The traditional handbrake is quickly dying out: new research has shown that three-quarters of new cars now come with a modern electronic parking brake instead of a driver-operated lever.
Most of us are familiar with the mechanical handbrake: it is operated by means of the driver pulling on a lever in the middle of the car. But, increasingly, they are being replaced by electronic switches or buttons. Last year one in three cars had a manual handbrake; this year just a quarter have the traditional lever mechanism.
Only Dacia amongst the mainstream manufacturers now offers one on every car in its range, with most of the other brands only still offering manual handbrakes on their superminis or sporty models like the Mazda MX-5 or the BMW M2. Others: Alfa Romeo, DS, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche and Volvo have completely removed lever handbrakes from their ranges altogether. Many popular cars such as the BMW 1 and 3 Series, Peugeot 208 and the Nissan Juke have all stopped being fitted with manual handbrakes.
Industry insiders say that it looks like the manual handbrake is almost extinct, and in a few years, it will almost certainly be gone, as almost two dozen car models have removed it as an option over the last year. It will likely continue to be offered as a feature only on a select few sporty or small-volume cars. So, make the most of your handbrake while you still can!
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