Can You Get 3 Car Seats in a Kia Sportage?

Parents with growing families understand the stress of fitting all the kids in the car. Fortunately, most SUVs make it easy to transport two children at once in the backseat. You face a bigger challenge when you need to fit three kids in the car.  

Not every vehicle will accommodate three seats. Even if infant seats fit, you’ll have to use the larger toddler seats for many more years. It helps to know which vehicles accommodate multiple car seats safely.

So, can you get 3 car seats in a Kia Sportage? Yes, you can fit three car seats across the back seat section of most Kia Sportage SUVs. How easily the seats install depends on the Sportage’s manufacturing year. The fit will feel roomier and less cramped if at least one of the seats is a rear-facing infant seat. 

Some car seats fit better than others because of their shape and design. Let’s look at Sportage changes over the years to help you figure out which Kia Sportage will meet your family’s needs. 

30 Years of the Kia Sportage

In 1993, the Kia Sportage went up for sale in Asia and expanded to international markets two years later. Kia discontinued the first-generation model in 2002. 

The second generation launched in 2008. The current model is the seventh generation of the Sportage, with improvements and innovations that keep this SUV one of Kia’s best-selling cars in Europe. 

Some years work better than others when it comes to the space you might need for car seat installation. Some leave less room for incorrect installation. 

2020 and Newer Models

The current model contains a tether anchor for the middle seat to help you secure a child safety seat. The outboard seats have tether connectors in the back, with LATCH connectors set deep between the cushions.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) uses a four-level rating system for many of its criteria, including child safety systems. They use crash tests and analysis to determine their ratings. The levels are:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

The child seat connections in the Sportage received an Acceptable rating from the IIHS for the newest model. They determined that the tether anchors for all three positions were easy to find and use. 

The only con of the LATCH connectors is how deep they are in the seat and hard to grasp. You will need to use narrow car seats because of the rigid seat belt buckle built into the bench. Older models had seat belt connectors that moved to accommodate wider seats in the center. 


The terms LATCH, ISOFIX, and LUAS can be used interchangeably. The terms refer to the connector that holds a child safety seat in place. 

ISOFIX stands for International Standard Organisation Fix. An ISOFIX attachment meets the international standard for child safety seat connections. 

LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is the term used in the United States for ISOFIX connections. The connectors in cars sold in America, like the Sportage, are called LATCH connectors. 

LUAS, or Lower Universal Anchorage System, is a term for the same connectors used in Canada. 

In the United States, vehicles since 2003 contain tethers in all positions and lower anchors in the outboard seats. Older vehicles probably won’t have the safety connections for an ISOFIX-compatible car seat. 

Seats with the LATCH system should use the anchors or tethers available in the vehicle to secure the seat. Some boosters use the existing seat belt to hold the child, while others have built-in straps. 

How Does the Connection Work?

For maximum safety, choose a vehicle with LATCH connections for car seats. The connectors attach between the seat and back cushions of the car, known as the seat bight. 

Car seats used to be secured in vehicles with the existing seatbelt. While many car seats still use the standard seatbelt, they also use the LATCH system. 

Today, most car seats come with special connectors that attach to the LATCH tethers for added safety and stability. The seats no longer rely on the seatbelt alone to stay firmly in place. 

You can see the lower anchors of the LATCH system in the crack between the cushions. If they’re too hard to see, slide your hand between the cushions to feel the U-shaped bar. Some vehicles use compartments or flaps to hide them. 

The tethers on most new cars are usually metal rings on the back of each seat. Some older models may have connectors on the floor behind the seats. 

2017 – 2018 Models

This model makes it difficult to answer the question, “Can you get 3 car seats in a Kia Sportage?”

The seat belt buckles built into the back seat were flexible and easy to move through the 2016 model. When Kia made improvements to release an updated version in 2017, they made the buckles more rigid. 

Depending on the car seat model you use, a wide booster seat might not fit in the center with one on each side. The narrowest models should fit. 

The less moveable seat belt buckles get in the way and limit the width available for a person or a car seat in the center. Three wide booster seats probably won’t fit. Newer Sportages offer slightly more interior room, so the rigid buckles don’t cause the same problem. 

Earlier Models

Can you get 3 car seats in a Kia Sportage manufactured before 2017? Yes! Earlier models have flexible seat belt buckles. This flexibility makes it easier to use three child safety seats together. 

The LATCH system is the same on earlier models, except for the 2009 – 2010 model. All Kia Sportages have tether connectors on the back of the rear seat, but these Sportages have tether connections on the floor behind the seat. 

Do Three Seats Fit Well?

Front and rear-facing booster seats fit well and have plenty of room between the front and back seats. Some rear-facing infant seats might require the front seat to move forward.

In the Sportages with rigid seat belt buckles, some seats won’t fit in the middle position. Narrow brands will squeeze in, but wide car seats won’t.

Finally, booster seats with headrests that extend up might not extend completely in an outboard position. The curved roof and door edge might not provide enough room. This issue won’t affect the safety or comfort of the seat. 

Which Car Seats Fit Best in a Kia Sportage?

To fit three child safety seats in a Kia Sportage, look for the narrowest, high-quality brands with LATCH-system compatibility, like the Clek Fllo and Foonf models, the Combi Coccoro, and Diono Radian car seats. 

These seats measure 17 inches across. Any safety seat at that width should let you fit three car seats side-to-side. 

Conclusion: Can You Get 3 Car Seats in a Kia Sportage?

You can get 3 car seats in most Kia Sportage SUVs. The 2017-2018 Sportage might be a challenge, but you should be able to fit three seats comfortably if you choose the narrowest brands. 

Other model years accommodate three seats better because of the flexible seat belt buckles and more room. 

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