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Last hurrah for the manual handbrake

Traditional manual handbrake

New research has revealed that less than a quarter of new cars have a manual handbrake fitted.

CarGurus, the leading automotive shopping site, found that just 24% of new cars on sale in the UK today come with a manually operated handbrake, falling even further from 30% recorded last year.

Some popular models, including the BMW 1 series and 3 Series, Peugeot 208 and Nissan Juke have all dropped classic manual handbrakes over the last year.

Only one mainstream manufacturer, Dacia, has a manual handbrake on every model in the range with the majority of car makers only offering the part on sportier cars or cheaper superminis, with the likes of the Mazda MX-5, BMW M2 and the Seat Ibiza all featuring one.

Electronic handbrake. manual handbrake, Cargurus

A handful of manufacturers have phased out the part completely and replaced it with an electronic parking brake, while some use a foot-operated parking brake.

Alfa Romeo, DS, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche and Volvo no longer have any models on sale fitted with a traditional manual handbrake.

While traditionalists would argue that the electronic parking brake removes the tactile feel, mechanical simplicity and interactivity of the classic handbrake, they are still considered a luxury convenience and safety feature by many, requiring less physical effort to hold the car more securely without the need for any adjustments.

Most electronic handbrakes disengage automatically when you pull away, plus they often offer an automatic hill-hold assist function as an additional safety benefit. From a design perspective, the switch helps de-clutter cabins too, taking up less interior space than a chunky lever.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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