Best cars with powered tailgates

Fancy a car that can open and close the boot for you? Let one of these cars with a powered tailgate take the strain…

James Wilson
Jun 14, 2022

A powered tailgate is like the best friend you never had. Always there for you when you are struggling with arms full of luggage, helping to minimise your time standing in the rain and to save your wrists, arms and back from being overexerted when opening and closing the boot.

There are two main types of powered tailgates. One works at the touch of a button; normally the button is on a car’s keyfob and/or where a traditional handle or release button would be on the boot door. Models with keyless entry take this a step further, by removing the need to physically unlock a car with the key before opening the boot.

The second type of powered tailgate uses something commonly referred to as a ‘kick sensor’. These are normally located under the rear bumper and when they sense a kicking motion (basically wiggling your foot in front of them - not actually kicking the car!) they automatically open the boot.

That brings us onto an important note: powered tailgates are very much an upmarket feature. As a result, powered boot doors are normally only found on range-topping versions of smaller cars (such as the Toyota Corolla Excel) or on more expensive large cars (like the Volvo XC90).

Best cars with electric tailgates

1. Ford C-Max

Best car with a powered tailgate for smaller families

Ford C-Max front three quarters view

Our pick Ford C-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium X
Used deals from £8,500
Monthly finance from £0*

As mid-size people carriers go, the Ford C-Max is one of the best, thanks to being very practical and pleasant to drive. The C-Max is much more enjoyable for nipping around faster country roads than most cars of this type. The C-Max comes with a reasonably large 471-litre boot, which is much bigger than most family hatchbacks which are similar in length and width. A Volkswagen Golf, for example, has a 381-litre boot.

Some C-Max models also come with rear seats that can be independently moved forwards and back to balance passenger and luggage space. This is great for occasionally fitting larger items in the boot while still being able to carry passengers. When it comes to a powered tailgate, this is found on trims such as Titanium and Titanium X which also include Ford’s ‘KeyFree’ system.

KeyFree was optional, so be sure to double-check that any car you are considering definitely has a powered tailgate. Ford stopped making the C-Max in 2019, so you will need to look for models that are a few years old now, which should also be a fraction of what they cost new.


2. Toyota Corolla

Best car with a powered tailgate for low running costs

Our pick Toyota Corolla 2.0 VVT-h Excel
Used deals from £19,290
Monthly finance from £0*

The latest Toyota Corolla looks sharp, feels well made and handles corners keenly too - so drivers should be equally at ease tackling journeys in town, the countryside or the motorway. Once you arrive at your destination unloading or loading should be a doddle provided you opt for a Corolla in Excel trim, as this specification comes with a power tailgate that can be activated via a kick sensor.

Moving back to driving, the miles should roll by fairly effortlessly thanks to the interior being a pleasant place to travel. Additionally, Excel models come as self-charging hybrids, which means they use an automatic gearbox and petrol-electric setup, which reduces how much fuel you'll get through. This is great for drivers who do a lot of journeys in stop-start traffic.

If we have one gripe it is that the media system isn’t a match for the best cars of this type, but you can use smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to overcome this, as these pieces of software are fundamentally the same regardless of which car they're used in.


3. Audi A4 Avant

Best car with a powered tailgate for all-round appeal

Audi A4 Avant front three quarters view

Our pick Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI ultra S Line S tronic
Used deals from £12,999
Monthly finance from £0*

The Audi A4 Avant is an upmarket compact estate car. This means it is slightly larger than hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and Seat Leon and has more load space, thanks to a longer boot area. For drivers who regularly carry lots of luggage or have a larger dog to cart around, the Avant could be just the ticket. Loading and unloading pets, work equipment or a multitude of other items is made easier thanks to a powered tailgate which is available across much of the A4 Avant range.

If you are on a tighter budget then SE specification is a great option, while Black Edition models are more expensive but they look more sporty and come with more equipment as standard. We’d recommend finding a model with something Audi calls ‘Virtual Cockpit’. This replaces the dials in front of the driver with a digital screen, which can show a wide range of information, such as speed and even sat-nav maps, making it easy to find where you're going with the minimum of looking away from the road.


4. Ford Puma

Best car with a powered tailgate for small car practicality and fun

Ford Puma side view

Our pick Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost MHEV ST-Line X
Used deals from £14,250
Monthly finance from £0*

For small families, young drivers or people in need of an affordable but fun car, the Ford Puma makes a lot of sense. The Puma is built using a lot of the same components as the Ford Fiesta, which is actually great news as the Fiesta is a great car - enjoyable to drive, easy to live with and affordable. In particular, the 1.0-litre petrol ‘EcoBoost’ engines are perfect for zipping around without costing an arm and a leg in fuel. Why not just get a Fiesta then? Because the Puma is more practical.

