for many families who need to carry all the kids plus all the gear, only a minivan will do. luckily, automakers are on top of their game and there are several excellent contenders in the class. in one corner is the all-new-for-2017 chrysler pacifica, which has all the style, comfort and features that its predecessor, the town & country, was missing. in the other corner is the honda odyssey, which was remade for 2018 into a veritable living room on wheels.
with families come car seats. both vans have plenty of room, but which minivan handles car seats best? we performed car seat checks on each 2018 model to find out which one's the heavyweight in terms of both fit and ease of installation.
2018 chrysler pacifica car seat check
the pacifica has loads of legroom and easily accommodated all of our car seats. its handy stow 'n go second-row captain's chairs get an a for versatility and ease of use, but the van's latch anchors get a b; they're stuffed between the seat cushions and require a bit of muscle to access. the lower anchors in the third row are easier to access, but the system also got a b because of the top tether anchors' placement. although they're marked with icons, they sit at the base of the seatbacks and are hard to see because they're small and the same color as the plastic backing.
2018 honda odyssey car seat check
for our car seat check, we tested an eight-passenger model with a three-position second-row bench seat and it fit three car seats across — a big win for the odyssey. like the pacifica, there was oodles of room for car seats in both rows. unlike the pacifica, the odyssey's latch anchors were very accessible in both rows, earning it high grades.
both family-mobiles excel at hauling people and stuff in comfort with ample room and loads of convenience and safety goodies. however, the odyssey earned higher marks overall for its more accessible latch anchors, making installation easier with each car seat we test. the pacifica did better in booster accommodation though, especially in the second row where its buckles are rigid, making them easier for kids to grab and use. the pacifica also earned a higher grade for third-row entry; it's a bit easier to get into the van and access the third row.
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