Cars with DAB radios

Getting crossed signals as to which cars come with a DAB digital radio? Help is on hand to the tune of eight excellent suggestions

James Wilson
Nov 17, 2021

Cars with DAB digital radios bring an end to listening to poor quality radio as the signal works by giving you crystal clear audio or nothing at all - no more fuzz or crackling. In that regard, digital radio is much like a light switch - either it is on, or it is not. Initially, DAB or Digital Audio Broadcasting, was reserved for high-end cars but nowadays the technology is used in everything from affordable city cars to comfortable SUVs.

We've rounded up eight of the most appealing cars with digital radios below, covering small cars, medium cars and large cars - as well as a practical people carrier and a fun-focused sports car. All models are easily available and can be scooped up from £5,000 to £35,000. If you are planning to use PCP finance, expect to pay around £100 to £500 per month.

Driving a car with a DAB digital radio isn’t solely a luxury as it could well become a necessity soon. Just like the switchover to ​​digital TV signals in 2012, there are plans to switch national radio stations (such as those provided by the BBC) to digital signals. This would make FM radios in cars redundant.

There is no set date for the switchover, but it is something the government is monitoring and is predicted to implement as soon as practically possible. That said, you can expect there to be plenty of warning. While this seems like a major step, it is possible to upgrade FM radio units in cars to digital versions or you can buy plug-in DAB adapters.

As a result, drivers that have cars with FM radios won’t be forced to upgrade their cars when the switchover happens. However, you can save yourself some hassle by choosing a car with a digital radio fitted to begin with. Check out some of the best affordable options below.

Cars with digital radio

1. Citroen C1

Best city car with DAB radio

Used deals from £5,550
Monthly finance from £0*

Despite the Citroen C1 being squarely aimed at drivers who want to keep motoring costs down, it is available with a lot of modern equipment that is also featured in much more expensive cars. DAB radio is one such piece of equipment. It isn’t standard on all models, with entry-level Touch trim doing without digital radio for instance, but all other recent models should enable you to listen to the radio without the threat of snaps and crackles interfering with your listening.

Citroen launched the second generation of the C1 in 2016 and it is these newer models we’d recommend going for. Not because the old model was bad, it is just that the newer version is better - not least for its distinctive styling and better media system. When it comes to styling, the small Citroen is built around the same platform as two other small cars, the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo - so if you don’t like the look of the C1 these two alternatives could be worth considering.


2. Suzuki Ignis

Best budget car with DAB radio

Used deals from £8,300
Monthly finance from £0*

When it comes to small but capable cars, the Suzuki Ignis is a standout option. This small crossover has character by the bucketload - one look at its quirky styling should confirm as much. It is also incredibly well-equipped, with features such as DAB radio being standard across the entire range. Top-spec SZ5 models also come with equipment such as keyless entry and keyless go, lane-keep assist and cruise control.

Considering how well equipped it is, the Ignis is surprisingly affordable. Plus, there are mild hybrid and four-wheel-drive versions (Suzuki badges the latter as ‘AllGrip’). The closest rival for an Ignis AllGrip would be the Fiat Panda 4x4, which is another small but surprisingly able four-wheel-drive model that offers impressive off-road ability.

In reality, small four-wheel-drive cars are quite rare, as the extra technical equipment needed to send power to the rear wheels is often too complicated and expensive to justify using in more affordable cars. Still, if you want a small but able car with a little off-road ability, or live in a place that can be hard to access in snowy weather, the Ignis is a great option.


3. Peugeot 208

Best supermini with DAB radio

Used deals from £13,988
Monthly finance from £0*

A new version of the Peugeot 208 supermini was launched in 2019. The old model is still a practical small car, but the latest generation has much more flair and a more upmarket interior. There are a number of engines to choose from, including petrol and diesel options - plus, the electric e-208. We’d recommend the 100hp 1.2-litre petrol engine for most drivers, as it has a good balance of performance and economy for both town and motorway driving.

If a range of 217 miles per charge (take this with a pinch of salt, as most drivers will achieve less in the real world, especially in particularly cold weather or on the motorway) then the electric model is well worth considering, although it is more expensive. This means that if you're happy to pay more upfront to have a stylish and desirable small car with zero tailpipe emissions and the ability to charge from home, the e-208 could be perfect for you.

Although the latest 208 is much more visually striking than its predecessor, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - if you don’t like its looks or its unusual interior with a small steering wheel and dials that you look at over the wheel, there is another option; the new Vauxhall Corsa. Since 2019 both models have been built using many of the same components underneath the skin, with the biggest difference being their styling.


