- Published 10 December 2019
- 3 minute read
- By John Redfern
Life without a smartphone is hard for many of us to imagine. From social media updates to messaging and online shopping, our lives are now reliant on a small rectangle of glass and metal. And when it comes to driving, there is no reason why your phone cannot come along for the ride.
Whether you are an iPhone devotee or a fan of Google’s Android operating system, modern car technology exists to borrow the best bits from your phone. Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are the software that helps your phone link to your car.
Why do I need Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow the safe and simple integration of smartphone apps. In essence, your phone functions are displayed on the car’s dashboard screen. You can play music and podcasts, make calls, receive messages and even get directions - all without taking your hands off the wheel.
Navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze exist to help make travelling easier. Real-time traffic updates, suggested diversions and speed camera alerts are all available. Unlike traditional in-car sat-nav systems, the maps are also updated automatically, so that new local bypass will appear on your directions as if by magic.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are simple plug-and-play solutions. Some use Bluetooth to connect your phone wirelessly, while others may need a USB cable to plug in. Both options should make it straightforward to connect your phone to your car.
These are five of the cheapest cars that come fitted with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto straight from the factory. Check out our recommendations, and some cracking lease deals, below.
Dacia Sandero Comfort SCe 75
£120 per month (or £8995 to buy outright)
Dacia Sandero: lease deals from £120 a month! Buy now
It might be one of the UK’s cheapest cars full-stop, but pick the right model and the budget Dacia Sandero comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. In keeping with most models on this list, you need to pay a little more for smartphone connectivity.
This means sidestepping the entry-level Access and sparse Essential versions to choose the Comfort trim level. In terms of monthly cost, you could be driving a new Sandero Comfort for around £120 per month (£8995) with our best lease deals. That’s amazing value for a brand new car.
In Comfort trim, the Sandero hatchback comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system, rear parking sensors, air conditioning and cruise control. The interior is as simple and sturdy as the boxy exterior, while performance from the petrol engine is steady but adequate.
Think of this car as sensible motoring minimalism. If you want A to B transport, with the added bonus of smartphone connectivity, the Dacia Sandero is all the car you really need.
Mitsubishi Mirage 4
£223 per month (or £11,999 to buy outright)
No-frills transport on a budget: the Mitsubishi Mirage Zing it!
Next up, the Mitsubishi Mirage. If having plenty of equipment floats your boat, including smartphone connectivity, the upmarket ‘4’ version could be what you need.
With monthly prices starting from £223 on our lease deals (or £11,999 upfront), the Mirage 4 comes with an efficient 1.2-litre petrol engine. Standard kit includes a 6.5-inch central touchscreen with built-in satellite navigation and a DAB digital radio. You’ll also enjoy climate control air conditioning, heated front seats, 15-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and super-bright bi-xenon headlights.
Compared to many city cars, the Mirage does offer a lot for your money. Soft suspension and a tight turning circle make it suited to town driving, although it can feel out of its depth on the open road.
Toyota Aygo X-play
£148 per month (or £11,675 to buy outright)
Well connected: the Toyota Aygo from £148 a month Lease me now
With funky manga-inspired styling, the Toyota Aygo certainly makes a statement on crowded city streets. As with a restaurant wine list, ignore the very cheapest offering and pick the next one up instead. With the Aygo, that means plumping for the X-play model, which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
At £148 per month, even with a relatively small deposit, the Aygo is very affordable. The X-play model only comes with five doors, boosting the practicality of Toyota’s smallest car. If you regularly ferry your friends or family around, having those two extra doors is a no-brainer.
Useful standard equipment includes a reversing camera, air conditioning and even an adjustable speed limiter so you can’t accidentally exceed the limit. The 7.0-inch colour touchscreen also features a DAB digital radio, in case you get bored of streaming music from your smartphone.
Peugeot 108 Active
£179 a month (or £12,065 to buy outright)
Peugeot 108 from £179 a month Buy now
If you like the Toyota Aygo, but want some French flair as opposed to Japanese design, the Peugeot 108 could be for you. It’s built in the same factory as the Aygo, but has different, curvier styling inside and out.
Unlike the other cars here, all models in the 108 range come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. That means even the entry-level Active version has a 7.0-inch touchscreen to connect your phone to. Monthly costs start from around £179 for the three-door hatchback (or £12,065 upfront).
Like the Aygo, the 108 Active comes with a peppy and fuel-sipping 1.0-litre petrol engine. Air conditioning, a DAB radio and steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo are also included.
Ford Ka+ Zetec
£187 per month (or £12,300 to buy outright)
Ford Ka+ from £187 a month and no deposit Best lease deals
Just like the original Ford Ka, launched back in 1996, the Ka+ is Ford’s take on back-to-basics motoring. Think of it as a rival to the austere Dacia Sandero, or a cut-price version of the Fiesta with similar space on the inside.
All Ka+ models come with five doors, plus a choice of petrol or diesel engines. The cheapest is a 1.2-litre petrol, which offers performance best described as ‘relaxed’. However, it will be very cheap to run. Priced from £187 per month with no deposit (£12,300 upfront), the Ka+ Zetec with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity sits in the middle of the range.
The Ka+’s interior is built to a budget, but feels solid and provides plenty of space. Ford’s Sync3 multimedia system handles the phone interface through a 6.5-inch touchscreen. There are two USB sockets in the front, while the Zetec also gets 15-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning.
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