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Ultimate guide to choosing the best family vehicle [car seat approved]

Buying a car is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love trying to new vehicles, testing out the features and finding the perfect vehicle that suits my needs. However, searching for a family vehicle that can safely seat rear and forward facing car seats adds a whole different level of complexity to the car shopping experience.

Testing out car seats in all of the different vehicles can be very tiring and slightly annoying to be honest. It kind of takes the fun out of car shopping when all of a sudden you are more concerned about front passenger leg room and car seat tethers instead of all the fun features that are easily searchable online and readily available in every brochure. I have done my best to make choosing the best family vehicle a little bit easier by testing Kate’s car seat in EVERY VEHICLE at Hatheway Ford on both sides (just in case someone happens to have twins). 

Have a look at the video to watch us (in super fast motion) trying the car seat in all of the vehicles. But first, let me give you a little bit more context:

  • I tried Kate’s car seat (Maxi-Cosi Mico 30) rear facing on both sides. I did this since rear facing seats take up the most space. If you happen to have forward facing car seats you will have even more space than what I had during the test. Essentially, I tried to do a worse case…
  • I am 5’7″ with relatively long legs (I take 31″ length in jeans)
  • The vehicles I tested at Hatheway Ford:
    • Focus 
    • Fusion
    • EcoSport 
    • Escape 
    • Edge 
    • Explorer 
    • F150 Truck
  • Keep in mind I am NOT an expert on car seats or vehicles for that matter. I AM however a mom who wants the best family vehicle possible that is safe and comfortable for our family. If you are unsure about anything I am suggesting in this post please be sure to double check and try your car seat as well before purchasing a vehicle.

The F-150 won hand down for the most space, it is HUGE in the back seat, but assuming everyone does not want to drive a truck I chose two vehicles as the winners. The TWO vehicles that had the best front seat leg (and overall space) room for both the driver and the passenger was the Fusion and the Explorer, but the edge had a bit more space as the passenger (food for thought, especially if you will only have one rear facing car seat and do not need the extra cargo capacity in the Explorer). Of course these two vehicles are very different, but the comfortable space they offer those in the front seat is very comparable. 

For a more in-depth look at what I have discovered and the information I have gathered after doing the car seat test have a look at the chart below. Hopefully it will help you make an informed decision, save you time and money. Oh, and this should save you from trying every single vehicle on the lot like I did 😉

Vehicle Driver Space Front Passenger Space # of Car Seats (with proper hooks) # of Total Passenger Seats Cargo Capacity (based on 2018 models)* Price Range (starting at) Rear Entertainment System
Focus  Poor Good 2 5 23.3 cu. ft. $17,678 + n/a
Fusion Excellent Excellent 2 5 16 cu. ft. $24,090 + n/a
EcoSport Poor Good 2 5 20.9 cu. ft. $20,849 + n/a
Escape Fair Good 2 5 34 cu. ft. $25,899 + available
Edge Good Excellent 2 5 39.2 cu. ft. $34,599 + available
Explorer Excellent Good 3  up to 7 43.9 cu. ft. $43,099 + available
F-150 Excellent Excellent 2 5 box length $32,149 + n/a

*The cargo capacity volumes I found to be somewhat misleading as they take in the total space to the roof. That said, the Focus and EcoSport show there is much more space than the Fusion when in actual fact there is not. Especially if you are to keep luggage lower than the rear view mirror to see out the back window. I would suggest bringing your stroller along for the test drive to make sure if fits and there is still some room for groceries or a suitcase. Also, for the Explorer I listed the cargo capacity as that behind the second row (43.9 cu. ft.) but note that if using all three rows the cargo capacity is actually 21.0 cu.ft. And lastly, for the F-150 the cargo capacity would depend on which size box you chose for the truck.

I hope this blog post helps save you and your family some time while making an informed decision about a large purchase. If ever you have questions you can always feel free to ask me or go directly to the experts on the Hatheway Ford sales team at www.hatheway.com or by calling 506-546-4464.

xo Jenna

This post is sponsored by Hatheway Ford in Bathurst, NB
 As always, all opinions are entirely my own.
Call the team at Hatheway Ford to find out just
how easy it is for you to get into a Ford.



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