Best cars with 360-degree cameras

Tired of struggling to get into tight parking spaces and want a helping hand? Check out these cars with 360-degree cameras

James Wilson
Aug 18, 2021

Parking a car can be tough. Especially with modern cars that seem to get bigger every year and feature funky styling with big pillars that can make it difficult to see out of the car. As a result, car manufacturers have come up with all manner of technology to help make things easier - one of the most useful being 360-degree cameras.

These systems are a little misleading as they actually use a number of cameras - normally four - to piece together a video feed of the area around a car. Typically there is one camera at the front of a car, one at the back and two under the wing mirrors covering the sides of the car.

Even though all systems show a 360-degree video feed of some description, there is a lot that separates the very best and very worst setups. BMW packs all kinds of features into its systems, including showing a preview of how far out the doors will open, when a passenger gets out. After all, it is one thing getting a car into a parking space but a whole other matter getting out of the car once you're in the space.

Most systems will also show how close you can safely get to other objects. This is often done by superimposing a combination of red, yellow and green graphics on the video feed - red normally being an indicator that you should stop by this point, with green and yellow meaning you still have some way to go before hitting the object.

It is also common to be able to select a video feed from one of the individual cameras dotted around the body. This can be especially handy for seeing how close the front wheels are to the kerb, as that is directly in the line of sight of the cameras under the wing mirrors.

Below there are eight of the best cars with 360-degree cameras. They are all available from as little as £10,000 to £50,000, which typically equates to around £180 to £650 per month when financed with PCP finance. Enjoy, and happy parking.

Car with 360 camera

1. BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 Series Touring side

Used deals from £14,500
Monthly finance from £267*

For decades the BMW 3 Series has been a very desirable and enjoyable compact estate car to drive. We say ‘compact’, though the 3 Series is actually quite a long car but compared to large estates (such as the Mercedes E-Class) it is fairly small. In comparison to an ordinary Volkswagen Golf, though, the BMW is 31cm longer and being so long makes parking more difficult. Then there is the option of big sporty alloy wheels which are only too easy to clip against the kerb when parking.

The answer to these parking woes? A 360-degree parking camera - which is included as part of the optional ‘Parking Assistant Plus’ package. The system itself is very impressive. Along with superimposing where doors will open to on the video feed, you can also use a 3D mode, where there is a computer-generated model of the car overlaid onto the video footage.

BMW 3 SERIES TOURING BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Peugeot 3008

Used deals from £16,495
Monthly finance from £243*

A one-word summary of the Peugeot 3008 is ‘funky’. Everything from its looks to the materials used in its cabin is just a bit different from the norm - there is even a surprisingly small steering wheel that you look over to see the dials. On that point, not everyone likes the smaller wheel so it is a good idea to have a think about whether this suits you before making your mind up.

Although there is no seven-seat option, there is plenty of space in the back for three - those wanting a seven-seater might want to check out the closely related Peugeot 5008. Peugeot includes a 360-degree camera as part of its ‘Visio Park 2’. Also included in this pack is automated parking, which enables the 3008 to park itself in either a parallel parking space or a bay parking space. The 360-degree system isn’t as flashy as the one in the 3 Series but it still shows key information, such as graphics to indicate how far from an object the car is.

PEUGEOT 3008 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Nissan Leaf

Used deals from £18,295
Monthly finance from £250*

The Nissan Leaf is now in its second generation (launched in 2017) but both versions are very easy to live with. Their silent electric motors make for peaceful journeys and their automatic gearboxes (electric cars are only available in automatic form) make driving in town a doddle.

Plus, a 360-degree camera is available on both the first- and second-generation models. Nissan calls its systems ‘Intelligent Around View’ and the technology is typically only available on higher specification trims - such as Tekna and N-Connecta - and is similar in its functions to the setup in the Peugeot 3008.

Thanks to the longer range from a full charge, the newer models will be more appealing for drivers who want to cover many longer trips, especially e+ versions which are claimed to be able to travel up to 239 miles on a single charge.

NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Used deals from £15,495
Monthly finance from £260*

Citroen nailed the people carrier brief with its Grand C4 SpaceTourer. It is large, it is spacious with seating for seven, and it is relatively cheap to run. Also, in trims such as ‘Flair’ it can look particularly stylish. Although these are all positives, the car's sheer size makes parking difficult - especially if you throw a gaggle of noisy kids in the back who are likely to prove distracting when parking and potentially block your view out of the windows.

A 360-degree camera will help to solve this, giving you a much better view of the space around the car. Diesel-powered models are a great choice for many drivers, offering decent performance and improved fuel economy compared with petrol alternatives. One thing to bear in mind if you're considering a diesel car is that you may want to focus on models that meet the latest emissions standards to avoid charges for diesel cars issued in places such as the centre of London. All diesel cars sold after September 2015 should meet this standard.

CITROEN GRAND C4 SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mercedes S-Class

Used deals from £26,999
Monthly finance from £467*

The previous-generation S-Class was the pinnacle of luxury motoring. In fact, in some regards - such as cabin fit and finish - it is even more luxurious than the new S-Class which arrived in 2021 to replace it. Mercedes has a tendency to use its S-Class to preview cutting-edge technology that will, over the following years, filter down to its less expensive models - such as the A-Class and C-Class. And that is exactly the case with this version.

For some S-Class trims a 360-degree camera was standard - 2019 Grand Edition and AMG S 65 both included the tech at no extra cost. It was also offered as an option on some, but not all, trims. Cleverly, Mercedes puts the front and rear cameras behind motorised flaps - protecting them from dirt and damage. Moving away from cameras, the S-Class promises a supremely comfortable driving experience and at cruising speed it is so quiet you might doubt whether the engine is actually on.

MERCEDES S-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Renault Captur

Used deals from £16,990
Monthly finance from £255*

Renault launched a new version of the Captur in 2020 and by and large it is a significant improvement over the car it replaced. Not because the older version was bad, it's just that the updated model performs very well in a number of key areas. Take driving - the Captur is very comfortable but the steering is still precise enough to help the driver feel confident in threading this Renault through tighter gaps.

Although all versions of the new Captur are well equipped, it is only range-topping models that come with a 360-degree camera, but even then it is optional. Initially, S Edition models were top of the specification hierarchy but now plug-in hybrid E-Tech Launch Edition models are top dogs, so they are the only trim that can come with the all-seeing camera.

The system works like the ones in the Leaf and 3008, so it overlays graphics to help give you an idea how close the car is to other objects and also shows trajectory lines based on the direction in which you are reversing. The latter is particularly helpful when bay parking.

RENAULT CAPTUR BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Tiguan

Used deals from £24,795
Monthly finance from £354*

In terms of price, the Volkswagen Tiguan sits in the gap between SUVs like the mainstream Ford Kuga and the more upmarket BMW X3. The current version arrived in 2016 but it was treated to a styling and technology overhaul in 2020. Included in the updates were a slicker central touchscreen media system and touch sensitive buttons on the steering wheel for controlling things such as speaker volume.

Before the revised model arrived, a 360-camera (which VW calls ‘Area View’) was only available as part of ‘Park Assist with Area View’ - which was an optional extra for S, Match and SEL trims. For updated models, Area View is a standalone option and is available on all trims apart from entry-level models.

Over time Volkswagen has steadily improved the functionality of Area View, with the best systems being able to show specific camera angles with graphics overlaid to assist with a certain task. For example, there is one to help with parking while towing a caravan or trailer, which can be particularly helpful.

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mazda 3

Used deals from £18,680
Monthly finance from £238*

It is fair to say that the latest Mazda 3 took a few people by surprise. For starters, its styling is striking to say the least as it is surprisingly common for hatchbacks this size to be quite bland in their design to avoid putting off any potential buyers. The 3 is also great to drive and the interior is high quality. If you have any experience with a VW Golf or similarly upmarket hatchback, you won’t be disappointed.

Much like the Renault Captur, only top-spec 3s (the trim is called GT Tech Sport) come with a 360-degree camera. Also like the Captur, this system enables drivers to clearly see the area around their vehicle but doesn’t get too bogged down in uber flashy features as seen on the likes of the BMW 3 Series. While GT Tech Sport trim is more expensive than lower trims, you do get additional niceties such as a heated steering wheel and a Bose sound system to enjoy, which justify the higher price.

MAZDA 3 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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