Generally speaking, midsize sedans and wagons can ultimately be better for a rear-facing child seat because there is more room between seating rows. While an SUV’s taller seat may yield comparable leg room, it doesn’t do much for car seat room. Not surprisingly, then, the 2022 Subaru Outback is a great choice for families using a rear-facing child seat. And having just made the switch to a gargantuan convertible car seat from an infant seat, I know firsthand you often need every millimeter of space you can get. (And if the driver is tall, it might even result in him needing to sell a beloved car).
Let’s take a look at how my convertible car seat, the current-model Britax Boulevard, fits inside the 2022 Outback. Note that I am not a certified car seat fitment technician, so I’ll only be commenting about how it fits inside the vehicle as opposed to the ease with which the seat is secured. For that information, look to testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on the Outback where it got the best-possible rating of Good+.
As you can see at the very top of this page, the car seat obviously fit. Above you can see how much room is remaining for the front passenger. This is exceptional, as most people could just jump up front and be immediately comfortable with no need to adjust the seat. The back rest angle is comfortable, and I measured 9 inches between the seat front and the dash. This is the first time I’m doing one of these tests, so only time will tell how that might compare to other vehicles.
Here is the room left between my knees and the dash. I’m 6-foot-3. My feet were against the fire wall, my thighs were still against the seat bottom, and again, it was like the car seat wasn’t even back here. I may not have documented and measured like this before, but given my personal experience with the infant car seat, I can definitively say this result is rare.
Basically, with me in the passenger seat, this is as extreme a test as you’re bound to find, and the Outback aces it.
Although the Britax Boulevard’s ClickTight Installation utilizes the car’s seatbelt rather than Latch anchors (an amazing feature, BTW), here are the Outback’s rear Latch anchors. Most notable is that this is one of the rare cars that provides a middle Latch anchor, allowing you to place a car seat closer to the middle by using the middle Latch and “borrowing” the passenger-side inboard anchor. This is another great family friendly feature.
If there’s one downside to the Outback versus an SUV, it’s that the cabin isn’t as tall, meaning it’s a bit harder to maneuver your kiddo into his seat without bonking his head on the door sill or ceiling. And, despite the Wilderness tested here providing a goofy 9.5 inches of ground clearance, the seat height is still lower than many crossovers, so liftover isn’t quite as easy for me as with my 2013 BMW X5, for instance.
In general, though, families need to put the Outback on their shopping list whether looking at compact or midsize SUVs.