Originally Posted by Spitfire
Diono Radian RXT. It is a premium seat with a narrow footprint.
You can put 3 of them wide in the back of a Kia. We started with a crappy Graco snugride that was wide as all hell. This seat is the bees-knees. My neighbor bought two for his kids to go in the back of his Jeep.
They are heavy duty, airline compatible, and the straps are easily adjusted. Highly recommended. Also, it functions as a booster seat. So it should be the only car seat you ever need.
Congrats and good luck!
The Diono Radian's are great. I have the Radian 120 (the RXT has the headwings while the 120 does not), for my son who is 2.5 in my DC. It can go rear facing then convert to the forward facing with 5 point harness up to 80 lbs and be a booster up to 120 lbs. Have heard it is a waste for a booster though, but for RF and FF, it should be fine.
What you'll find with other RF (rear facing) convertible seats is that you may be limited on weight when switching to FF (forward facing). With the Radian's you really won't have that issue and can keep them RF for quite a while, and the longer time RF the better from a safety point of view.
Later on down the road, the headwings on the RTX are supposed to be safer, but I went without them with the R120 since for taller kids their shoulders can hit. My son is in the 90th+ percentile for height and weight, so that will probably be a concern for him.
We do have a newborn and use the Keyfit 22 clip in with base, the same one we used with our son. She is behind the passengers seat with my son behind the drivers seat in the Radian. Could put her in the middle, but not sure I trust my 2.5 year old that close to her yet (he is slowly accepting not being an only child...).
You've dismissed using those, but we really like the clip in and go system. If it is space behind the seats, I understand. But the ease of getting them in and out, not to mention being able to strap them into the seat while inside is a big plus. Think of a pouring rain and hanging halfway out of the truck trying to get them strapped in, getting drenched in the process! Not to mention easier to carry them around once you get out of the car. Once the babies get bigger though, they carriers do get heavy.
Once again, good luck!