Top 10 most popular used cars in the UK

Top 10 most popular used cars in the UK
The UK’s used car market rose by 6.5% in the first quarter of 2024 with 1,967,923 units finding new owners – the strongest start to a year since pre-pandemic 2019, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The increase marks 16 months of successive growth.

Used car transactions have risen in every month of the year to date but, despite this robust growth, the quarter’s transactions remain 2.6% below pre-Covid levels.

Here are the most sold cars in 2023:

Top 10 used cars in 2023

Ford Fiesta308,017
Vauxhall Corsa237,705
Volkswagen Golf227,427
Ford Focus223,417
Vauxhall Astra160,736
BMW 3 Series155,100
Volkswagen Polo141,135
Nissan Qashqai20,286
Audi A3118,805

The table highlights the top 10 used cars in 2023, showcasing popular models like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, and Volkswagen Golf, which lead in sales.

This suggests that these cars are among the best used cars to buy due to their strong market presence and widespread consumer preference.

Arguably, the Ford Fiesta, with its leading sales, stands out as one of the best second hand cars to buy.

Most popular car colours in 2023

When it comes to used cars bought in the UK, there were some changes when compared to 2022.

Here are the top 10 colours for used cars bought in the UK last year:


According to the SMMT data, bucking the grey trend in the new car market, black cars were the most popular used purchases, with more than 1.5 million buyers – totalling 21.4% of all used cars sold last year.

Grey, however, increased its ranking, displacing blue to take second place.

Further analysis of the used car market saw 4,870 buyers opting for pink, while 4,686 cream cars found new owners, and maroon represented 4,585 transactions.

Most popular fuel types in 2023

Sales of used electric vehicles (EVs) rose 90.9% to a record 118,973 units in 2023.

This represents a 1.6% share of the overall used car market. This is an increase from 0.9% in 2022.

According to the SMMT data, this rise in sales is in line with growth in the new car sector

Most popular fuel type for used cars:

  1. Petrol: 4,079,555
  2. Diesel: 2,747,911
  3. Hybrid: 221,859
  4. Electric: 118,973
  5. Plug-in Hybrid: 65,837

Although there was a significant rise in the sales of EVs, diesel and petrol remain the most popular amongst used car sales.

These types of vehicles represented 6,827,466 total units sold – 94.3% of the total market.

Following the release of the data, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “A healthy new car market is key to driving choice in the used sector and it’s great to see record numbers of second and third owners benefitting from the growing availability of electric vehicles.

“The demand is there, but to sustain it we must enable every motorist to make the switch. The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for government to do just that – halving VAT on new EVs, while making public charging as easy and affordable as plugging in at home, would ensure a faster and fairer transition for all, giving the UK a green economic boost.”

What do you make of the SMMT data? What do you look for in a used car? Leave your comments below.

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Most popular used cars in 2024 (Q1)

MakeNumber of transaction
Ford Fiesta80,814
Vauxhall Corsa66,821
Ford Focus60,058
Volkswagen Golf59,810
Vauxhall Astra41,521
BMW 3 Series40,063
Volkswagen Polo39,193
Nissan Qashqai37,041
Audi A331,434

The table highlights the top 10 used cars that have been sold so far in 2024. Popular models like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, and Ford Focus, which lead in sales. Although there are still three quarters of data left to analyse, these are best second hand cars to buy according to customers.

Following the release of the 2024 data, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "A reinvigorated new car market is delivering more choice and affordability for used car buyers and, increasingly, they are choosing to go electric.

"To enable even more drivers to enjoy the benefits of zero emission motoring, ensuring both supply and demand remains robust is essential.

"Incentivising new EV uptake and investing in a chargepoint network that is accessible, available and affordable to all will drive the nation’s net zero transition."