended up with a Britax Marathon, but it also doesn’t give any room to the driver or passenger… it has to be installed rear facing in the middle to work at all. And then it takes up a bit of space between the two front seats. And we’re not tall.. 5’6 and 5’7 and we still need our seats back too far for it to fit.

      The Marathon also seems wide so if you end up with two kids you would probably need to figure out how to get at least a rear facing infant seat behind either the driver or the passenger and hope the older child was front facing by then. I don’t think you could put a rear facing infant seat in the middle next to a convertible seat on one of the sides.

      I was originally looking at the Diono Radian seats because you can get an angle adjuster pad for those. That might be worth looking at but I don’t think you can use the angle adjustor pads for younger babies and the seats seem kind of tall so I’m not sure if it would end up working or not. A lot of people seem to have luck in smaller cars with that combination though. Plus, I think they are narrow and supposedly can fit 3 across in smaller cars.

      I was trying to get some measurements and photos today with our Marathon but I spent 30 minutes trying to adjust it and couldn’t get it to work. Super frustrating. Might try again over the weekend so I can do a full post on ours.

      Hopefully eventually somebody will find a car seat or seats that will work! That might be the biggest flaw in the FJ’s…. they could have done better for car seats!

  3. I’ve been thinking about this because I have an FJ and my husband has a small extended cab in his truck but the FJ would be the better of the two for a car seat I would think. I already have a hard time getting groceries out of the back seat if someone else is parked next to me that I was starting to worry that a car seat would be impossible : /

    • We did make it work, but it’s definitely not the best car for carseats! We are about to have number 2 and are going to try to find an.infant seat that fits better… no idea how we will fit two!

  4. Maddie. Thank you. This is so helpful. Wondering if you found something smaller to fit two seats back there.

    • Yes we did! The Cybex Aton 2 fits back there! We have it rear facing behind the passenger seat for our 3 month old, and a Britax marathon convertible forward facing behind the driver for our 2.5 year old. The Cybex seems really nice, it has a couple safety features I had never seen before…but it was a bit pricey at just over $300. We actually went to a buy buy baby (we have moved from the UP to Seattle! And they let us take it outside and try it in the back seat first!) Only downside is there aren’t really any strollers for the Cybex to clip onto so I usually wear her in a Tula and our toddler rides in a single stroller. Both my husband and I can ride as a passenger though and we still have our FJ so it’s worth it! (Next we will have to find a rear facing convertible that fits… hoping she can stay in the infant carrier for awhile). Hope that helps!

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