Futuristic cars

Don't fancy a retro car like the Fiat 500 and want something super-high-tech instead? Check out the best futuristic cars available now

James Wilson
Nov 29, 2021

Retro cars, such as the Mini Hatchback, have been hugely popular for a number of years, but what if you want something that looks super-modern instead? Thankfully, there are plenty of cars that offer very striking exterior styling and super-slick cabins. Keep reading for our choice of the best relatively affordable futuristic cars.

It is quite hard to come up with an exact formula for what makes a car futuristic. Sometimes it is purely design. A car manufacturer may combine new types of lights with radical-looking alloy wheels and sharply creased bodywork to create a car that looks as though it came from the year 3000. Meanwhile, another brand might develop a car that runs on a different fuel to most other vehicles or has features that few other cars have, like augmented reality sat-nav.

Alternatively, the futuristic part could come from the technology under the bonnet. Electric cars with a range of around 300 miles per charge definitely feel like the future right now. Sometimes, cars are futuristic because of subtle details - like how they are made or the materials they use. Take carbon fibre; a material that is lighter and stronger than steel, and may well replace it in cars over the decades to come, but one that right now is rarely seen in all bar the most expensive cars.

Below, we have shortlisted eight futuristic cars that are currently on sale and offer a glimpse into the future of motoring. If you fancy driving any of those shortlisted, all are available to buy second-hand from between £15,000 and £40,000, depending on their age. If you are thinking of going for PCP finance, meanwhile, you can expect monthly payments to come in at roughly £250* to £575* per month.

Best futuristic cars

1. BMW i3

Used deals from £16,850
Monthly finance from £506*

Although the electric i3 was launched way back in 2013, it still looks like it comes straight from the pages of science fiction. The interior is made of tactile materials including wooden, cloth, leather and metallic trims. Access to the back seats is through rear-hinged doors - which open away from the front doors and reveal a huge opening, with no middle column dividing the front and rear parts of the cabin, as with most other cars.

The driving experience will be futuristic to anyone who hasn’t driven an electric car, too. The first thing that will hit you is the lack of noise, which is eerie but peaceful at the same time. Then there is how nippy the i3 feels - prod the accelerator pedal with any force and the i3 whizzes off at quite a rate. Lastly, there's the exterior styling. The i3 includes a number of BMW design features, though touches like hidden rear door handles, rear lights integrated into the boot and a lack of exhaust all contribute to its clean, futuristic look.

BMW I3 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Hyundai Ioniq 5

Used deals Limited stock

Whether intentional or not, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 looks like it could be a descendant of the car used in the movie ‘Back to the Future’. The car driven by Doc and Marty McFly was a DMC DeLorean which only came in a metallic grey, as the bodywork was not painted. While Hyundai does paint the Ioniq 5, grey models look very similar to the DeLorean. The similarities go further as both cars have twin, square headlights and similar angular styling details.

Things start to differ when you scratch beneath the surface, with the Hyundai being battery-powered and the DeLorean petrol-powered. The Ioniq is practical enough to be your main family car, too, provided you don’t need more than five seats and it is designed to be comfortable and easy to drive. The DeLorean isn’t any of these things.

Really, the Ioniq 5 is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it machine, as it looks like something from the future and runs on electricity alone, but is no harder to live with than a Ford Focus and offers up to 298 miles of range per charge. If you can charge up at home and rarely travel more than 100 miles away, you may never have to worry about filling up away from home again.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HYUNDAI IONIQ 5

3. Tesla Model S

Used deals from £34,495
Monthly finance from £0*

The Tesla Model S is one of the poster children for electric cars and it marked the beginning of mainstream models from Tesla. What makes the Model S futuristic is what is under the body, as the styling is relatively unadventurous. Tesla has stolen a march on pretty much every other car manufacturer when it comes to electric cars, so while most others are targetting a range of 300 miles from a full charge, Tesla is on the brink of breaking the 400-mile barrier with the updated 2022 Model S (pictured above).

How Tesla maintains its cars is also futuristic. Just like a smartphone provider, Tesla releases software updates for its cars, tweaking everything from the graphics on the huge touchscreen media system mounted across the dashboard to how the battery charge is managed. Unlike traditional cars where you need to physically visit a garage for any kind of update, a Tesla can be updated from anywhere in the world provided there is a Wi-Fi connection.

Better still, Tesla's own network of 'Supercharger' charging points is very easy to use and all locations are logged in Tesla's sat-nav systems. You can be sure that all of these are compatible with your car and the sat-nav will show how much charge you're likely to have when you get to your destination, rerouting you via a Supercharger if you'll need to charge to get there.

