One of the harsh truths all growing families will discover when planning for a third child is just how few cars there are with three ISOFIX mounting points across the back row.
Need two? No problem, nearly all cars have two. Need three? Tough luck! You can count the choices available to you on both hands.
All cars manufactured today with rear seats must have ISOFIX mounting points for child safety seats. This is mandatory and written into law.
Most manufacturers will fit theirs on the rear outermost seats, leaving the middle row bare, often because there isn’t space for a third child seat in the middle anyway.
But some cars are big enough to accommodate that extra child seat – and some manufacturers have cottoned onto the fact there are families who need the extra ISOFIX point for their young, growing family.
One of these manufacturers is Ford. Not all Fords have three ISOFIX points across the back row, but the most important model for families, the S-MAX, does.
The Ford S-MAX is a seven-seater family MPV with an enormous boot and acres of cabin space. The boot has a 285-litre load volume with seven seats in place, expanding to a Transit rivalling 700-litres with five seats in place.
That’s enough boot space for the biggest pram travel systems, shopping, dogs … you know, all the usual family stuff.
As far as capaciousness goes, it’s one of the most impressive vehicles on the market and it has those all-important three ISOFIX points across the back row.
And they aren’t just there to make up the numbers either – the S-MAX’s wide wheelbase means there is genuinely enough space for three child seats. You can slide three Group 1 car seats alongside one another quite easily.
ISOFIX mountings are metal hooks built into the structure of the seat row. When a child seat is anchored in, it effectively becomes part of the vehicle.
This provides a strong and stable base for the car seat. Additionally, the car seat can be buckled in for additional reassurance. Importantly, fitting an ISOFIX car seat wrongly is impossible. The seat clips into place with an audible, and perceptible, click. Once it clicks in and the seat indicator shows the seats in for good (until you take it out, which is as easy as installing it in the first place).
Throw in the Ford S-MAX’s sporty good looks, powerful EcoBoost engine range, the option of all-wheel drive, sliding side doors, and useful features like a Quickclear heated windscreen and cruise control, and you have the ultimate family car.