Most innovative cars

Last updated: Jan 7, 2016

The car market is fast-moving and extremely competitive, so any manufacturer that isn’t constantly innovating will soon get left behind. This is good news for you, the car buyer, as whether it's technology, practicality or even value for money, the boundaries of what you can expect from a car are being pushed forward at a phenomenal rate. Here are 10 new cars that we reckon are amongst the most innovative you can buy today.

Ford B-MAX mini MPV

At first glance, the Ford B-MAX seems to be a pretty ordinary mini-MPV. However, take a closer look and you’ll notice there’s no central ‘B-pillar’ between the two doors. When combined with sliding rear doors, this makes it much easier to get in and out of the back and fit child seats. The fact Ford didn’t compromise the B-MAX’s safety rating by doing this (only one car has a higher Euro NCAP crash-test score) makes it an even more remarkable achievement. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£13,195 - £19,445

Toyota Mirai saloon

Almost every car manufacturer has some sort of electric or hybrid model on the market these days, but having already explored that territory with the Prius, Toyota is branching out to another potential future power source: hydrogen. The Mirai generates power for its electric motors by mixing hydrogen with oxygen and emits only harmless water vapour. It’s extremely expensive and there are only a handful of refuelling locations in the UK for now, but it’s still a fascinating look at the possible future of personal transport. Read more.

Key points

3.1 / 5

Dacia Duster compact SUV

The Dacia Duster isn’t innovative in the traditional hi-tech sense, but it does have one major ace up its sleeve: it’s a rough-and-ready SUV available for supermini money. Granted, some corners have been cut to ensure that budget price – for instance, interior quality isn’t very good, it’s not particularly refined, there’s a fair bit of body lean in the bends and some similarly priced superminis have better crash-test ratings. As far as ‘bang for your buck’ goes, though, the Dacia Duster is almost unchallenged. Read more.

Key points

4.7 / 5
Price 
£9,495 - £15,495

Mercedes S-Class saloon

Flagship models usually come loaded with the most advanced gadgets in a car company’s arsenal and the Mercedes S-Class is no exception. Whether it’s hybrid drive, built-in Wi-Fi, a 24-speaker stereo, reclining rear seats or suspension that automatically sets the car up for the road ahead, you’ll find it here. Put simply, the Mercedes S-Class is as much a luxury limousine as it is a demonstration of how complex and advanced today’s cars have become. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£67,995 - £182,750

Toyota Prius+ mini MPV

Big MPVs seem to be a dying breed nowadays, making the Toyota Prius+ hybrid even more of a curiosity than it already is. But it’s worth your attention, especially if you’re in the market for a new seven-seater. If you predominantly drive in more built-up areas or in stop-start traffic, it’s nigh-on impossible to find a more efficient seven-seater on sale today. The Toyota Prius+ is also quite practical, not too expensive to buy and, thanks to low CO2 emissions, exempt from road tax. Read more.

Key points

2.4 / 5
Price 
£26,995 - £31,245

Renault ZOE hatchback

You might wonder why the Nissan LEAF isn’t in this list. It might be the world’s best-selling electric car, but it’s still rather pricy. Step forward Renault ZOE – a car that is just as useable on a daily basis as the LEAF, but is an awful lot cheaper. There are three versions of the ZOE available; two of which are capable of nearly 150 miles, according to official figures. Renault has taken the unusual step of providing ‘real-world’ ranges, depending on the weather. As electric vehicles work better in the summer, the ZOE is capable of travelling up to 106 miles on a charge. When the temperature drops, so does the range – in this case down to 71 miles. It’s transparency like this that gives would-be buyers confidence. Read more.

Key points

2.8 / 5
Price 
£18,445 - £25,545

Volvo XC90 SUV

Volvo has always been a car safety pioneer, so it’s not surprising to hear the firms flagship, the Volvo XC90 SUV is crammed full of safety equipment. So much in fact, that no model has achieved a better result in the Euro NCAP crash test programme. With airbags galore, and electronic safety systems that can brake the car automatically to avoid a crash fitted as standard, there’s simply no safer car available. Inside there’s a huge touchscreen, like a large iPad, that controls most of the car’s functions. Spend some time with it, and you’ll wonder how you managed without it. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£46,250 - £64,205

Toyota GT 86 coupe

Most companies innovate by throwing everything they have into their cars. For the Toyota GT86 sports car, Toyota took a different approach: just give customers what they need, rather than what they think they want. As a result, the Toyota GT86 is surprisingly bare-bones for a modern sports coupe – the most exciting optional extra, for instance, is a JBL stereo. However, when a car is this much fun to drive and this affordable, does a relative lack of creature comforts matter? For the record, the GT86’s sister car, the Subaru BRZ is just as good and even more exclusive. But the Toyota gets the nod here, purely for the wider availability of dealerships in the UK. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£22,700 - £28,650

Skoda Octavia estate

Skoda’s Octavia has long been renowned for being a spacious car – and the latest model doesn’t buck that trend. This is especially the case for the Skoda Octavia Estate, which is comfortably one of the most practical cars in its class. On top of a huge boot (610 litres with the rear seats up, 1,740 litres with the seats down), the Octavia is full of usefully sized storage cubbies and offers plenty of leg and headroom in the front and back seats. It’s also very efficient and terrific value for money. Read more.

Key points

4.9 / 5
Price 
£17,485 - £29,115

Nissan Note mini MPV

When it comes to practicality, few small cars on sale today are as impressive as the Nissan Note. Not only do those boxy proportions ensure it’s quite a spacious car (there’s plenty of legroom in the back, for instance), but it also means the boot is huge with the rear seats folded down – at 1,465 litres, it puts most estate cars to shame. If the boot capacity was equally as impressive with the rear seats in place, the Nissan Note might have placed even higher up this list. Read more.

Key points

3.8 / 5
Price 
£9,995 - £18,200