2016 Honda Civic: Installing Front- and Rear-Facing Child Safety Seats
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on May 5, 2016
One of the changes Honda made to its redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is a roomier backseat. My coworker Cameron Rogers, who is 6-feet 4-inches tall, previously wrote how he can sit in the back seat in relative comfort even with the driver seat positioned for himself. I was also curious to learn how well the 2016 Civic fares for parents with little kids, so I grabbed my reversible child safety seat to find out.
The pictured safety seat is an older Britax Marathon seat but it still serves its purpose for checking out vehicle compatibility. I first placed it in its rear-facing position, which is used for babies/toddlers once they've graduated from rear-facing infant seats. This position is often tricky for small sedans since these cars don't typically have a wealth of rear legroom and these seats take up a lot of room. (Rear-facing infant seats are similarly bulky.)
In the photo, you can see that the front edge safety seat is very close to the Civic's front passenger seat. But I had also positioned the passenger seat to be comfortable for typical adults. There was no need to move the passenger seat forward at all. For comparison, I did a similar test in our long-term Mazda 3 a couple years ago in which I had to move the front seat up to make room for the rear-facing child safety seat.
After the ease of trying the seat as rear-facing, I figured that putting the Britax seat in its front-facing position would be a relative piece of chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles on top. Alas, no cake for you, Brent! To my dismay, our Civic has fixed rear head restraints that can't be removed. (Near as I can tell, the previous-generation Civic had removable restraints).
These fixed headrests can get in the way of getting a front-facing safety seat to fit flush with the car's seatback and be at the correct angle. (High-back booster seats for older children also won't fit flush with the seat because of this.)
I had to use a rolled up towel underneath the safety seat's base to help out. The head restraint also makes it harder to reach in and secure the top LATCH anchor buckle.
The Civic's lower LATCH anchor points are pretty easy to get to, at least. And the rear seat cushions are wide and flat, so you don't have to worry much about bolstering getting in the way.
If it wasn't for the head restraints, the new Civic would be aces for parents of small children.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,007 miles