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Britain’s used car market had a great year in 2023, growing 5.1 percent.
Second-hand vehicles were purchased by motorists who wanted cheaper wheels during this period of high living costs.
The Society of Automobile Manufacturers and Traders recorded 7,242,692 used car transactions last year, which represents 350,000 more than in 2022.
So, of those more than seven million used cars bought and sold, which models changed hands most frequently? We reveal all SMMT data usage below…
10. Audi A3: 118,805 transactions
The stylish and premium Audi A3 ranked 10th, with 118,805 used vehicle transactions in 2023.
The last place in the top 10 is occupied by the elegant and elegant Audi A3.
A hatchback that has been popular since its launch in 1996, the A3 is now in its fourth generation. It’s a premium off-roader that ticks the boxes of distinctive appeal, a stylish interior and a good balance between practicality and style.
There are a variety of efficient motors to choose from and it is spacious enough for a small family. But it’s the luxurious cabin, sleek design and, compared to similar generation rivals, sophisticated technology that makes this entry into the Audi brand so attractive.
9. Nissan Qashqai: 120,286 transactions
Famous for really boosting the compact crossover market segment, the Nissan Qashqai recorded 120,286 used vehicle transactions last year.
The car that really started the family SUV trend and compact crossover chaos, the Qashqai, was launched in 2007 and has been a huge success ever since.
It wasn’t the first crossover, but it was the one that captured the imagination.
While it offers owners the higher driving position and more robust appearance of a 4×4, it still retains the everyday charm and ease of a smaller hatchback.
But it’s the low running costs and affordable price that make the Qashqai so attractive to many.
8. Volkswagen Polo: 141,135 transactions
The Volkswagen Polo is the little sister of the Golf and a very popular used car with 141,135 second-hand transactions.
The VW Polo, which has been on UK roads since 1976, is a basic small car that almost everyone likes.
It is the little brother of the VW Golf: a perfect vehicle for getting around the city and also an elegant highway vehicle. More economical to run than its older brother, it is very economical in all engine options, comfortable and sophisticated.
It’s also more affordable than rivals like the Audi A1, meaning the Polo offers a decent mix of distinctive appeal and value for money.
7. BMW 3 Series: 155,100 transactions
One of the most popular sedans in the world, the 3 Series has always combined performance with luxury.
The first saloon to enter the top 10, the 3 Series is one of the best executive cars you can buy, whether new or used.
The 3 Series has been a part of our lives for over 40 years since the E21 first appeared on our roads, and remains a flagship of the BMW brand.
One of the most popular sports saloons of the 1970s, six generations later, the current 3 Series effortlessly combines the performance of efficient yet powerful engines with smoothness and refinement.
It is also considered a bit attractive. And the interior is a heady mix of luxurious leathers and driver comforts, as well as easy-to-use infotainment.
6. Mini: 158,298 transactions
The Mini Hatch has been a popular choice since BMW brought it back in the early 2000s, and with 158,298 used models changing hands last year, this is a highly sought-after second-hand motor.
The Mini is a British legend. A personification of the blue, red and white of the Union Jack.
From Mr Bean to The Beatles, the Mini has had some of the world’s most notable owners, whether famous or fictional. Add to that the influence this little car acquired when it won the Monto Carlo Rally in one of the most spectacular victories in international motorsport history, and you can see why it remains so beloved today.
From the Cooper S to the Mini Electric – the hatchback range has a range of powertrains and performance to suit all tastes when it comes to used buying.
5. Opel Astra: 160,736 transactions
The Vauxhall Astra offers a lot of hatchback bang for your buck and used vehicle buyers agreed on 160,736 transactions last year on the used car market.
Although it’s a no-nonsense Sally and not an enthusiast’s dream garage car, the Vauxhall Astra has long been one of the UK’s most popular cars because it offers good value for money.
It first debuted in the UK in 1981, replacing the Vauxhall Viva and, until recently, has been among the best-selling cars in Britain ever since.
A five-door hatchback that’s big enough for a small family, the Astra is understandably an option for many Brits.
The last two generations of Astra have been hailed as a big step forward – with more space, a wider range of efficient engines and better technology.
4. Ford Focus: 223,417 transactions
Production of the Ford Focus ends in 2025, but the second-hand market is booming with 223,417 models changing hands in 2023.
Between 1999 and 2009, the Ford Focus was the best-selling new car in Britain.
But Ford has confirmed that its family car will end production in 2025 as Ford shifts its focus to electric vehicles.
As well as grabbing a piece of soon-to-be motoring history, the Focus recently underwent a major update, so second-hand buyers will get a lot of car for the money when buying almost new.
It is known for matching more expensive rivals in space, interior build quality and comfort. Available as a hatchback or estate, either Focus is ideal for families, but the estate is the spacious choice for long-distance holidays.
3. Volkswagen Golf: 227,427 transactions
The Golf is the small family car that everyone loves to be seen driving and VW’s best-selling model.
The Volkswagen Golf is VW’s best-selling model historically.
One of the classiest small compact family cars, it’s been around since 1974 and is a global success.
The original Mk1 is now a sought-after classic. Most early Golfs were three-door, but there are now many variants, and the five-door is an affordable option for families.
It is widely recognized that each generation of the Golf improves on the previous one, always maintaining the smoothness and sophistication you love so much.
Nowadays you can also buy an e-Golf if you want to fully commit to eco-electric living, or a plug-in hybrid GTE if you want a bit of both.
2. Vauxhall Corsa: 237,705 transactions
The Vauxhall Corsa changed hands 237,705 times last year, putting the model in second position.
The Corsa entered the UK market in 1993, replacing the infamous Nova. The supermini turned out to be a huge success for the brand and became its best-selling model.
There have been five generations of Corsa, meaning there are plenty of options for all budgets, which could explain why it is the second most marketed car.
More recently, Vauxhall has ditched diesel engines from the range, meaning those who want a Corsa with an oil burner under the bonnet will have to buy a car before 2022.
The Corsa-E electric supermini is another option for those conscious of the car’s carbon output.
1. Ford Fiesta: 308,017 transactions
Firstly, there were 308,017 used Ford Fiesta transactions in the UK in 2023.
Funny, please… and in first place is the Ford Fiesta.
Ford’s second appearance on this list, the Fiesta is the brand’s most successful model of all time.
Since its arrival in 1976, Ford has produced more than 22 million Fiestas worldwide. In the UK alone, the Fiesta has topped the sales league 16 times.
More than 4.8 million were sold to Brits, more than any other car. Today there are around 1.5 million left in circulation, so it remains the most common model in the country.
And yet, like others on this list, the Fiesta has reached the end of the road: Ford has discontinued the Fiesta from June 2023 as it goes all-electric.
Ford, for as long as the Fiesta has existed, has marketed it as a safe car that handles well, is advanced but economical to own and for a small car, big on the inside.
And the Fiestas used today still ring true to that mantra.
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