The best cars with Apple CarPlay

After a used car that will make the most of your iPhone? These are some of the best value used cars with Apple CarPlay

Chris Rosamond
Mar 8, 2022

Apple CarPlay was first introduced in March 2014 as the tech giant's attempt to provide an integrated in-car connection for iPhone users. Previously, smartphone users had been able to connect calls and stream music from their phones via Bluetooth, but the CarPlay system was designed to bring much more of the iPhone’s functionality into the car, while also limiting distractions as much as possible.

Connected either by Bluetooth or Lightning-type charger cable, Apple CarPlay works by mirroring your iPhone's screen onto your car’s display. It means you can access a number of your phone apps for music, sat-nav, contacts and messages either via the car’s media system, and you can even use Apple’s Siri assistant service through voice commands. Once connected, though, your iPhone can’t be used except through the car's systems, which hopefully means you’re not going to be tempted to pick up your phone and risk six points on your licence and a fine – or a crash.

The Apple CarPlay system is very similar in concept to Android Auto and MirrorLink, which are two rival systems designed for phones with Android operating systems. All of these are optimised for certain apps, and in the case of CarPlay that means sat-nav not just via Apple Maps, but using Google or crowd-sourced favourite Waze. Music options include iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, podcast app Stitcher, and audiobook apps.

Not every car manufacturer offers Apple CarPlay, but it’s becoming increasingly popular on new cars - coming as standard on many new models, or an additional option on others. So, if you’re looking for wheels with the ultimate iPhone connectivity, then our list of CarPlay-equipped favourites below should give you food for thought.

Best used cars with Apple CarPlay

1. Fiat 500

Best city car with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £7,750
Monthly finance from £0*

There may be a new, electric version of the Fiat 500 on sale, but it's the petrol-powered version that we're talking about here because most trim levels feature CarPlay connectivity.

Early versions were available with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, but the 0.9-litre turbocharged engine will likely prove more efficient, and it feels punchier too. Go for a later version (from 2019) and you're limited to a 1.0-litre petrol engine, but because it uses mild hybrid technology it should be especially cheap to run.

Most models that come with CarPlay connectivity come with rear parking sensors, a seven-inch touchscreen media system and cruise control, but be sure to check any individual car's spec sheet to know exactly what you're getting.

FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Vauxhall Astra

Best hatchback with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £7,500
Monthly finance from £200*

This, recently replaced, version of the Vauxhall Astra is a terrific car to drive with handsome looks and a practical interior that deserves to be more highly regarded than it often is. Although the Astra can’t compare with the VW Golf for desirability, it's just as pleasing to drive. It’s better value as a used car too, being cheaper to buy and maintain, while giving nothing away in terms of fuel economy.

It’s a great car to sit inside too, comfortable seats coupled with a supple ride mean you’ll enjoy racking up the miles in it, while efficient and smooth engines add to the Astra’s desirability, albeit there’s no getting away from the fact that many buyers would seem to prefer an SUV or crossover than an ‘ordinary’ hatchback these days.

The 1.6-litre diesel engines are great for long-distance economy, but the 1.0-litre petrol engine is well worth considering for those who spend most of their time around town.

VAUXHALL ASTRA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Nissan Qashqai

Best SUV with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £14,450
Monthly finance from £244*

The Nissan Qashqai was one of the original crossovers, combining the looks and style of an off-roader with the easy driving manners of a small family hatchback, and it was an instant hit when it first arrived all the way back in 2006. Popular it was, but it was never really at the cutting edge in terms of technology, and it took a facelift in 2019 for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to finally be included as standard spec on Acenta Premium models and above.

That means the only Qashqai for sale today without Apple CarPlay is the entry-level Visia - you'll have to narrow down your search to these latest models if you're shopping for a used one. While it seems odd that Nissan has taken quite so long to rectify the problem of no CarPlay, there’s not much else to criticise if you’re in the market for a trendy crossover.

The Qashqai offers style, space and practicality, as well as reasonable build quality, while it also features an efficient 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine that can return up to 48mpg, according to official figures.

NISSAN QASHQAI BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford S-Max

Best MPV with Apple CarPlay

Used deals Limited stock

The second-generation Ford S-Max arrived in 2015, with all the benefits of a genuinely car-like driving experience within the body of an MPV (or people carrier), a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, and of course that all important seven-seat option, although with less luggage space than the bigger Galaxy.