4. Kia EV6

Kia and Hyundai are part of the same company, so they often share technology between models. The EV6 shares an awful lot with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 above. The EV6, much like its sister car, comes with striking styling and an interior that looks very different to what most UK motorists will be used to from the South Korean car giant. The two-spoke steering wheel is an excellent example of this, looking unusual and futuristic.

Kia has gone in a slightly different direction with its electric EV6 than Hyundai went with the Ioniq 5. This is most apparent in the styling and driving experience. The roofline of the EV6 slopes down slightly towards the back of the car, giving the Hyundai a more sleek and sporty look. The driving experience matches this, with noticeably firmer suspension that is used to help keep the car under control when going around corners quickly. Kia has also promised that there will be a high-performance GT version, too, which is rumoured to come with more power than some Ferraris.

5. Honda e

Used deals Limited stock

Another electric car, the Honda e represents what small affordable cars of the future will look like. We say affordable, but the Honda e is incredibly expensive when new compared to petrol-powered city cars like the Peugeot 108, but as time passes the cost of making battery packs and motors will come down, so little electric cars should become less expensive. The Honda e is also very high-tech, so the slick cabin warrants the cost.

Arguably the most futuristic parts of the Honda e are in the cabin - although there is a hint of retro style in there, too. Take the dashboard; there is effectively a wall of displays in front of the driver that shows information such as sat-nav directions and which radio station you are tuned into. There is even the option of digital screens to replace wing mirrors. Underneath the screens is a wooden dashboard, and while wooden dashboards are typically more traditional in style than futuristic, this Honda looks bang up to date.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HONDA E

6. Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes A-Class front three quarters view

Used deals from £9,490
Monthly finance from £220*

On the face of things, the Mercedes A-Class is a very normal car. It can come with petrol or diesel engines and there is a plug-in hybrid option. It has seating for five, styling which is classy but far from the realms of sci-fi and has already sold in impressive quantities, so it's far from an unusual site on UK roads. What then, makes it so futuristic? The answer is ’MBUX’, which refers to the combination of the car's media system and digital instrument display.

What makes MBUX so impressive is that its features actually work quite well. Take the voice control. Mercedes uses an Alexa-style ‘Hey Mercedes’ phrase to activate the voice control and from there drivers can set a sat-nav destination, make phone calls and select music preferences using plain English commands.

Voice control has been around in cars for quite a while now, but the overwhelming majority of systems are more likely to give you high blood pressure from frustration than actually do what you want. The A-Class's system, however, works very effectively, making setting the sat-nav while driving supremely easy, for instance.

MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Ford EcoSport

Used deals from £7,890
Monthly finance from £235*

The Ford EcoSport isn't the most high-tech car in the world, but it has carpets made out of recycled plastic bottles - something that is set to become more common in future. Ford has a long history of using recycled plastics - it started over two decades ago - and currently recycles around 1.2 billion bottles per year. The plastic is melted down and then spun into fibres, which are used to make the carpets.

For cars to remain viable in the future, integrating recycled materials into production is a must. All car manufacturers that sell cars in Europe have to make sure their vehicles can be recycled. In fact, since 1st January 2015, 85% of all cars must be recycled or reused when a vehicle gets to the end of its serviceable life.

The EcoSport is a crossover that is based on the same underpinnings as the Ford Fiesta but with a higher ride height and more chunky styling. The EcoSport was launched in 2014 but it was given an update at the start of 2018. If you are considering going for an EcoSport, we would recommend one made after the updates, mostly because the cabin and onboard technology were noticeably improved.

FORD ECOSPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Dacia Sandero

Used deals from £5,999
Monthly finance from £0*

The Dacia Sandero isn't as glitzy as other cars in our list, but makes the cut as it features simple but clever technology, and is able to run on LPG. LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas and is an alternative fuel to petrol or diesel. Petrol cars can be converted to use LPG but usually retain the ability to use petrol also. Dacia makes a Bi-Fuel version of the Sandero, which can run on both petrol and LPG.

Now for the futuristic part. Imagine that electric cars aren't a viable option - let’s say hypothetically there aren’t enough resources, such as the relatively rare chemicals that make battery packs - to go around. In this situation, the world will need alternative fuels that can ideally use the infrastructure already in place and offer the lowest possible pollution. LPG produces less CO2 and lower levels of nitrogen oxides than petrol or diesel, making it an interesting fossil fuel-based option.

READ MORE ABOUT THE DACIA SANDERO

*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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