Cars with top tethers for child seats

Top tethers are an additional safety feature that secures child seats. Here are eight of the best cars with top tether mounting points

James Wilson
Jun 16, 2022

If you have young children who need to use child seats, then having a car that enables you to securely mount their seats is crucial. Isofix is one of the most common mounting systems and has been fitted to all new cars since November 2014 with many cars including Isofix since as far back as 2000 and earlier.

Isofix mounts securely hold the base of a child seat, while top tethers brace the top of the seat in place, so that in the event of a crash, the child seat doesn't flip forward. Not all child seats come with a top tether, though. Some use a ‘supporting leg’ instead, which locks in place against the footwell. However, some cars are incompatible with these due to having false floors for extra storage, meaning that the leg cannot rest firmly in place.

Although using a top tether is not a legal requirement, ensuring the safety of child passengers is. As a top tether is one of the easiest ways to help with this, they are very common. In fact, many cars include multiple places to attach a tether - top tethers are normally metal loops and are often found on the top or middle of the seat backs or on the boot floor. To help parents or guardians locate these there is normally a little diagram of a child seat and an anchor on or near them. If in doubt, check the manuals that came with your car.

Even though each of the eight shortlisted cars below are linked by the fact they have top tethers, they differ greatly in size, shape and cost. So whether you are looking for a small car to occasionally transport grandkids or a large seven-seat SUV to shuttle the entire family around every day, there should be a suitable option for you. Frustratingly, not all versions of particular makes and models come with the same top tether points, so be sure to double check any potential automotive acquisition.

It might sound simple, but it's also important to check whether your car seat will easily fit in the car you are considering. While a tight squeeze might seem mildly annoying at first, it will not take long for it to become the bane of your existence - especially if you have to move the driver's seat forward to make enough space, compromising your driving position and potentially making it harder to drive safely. So buckle up and get ready for some cracking cars with top tethers for child seats.

Cars with top tethers for child seats

1. Volkswagen Polo

Our pick Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 Match DSG
Used deals from £10,490
Monthly finance from £237*

The Volkswagen Polo is a very grown-up small car. This means it is comfortable to cruise around in, the controls - such as the steering - are all light to use and the styling is modern but uncontroversial. The Polo is also spacious for this size of car, making it a great option for families in need of a relatively small car. Additionally, the kind of technology available in the Polo is very impressive, as it can come with features such as a digital driver’s display, which is more common on larger, pricier cars.

A digital driver’s display is a screen that replaces traditional dials for things such as speed and fuel level and can also act as a sat-nav display, putting directional guidance right in front of you and minimising the time you have to look away from the road to see the instructions.

Features like these don’t come free of charge though, and the Polo can be quite expensive compared to alternatives such as the Ford Fiesta. To help soften the financial blow, the Polo normally depreciates relatively slowly, so PCP finance monthly payments are lower than you might expect and resale prices can be higher.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Renault Megane

Our pick Renault Megane 1.3 TCe GT Line
Used deals from £6,807
Monthly finance from £0*

In theory, the Renault Megane should be incredibly popular. It is very stylish, good value for money and available with a choice of frugal engines. If you expect to be doing less than 10,000 miles per year then a petrol Megane would be the best option, but any more than this and it is well worth considering a diesel, thanks to the additional fuel economy offered by the diesel engines.

Compared to older Renault models, the Megane is a much more upmarket car, not least because of the good quality materials used throughout the cabin. There are two different body styles available with the Megane - a hatchback and an estate. The estate is a longer car and offers a larger boot, as a result, which is great for those with big buggies to transport.

RENAULT MEGANE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes GLB

Our pick Mercedes GLB 220d AMG Line (7 seats)
Used deals from £35,000
Monthly finance from £0*

Although the Mercedes GLB is available as a five-seater and a seven-seater, we're focusing on the seven-seater here. Having a third row of seats is great if you regularly need to accommodate a number of passengers - whether you have a large number of children or simply want to be able to transport grand parents or friends in the car, too.

The space available in the rearmost seats is actually quite limited, so older kids or adults won’t want to be back there for extended periods of time. For that, larger cars like the Land Rover Discovery are a better option. Away from practicality, the Mercedes GLB is very modern inside. There is a central media system in the middle of the dashboard that seamlessly integrates with a digital driver’s display. Throw in some cool-looking air vents and the cabin should make a good impression to any friends or family along for the ride.

