2015 Audi A3: Surprisingly Great for Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats
February 13, 2015
A couple of months ago I struck up a conversation with a software developer from Mountain View, California. It turned out we had two similar interests: cars and babies. He told me about how he was planning to sell his previous-generation WRX STI hatchback because he had ordered a 2015 Audi S3, which he thought would be more practical for family use. He had even picked out an infant car seat for his 3-month-old son and color-matched it to the Audi's interior.
Ever the bearer of bad news, I congratulated him on the S3 purchase but said, "Don't be surprised if the rear-facing convertible car seat your son will need in a few months doesn't fit so well in the Audi. Those are a lot bigger, you know."
However, after a couple of nights in our identically sized 2015 Audi A3 sedan, I have to eat my words. See, I was way wrong. This car is a parent's dream for installing rear-facing convertible car seats. It's almost like Audi and its seat supplier factored that into the seat design.
Actually, I'm practically certain someone at Audi considered car seat compatibility. Although I'm not quite the demographic for the A3 and S3 sedan, they're certainly aimed at a slightly younger buyer who, on the basis of age alone, is more likely to have kids.
So here's why our Audi A3 sedan is so great for rear-facing car seats: The front seats are shaped so that you can wedge your car seat between them without it touching either seat.
Not only can you do the most desirable rear center seat installation, but neither the driver nor the front passenger has to alter his seating position in any way. It's going to be a very comfortable weekend of driving for my family of three.
Now I don't think my ultra-wide First Years True Fit C680 SI convertible seat would fit between the Audi's front seat-backs. But my compact Safety 1st Guide 65 seat easily does. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles nor the impressive looking side-impact protection of the First Years seat, but you know, since it's in the center position (versus in the rear outboard position on the passenger side), I don't feel like I have to worry as much because my kid is that much farther away from the doors and windows.
The A3 has four lower anchor points for LATCH, and I used the two inboard ones to do my center installation. As you can see, I used a pool noodle to get the correct angle for a rear-facing installation. Also note the really basic metal J-hook connectors on this car seat. If you spend more on a car seat, you'll get nicer push-button-type connectors that are easier on the fingers to use.
Although I'm thrilled that my daughter's car seat fits so well in our long-term Audi A3, I wouldn't go so far as to make it my primary mode of baby transport. For one thing, this is still a relatively narrow car, so it would be a squeeze to have an adult (or another child in a car seat) sit on either side of her. Second, while adequate, this Safety 1st seat is not particularly deluxe and for a longer road trip, I'd want her to have a cushier seat. As a second car for a family, though, the 2015 Audi A3 is quite an appealing proposition.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 5,795 miles