Best Rear Facing Car Seat for Small Car – Product Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Many of us have bought compact cars after being annoyed at the lack of parking spots. In the end, smaller cars seem to fit everywhere. However, once the little one arrives, you are left with a new problem, and that is searching for the best rear facing car seat for small car.

When you have a small car, you might realize that many car seats simply aren’t fitting. The convertible car seats seem to be too big, just like the seat your cousin gave you. Not to mention how you’ll have no place left for the stroller, diapers, toys, and bags.

Fortunately, there is a solution. There are many small car seats that can fit compact cars rather well. But how to decide what is the best rear facing car seat for small cars? Don’t worry – we’re here to help you out!  

We’ve consulted numerous parent’s reviews, detailed descriptions, and customer ratings, and have composed a list of the best rear facing car seats for small cars that might be just what you’re looking for!

Here’s what we’ve found:

Best Rear Facing Car Seat for Small Car – Top 5 List

1. Chicco Fit2

This might be the best rear facing car seat for small cars if you’re looking for a strong and safe seat and already have a stroller you like. While it has achieved an amazing result as a compact car seat, the Chicco Fit2 might be a bit limited when it comes to using it with non-mainstream strollers. 

This car seat has a LATCH system, ensuring effortless installation. Most small cars can support the LATCH installation, so you won’t have any troubles. Considering that many child injuries in a car crash are a result of improper installation, this is more important than it might appear at a first glance.

When it comes to safety features, the Chicco Fit2 has additional padding, anti-rebound bar, as well as a substantial headrest that can help with shoulder height adjustment. All of these traits have even earned it an Editor’s Choice award.

This product is very straightforward to use, and you most likely won’t make any mistakes. Just keep in mind that it is a bit heavier than other models, so transporting it from car to car might be a problem.

+ Simple installation
+ Straightforward to use
+ Very safe
+ No rethread harness
– Rather heavy
– Limited stroller compatibility
– Not compatible with the Chicco KeyFit base
– No front facing option

2. Chicco Keyfit 30

This is one of the best-selling car seats currently on the market – and after just one glance at the features it’s easy to see why.

Chicco Keyfit 30 has soft and cushy padding that makes it very comfortable for a child, while also ensuring their safety. Also, thanks to the Super Cinch LATCH tightening system, the seat is effortless to install. The bubble-level indicators help you see whether you’re installing at the right angle – which is also enforced with the adjustable recline foot.

However, what’s really impressive about this car seat is its short front-to-back length. It is only 22 inches long front to back, which is small enough to fit even the smallest of cars. You won’t have to move the front seats forward into an uncomfortable position in order to fit everything. Also, you can ride no matter the locked position of the seat’s handle. 

+ Very compact
+ Super Cinch LATCH system
+ Comfortable
+ Durable
– Rather heavy
– Canopy is not great
– May not be best option for larger infants
– No front face option

3. Diono Radian 3RXT

Diono is known as one of the best car seat brands with many various models, so it’s no surprise that they have also made what might be the best rear facing car seat for small car. 

This is one of the seats with the smallest front-to-back length, which doesn’t exceed 17 inches. It comes with a unique, sleek design. Thanks to this, you might even be able to fit three of them inside a compact car without a fuss!

The seat can also be folded flat. This makes it an excellent choice for travels, as you can easily carry it around. Thanks to this and the LATCH system, you might easily take it from one to another car.

This seat meets all the FAA standards, so you can use it inside the plane, as well. This is an excellent choice if you plan on flying somewhere with your child. While you are allowed to carry a baby in your lap on a plane, having a car seat is the safest option.

+ FAA-approved
+ Compact design
+ Foldable
+ Front face option too
– Cover fabrics feel cheap
– Heavy
– Not as padded as previous models

4. Graco SlimFit3 LX

If you want to get the best rear facing car seat for small car that you can also use once your child grows older, you might want to get a convertible car seat. This is a type of car seat that once your child grows out of it, you can simply turn it over, change the mode, and use it as a front facing or even a booster. 

This is an excellent 3-in-1 car seat that you can use from the day your child is born in rear-facing mode, up until he reaches 100 lbs (in front-facing and booster modes). This should be for as long as he might need a stroller whatsoever. 

The seat uses the InRight LATCH system for easy installation, so it’ll be compatible with most cars. It comes with an integrated harness storage and rotating cup holders for a more convenient use.

As this seat is rather compact, you can easily use it in most tiny cars. In fact, you might even be able to fit up to three seats in the backseat! This makes it an excellent choice if you have twins or up to three kids of similar age. 