MERCEDES GLB BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jeep Compass

Our pick Jeep Compass 1.3 4xe Trailhawk
Used deals from £12,680
Monthly finance from £0*

As Jeep is America’s equivalent of Land Rover, most of its models are relatively competent off-roaders. This makes them an excellent option for anyone who has to do battle with snowy roads in winter (though winter tyres will make an even bigger difference) or who would like the added grip of four-wheel-drive for towing a caravan or trailer on slippery surfaces. There are plenty of two-wheel-drive versions of the Compass, which are more affordable and economical, so double check the specification of each car you consider.

For the ultimate off-road model, we recommend hunting down a Trailhawk variant, as these come with extra gears for when the going gets really muddy or steep. Despite its rugged style, the Compass is quite a handsome car - at least from the outside. Inside, things are still relatively stylish but there isn’t much by way of colour. There is plenty of space, mind, with ample head, shoulder and legroom in the front and back.

JEEP COMPASS BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Sorento

Our pick Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi PHEV '3'
Used deals from £17,000
Monthly finance from £531*

The Kia Sorento comes with a manufacturer warranty which runs for seven years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). This puts it up there with the best in the business and is only topped by Toyota and Lexus. All Sorento models come with seven seats, with top tethers on the outer middle and rearmost seats. When the third row of seats is not needed, it can be folded into the boot floor very easily - as in most seven-seaters - creating a large luggage area.

Although both the current and previous generations of Kia Sorento are superb large cars, there is a noticeable difference in how upmarket they feel, with the new car feeling much posher. As a result, the older models are more of a bargain while the newer versions are more expensive but feel plusher. Newer versions are also available with a choice of diesel, petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines, all of which offer impressive fuel economy. If you're still deciding which type of fuel is best for you, the stories below could help.

KIA SORENTO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Focus ST

Our pick Ford Focus 2.3 EcoBoost ST
Used deals from £22,790
Monthly finance from £0*

Press the starter button in the Focus ST and you're rewarded with a sporty exhaust note. This is thanks to a powerful 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which offers plenty of punch. Drive away and find a road with lots of twists and turns and it should prove great fun for zipping around corners, too. The big brakes also mean that the Focus stops very quickly.

What’s more, when you need to do sensible things, like picking the kids up from school, there are top tethers to help secure their seats. Being that ST models are based on the regular Focus, the cabin can come packed with useful features such as heated seats, an intuitive touchscreen media system and a heated front windscreen.

If your children are really young, it is worth noting that the suspension in an ST is quite firm, so they might get jiggled about if you mostly drive through towns and cities. If this is the case, an ST-Line model might be a better option, as these are more comfortable and still look quite sporty although they are also much slower.

FORD FOCUS ST BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi TT 

Our pick Audi TT Coupe 2.0 TFSI S line S tronic
Used deals from £12,995
Monthly finance from £0*

Based on its sleek bodywork, the Audi TT looks like it might be a two-seater sports car but there are actually two rear seats (although not with convertible models) and they have top tethers. In addition, crash test experts Euro NCAP gave the TT a four-out-of-five crash test rating back in 2015, which is pretty good, though it's worth bearing in mind that as crash tests get tougher every year, newer cars with the same score are safer in reality.

As the TT has been on sale for quite some time, there is a huge choice of second-hand models to choose from. These include relatively economical 2.0-litre diesel models all the way up to incredibly fast 2.5-litre petrol TT RS versions - although these have high running costs. Regardless of model, the interior of the TT is a real selling point - one neat feature is the heating and cooling controls that are built into the air vents, which themselves are a thing of beauty.

AUDI TT BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jaguar I-Pace

Our pick Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE
Used deals from £41,300
Monthly finance from £726*

The I-Pace is electric, and the big question for most electric vehicles is ‘what is the range?’. Well, in the I-Pace a full charge will theoretically translate to up to 292 miles. This is based on official testing which is normally a little optimistic compared to what drivers achieve in the real world. Even so, few drivers will need even half of this range each day so as long as you're able to charge at home and don't do lots of non-stop 300-mile trips, then this should be plenty.

If you are worried about how long an electric car battery will last, you are not alone. Jaguar knows this is a reservation some drivers have, so the I-Pace comes with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty which is much longer than the cover for the rest of the car. Most other car makers offer similar battery warranties.

Although this Jaguar is whisper-quiet, large and comfortable, it is still a very fast car. Accelerating from 0 to 62mph takes less than five seconds, which is quicker than many sports cars. Perfect if you enjoy quick drives when the kids aren't on board.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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