Cars with electronic handbrakes

Want to say goodbye to manual handbrakes and tricky hill starts for good? Here are some excellent cars with electronic handbrakes

James Wilson
Dec 15, 2021

Cars with electronic handbrakes - also referred to as electronic parking brakes - help take the edge off the daily grind. They not only remove the need to keep yanking your left arm up and down when engaging the handbrake, but they can complement other useful features such as automatic hill hold. Automatic hill hold means that a car can hold itself still for a few moments after you release the brake pedal, enabling you to pull off on a hill without needing to manually hold the handbrake to avoid rolling back. Handy.

As electronic parking brakes are popular with drivers, more and more manufacturers have fitted them to their cars. At first, the technology was reserved for expensive upmarket cars but now even affordable hatchbacks like the Peugeot 208 are available with electronic handbrakes. Not all systems are equal, though.

Some are simple and are nothing more than a button or switch you have to press to engage and disengage the handbrake. Others are more extravagant, including ‘auto hold’ features which will automatically hold a car in position once you have come to a stop. Choose a car with auto hold and it will release the brakes when you start to pull away. This kind of system is common on cars from the likes of BMW and Volkswagen and is effectively an advanced hill-hold system.

Below is our shortlist of eight cars with electronic handbrakes. They range in how much they cost to buy or finance as well as their shape and size. So whether you are looking for a people carrier or a first car, there should be a suitable option below. All models below are all available for somewhere between £10,000 and £35,000 second-hand. Meanwhile, if you are looking to finance a car with PCP finance this is approximately £175* to £500* per month.

Cars with electronic handbrakes

1. Honda Jazz

Used deals from £18,770
Monthly finance from £0*

As small cars go, the Honda Jazz is about as practical as they get. This is largely down to its boxy shape which means there is plenty of head and shoulder room for passengers and ample boot space for luggage. The Jazz also has a clever ‘Magic Seats’ feature. This may not be able to make noisy passengers disappear, but does mean that the rear seats can flip up - like cinema seats - and fold in a number of different ways allowing you to carry all manner of bulky objects.

Driving a Jazz is also incredibly easy, as Honda has designed it to be that way. Take the large windows and high windscreen - it's a car with great visibility. An electronic handbrake is also standard on all current models. This is only true of the latest generation Jazz, which went on sale in 2020, as the previous model came with a traditional manual handbrake. These older versions are still worth considering if you can live without an electronic handbrake and have a smaller budget for an incredibly practical small car.


2. Peugeot 208

Used deals from £14,495
Monthly finance from £0*

Peugeot launched the latest version of its 208 in 2019 and when it arrived its striking exterior and interior design helped make it a hit. It also marked a significant step up in terms of equipment levels - for the first time the 208 was available with an electronic handbrake. Not just that, but this easy-to-use handbrake is common across most of the 208 range. That said, entry-level Active models come as standard with a manual handbrake (barring the electric e-208) so it's best to double check what's fitted to any 208 you're considering.

If you don’t like the styling of the 208 you do have a backup option - the latest Vauxhall Corsa. The Corsa is built using many of the same components as the 208 although its styling is the largest differentiator. As with the 208, an electronic parking brake is standard on most models, though entry-level SE versions don't have this (barring automatic SE models, which do).


3. Renault Zoe

Used deals from £20,495
Monthly finance from £0*

The Renault Zoe is one of the best small and affordable electric cars. It has been in production since 2013 but there was a significant overhaul of the small French EV (electric vehicle) in 2020. If your budget can stretch to one, we would recommend one of these revised models - mostly because their maximum claimed range is an impressive 245 miles, which makes newer versions viable everyday cars for many drivers. Do bear in mind that in reality you're likely to achieve less, in the same way that petrol and diesel cars normally fall short of their official economy figures.

Included in the 2020 updates was a move to an electronic handbrake. There were also wholesale changes to the cabin design, importantly for some these extended to the media system which gained a sharper screen. Newer Zoe models also come with a digital driver’s display, which replaces a more traditional setup where physical dials showed information such as speed and fuel level instead of a screen.


4. Audi A3

Used deals from £9,350
Monthly finance from £269*

As the Audi A3 is regarded as a high-tech hatchback it has been offered with kit such as an electronic handbrake for a number of years. In fact, the previous-generation A3, which was in production from 2013 to 2020 was offered with one throughout its life. This means there is a great selection of A3 trims to choose from that feature an electronic handbrake, starting from relatively basic SE spec through to more sporty S line models.

