Which cars have the most distracting in-car entertainment systems?

Astonishingly, there are over 12,000 road traffic accidents each year caused by some form of impairment or distraction. This comes as it’s also revealed that you’re twice as likely to have a crash while texting than drink driving. But do our cars contribute at all to the difficulty in maintaining concentration? We’ve revealed the best and worst models for helping you to keep focus behind the wheel, as well as our top tips to avoid distraction on the road.

Revealed: the cars to avoid for distracting driving

To determine the most distracting in-car entertainment system, 20 models were tested and scored out of 30 in a recent study by Whatcar? This total combined six scoring factors, including how easy it is to alter settings and user-accessibility*.

Analysing the results, there’s no model with a more distracting interface than the MG ZS EV (12). The MG car scored lowly across most categories, only redeemed slightly by the conveniently large and operational air-con dials. Scoring similarly poorly, you should also aim to steer away from the Fiat 500X (14) and Skoda Citigo-e iV (16), for a distraction-free driving experience. Rounding off the worst five cars, we also have the Peugeot 508 SW (17) and the Lexus RX (18).

At the other end of the scale, the BMW 3 Series gets full marks in almost all scoring categories; it offers the least distracting infotainment system, with an impressive test score of 28/30. Joint second, we have the Mercedez-Benz CLA (27) and the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid (27), while the Audi Q3 Sportback (26) and Mazda3 (25) complete the top five.

We’ve outlined the complete ranking order below:

RankBrandCar systemPoints
1MGMG ZS EV with 8.0in touchscreen12
2Fiat500X with 7-inch touchscreen and Uconnect Live14
3SkodaCitigo-e iV with colour screen and phone holder16
4Peugeot508 SW with 10-inch Connected 3D Navigation and voice recognition17
5LexusRX with 12.3-inch multimedia display18
6HondaCR-V with 7-inch touchscreen, Honda Connect and Garmin navigation18
7NissanJuke with Nissan Connect19
8ToyotaCorolla with Touch 2 media system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto20
9VolvoS60 with Sensus20
10JaguarXE with 10-inch Touch Pro Duo system21
11Skoda (premium)Kamiq with 9.2-inch touchscreen, voice control and Amundsen sat-nav21
12VauxhallCorsa with 10-inch Multimedia Navi Pro22
13HyundaiIoniq with 10.25-inch touchscreen and Bluelink connectivity22
14FordFiesta with Sync 3 navigation and FordPass Connect23
15VolkswagenPassat GTE with 8-inch Composition Media system24
16MazdaMazda3 with 8.8-inch colour display and Mazda Connect25
17AudiQ3 Sportback with Virtual Cockpit Plus26
18PorschePanamera E-Hybrid with Connect Plus and Porsche Communication Management27
19Mercedes-BenzCLA with 10.25-inch touchscreen27
20BMW3 Series with Live Cockpit Professional28

Top tips for avoiding distractions while driving

Collaborating with driving instructor John Parry from Parrys Fleet Services, we’ve provided our top tips to follow to avoid distraction while on the road:

1. Put your device away

To avoid temptation while driving, place your mobile device out of sight and out of reach, ideally in the glove box or tucked away in a bag.

2. Know where you’re going

If you’re using a navigation system for directions, make sure to input the destination before you set off, rather than mid-journey.

3. Ask passengers for help

If you’re driving with somebody else in the passenger seat, don’t be afraid to ask for help to navigate, make a call, or send a message.

4. Pull over

If you must make a call or send a message while driving, make sure to first pull off the road safely and stop.

5. Be a good passenger

If you’re in the passenger seat, keep alert to any distractions or dangers your driver may not have noticed. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you spot something.

6. Don’t be a distraction

If you know that a friend or family member is driving, avoid calling or texting them. Even if they’ve put their phone aside, they may be distracted by a ping or ring.

7. Activate do not disturb

Turning on the ‘Do not disturb’ feature on your Apple or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.

Our top tips aren’t just suited to drivers; pedestrians and cyclists should also make every effort to avoid distractions. This means you should never text, call, or play games while walking or cycling.


Rankings were gained from a recent What Car? study

To rank each of the 20 types of car brands, What Car rated each on six different scoring elements. Each element was worth an equal five points. These were:

  1. Turn up the temperature by two degrees.
  2. Increase the fan speed by two settings.
  3. With a 20-mile route programmed into the satnav and the infotainment screen on the home page, go to the map screen and zoom out to see the entire route.
  4. Cancel route guidance.
  5. With the radio tuned to Virgin Radio DAB, and the infotainment screen on the home page, go to the main list of DAB stations and switch to BBC Radio 4.
  6. Using the voice control button on the steering wheel (if fitted), ask the car to find the nearest service station.

With some cars noticeably worse than others for distracting you from the road ahead, whether through dashboard difficulty or complicated controls, it’s important to consider how your vehicle affects your driving safety. For even more helpful advice and expertise, head on over to our blog.