Cars with big screens

Fancy a car with an absolutely massive media system screen? The cars here may come in many shapes and sizes, but all have huge displays

James Allen
Dec 31, 2021

Not long ago, it wasn’t uncommon to find cars that relied on rows of buttons rather than having digital displays for their various controls. Now, though, the opposite is becoming the norm rather than the exception, with more and more new cars being fitted with big screens on their dashboards.

The net result of this is that there are many used cars on sale with big digital displays through which the driver can operate features like the sat-nav and radio. A growing number of cars also come with built-in smartphone connectivity, too, which allows you to use some of the apps on your mobile device directly through the big screen.

It’s not just the feature-set of these screens that has grown over the years, either. With each new generation of car, the digital displays have also increased in size, with some boasting absolutely massive setups. If you’re especially looking for a used car with a large dashboard screen, below are eight of the best second-hand cars that are available with large-screen interfaces.

Best cars with large screens

1. BMW 3 Series

Used deals from £28,692
Monthly finance from £409*
Screen size
Up to 10.3 inches

Both as a used and a new buy, the current iteration of the BMW 3 Series is a very well-rounded car, thanks to the broad selection of engines, its spacious cabin and nicely judged balance between responsive handling around corners and day-to-day comfort.

That versatility extends to the car’s touchscreen media system, too - the crisp screen makes it very clear to read while driving, and its quick responses mean that it isn’t a faff to use on the move, either - regardless of whether you use the touchscreen itself or physical controls such as the rotary controller on the centre console, which is easier to control while driving.

What does change across the BMW 3 Series, depending on the model you’re looking for, is the size of the screen. When launched in 2019, this version of the 3 Series was available as standard with an 8.8-inch screen, though the larger 10.3-inch setup that was formerly an optional extra is now fitted across the range on brand new versions.

If the current car is beyond your budget, the previous-generation BMW 3 Series came with standard-fit 6.5-inch and optional 8.8-inch displays - which, while lacking some of the functionalities of their newer counterparts, are nevertheless very easy to use. If you want the slickest screen, go for a car with the optional 8.8-inch screen, as this feels more high-tech.

BMW 3 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Fiesta

Used deals from £9,598
Monthly finance from £165*
Screen
size Up to 8.0 inches

As they’re at the more affordable end of the spectrum, both when new and as used buys, superminis like the Ford Fiesta don’t tend to have gargantuan screens in their interiors. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll need to go without a swish display - in the Ford Fiesta’s case, you can have one with an 8.0-inch touchscreen on the centre console.

Like many in-car displays, the Fiesta’s screen is right on top of the dashboard, so it’s handily within your line of sight while you’re concentrating on the road ahead. The screen is pretty responsive to inputs, too, so you won’t get frustrated with input lag when you’re navigating the menus.

A quick word of warning if you’re looking at buying a used Ford Fiesta, though. While the 8.0-inch touchscreen is now standard across the Fiesta range, early models in entry-level Style spec only came with a smaller 6.5-inch setup. Go for the previous-gen Fiesta, which went out of production in 2017, and you’ll have an even smaller 4.2-inch screen to play with, which goes without more modern creature comforts like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Honda e

Used deals from £26,995
Monthly finance from £396*
Screen size
 Two 12.3-inch screens

The Honda e electric supermini is a dinky car in many respects. It takes up less space on the road than other compact hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, and the Honda’s small turning circle helps make the e easy to drive in tight city streets. Even its maximum claimed range of up to 137 miles per charge is on the petite side for electric urban runabouts.

One area where the Honda e can’t be accused of being small, however, is with regards to its media interfaces - the car has not one, but two 12.3-inch touchscreens. Because they’re mounted on top of the dashboard, you won’t have to look far from the road to see what’s displayed on them, and as the screens can work independently, you can have the sat-nav and the radio controls running at the same time if you so wish.

However, as the furthest away screen is a bit of a stretch to reach from the driver’s seat, it’s probably best to let your front seat passenger operate that one when you’re on the move.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HONDA E

4. Kia Picanto

Used deals from £7,239
Monthly finance from £123*
Screen size
Up to 8.0 inches

Big touchscreens are especially rare in city cars, though they are out there if you know where to look. Take the Kia Picanto as an example; while entry-level versions come with a tiny 3.8-inch digital display that’s used for radio functions and little else, higher-spec models have a more impressive 7.0-inch touchscreen setup. Despite the Picanto’s budget billing, it comes with a few bells and whistles, too, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Perhaps unusually, one of the setup’s most handy features doesn’t directly involve the screen at all. Flanking the digital display are a pair of physical shortcut buttons for menu functions, which helps make the screen easier to operate when you’re out on the road.