The S-Max is a little pricier new than rivals like the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer and Vauxhall Zafira, but it’s definitely one of the most satisfying MPVs to drive and comes very well equipped to boot. Even the entry Zetec model comes with Ford’s decent Sync3 media setup, which means you get an eight-inch touchscreen display with the all-important Apple CarPlay functionality built in. You also get dual-zone climate control, all-round electric windows, a digital radio plus Bluetooth and voice control.

Go for a Titanium and you’ll have sat-nav and cruise control, but the top of the range Vignale with its leather upholstery, digital dashboard and generally more lavish spec may well feel a bit over the top for most family users. 

FORD S-MAX BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Passat

Best family saloon with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £11,400
Monthly finance from £0*

If you're a sensible soul and you want your car to reflect that, you can't do much better than the seriously sensible Volkswagen Passat. That or you have a side-line in mini-cabbing.

Either way, you’re going to like the Volkswagen Passat saloon, both for its restrained, no-frills but still good-looking styling, and its extremely roomy interior which shows off VW’s upmarket build-quality to very good effect. It actually feels rather classy, and doesn’t give away too much to swankier rivals like the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class. The Passat's efficient too, with a relatively new, impressively economical 1.5-litre petrol engine alongside the TDI diesel models.

As a big comfy car, the Passat comes with certain expectations, one of which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both featuring on the standard spec list of post-2018 models, even for the entry level SE. Since it's not the most desirable big car, you can also find bargains even on 2019 or 2018 models, so it's well worth considering the Passat if you want an upmarket car, but don't want to pay an upmarket price.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mercedes C-Class Estate

Best estate car with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £21,600
Monthly finance from £0*

If you want your next car to feel special and have a desirable badge on the bonnet, you'd think Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are guaranteed to be on the spec-sheet. That's not always the case, but with this Mercedes they are.

Smartphone connectivity is part of the array of standard features, but it's only the later versions that come with the larger media display - earlier versions get a smaller seven-inch screen. It’s not quite as sharp graphically, or as attention-grabbing, but it’s still an effective and desirable system.

To drive, while the C-Class feels a little less agile than the rival BMW 3 Series Touring on the road, there’s very little in it for the average driver. The C-Class is a winner when it comes to quietness in the cabin and its comfortable ride though, making it hard to beat for harassed business people thrashing up and down the motorway between meetings. You get lots of engine choices too, from the economical C180 petrol all the way up to the rapid AMG C63 – with a great range of diesel choices too.

MERCEDES C-CLASS ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen ID.3

Best electric car with Apple CarPlay

Used deals from £35,899
Monthly finance from £539*

Every version of the VW ID.3 comes with wireless Apple CarPlay, but it was only added as part of the 2.0 software update. Most cars have had this installed, but earlier models may have missed this so it's worth booking it in with a Volkswagen service centre for a free update if this is the case.

Every model is well-equipped, with entry-level Life versions coming with a wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control and bright LED headlights, so there's little need to go for a more expensive trim level. 

The pick of the bunch in terms of power is the 204hp 'Pro Performance' with its 58kWh battery. There are less powerful versions, as well as a smaller 45kWh battery option. If you need more than 300 miles from a full charge, the expensive 77kWh model is the one to go for but note that this loses the centre rear seat, making it a four-seater.

VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mini Cooper Convertible

Best convertible with Apple CarPlay

Used deals Limited stock

It’s the UK’s best selling convertible for a reason. Actually quite a few reasons. The Mini Convertible is super fun to drive, looks great especially with racy stripes draped over the bonnet, it’s more practical than your average two-seater sports car, and is even cost-effective to run.

We’re onto the third generation new Mini now, which means you get a slightly bigger boot and a little more cabin space, but to all intents and purposes it offers the same core benefits as the previous version. You can’t get the drop-top Mini with a diesel these days, but the two petrol engine options in the Cooper and more potent Cooper S are both quick and smooth performers.

If you want to add full iPhone connectivity to all that fun, then make sure you look out for a Mini with one of the optional Navigation Packs which include wireless Apple CarPlay, but not Android Auto.

MINI CONVERTIBLE 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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