There are also a whole host of engines. Those who rack up more than 15,000 miles or so every year and need a car with strong fuel economy should look at either the 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre diesels. Saying that, if you regularly drive in urban areas, be sure to check whether there are any plans to impose emissions taxes on drivers of older diesel cars - find out whether a diesel car is right for you here.

There are perfectly good petrol engines to choose from as well, with the 1.5-litre offering a good balance of performance and economy. If you are into fast cars, meanwhile, there is also the super-high-performance 2.5-litre RS3 - although you can expect high purchase and running costs with this, as it's a seriously quick and powerful machine.



5. Hyundai Tucson

Used deals from £15,900
Monthly finance from £0*

Hyundai’s mid-size SUV, the Tucson, competes against appealing alternatives like the Seat Ateca, Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai. Testament to Hyundai, the Tucson stands up well in terms of equipment and space, so it can hold its head high against rivals. Additionally, all modern Hyundais come with an unlimited mileage five-year warranty, which gives you great confidence when purchasing a used model.

Although Hyundai launched a new version of the Tucson in 2021, we are focusing on the previous generation here. Not all of these come with an electronic handbrake as standard; this is only available on certain high-spec automatic Premium and Premium SE trims. Although the higher-spec models are more expensive, they do come with plenty of other equipment as standard, such as front and rear parking sensors, electric folding and heated wing mirrors plus keyless start on Premium SE versions.


6. Volkswagen Tiguan

Used deals from £9,490
Monthly finance from £291*

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a practical and desirable upmarket SUV - with both the first generation version, which was sold from 2008 to 2016 and the second generation version, which has been on sale since, being worth considering. Here we are focusing on the newer version, which comes as standard with an electronic handbrake. The Tiguan is so popular that, at the time of writing, it is VW’s best-selling vehicle globally - so if you choose one, you'll be in a good company.

The wide variety of trims, engines and gearboxes available with the Tiguan may initially seem daunting. Standard equipment is plentiful but we would recommend going for a mid-range model like SE Navigation (for cars pre-2020) or Active (for cars post-2020). These look visually more appealing thanks to subtle styling changes, such as different alloy wheel designs. Two-wheel-drive models offer lower running costs, but '4Motion' four-wheel drive variants are fairly common should you want the security of extra grip when accelerating.


7. Mazda 6

Used deals from £11,949
Monthly finance from £225*

Mazda has seemingly continuously developed and updated the 6 during its time in production, so it's remained a striking and appealing large car. The 6 was first launched way back in 2012, but the regular revisions mean that newer models still seem fresh - especially in terms of in-cabin technology. It is well worth hunting down a model from at least 2016 as this was when Mazda improved areas such as comfort and refinement, making the Mazda easier to live with day-to-day and being fitted with a more sophisticated media system.

Electronic parking brakes were standard following the 2016 updates. This means that it doesn't matter if you are shopping for a more affordable SE Nav model, or a more sporty-looking Sport Nav version, you will find an electronic handbrake in all more recent 6 models. One of the stand out features of all Mazda 6s - including diesel and petrol models and estates and saloons - is how well they drive. The 6 feels sporty and surefooted around corners, but remains refined and comfortable when cruising along.



8. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Used deals from £15,151
Monthly finance from £0*

If you are shopping for a large and practical seven-seater then the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is a great option. While some people who need lots of space will lean towards seven-seater SUVs, the big Citroen is much funkier than many of these and more affordable than most. Plus, the Grand C4 SpaceTourer is well equipped - with an electronic handbrake being standard across the range since 2018. If your budget won’t quite stretch to a 2018 model, there are older Grand C4 Picasso models, which are fundamentally the same car, only with a different name.

Another positive to the Citroen is that it promises low running costs, thanks to being available with Citroen’s frugal small petrol and diesel engines. The diesel models are the ones to go for if you cover a lot of miles - especially motorway driving. When solely driving in town, the difference between petrol and diesel car fuel economy becomes much smaller. As for specifications, aim for a mid-range trim such as Feel, Flair or Sense and you shouldn’t be disappointed, as these include plenty of standard features.


*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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