Best cars with voice control

Whether you're after the latest, cutting-edge technology or just want an easier ride, these are eight of the best cars with voice control

Lawrence Allan
Apr 22, 2022

Nowadays, most modern cars are crammed with technology, and in the same way that a smartphone can be a huge distraction from completing your everyday tasks, complex and feature-laden media screens can be dangerous to use on the move.

So what about voice control? In theory, this is a brilliantly safe and easy way to operate the baffling amount of functions and features that are found in everything from a modern supermini to a large luxury SUV. Simply press a conveniently located button, tell the car exactly what you want it to do and it’ll do it. Or, rather, it should do it.

Using voice control should be vastly easier and safer to do on the move than delving into a touchscreen media system menu or trying to find the right button in a complicated dashboard layout. While early systems could only complete very basic tasks, the latest systems can understand a huge variety of commands.

However, there’s a reason voice control has only really caught on in the last few years. The tech has actually been around for decades, with Mercedes offering a basic system in the S-Class luxury car in the mid-90s. Many cars over the years could be specified with it, but it was never very popular as the systems weren’t good enough to recognise commands properly, requiring constant corrections. This often meant it took longer to, say, input a phone number by voice than it did just using the existing button or screen interface.

Even as recently as five years ago, many voice control systems weren’t much use, struggling to understand even simple commands. And woe betide you if you, for example, had a strong accent - you wouldn’t stand a chance. However, some of the most recent systems are far better and can genuinely be used day-to-day, rather than merely as a gimmick to show off to your mates.

Now even the smallest, cheapest cars have it, but there are still systems that work well and systems that very much don’t. In compiling our list of cars with voice control systems that do work well, we’ve listed a variety of body styles and price points - everything from superminis to luxury SUVs.

Best cars with voice control

1. Ford Fiesta

Used deals from £8,931
Monthly finance from £208*

Ford’s latest Fiesta is an excellent small car that’s as fun to drive as it’s ever been, but it also features plenty of big-car technology, showing that cheap cars don’t have to be basic.

While pre-2017 Fiestas have an archaic media and control system with a baffling array of buttons, the newer version has a much easier-to-use touchscreen. The system, called Sync 3, is feature-packed and has clear graphics, but to make it even easier to use on the move it gets an impressive voice control system for the money.

Not only can it understand a variety of simple commands - for example, just say “I’m hungry” for a list of nearby restaurants and cafes - it can also handle the UK’s wide variety of accents without too much trouble.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Kamiq

Used deals from £15,350
Monthly finance from £275*

The Skoda Kamiq is one of our favourite small SUVs because it offers a spacious interior with plenty of standard equipment and a good all-round driving experience. But it can also be had with a digital voice assistant called Laura.

Although Laura offers a similar variety of functions as Ford’s voice control system in the Fiesta, it goes one step further by not needing a button press to activate it. Simply say 'Okay, Laura' and it’s ready to go, while it understands natural speech rather than just a select script of words and phrases. With an onboard data connection, Laura uses online functions to search for an answer to your demands, too.

The downside? It’s only available on the higher-level media systems with the Kamiq, so entry-level versions with the smaller screens don’t get it.

SKODA KAMIQ BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes A-Class front three quarters view

Used deals from £18,180
Monthly finance from £312*

The A-Class is not only the cheapest way to get into a new car with a Mercedes badge on the front, it’s also one of the most high-tech compact cars in the world.

Inside, newcomers to the latest Mercedes models might be a bit daunted by the mass of tech, but the brand has designed the systems to rely heavily on voice control to make functions easier to access while you’re driving. The 'MBUX' voice assistant is one of the smartest systems on the market, as long as it’s connected to the internet.

It can respond to natural speech better than most systems: for example, say 'Hey Mercedes, will I need an umbrella today?' to find out if it’ll rain. But you can even have conversations with it, and it’ll also tell jokes - though perhaps not the funniest ones. On a more practical level, saying 'navigate to' and then spelling out a post code or address is far quicker than having to type anything into a physical media system and works well in the A-Class.

MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Ioniq

Used deals from £20,450
Monthly finance from £0*

The Ioniq is basically Hyundai’s version of the Toyota Prius, offering the choice of self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric power in the same model. It’s been around since 2016, but an update in 2019 saw it fitted with new technology and an improved interior.

The update brought an impressive new 10.3-inch media and sat-nav system, which has also rolled out into Hyundai’s newer models. As well as being feature-packed yet slick and easy to operate, the Ioniq also received a more advanced voice control system. While it isn’t able to tell jokes and dazzle with gimmicks like the Mercedes system, it simply works really well, recognising voice commands quickly and understanding numerous accents.

HYUNDAI IONIQ BUYERS' GUIDE
HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Tiguan

Used deals from £17,000
Monthly finance from £252*

The VW Tiguan is a solid all-round family SUV, offering plenty of space, excellent build quality and a refined driving experience. First going on sale in 2016, this generation quietly received an upgrade to its in-car tech late in 2017.

In higher-spec Tiguans fitted with the Discover Pro media and sat-nav system (which was available as an option on cheaper versions), voice control was fitted as standard alongside gesture control - a feature allowing you to switch radio stations just by swiping your hand across the screen.

The Tiguan’s voice control function is not the most advanced around, and is best used for simple tasks such as making phone calls or inputting sat-nav commands. However, it does at least work well within those parameters.

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN BUYERS' GUIDE

6. BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series front three quarters view

Used deals from £26,000
Monthly finance from £567*

For many years BMW used the slogan 'Ultimate Driving Machine' to describe its cars, owing to their enjoyable handling around corners and powerful engines. The latest 3 Series is still one of the best driving small saloons around, yet the newest model has also embraced some advanced technology.

With BMW’s newest and most advanced ‘iDrive’ media and sat-nav system, the 3 Series comes equipped with an ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’. It’s fully integrated with the car, offering a wide variety of voice-controlled functions such as checking the oil or tyre pressures. It can be activated by a customised word or phrase, and can even entertain if the driver says 'I’m bored'. Not only is it feature-packed, it’s slick to operate and understands natural speech.

BMW 3 SERIES SALOON BUYERS' GUIDE
BMW 3 SERIES TOURING BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi A6

Used deals from £24,949
Monthly finance from £0*

The Audi A6 is a large upmarket car with plenty of good qualities, including a plush interior with impeccable quality, loads of space for people and luggage, and a refined and composed driving experience. In the latest model, which first went on sale in 2018, you also get some advanced technology features.

Every Audi A6 comes with a dual-screen version of the brand’s ‘MMI’ multimedia and sat-nav system. It’s feature-packed but not always the easiest to use, especially on the move, which is where the car’s natural speech voice control comes in.

Although not quite as advanced as the latest Mercedes system, it can respond to a variety of requests quickly, doesn’t require a list of pre-set commands, and can understand accents well. Like most systems, it requires internet access via its built-in data connection to be at its best.

AUDI A6 SALOON BUYERS' GUIDE
AUDI A6 AVANT BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Porsche Cayenne

Used deals from £61,948
Monthly finance from £0*

Given that even Ford Fiestas now have voice control in the 2020s, it’s no surprise that Porsche’s large luxury SUV, the Cayenne, also comes suitably equipped. The Cayenne’s luxurious interior has a large, fairly complex central media screen and a lot of touch-sensitive switchgear, meaning operating certain features via voice control is a much safer thing to do on the move.

Although the Cayenne requires the press of a button on the steering wheel (only the new Taycan electric car responds to a 'Hey Porsche' command) the system is very slick, and can do things such as change the ambient lighting or massaging seat mode. Like the other advanced systems, however, it needs to be able to access the internet to work as well as possible.

*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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