2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Rocking the Baby Seat
April 06, 2009
Besides telling you how cool the cars are, how fast (or slow) they might be, and the like, this blog is also for letting you know what it's really like to live with 'em. So here's me with a few real-world Challenger impressions. (WARNING: If you have a low tolerance for baby seat installation posts, I suggest you skip this one. Bad-ass retro-style dads and moms, follow the jump!)
I generally hate installing our giant Recaro car seat in coupes. Even if the front passenger seat folds and moves forward far enough to create a hole big enough to cram the car seat into, there's usually not much space for me to maneuver back there to cinch it down (despite my super-slight frame). For the Challenger, the first order of business was to get that manual front passenger seat out of the way. I engaged the lever on the side of the seat and used all of my 98-pound weakling strength to shove it forward and simultaneously slide the whole heavy seat forward, too. Not an easy task, would be even less easy if you were trying to keep a toddler from running away from you in a crowded parking lot while doing it.
Happily, the kid seat fit pretty easily through the resulting space, once I extricated the shoulder belt from its router on the seatback (self-strangulation being low on the baby seat install priority list). There was enough room for me to crawl back there and tighten it down nice and snug, too. The grippy leather upholstery was also excellent at keeping the kid seat in place, which can't be said of every leather interior.
I was less pleased with the process required to put the front passenger seat back in place so someone could actually sit up there. When you push the seat back toward the rear of the car with your hand, it stops in the most upright (and impossible to sit in) position and the seat doesn't move backward in its track at all. To reset the seat to a usable position, it's a two-and-a-half-step process: 1) adjust the seatback angle with the lever on the side of the seat and then 2) reach down into the passenger footwell and adjust the fore/aft position of the seat. Very tedious and inconvenient if you're going to do frequent kid-driving duty (or any rear passenger duty, for that matter), then 2.5) re-route the seatbelt through the incomplete-O-shaped router.
However, kick space for the kid, once buckled into the forward-facing seat was decent, and the front passenger's knees weren't jammed uncomfortably into the glovebox.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,142 miles