Best cars with an in-built dash cam

You can now protect yourself and others with a manufacturer-fitted dash cam in your car. Here are some of the best options

Sam Naylor
Oct 29, 2021

Dash cams are rapidly becoming an essential bit of modern car kit. These useful little cameras aren’t too expensive, but they can be hugely important if something unexpected happens when out on the road, giving you that extra bit of peace of mind.

A dash cam is a small camera that constantly records the road ahead of you, typically being stuck onto the windscreen, often being hidden behind the rear-view mirror. Usually dash cams face forwards, but sometimes you’ll find a multiple-camera setup, including a rear-facing one mounted on the rear windscreen.

The purpose of a dash cam is to have evidence of an event that happens on the road, whether that’s a crash, a robbery or anything else you might need a record of in the future. Most dash cams don’t save every moment of every trip, but instead continuously overwrite the oldest footage to make the most of their in-built storage. If something happens, you can usually press a button and the dash cam will save a separate recording of the past minute or so of footage and prevent this from being overwritten, and then will continue to record.

The footage can be really helpful for insurance companies and having one can even result in cheaper premiums in many cases. Having dash cam footage can be extremely valuable if someone crashes into you and you can prove it wasn’t your fault. However, remember that if something is your fault, this footage can potentially be used against you, too.

Cars with a dash cam

Dash cams are typically bought as stand-alone bits of tech that you can fit to your car yourself, or have professionally fitted if you prefer - the main car accessory shops in the UK usually offer this service for you.

Dash cams can cost anywhere from £40 for the cheapest models to more than £700 for the most expensive, though around the £200 mark is the sweet spot for high-quality footage and value for money. There is a big difference between the quality of footage from the best and worst systems - some offer fuzzy footage in daylight, failing to clearly show number plates and other identifying features and are barely usable at night, however even some mid-range models offer great clarity day or night.

Here we’re looking at cars with this new technology available directly from the car maker itself. Usually these dash cam systems come as dealer-fit options, costing a bit more than a similar unit of a similar quality bought elsewhere - for example, Mini charges £525 for its dash cam, though this does include installation.

Read on to find out more about each model - cars with in-built dash cams are not all that common, but there are some models that can be fitted with them. In general, you’ll get better value for money by buying a stand-alone unit, but manufacturer-fitted options offer the benefit of being integrated more thoroughly into the car.

1. Citroen

'ConnectedCAM' is the name Citroen gave to its built-in dash cam, which features a phone app through which you can access the footage. You need to download an app for your iPhone or Android phone, then connect to the camera to be able to use this.

It uses the same in-car camera that reads traffic signs and helps with the lane departure warning functions. There’s a large internal memory card that stores the footage, and you can press a button on the camera to record a photo to memory if you like.

You can save a video by holding down the button for up to 20 seconds. In the event of an collision it automatically stores 90 seconds of footage for you - 30 seconds before the impact and a minute afterwards.

The ConnectedCAM is only available on two models, the C3 Aircross SUV and the C5 Aircross SUV. It came as standard on C3 Aircross models in Flair trim, or was an optional extra on Feel models from 2016. As always, it's best to make sure that the system is fitted to any individual models you're considering if having an in-built dash cam is important to you.

2. Mini

The Mini 'Advanced Eye’ is a dual-camera setup that faces forwards and backwards, and it’s available on the Mini Hatchback, Clubman and Countryman models.

It’s a dealer-fit option, which means prices vary, but we found one dealer advertising a price of £525. This system stays active when the car is parked and can automatically record theft attempts, plus it has GPS to track where the car is at all times.

The Advanced Eye camera automatically saves footage to an SD card that slots into the unit - you can remove it and plug into a computer to access the footage.

3. BMW

BMW offers something called 'DriveRecorder' on 3 Series, 7 Series and 8 Series models plus the X5 and X7 SUVs built after 2019 - as long as they have the requisite cameras included as part of an option pack.

It’s possible to activate the camera manually but it automatically logs 40 seconds of footage in the event of a collision. It costs £199 from BMW, but there’s no installation included - it simply uses the built-in functions of the car and the fee simply activates the software.

4. Tesla

The Tesla Model S, Model X and Model 3 have built-in cameras that control the autonomous driving functions, plus the ‘sentry’ mode when parked that can help deter thieves.

These cameras can be configured to record footage to a USB stick. You can do this yourself by following a guide online that shows you how to do it - it’s free to use and there are no extra costs involved.

5. Subaru

Subaru cars with autonomous safety equipment use the brand’s 'Eyesight' system. This uses cameras to control the lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking functions. They record footage automatically, but accessing it isn’t possible by the car’s owner.

Subaru mechanics can get footage from a car that has been crashed but, at least in the USA, this can only be done with a court order. It’s not clear if UK drivers can access the footage at all - so it may be best to buy your own dash cam here.

Models with Eyesight include the XV, Legacy, Outback, Forester and Levorg.

*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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