If you’d prefer an even larger display, Kia did upgrade the touchscreen to an 8.0-inch one as part of the Picanto’s mid-life update in late 2020. However, this does mean there aren’t as many used examples of this spec about as there are older Kia Picantos, and they tend to carry a higher price premium, too.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the Picanto comes with a seven-year manufacturer warranty from new, so if you want to cut costs, going for an older version could be a wise choice, as you could go for a five-year-old model and still have as much warranty cover as with many one-year-old rivals. 

KIA PICANTO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Lexus CT

Used deals from £15,999
Monthly finance from £290*
Screen size
Up to 10.3 inches

Even when it was new, the Lexus CT was a left-field choice if you were after a five-door family car. After all, for a decent chunk of its life, the Lexus was the only upmarket hybrid hatchback you could buy. That slight quirkiness extended to other aspects of the car, too - not least the car’s media display screens.

The screens themselves aren’t the odd things here - all versions came as standard with a 7.0-inch screen, with a larger 10.3-inch screen introduced as an optional extra in 2017, and their respective placement on the top of the dashboard means both setups are within your line of sight when driving.

The peculiarities come with the way they’re operated; go for models with the 10.3-inch screen, and you’ll have a display that’s only operated through voice commands and a very unconventional computer mouse-style controller on the centre console.

That mouse-like remote was at one point fitted to Lexus CTs with the smaller screen, too. However, as part of the 2017 update, that interface was replaced with a much more conventional and easier-to-use rotary controller.

LEXUS CT BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Peugeot 308

Used deals from £7,899
Monthly finance from £154*
Screen size
Up to 9.7 inches

As a rule of thumb, the newer a car is, the more likely it is to have a large touchscreen media system. However, the outgoing Peugeot 308 is an exception to this rule. Even from its launch, all but the entry-level Active models came with an impressive 9.7-inch touchscreen interface - which, as well as being very big by the standards of the time, is only slightly smaller than the 10-inch screen on the 2022 Peugeot 308.

Admittedly, the Peugeot 308’s touchscreen isn’t entirely faultless - it doesn’t respond immediately to inputs and, if you’d prefer physical buttons for heating controls, you’ll be disappointed to know they’ve been relegated to the touchscreen. That said, the screen itself has a crisp display, which in conjunction with the large size means sat-nav maps are nice and clear. If you go for a used Peugeot 308 built from 2017 onwards, you can also bypass some of the screen’s more annoying foibles by using the built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring feature.

PEUGEOT 308 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. SsangYong Rexton

Used deals from £28,995
Monthly finance from £426*
Screen size
Up to 9.2 inches

SsangYong hasn’t struck as big a chord with UK car buyers as its Korean counterparts Hyundai and Kia have, but its cars have been steadily improving over the years. It’s especially clear to see this evolution via the touchscreen media system on the SsangYong Rexton; unlike its predecessor, which came with a slightly shonky setup that was fiddly to use, the Rexton is fitted with a more contemporary system that’s much more responsive and intuitive.

Befitting a car as big as this, the SsangYong Rexton’s screen is also pretty big. Even entry-level EX and mid-range ELX models have an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with the range-topping Ultimate version getting an even larger screen at 9.2-inches. Because the screen is so big, it means you won’t need to squint to see what’s shown on it - which is especially useful when using the reversing camera, as squeezing a car as big as the SsangYong Rexton into tight parking spots isn’t exactly easy.

8. Volkswagen Touareg

Used deals from £35,495
Monthly finance from £514*
Screen size
Up to 15 inches

When it comes to touchscreen size, few cars can hold a candle to the Volkswagen Touareg. That’s because this large family SUV can be fitted with a massive 15-inch touchscreen; only a handful of other cars, including the Tesla Model 3 and Ford Mustang Mach-E, come with larger displays than that.

Because the screen is so big, it makes viewing whatever info is displayed on it really easy, and the handily large icons do go some way to making up for the lack of any physical shortcut buttons. However, do keep an eye on the trim level when you’re shopping around for a used Volkswagen Touareg, as only range-topping R-Line Tech versions came with the 15-inch screen - though it’s not like the 9.2-inch setup available on the regular Touareg is small…

VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG 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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