Cars with climate control

Want a little extra control from your air-conditioning? You need a car with automatic climate control. Here are some of the best on a budget

Matt Rigby
Sep 30, 2021

Many modern cars come with some form of air-conditioning system that allows you to artificially cool the interior of your car in sunny or warm conditions. These can be useful in helping to demist the car quicker in wet conditions, too.

The more upmarket versions of these are called climate control systems and can automatically get your car’s cabin to a specific temperature - and keep it at that level. That means that you can set your desired temperature and let the car maintain that temperature.

What exactly is climate control?

In essence, climate control is a more sophisticated form of air-conditioning. It still uses the same principle of cooling air that comes into the cabin by using refrigerant fluid, but it offers the occupants of a car more carefully managed interior temperatures.

Instead of adjusting the setting of the system manually, climate control allows you to set a desired temperature and then let the car’s system work out the rest for itself. This means that, once you’ve set a temperature, the car will adjust the amount of cooling effort, and the ventilation level until it has hit the goal.

The car will then constantly adjust the car’s ventilation controls to maintain that temperature - regardless of whether you get back into the car after it's been parked in the sun for hours or if you jump in for the first time on a frosty morning.

More sophisticated climate control systems can separate the cabin into two, three, or even four separate zones where the occupants of each area in the car can adjust their climate control to different temperatures.

You can still set the temperature and blower settings manually with climate control systems, but it’s often easier simply to hit the ‘auto’ button and let the computers and sensors work things out for you.

Best cars with climate control

1. Hyundai i20

Used deals from £6,999
Monthly finance from £159*

Solid, sensible, small cars don’t get much more solid and sensible than this. The Hyundai i20 might not be as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta or quite as posh-feeling as a VW Polo, but it is an appealing, great value vehicle that offers plenty of features for the money.

The version sold from 2015-2020 is the one to go for here, as it’s a much classier product than its predecessor. Get one that’s under five years old and it’ll most likely have some of its manufacturer-backed five-year warranty left, provided it hasn’t covered too many miles.

Basic models only get manual air-conditioning but Sport, Premium, and Premium SE cars get super-cool digital climate control, so keep an eye out for these versions if climate control is one of the features on your wish list.

HYUNDAI I20 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Audi TT

Used deals from £17,407
Monthly finance from £285*

Not all Audi TTs have climate control as standard, as it is an optional extra. However, it’s very much worth seeking out one that’s had it fitted, because the way the climate control buttons are integrated into the centre of the three turbine-style vents on the dashboard is very slick and high-tech.

It’s like a metaphor for the rest of the TT, really - stylish, unusual, and a little different from the norm. Other unusual features for this type of car are a reasonably large boot with good access, thanks to a hatchback opening and two small rear seats, making it a far more usable everyday car than you might expect.

AUDI TT BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes A-Class

Used deals from £11,700
Monthly finance from £224*

We’re focusing on the third-generation A-Class here, which was built from 2012 to 2018, as prices for the newer model are still high, at around £20,480. Meanwhile, you can get a previous-generation model via BuyaCar from as little as £11,375.

You will need to ignore entry-level SE cars, but every other trim level from Sport upwards has climate control as standard. Go for one of these and, as well as basking in the cool temperatures of a climate-controlled cabin, you’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that you’re driving around in something with that famous three-pointed star on the bonnet.

2012-2018 MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Renault Clio

Renault Clio front view

Used deals from £12,995
Monthly finance from £190*

Fun fact: this generation of Clio has a dashboard that’s designed to be deliberately shaped like an aircraft’s wing. To get climate control as standard you'll have to head quite high up the range to Dynamique S models, but that also means there’ll be parking sensors, a seven-inch touchscreen media system, LED headlights, and all-round electric windows fitted.

If you’re after a comfortable, well-equipped supermini with a bit of French flair to keep you cool while looking cool, then look no further. The Clio makes a great small and affordable but comfortable and desirable machine.

RENAULT CLIO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Sportage

Used deals from £12,965
Monthly finance from £233*

The Kia Sportage is a great-value family SUV with plenty of equipment. And part of that equipment - on the vast majority of models - is dual-zone climate control, meaning both the driver and passenger can individually adjust the temperature to suit them. Entry-level ‘1’ cars get more basic air-conditioning, but they’re relatively rare.

What’s more, you should be able to pick up a three-year-old model for around £250* per month on PCP finance - and with Kia’s seven-year warranty that means you’ll have manufacturer-backed peace of mind for four years - that's more manufacturer cover than most new cars include.

KIA SPORTAGE BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volvo V40

Used deals from £9,908
Monthly finance from £187*

All Volvo V40s get digital climate control as standard, so whichever model you find you know you’ll have sophisticated temperature control at your fingertips, as well as the knowledge that you’re driving around in a comfortable family hatchback that oozes understated Scandinavian style.

Engines range from an economy-focused 115hp 1.6-litre diesel all the way up to a high-performance 245hp 2.0-litre T5, which offers far greater acceleration.

VOLVO V40 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Toyota C-HR

Used deals from £14,595
Monthly finance from £222*

The C-HR is one of those crossover SUVs that features swoopy styling to make it look more like a sports car than an SUV - albeit one with a high driving position. And in the case of the C-HR, Toyota has been more successful than most. Contrasting roof colours and sills, plus a hidden rear door handle, really make it look rather sporty. It’s surprisingly fun to drive, too.

The only real downside is that the rear seats are a bit dark and dingy. But every trim level in the range has dual-zone climate control as standard, so even if your rear-seat passengers aren’t all that happy, you’ll be able to stop them from getting hot under the collar.

TOYOTA C-HR BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3 front three quarters view

Used deals from £10,695
Monthly finance from £204*

As a small SUV - it’s basically an SUV version of the Ford Fiesta-sized Mazda 3 - the CX-3 is bang on trend, despite having gone off sale in 2020. It’s also a very capable small car that’s as stylish as it is enjoyable to drive.

There are three trim levels to choose from, but ignore the basic SE Nav if you’re after climate control - it’s standard on SE-L Nav and Sport Nav models.

MAZDA CX-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.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars with high torque

  2. Best cars with adaptive cruise control

  3. Best cars with reclining back seats