chauffeuring kids around doesn't have to be as boring as it sounds, especially when 707 horsepower is involved. for this car seat check, we tested the trackhawk model of the 2018 grand cherokee suv with a totally bonkers, supercharged 6.2-liter v-8. it's full of impressive numbers, including a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.5 seconds and the ability to fit three car seats across its backseat. although it's roomy, buried latch anchors and hidden top tether anchors kept the grand cherokee from earning top grades.
related: more car seat checks
- latch, grade c: the two sets of lower anchors sit about a half-inch into the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. the leather in this trackhawk model was stiff, so that complicated connection. the seat reclines for better access, but connection still required some muscle. the three top tether anchors on the seatback are under upholstery flaps that must first be pulled down, so access and connection are complicated.
- infant, grade b: it was tough to push past the suv's stiff seats to access the latch anchors, but this car seat had plenty of room once we got it installed.
- rear-facing convertible, grade b: again, this seat had ample room, but we had to use some muscle to connect to the lower anchors.
- forward-facing convertible, grade c: the grand cherokee's fixed head restraint is small, so it doesn't prevent the convertible's back from sitting flush with the car's seatback. we again had problems with the lower anchors, and the top tether anchors are hidden under carpet flaps, complicating access.
- booster, grade b: again, the fixed head restraint didn't interfere with the booster's fit, but the buckles are on short stalks and sit flush with the seat cushion. this placement makes them tough for kids to find and use.
solid indicates an a grade for optimum ease of use and fit. so-so indicates b or c grades for one to two ease-of-use or fit issues. skip it indicates d or f grades.
a: plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. easy to find and connect to latch and tether anchors. no fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. easy access to the third row.
b: one room, fit or connection issue. some problems accessing third row when available.
c: marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. difficult to access third row when available.
d: insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.
f: does not fit or is unsafe.
about 's car seat checks
editors jennifer geiger, jennifer newman and matt schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
for the car seat check, we use a graco snugride classic connect 30 infant-safety seat, a britax marathon convertible seat and graco turbobooster seat. the front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. the three child seats are installed in the second row. the booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
we also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. if there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. learn more about how we conduct our car seat checks.
parents should also remember that they can use the latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
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