2014 BMW i3: An Extra-Large Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat Fits, But Rear-Hinged Doors Not Ideal
May 5, 2015
A couple of months ago, I installed my daughter's compact convertible car seat in our 2014 BMW i3. It fit wonderfully, preserved useful legroom for the front passenger in front of it and heightened my enthusiasm for commuting around southern California in the i3. That car seat is not especially cushy however, so when I had to run some errands this week, I installed my primary car seat, the oversized (and discontinued) First Years True Fit C680 SI.
It fit, but not without compromise.
First off, I encountered a usability issue I hadn't anticipated: the i3's reverse-hinged rear doors. Coupled with the huge side bolsters on the car seats, they reduce the available space for loading the child. My kid is now 30 inches tall and almost 22 pounds, and there was no way to stuff her in from the passenger side without bonking her head or bumping her legs.
So I had to load her from the opposite side (the driver side) like I would in a two-door car, and like I did in our Mini Cooper. It works, but it's not that convenient or time-efficient.
The higher seat-back on this car seat also forced me to move the i3's front-passenger seat all the way forward on its track. With my compact Safety 1st car seat, I didn't have to move the seat much at all. The upshot is that at 5'10" tall, I wouldn't be very comfortable riding in the front-passenger seat with the larger car seat behind me because (a) my knees are close to the dash and (b) I also have to sit quite upright.
Another issue with this car seat in the i3 is all too familiar to me: The seat's side wings are so huge, they cover the rear passenger side window and create a huge blind spot. I have fish-eye mirrors stuck to my Mazda 5's outside mirrors and I'd have to do the same if I owned a BMW i3.
Another detail that I never covered in my earlier update is the lower LATCH anchors in the i3. They're very easy to locate and use without looking, which is great if you're trying to install a seat in the dark or in shadow.
I think it's likely that the plastic covers over the anchors might get lost eventually, but that's a small price to pay for the accessibility you get here.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 2,804 miles