4. Ford S-Max

Best MPV with DAB radio

Used deals from £15,600
Monthly finance from £0*

The S-Max looks like a sensible people carrier and it offers strong practicality. However, there's much more to it than that. It offers a sporty drive for a car of this type, with the driving experience making it feel like a much smaller car and its sharp styling making it more desirable than most seven-seaters. So, if you want a relatively practical car with seats for seven that drives well and doesn't look like a van, it's a great option.

There are some drawbacks to the sleek styling, though. If you want the most practical Ford, the Ford Galaxy has a more boxy shape and provides more space in the rearmost seats and as a result is a better seven-seater. That said, the S-Max offers plenty of space for five adults and two children, so is still a viable large family car. When new, the S-Max is a little pricey, but this is largely down to the high standard levels of equipment - including DAB radio - but if you're looking at used models, you can get far more for your money.


5. Renault Captur

Best crossover with DAB radio

Used deals from £8,500
Monthly finance from £194*

Fancy a relatively small and easy-to-drive car with a high driving position that feels like a small SUV? The Renault Captur is a great place to start. Underneath its relatively high body, there are many of the same components you would find in a Renault Clio of the same age. Also, as Renault and Nissan are part of the same parent company, there is a lot shared with the Nissan Juke, too. The Captur majors on comfort and fuel economy rather than performance or sportiness, with a selection of frugal petrol and diesel engines to choose from.

If your budget is large enough to get behind the wheel of the latest generation Captur - which was launched in 2019 - then all trims come with DAB radio as standard. As for the previous generation Captur, things are a little different. Initially, trims such as Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav all came with a digital radio, but Expression+ did not. Renault then gave the Captur an update in 2017 and changed its trim lineup in 2018 - after the 2018 revisions DAB was standard across the whole range.



6. Jaguar F-Pace

Best SUV with DAB radio

Used deals from £21,000
Monthly finance from £492*

When it comes to super-desirable SUVs, the F-Pace has to be one of the very best options. Good looks aren't everything, but the F-Pace has more tricks up its designer sleeves. The driving experience is remarkable given the Jag’s size and height; on a twisty 60mph road, its suspension provides a smooth and comfortable ride, but the car remains agile and satisfying to drive for a car of this type.

The interior is well-designed too, providing enough practical touches to make it a good family car. If there has been one gripe with modern Jaguars, it is that their media systems are not as slick as those seen in rivals from BMW and Mercedes. Even so, there is plenty of onboard equipment available, including DAB radio and the cabin feels plush and stylish.

Jaguar updated the F-Pace in 2021 to keep it more competitive with rivals - it is largely the same car but with an updated cabin and improved tech - such as a more impressive media system. So look out for newer models if that's important to you.


7. Seat Tarraco

Best seven-seater with DAB radio

Used deals from £23,477
Monthly finance from £0*

Not all SUVs are practical - even those that have seven seats. The Seat Tarraco, however, offers plenty of space, even if you need to carry seven people and a little luggage. It looks good, the driving experience is enjoyable and there is a good range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from. If you are unsure as to whether a diesel is right for you with a big car like this, fear not - we have a straightforward guide to help you decide.

Regardless of the engine, all Tarraco models come with plenty of equipment. Standard items include cruise control, parking sensors and DAB radio.

While petrol and diesel Tarracos officially have seven seats, the third row is best reserved for kids or smaller adults, as legroom is a little tight. Slide the middle row forward, however, and it's still pretty practical for a seven-seat SUV. The Seat has a twin car that uses many of the same components - such as engines and gearboxes - but comes with different styling. In this case, the twin is the Skoda Kodiaq, which is slightly more practical (its boot is fractionally larger) but a bit less sporty-looking.


8. Fiat/Abarth 124 Spider

Best sports car with DAB radio

Used deals Limited stock
Used deals Limited stock

The Fiat 124 had a relatively short run on sale in the UK - it arrived in 2016 and was discontinued by 2019. Even so, it delivered on all the important areas a two-seater sports car should. This means its handling around corners is nice and agile - making zipping through bends a pleasurable experience - it looks stylish and has a sporty sounding exhaust.

If you are after a sports car with DAB radio then you need to find a model with the seven-inch dash-mounted media system. This was included as standard for Lusso and Lusso Plus trims but optional on Classica models. Although the standard Fiat 124 has plenty of power - giving it enough punch to get from 0 to 62mph in 7.5 seconds - there is a faster option. It’s called the Abarth 124 and has slightly more power, which enables it to complete the 0 to 62mph sprint in a speedy 6.8 seconds. DAB radio is standard, also.

*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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