Car Seats - Why The Variation?
Most of us generally would assume vehicles come with five seats as standard, with larger cars offering seven or eight seats on occasion. While we’re used to this being the most common set up, have you ever wondered why that’s the case? The most common reason is that cars are designed to fit families. Of course, families come in all different sizes and age groups, so this is a fairly broad group to cover, but five seaters are seen as ‘standard’.
Most five-seater cars offer space to fit a family of up to five, accounting for two adults and up to three children. Estates, hatchbacks and small SUVs are all perfectly designed to accommodate what manufacturers would consider an average family. These vehicles allow space for fitting car seats for families with younger children and can be flexible as a family grows.
Five seater cars allow for safely meeting the requirements of children’s car seats, set out within UK law. Since March 2017, the newest guidelines around child car seats have set out the must-have features for the safe securing of children based on certain weight and height categories. It may come as a surprise, but children up to the age of 12 years or those less than 135cm must use a car seat or booster seat according to the car seat group they fall within.
Car seat requirements are most suitable for five-seater vehicles because they offer the space required to install the seat while also providing the opportunity for changing circumstances as children age and the seating requirements change.
The big question that many consider around a five-seater is whether it actually fits five passengers comfortably. This can be a big factor in whether a car advertised as a five-seater is really optimised for four passengers with occasional use of the fifth rear middle seat. This is also influential on whether certain models can accommodate different types of children’s car seats that meet European safety standards.
Best five-seater cars
While the five-seater models are targeted for the family market, there is a growing offering of cars that cater for larger families, mostly in the form of seven or eight-seater SUVs and people movers. With the need to have children up to 12 years seated in a child’s car seat, this can mean families with three or more children may have difficulty fitting car seats within the allocated three rear seats of a five-seater vehicle. In this case, larger cars offer greater adaptability and flexibility to suit changing seating arrangements with growing families.
Do you need a different license to drive a seven or eight-seater car? In short, no. These vehicles typically fit within the standard licensing requirements for car licenses. In some cases, such as with vans and minibuses, the design may include a bench-style seat in the front, which allows seating for three. This is legal provided there is a seatbelt for the passenger in the centre.
Best seven and eight-seater cars
Cars don’t only offer larger seating capacities though, they also come with fewer than five seats. Sports cars are the most common to fall under this category. The reason can be attributed to sports cars not being designed for family use, the need for improved aerodynamics and also performance-related features.
However, it’s not only sports cars that offer smaller seating capacities. With a growing interest in more eco-friendly solutions and small city getarounds, smart cars and smaller hatchbacks that are optimal for city driving are entering the market. If you are looking for a vehicle that is small, perfectly suited for narrow streets and tight parking spaces, then a four-seater and on occasion even a two-seater model are available. Not everyone needs a car to fit a family, so vehicles designed for various intended uses have increased in popularity.
Best four-seater cars
Car seat design has been an area of improvement over the decades, designed to enhance safety and comfort. With the way vehicles are used changing over time, what the average consumer looks like and various audiences now owning vehicles, the seating configuration varies more than ever before. Bench seats both front and rear were once a common fixture in vehicles, however, we now see most cars with individual seats to offer increased flexibility and adaptability for users. The number of seats you need will vary depending on who you are transporting and how you use the vehicle, but the great news is that there has never been more choice to find your perfect fit.
Rivervale offers a huge selection of car leases from family-friendly models to sports cars that offer plenty of performance. Discover our range of competitively-priced vehicle leases to keep you moving. Get in touch on 01273 433480 or request a callback to discuss your vehicle requirements with one of our experts.
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