Best cars for visibility

Looking for a clear view of the road ahead and excellent visibility when parking? These cars could be perfect for you

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Dec 11, 2020

Many people decide to get an SUV for the high driving position and the commanding view of the road ahead. But what happens when everybody else is driving an SUV? Will we require a periscope to see over the traffic? Will somebody invent a double-decker SUV?

It's not just high-riding cars that offer a good view of the road - all sorts of cars offer narrow front pillars and big glass areas to help you see the road around you, taking the stress out of checking for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians or anything else hidden out of sight.

Visibility is an important consideration when picking a used car. The view out of the windscreen and what you can see over your shoulder are things you need to, er… look for when deciding which car to buy. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking an SUV will guarantee a clear view. As with all types of cars, some are better than others.

SUVs are just as likely as any other type of car to feature thick pillars, a sloping roofline and high window line, which all restrict visibility. This makes it harder to park, pull out of a junction and spot small obstacles in the city. As crash tests get tougher, a number of cars feature bigger and bigger pillars around the windscreens and windows to make them stronger. Now you know why parking sensors and rear-view cameras are becoming so common in modern cars.

If you’re after a clear view, without having to rely on sensors, beeps and cameras, we’ve pulled together a list of cars that benefit from excellent visibility. Take a look at our list, then see how much you could save by getting a used car via the BuyaCar website. Click on the button above to start your search or click below to get a feel for how much you can afford to spend.

Best cars for visibility

1. Kia Soul

Used deals from £6,295
Monthly finance from £123

Thanks to the large windscreen and side windows, the 2014-2018 Kia Soul offers excellent visibility. You also sit quite high in the Soul, so you have a commanding view of the road ahead, which makes it an easy car to drive in the city.

Although the rear window is a bit narrow, the boxy design means you’ll have no trouble locating the corners of the Soul. This means you can reverse-park with confidence, without relying on sensors or cameras. You also get a seven-year warranty, so you can gaze into the future knowing that even four-year old Souls are guaranteed by Kia for a further three years - the same length of cover that comes with most brand new cars.

2. Hyundai i10

Used deals from £10,350
Monthly finance from £159

The Hyundai i10 has always been the first choice of city car drivers who favour practicality and value for money over style and panache. All that has changed with the launch of the latest model. You still get the same blend of practicality, value and a five-year warranty, but it’s more stylish and packed with more equipment than ever before.

Visibility has been improved, too, with Hyundai sending the rear pillars on a slim-fast diet, slimming them down so it’s easier to see out of when you’re parking. The fact that the window line is now 11mm and 13mm lower at the front and rear respectively might not seem exciting, but it means that the i10 is easier to see out of, as the windows start lower down in the car's body, helping you to see more around you.

HYUNDAI I10 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes B-Class

Used deals from £7,500
Monthly finance from £174

The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a more practical and less exciting version of the A-Class hatchback. It’s Cinderella before she goes to the ball. The oversized sweater on a Sunday morning, rather than the little black dress on a Friday night. ‘B’ is for bigger, ‘A’ is for ample, or something.

It’s certainly easier to live with, thanks to the slightly raised driving position, larger side windows, narrower roof pillars and a large windscreen. The large door mirrors also make it easy to see behind. Even the rear-seat passengers will be happy, as there’s loads of room in the back. And you thought a grade A was better than a B.

MERCEDES B-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Citroen C3 Picasso

Used deals from £5,500
Monthly finance from £112

Buy a Citroen C3 Picasso with an optional panoramic sunroof, and you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a greenhouse, with the glass extending way back over your head. We’d stop short of planting some tomato seeds in the cup holders, but you get the idea.

Even without the sunroof, the C3 Picasso offers excellent visibility, aided by a clever three-part windscreen providing a near panoramic view. The windscreen pillars are split in the middle, with glass between the two narrow pillars, so there’s little to obstruct your view. It means that the Citroen C3 Picasso has one of the largest glazed areas for this type of car.

CITROEN C3 PICASSO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Honda Jazz

Used deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £99

The Honda Jazz introduced in 2015 might have been replaced by a new model, but this means that you should be able to grab a great deal on the old version. One thing’s for certain: you won’t be short of space.

It helps that there’s so much headroom in the cabin, but the Jazz also boasts a large windscreen, which extends into the roof above the driver’s head. There are also small windows on either side of the dashboard, which are great when tackling mini-roundabouts and tight corners.

HONDA JAZZ BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Fiat 500X

Used deals from £6,900
Monthly finance from £128

We think we’ve done well to make it this far without featuring an SUV. However, if you fancy the idea of an affordable used SUV, the Fiat 500X is one of the best choices in terms of visibility. The windows aren’t particularly big, they’re simply in the right position. The high driving position is great for forward visibility, too.

You can buy a Fiat 500X with an optional Visibility Pack, as well, which adds rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and dual-zone climate control to the mix. All in, these elements should help to maximise visibility whether it's day or night, dry or wet and whether you're looking ahead or behind. Handy.

FIAT 500X BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi Q5

Used deals from £18,490
Monthly finance from £261

The current Audi Q5 sits between the relatively compact Q3 and the supersized Q7 in Audi’s range of SUVs, so it should offer the best of both worlds. A touch more practicality than the Q3, but with the styling and tech of the more expensive Q7. In terms of visibility, it’s one of the best cars in its class.

All-round visibility is excellent, aided by the narrow windscreen pillars, large driver and passenger windows, and the third side window at the back. The raised driving position gives a clear view of the road ahead, with heated seats fitted as standard. All models get front and rear parking sensors, but you could find that you don’t need them in this case.

AUDI Q5 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Vauxhall Astra

Used deals from £5,180
Monthly finance from £114

Now for a change of direction. We selected the other seven cars for their excellent daytime visibility, but the Vauxhall Astra is here for its 'IntelliLux' LED Matrix headlights. It’s the kind of technology you’d expect to find on a far more expensive car, not an affordable hatchback with a Vauxhall badge.

The headlights feature 16 LED elements (eight on each side) which automatically adapt to oncoming traffic, providing maximum visibility without dazzling other drivers. As soon as the car leaves an urban area, the lights switch to full beam and continuously adjust the length and distribution of the light spread to help you see as much as possible, without hindering the view of oncoming drivers.

This clever tech is fitted as standard on Ultimate models and optional on SRi and Elite Nav trim levels, so look for one of these if you're after the best possible night time visibility.

VAUXHALL ASTRA BUYERS' GUIDE

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Crossovers with big boots

  2. Best BMWs with reversing cameras

  3. Best hybrid car in the UK