As manufacturers eliminate the handbrake from new cars, electronic parking brakes are quickly replacing them.

Today, 83% of new mainstream models are equipped with an electronic parking brake. This is up from 76% in 2020 and 70% in 2019.

But car makers’ transition away from the manual handbrake can be expensive for drivers, with the average repair cost for a faulty electronic parking brake being £831, according to used car warranty provider MotorEasy.

Meanwhile, a manual handbrake repair costs on average £149 – a difference of £682.

Bye-bye manual handbrake: Just 17% of new cars in UK showrooms today have the pull-lever manual handbrake as manufacturers ditch them in favour of electronic parking brakes

No pull lever manual handbrake in UK: Today, only 17% have them. They are being replaced by electronic parking brakes.

CarGurus’ third annual Manual Handbrake Report has revealed the breakdown of which models have electronic parking brakes. 

The study looked at 642 vehicles offered by 38 major brands. 550 of these cars have electronic handbrakes. Only 92 cars are equipped with a pull lever handbrake.

Popular models including the Seat Leon, BMW 4 Series and Vauxhall Corsa – which is set to become Britain’s most-bought new car of 2021 –  have all dropped traditional handbrakes over the last year, the report confirms.

Some manufacturers already have the handbrake removed from all their models. 

Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo Jaguar, Porsche, and Volvo are no longer selling any passenger cars in the UK that have a handbrake. Instead, they switched to an electronic option at 100 percent.    

Another big brand is also considering getting rid of the handbrake entirely.

For instance, only one per cent of new Audis has the option of a manual handbrake – the Audi A1 Sportback – while just six per cent of Peugeot’s range offer the more customary braking system.

Manufacturer There are no cars for each manufacturer There are no cars that have manual handbrakes per manufacturer Models with manual handbrake: Percentage
Absent 2 2 100%
Alfa Romeo 5 0 0%
Audi 75 1 1%
BMW 54 3 6%
Citroen 13 4 31%
Cupra 5 0 0%
Dacia 3 2 67%
DS 7 0 0%
Fiat 14 7 50%
Ford 18 9 50%
Genesis 5 0 0%
Honda 5 0 0%
Hyundai 20 9 45%
Infiniti 6 0 0%
Jaguar 6 0 0%
Jeep 5 1 20%
KIA 17 3 18%
Land Rover 7 0 0%
Lexus 10 0 0%
Mazda 7 3 43%
Mercedes-Benz 34 0 0%
MG 6 1 17%
Mini 8 1 13%
Nissan 10 3 30%
Peugeot 16 1 6%
Polestar 2 0 0%
Porsche 60 0 0%
Renault 12 6 50%
SEAT 8 3 38%
Skoda 16 6 38%
Ssangyoung 9 3 33%
Subaru 6 1 17%
Suzuki 7 5 71%
Tesla 4 0 0%
Toyota 20 7 35%
Vauxhall 11 6 55%
Volvo 11 0 0%
VW 26 5 19%
TOTAL 550 92 17%

Although electronic parking brakes are easier to use for motorists (activating by pushing a button, and then releasing when the driver presses on the accelerator), they can be more costly to fix. 

The priciest electronic parking brake repair cost on MotorEasy records is a £2,005 bill to fix the system in a 10-year-old Range Rover.

But electronic parking brake problems can happen, and they are not uncommon.

Volkswagen recalls 766,000 vehicles worldwide, 134,000 in the UK. This was due to problems with their electronic parking brakes.

The hugely successful Golf hatchback and Touran MPV, Tiguan SUV, and Passat family saloon/estate were affected.

Tesla issued a voluntary recall worldwide of 53,000 Model S/Model X cars in 2012 due to a parking brake fault. Audi, Renault, and Toyota all had previously to recall similar models because they experienced issues with electronic parking systems.

Abarth is the only brand not forced to recall its products.

Fiat’s performance arm offers handbrakes to all models in its entire range. However, this is limited to superminis of previous generations 500.

Electronic parking brakes are more convenient for motorists, requiring just a touch of a button to activate them. They also automatically disengage when a driver presses the accelerator

Drivers will find electronic parking brakes more intuitive as they only require a push of a button. When the accelerator is pressed, they automatically engage.

While the electronic parking brake was once the preserve of expensive models, most cars today have them - including the budget-friendly Dacia Sandero, Britain's cheapest new model

The electronic parking brake used to be a luxury feature, but today most cars have one, including the Dacia Sandero (Britain’s cheapest model), which has them.

Dacia is known for making affordable motors and has now begun to install electronic parking brakes on its new models including the Sandero supermini. 

CarGurus states that 24% of 2020’s new cars have handbrakes, while only 17% this year is the result.

First, electric and hybrid vehicles are on the rise. They usually use electronic parking brakes. 

Second, Mitsubishi has pulled out of the UK market for this year. It took with it many models from 2020’s data with manual brakes. 

Chris Knapman is the editor of CarGurus UK. He stated: “Last year, we predicted that the manual handbrake would be obsolete in a few years. Our latest data gives us reason to believe otherwise, with a greater decline for 2021 than what was seen between 2020 and 2019.

“The rapid shift toward electric vehicles will speed up demise of the manual brake, leaving many traditionalists still looking for the mechanical simplicity and tactile experience of a manual handbrake.

“Regardless, new car models still have manual handbrakes for those who wish to use this feature. They are available in various classes.” 

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