There are quite a few five-seater family SUVs under $40,000 that will fit three child seats across, but I am regularly asked which are the CHEAPEST five-seat cars that can take three across? To make your life easier, here is a list of the five cheapest five-seater family cars, that I have reviewed and found would fit three child seats across:
The most inexpensive is the 2019 Haval H2 costing from $23,000 drive-away. I found it fitted three child seats in the back seats when using a combination of forward and rear facing child seats or two forward facing child seats fit in the outer seats but I could not sit between them. See the top three family-friendly features of the Haval H2 here.
In second place is the little Suzuki S-Cross, ranging in price between $23,000 and $33,000. I was surprised to find that I could squeeze three child seats across the back row. I did this with two rear-facing child seats in the outer seats and a forward-facing in the central seat. You would definitely need to check your three child seats fit before buying them if you need this functionality. See the full video here.
In fourth place is the 2019 Kia Seltos, costing between $25,000 and $41,000. I found it fitted three child seats in the back seats with a combination of forward and rear-facing child seats. Legroom was a little tight and in front of the rear-facing child seat, we could fit a 170cm driver. See the top three family-friendly features of the Kia Seltos here.
The 2019 Ford Focus Active costs between $26,000 and $35,000. I found it fitted three child seats across the back row really nicely and with good legroom. In front of the rear-facing child seat, we could fit a 180cm driver. The Ford Focus is a good all-rounder; it's modern and has a great media system and boot space. See if the Ford Focus Active will suit your family here.
Before the new Mazda3 came out in 2019, I found the previous-model 2018 Mazda3 Neo to be an affordable little family car and was surprised to find that with a combination of different seats I could fit three child seats across the back row. The legroom is minimal however and we could not sit a 180cm passenger in front of a forward-facing child seat as the child had nowhere to put their legs! These were great value when new and very popular, so used ones at good prices should be easy to find. See if the Mazda3 Neo will suit your family here.