+ No rethread harness
+ Easy installation
+ 3 in 1
+ No separate base needed
– Straps can be challenging to tighten
– Straps cant be removed for cleaning
– Limited recline positions
– Safety sticker positioning can be
irritating on child’s back in heat

5. Maxi-Cosi Mico 30

While not as compact as some other models we’ve reviewed, the Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 still has some amazing features, while staying compact enough to be able to fit most cars. 

The first thing that stands out with this car seat is its gorgeous design. It has a limited color, but this isn’t an issue considering how well everything looks. This can make it look good in most car backseats!

While it doesn’t have a load leg or anti-rebound bar, it still has great side-impact protection, which is the most safety important feature of all car seats for kids. At the same time, it is taxi and Rideshare-friendly, thanks to it’s American-style belt path. You can quickly install it into any car, even Uber!

The removable cover is machine-washable, so you no longer have to worry whether your child makes a mess. You can simply put it into the machine and let it do the dirty work for you!

+ Gorgeous design
+ Easy to clean
+ American-style belt path
+ Great stroller compatibility
– Rethread harness
– Canopy is not great
– Could have additional safety features
– Can be awkward to connect to base

Benefits of Using Rear Facing Car Seats

Many parents are eager to move their child to a forward-facing car seat as fast as possible. However, many experts would agree that it’s safer to keep your child into a rear facing seat for as long as possible. 

Here are some benefits of using rear facing car seats until a child gets too big:

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear facing is considered to be the safest way for kids to ride.
  • Transitioning to a front facing car seat reduces the safety level. 
  • A rear facing car seat has the best head, neck, and spine support, as well as crash force absorption.
  • While some parents consider that children might suffer leg or foot injuries if their feet are constantly touching the seat, there is no evidence that supports that.
  • Today’s rear facing car seats have increased weight limits, and there is no need to switch your child to a forward facing model until the weight limits are reached.

As you can see, it might be a good choice to use the best rear facing car seat for small car you’ve bought for as long as possible. Not only does it have many benefits for the child, but you might delay that big expense of purchasing a new car seat too soon.

How to Find the Best Rear Facing Car Seat for Small Car?

We’ve listed you the top 5 products we’ve run into, but we are aware that you might not know how to determine which one of them is the best possible choice for you. To further help you out, we’ve created a buyer’s guide that might help you realize what it is you’re looking for. 

Rear facing car seats are intended for infants. They are usually designed to fit the needs of babies from the day they were born until they can sit upright on their own – but it’s recommended to use them up until your kids reach 2-4 years of age. Fortunately, many of them are already small, but finding the one that is small enough for a very tiny car can be tricky.

Here are some steps you can take that will help you find the best rear facing car seat for small cars for you:

Measure the Dimensions of Your Car

This is likely the first step you’d want to do. When you have a car that isn’t a regular size, it would be smart to measure them first, so you’ll know the size of car seats you’re looking for. Without the precise measurements, you cannot be certain that you’ll get the right one. 

Width is the most important measurement you need to take. All the other ones can be adjusted, and you’ll likely be able to install a car seat even if they aren’t a precise fit. However, if the width is wrong, you might not be able to install your car seat. Even if you do, chances are the seat will be uncomfortable for the child, or even entirely unsafe.

Weight Limitations

Weight limitations will let you know for how long you can use the car seat in question. Car seats rarely have age limits. Instead, they look at the child’s weight. 

The best option would be to find a rare facing car seat that can hold at least 40 lbs. Of course, smaller weights are okay if you don’t mind purchasing a new car seat in a year or so. This is only the optimal weight limit you should strive for. 

Look for SlimFit Models

Most manufacturers will use a SlimFit label to mark a car seat that is fit for compact car. Fortunately, as cars are becoming more and more compact, brands have noticed the increase in demand, and now they’re producing more and more SlimFit models that can fit into them. While you don’t have to choose them and can simply go by the measurements, SlimFit models are a safe choice.

Additional Features

Most car seats have several different accessories or features that you might be interested in. For example, plenty of products use LATCH systems for easier installation. Others have no-rethread harnesses, reinforced, waterproof materials, one-click installation, and several other features.

The Bottom Line

If you, like many of us, have bought a compact car but have now found yourself struggling to find the appropriate car seat, feel free to look at at least one of the best rear facing car seats from our list. They might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Car seats are some of the most important investments a parent should make, and it’s important to pick the right one. While all products we’ve listed are of excellent quality, we are aware that everyone has their own requirements and expectations, which is why we encourage you to do the proper research and make the best possible decision for you.