Finding the Best Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars

When a baby arrives into the family, there are many things that need to be purchased, giving priority to those that serve for his/her safety. One of these things is the car seat. This review is focussed around finding the best convertible car seats for small cars.

These are a fundamental accessory for the car to ensure that the child will not suffer major injuries in the case of any road accident. In fact, many statistics show that well-fitted child seats protected a significant percentage of children during collisions.

When choosing the car seat, is important to pay attention to many details in order to purchase a safe unit. It should accommodate both the needs of your child, the size of the car and where you want to position it during transit. So let’s have a look at the characteristic of a unit and also to the best convertible car seats for small cars that ensure a high level of safety for your baby.

Best Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars Types and groups of car seatsWhere and how to place the car seatHow to choose the best car seatTop 5 best convertible car seats for small carsConclusion and final pick

Types and groups of car seats

When it comes to car seats one thing should be clear: they aren’t all the same. A distinction can be made between 5 types of car seats based on the weight of the child.

Group 0 seats are suitable for babies who weigh less than 22lbs. In this group are also included the so-called “shuttles”, a type of car seats mostly used in the first months of the infant’s life. They ensure a relaxed position for the underdeveloped muscles of the neck.

Group 0+ seats are suitable for infants up to 28lbs. These seats have the particularity to better protect the head and legs, keeping the baby in a semi-reclining position, which also offers back support. This type of seats must always be mounted in a rear-facing position and always with deactivated airbags.Group 1 seats are suitable for babies weighing from 20 to 40lbs. These seats can be mounted both rear-facing and facing the direction of travel.

Group 2 seats are designed for toddlers with a weight comprised between 33 and 55 lbs. They can be mounted facing the driving direction and most models offer the possibility of being transformed into group 3 car seats by simply removing the backrest.

Group 3 seats are suitable for children from 48 up to 80+ lbs. These seats are generally designed in the form of a pillow with or without armrests and with adjustable height in a manner to allow closing the seatbelt in the correct position (as in adults).

Where and how to place the car seat

It is recommended (and in some cases even mandatory) to place the car seat in a rear-facing position for babies up to 15-months old. The seats from the groups 0 and 0+ can never be placed on the front seat, while the seats from the last three groups can be placed on any seat of the car, even facing the driving direction. In any case, be careful to turn off the airbag.

It should also be pointed out that the best place to position the child seat is in the central part of the rear seat where the baby gets the most of the protection from a collision.

How to choose the best car seat

To determine which car seat to buy, try first to get an understanding from the product description and other parents opinions, which model is more convenient in terms of installation and use ease. It might not seem like it at a first glance, but hooking and unhooking the car seat can be a more problematic task than expected, especially if you own a small car.

From this point of view, our suggestion is to evaluate the Isofix system which is probably the most practical and rapid in terms of car seat hooking. Not to worry, almost all car seats have this feature, as this system was implemented as a universal mounting system due to the great advantages it offers in terms of convenience and safety.

When choosing a car seat, you must always evaluate the convenience offered to the child, as this is probably the most important quality. The child should sit comfortably, so pay attention to purchase a seat that’s wide enough. Also, the baby should get in and out easily.

Another important feature to look for is a reclined angle which offers the baby comfort. This will also pass the baby gently from sitting to lying position, promoting sleep. Check to see if the seat is easily adjustable and how many positions it offers. If you love versatility, then the best car seat you might purchase is one that offers the widest range of options.


  • In the first months of the infant’s life is recommended to use the “shuttle” models when making long commutes or if you like taking frequent trips. But if you’re not traveling that often, this model is superfluous. The best option for infrequent travelers is to go directly for a car seat from the groups 0+ or 1 with cushion for newborns.
  • If for any reason the car seat suffered any internal damage, change it right away, as it could jeopardize the safety of the child.
  • Do not look to save money on this purchase. The safety of the child comes first, so get a car seat that has the correct connections for stability. Check to see if the car seat is built, of good quality and if it has all the important features already described.
  • Beware of car seats that are on sale as they could have faults.
  • For small cars, the best car seat option is a convertible one, as these seats are generally compact, have many features and are very comfortable for the little ones.

Top 5 Best Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars




Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


ClekFoonf Convertible Car Seat


Maxi-CosiPria 70 with Tiny Fit Convertible


Diono Radian R100 Convertible


Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Protect Convertible


1. Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

The Graco 4ever All-in-One Car Seat was designed as a long-lasting car seat to be used throughout the whole growth period from 4 lb. newborns up to 80 lbs. and 10 years old. The company defines this versatile car seat as “the only convertible car that goes from infant car seat to booster seat”. In fact, this car seat is both comfortable and convenient, transitioning from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster.

To keep the child comfortable throughout the whole growing process, the car seat boasts a 6-position recline, while the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System helps you with the proper fit of the seat. Other important features of the 4ever are the InRight LATCH system that makes installation easy and the 10-position headrest.

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Things We Liked

  • Steel-Reinforced frame: the 4ever boasts a steel reinforced frame, ideal for fixing the car seat in the rear of the car, making it safer.
  • Multiple recline positions: this car seat has 6 recline positions and a 10-position headrest to ensure the comfort of the child regardless the mode in which the car seat is used.
  • ​Compact dimensions: this car seat from Graco is compact enough to fit well even in a small sedan, maintaining this feature in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes. The car seat measures only 20” at its widest flair.
  • Smooth and solid bottom: the bottom of the car seat is designed to minimize pressure marks that can sometimes damage the seats of your vehicle.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Difficulty to tighten the harness in rear-facing mode.

2. ClekFoonf Convertible Car Seat

The ClekFoonf Convertible is an innovative car seat that promises revolutionary safety. This car seat is really easy to install and is also recyclable through Clek’s car seat recycling program. With its patented REACT safety system, the company revolutionized the forward-facing safety performance of this car seat, reducing the forces transmitted and providing a “rear-facing like” performance in case of a collision.

This car seat features a complete metal substructure and also boasts a dual layer of energy absorbing foam. According to the producer, the fabric used for this car seat provides a permanent protection against moisture, odor and stains, having antibacterial properties as well.

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Things We Liked

  • Compact dimension: the ClekFoonf Convertible has only 17” in its widest flair. This characteristic makes this child seat one of the best for small cars. Besides, it gives the possibility to install up to 3 car seats in most vehicles.
  • Certified for aircraft use: a great feature for families who like to travel. This means both comfort during the flight and saving on child seat rental at the destination.
  • ​High rear-facing capacity: this car seat is designed to extend the rear-facing use, allowing parents to use the seat in this mode until the child reaches 50 lbs. This means you can keep your child facing rear until about 4 years old.
  • Side impact protection: with its complete metal substructure and with the layers of energy absorbing foam this car seat protects the child in case of a side-impact collision.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Minimum weight and height limitation at 14 lbs., and 24”. Although, it is recommended to use an infant seat for newborn, many parents might find this feature negative.
  • Fabric cover cannot be removed.

3. Maxi-CosiPria 70 with Tiny Fit Convertible

Another revolutionary option among the convertible car seats for small cars is this Maxi-CosiPria 70 with TinyFit system. This system provides a better fit for newborns, while the overall dimensions of the car seat make it a great option for families with small cars. Weight limits allow the use of this car seat for babies from 4 lbs. up to 70 lbs. (up to 40 lbs. for the rear-facing mode).

The car seat also comes with revolutionary impact management. The air protect technology releases air in the moment of a collision reducing the impact forces. In addition, the harness is provided with micro adjustments options to ensure an optimal fit for any baby.

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Things We Liked

  • TinyFit system: this is basically a seat within a seat which allows a 4 lb. newborn to be safely secured by adjusting the recline angle of the car seat.
  • AirProtect side impact technology. These air cushions replace the foam used by other producers, ensuring better protection in case of a lateral collision.
  • ​3-position recline: the Maxi-CosiPria 70 features a 3-position recline which allows parents to make proper adjustments based on the weight and height of the child.
  • Infant support cushions: in addition to the revolutionary TinyFit system, this car seat comes with a head pillow and a hip support to provide further comfort to the newborns.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Fabric: some users claimed the fabric strapped when removing it from the seat. Besides, the producer recommends hand washing the fabric, a quite inconvenient chore for most parents
  • Harness adjuster: when the TinyFit is installed the harness can be difficult to adjust.

4. Diono Radian R100 Convertible

A versatile convertible car seat is the Radian R100, described by the company as “the only car seat you’ll ever need”. In fact, this car seat is designed to comfortably fit babies from 5 to 40 lbs. in rear-facing mode and up to 65 lbs. in forward-facing mode. It also converts to a booster for older children, up to 100lb.

The car seat also features a Superlatch system for easy installation and it is crash tested, to perform well in cases of severe collisions. When it comes to dimensions, this is a really compact car seat. It is possible to install up to 3 units on the rear side of most vehicles and it also folds flat for storage or travel.

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Things We Liked

  • Adaptable design: the Radian R100 was made to accommodate children throughout the whole growth period. It’s also certified for aircraft use.
  • Comfortable ride: the seat boasts a deep shell, expandable sides and long seat bottom, features that provide more comfort to the baby while commuting.
  • ​Easy installation: the superLATCH system makes easy the installation of the Radian R100 while a visual indicator will let you know when the seat is locked in position.
  • Foldable: this car seat folds flat, making its transport easy during travel and easy to be stored as well.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Insecure installation: although the installation is easy, many parents complained feeling insecure about the installation of the car seat.
  • Heavy: with 26lb of weight, it isn’t great to carry the seat around even with the folding feature.

5. Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Protect Convertible

The Complete Air 65 Protect Convertible from Safety 1st is the last entry on our top 5 best convertible car seats for small cars. This car seat is still a great option. Boasting a 5-position adjustable headrest and a one-step harness adjust system, the Complete Air 65 provides maximum comfort to the baby.

When it comes to convenience, this convertible car seat can be used in the rear-facing mode for babies from 5 lbs. up to 40 lbs. while the forward-facing mode is suitable for toddlers from 22 to 65 lbs. The 21” width includes this unit in the category of compact car seats fitting perfectly into a small car.

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Things We Liked

  • Air Protect crash protection: this impact protection system protects your child in case of side-impact collision, releasing the air from the headrest and channeling the impact energy away from the baby.
  • Easy maintenance: the car seat is provided with a removable fabric pad which is very easy to clean. The seat also includes an extra insert of removable padding to provide the maximum comfort to the child.
  • ​Easy installation: thanks to the integrated LATCH system. This seat is compatible with almost all vehicle types.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Dimensions: although the car seat is rather compact and completely suitable for small cars, the dimensions don’t allow the installation of more than two seats on the rear side of most cars.
  • Some parents complain that the car seat doesn’t look safe when installed in the rear-facing mode.

Conclusion and Final Pick

As you can see, there are plenty options when it comes to choosing the best convertible car seat for small cars, but in our opinion, the best is the ClekFoonf Convertible Car Seat. Despite the minimum weight limit and other minor issues, this is one of the most compact car seats available on the market.It presents the advantage of being thin, easily transportable and even suitable for aircraft use. In addition, the innovative safety features make this car seat a safe ride for your child. Even though it is more expensive, the safety and comfort of your child are priceless.

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