An example of why the Puma scores more highly for practicality is the boot. Firstly there is something Ford refers to as ‘Megabox’. This is effectively a plastic box under the boot floor where muddy shoes, sandy beach clothes or even sodden clothing can be stored. There is a handy removable plug at the bottom of the box so it can be washed out and drained once dirty cargo is removed.

In addition, there is the option of a powered tailgate (available on trims including Titanium, ST-Line, Vignale and ST), which can be opened using a kick sensor and closed at the press of a button.


5. Kia Sportage

Best car with a powered tailgate for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi GT-Line S
Used deals from £16,990
Monthly finance from £0*

UK drivers love the Kia Sportage - so much so that it regularly features in the list of top 10 best-selling cars in the country. If you are looking for a reason why, you don’t need to look far. There is a 100,000-mile, seven-year warranty on all models, great amounts of standard equipment and also one of the best touchscreen media systems in this type of car. That last point is high praise indeed, as the Kia is not short of an alternative or two - the Renault Kadjar, Mazda CX-5 and Seat Ateca are just three very competent rivals.

Kia launched a new generation of the Sportage in 2022 which marked a significant change in styling, but it is the previous version made from 2016 to 2021 that we are focusing on here; these should be easier to find second-hand than the new model and far more affordable, too.

Of these cars, it is range-topping GT-Line S models that are worth hunting down if a powered tailgate is a must-have. These come packed with other equipment, including a more punchy JBL sound system, wireless phone charger and a panoramic sunroof.


6. Volvo XC90

Best car with a powered tailgate for those needing seven seats

Our pick Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription
Used deals from £28,350
Monthly finance from £0*

Volvo is a car manufacturer that prides itself on the safety of its cars and the XC90 is no exception. When put through its paces back in 2015 by crash testing experts Euro NCAP, the big Volvo was given a full five out of five for safety. The rating for child occupant protection was 87%, which is a very good score even if not quite as strong as the Audi Q7 tested during the same year. While Euro NCAP regularly updates its tests, making them harder as time goes by, a full five stars back in 2015 is still impressive.

Something else that will likely impress is how comfortable and practical the XC90 is. With seating for seven, a large boot and suspension that soaks up bumps in the road very well, most journeys should be relatively relaxing; that is, unless you have a number of children screaming from the back seats… Finding a model with a powered tailgate is very straightforward, as the technology is available across the XC90 range.


7. BMW 5 Series Touring

Best car with a powered tailgate for space and an upmarket image

BMW 5 Series Touring front

Our pick BMW 520d Touring M Sport automatic
Used deals from £23,000
Monthly finance from £0*

Whether you simply want a practical and comfortable car or you're a keen driver and want something enjoyable to drive and upmarket, the BMW 5 Series Touring is all the car you could ever need. It is practical, refined and relatively fast (or incredibly fast if you opt for a more powerful model like the 540i). For most people, we’d suggest the diesel 520d model for strong fuel economy and good performance, but if you would rather have a petrol-powered version, the 520i is a solid choice.

Alternatively, there is the 530e, which is a plug-in hybrid, which may work for you if you do lots of short journeys and can charge the car in between. Plug-in hybrids can be more expensive to purchase but they can be just as economical as diesel alternatives - or far more economical if you do most of your driving on electric power.

The 5 Series Touring is also well equipped, with all models coming with a powered tailgate. As such, if you are trying to keep motoring costs down, entry-level SE specification is a great option. If you can stretch to an M Sport version, however, these come with more sporty looks and are generally more desirable.


8. Hyundai Ioniq 5

Best car with a powered tailgate for zero exhaust pipe emissions

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq 5 125kW 58kWh Premium
Used deals Limited stock

Few electric cars have caused quite as much of a stir in recent years as the Hyundai Ioniq 5. A large part of this is its styling, which looks like nothing else on the road. Then there is the interior, which is a blend of retro, minimalist and modern - and is rather spacious. Looking at pictures alone, you would think that the Ioniq 5 is similar in size to cars like the Ford Focus, but it is actually closer to that of mid-size SUVs like the Ford Kuga.

Hyundai has kept the Ioniq 5 range nice and simple. Trims include SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate - Premium and Ultimate versions have a powered tailgate. Moving onto a different type of range, the Ioniq 5 is claimed to be able to travel up to 298 miles on a single charge but this does depend on which battery the Ioniq 5 has (there have been three so far), and in reality the way you drive, the number of electronic systems you use and the weather will have an impact on your real-world range.

If you are concerned about how well the battery will last, Hyundai provides an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its battery packs, which provides plenty of stress-free motoring and is about the industry standard for electric car batteries.


*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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