2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Center Mount The Child Seat?
January 19, 2011
Here's a nice feature which isn't common in cars the size of the Kizashi: A center-mounted top-strap anchor for a child seat. However, Suzuki acknowledges in the Kizashi's owner's manual that there are only enough lower LATCH anchors to accommodate two seats -- one on either side.
As you can see, there are a total of four lower anchor points -- two for each each side. And each one has a corresponding top-strap anchor.
So what's the center-mounted top-strap anchor for?
Suzuki is yet to return our phone calls on this, but here's what we know for sure: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 -- the federal standard for child restraint systems -- mandates that lower LATCH anchors are to be positioned 280mm (about 11 inches) apart. And that's exactly the width of the Kizashi's anchors when measured individually (left or right side, not middle).
However, the distance between the "inner" anchors of each side of the Kizashi's lower anchors is about 406mm (16 inches).
Here's where things get sticky. As a parent, I prefer the mounting in the middle position (and I'm not the only one), which provides a space cushion on either side of the child seat. And it appears -- because of the center top-strap anchor -- that Suzuki endorses this mounting location despite the fact that it requires use of the wider lower LATCH anchors.
What's more, the child seat, which has flexibly mounted latches, secures in the 406mm location just as solidly as it does in the 280mm LATCH anchors. This easily meets the 1-inch side-to-side and fore/aft movement standard recognized by both authorities on the subject and parents with even a mild grasp of physics.
Certainly LATCH anchor spacing was standardized for a reason. Still, when the alternative is to commit to one side or the other, or install in the center position with a belt (which I've never found secure), I'd argue that the space cushion is worth it.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor