2015 Volvo S60: Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat Installed; Some Pros, Some Cons
April 8, 2015
You expect a rear-facing convertible car seat to be easy to install in a car like the 2015 Volvo S60, right?
And sure enough, it took me very little time and minimal brainpower to get my child's oversize seat nice and snug using the LATCH anchors in the passenger-side rear position. The rolled-up towel helped me achieve the desired seat-back angle while compressing the seat during the installation, but otherwise, there's nothing difficult about it.
Predictably, lower anchors for LATCH are present only in the outboard rear positions. Hooking the connectors onto them is a blind exercise, but the anchors are a little wider than most and not too buried between the seat-back and seat-bottom cushions. Overall, this is a good setup.
The real issue in the S60 will be familiar to any Volvo owner: lack of legroom. To accommodate my child's First Years True Fit C680 SI (which is on the large size as convertible car seats go), the front passenger seat has to come all the way forward on its track and the seat-back angle has to be adjusted pretty upright. Partly, this is due to the head restraint on the Volvo's passenger seat not playing nice with the head restraint on the car seat.
This arrangement makes the front-passenger seat all but uninhabitable for your typical 5-foot, 10-inch-tall adult. My knees were so snug with the dash that I didn't even bother with a photo. This seat is now strictly for storage. My better half made himself at home in the backseat with no complaint. In my family of three, the S60 would strictly be the second car.
So what else is good about this arrangement? Well, with the car seat in the passenger-side outboard position, there's adequate room to accommodate both a (small) occupant in the rear center and an adult behind the driver.
Also, quite unusual for this particular car seat, there's no blind spot when it's installed in the passenger-side outboard position. Due to the size of the S60's doors and the relatively small glass area, the seat covers very little of the side glass. This is awesome for lane changes. (In our Mazda 5, the seat covers a large part of the rear side glass, so we had to put aftermarket fish-eye mirrors on the side mirrors.) No doubt, it's also good for side-impact safety (not a strong suit of the aforementioned Mazda).
For kicks, I also tried installing the seat in the rear center position using the seatbelt.
It's possible but not ideal with this particular car seat, which is really too wide to wedge between the front seats.
If I owned the S60 and had to have my car seat in the center, I'd choose a narrower seat (like a Diono Radian).
Even then it's not an ideal situation for driving, because with a rear-facing car seat, the car seat and front-passenger head restraint combine to form one giant blind spot.
Another issue (and admittedly one which might be solved by using a narrower car seat), is that my kid's car seat blocks the female end of the rear driver-side seatbelt buckle.
Bottom line, if you have a really wide convertible car seat, it'll need to go in the passenger-side outboard position in the 2015 Volvo S60.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 3,146 miles