If you want your used car search to be as painless as possible there’s something to be said for opting for one of the most popular models. After all, popular is bound to mean plentiful, so you’re almost guaranteed to have lots of choice without having to travel far from home, plus there will be a wide range of trim levels, fuel types and engine sizes to suit different tastes and budgets.
WHAT THE USED CAR MARKET IS DOING IN 2018
The list below details the best-selling used cars in the UK according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which sourced ownership data from the DVLA. It is based on figures for the first three-quarters of 2018, during which 6,182,547 used cars changed hands. Although this is a 2.5 per cent drop compared with used car sales during the same period in 2017, it still represents a very healthy market.
As you’d expect, there are many parts of the used car market that reflect what is happening with new cars. In the third quarter of 2018, for example, demand for alternative fuel vehicles (that’s hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric) grew by 28.6% to almost 30,000 cars. By the same token, SUV sales increased by 6.2%, and the most popular type of car was the supermini, with cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo accounting for around one-third of used car sales.
Where the new and used car markets differ is in demand for diesel models. For while this has witnessed a huge decline in terms of new car registrations, used sales are actually proving much more resilient, falling just 2.6% in the third quarter of 2018. This is most likely driven by a combination of factors, from an oversupply of models helping to keep prices competitive, the fact that many diesels registered before April 2017 are still cheaper to tax than their petrol equivalents, and the fact diesel engines feature heavily in used SUVs.
To see the top 10 best selling used cars in the UK in the first half of 2018 keep scrolling down the page. If any of them take your fancy simply follow the links to find some great deals from top-rated dealers via CarGurus.
TOP 10 BEST SELLING USED CARS IN THE UK
1. Ford Fiesta
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 278,827
CarGurus says: It’s no surprise to see the Fiesta occupy the top spot. It is, after all, also the best-selling new car in the UK by a country mile. Although not the roomiest supermini around, the Fiesta can still just about accommodate a family of four, but what really makes it stand out is how enjoyable it is to drive.
Search for a used Ford Fiesta on CarGurus
2. Ford Focus
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 251,921
CarGurus says: As with the Fiesta, the Focus stands out from its often slightly larger rivals because it’s just so enjoyable to drive, with responsive steering and a good range of engines that includes Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost unit.
Search for a used Ford Focus on CarGurus
3. Vauxhall Corsa
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 244,162
CarGurus says: The Corsa represents excellent value for money and later versions in particular are much better to drive than you might expect. That’s particularly the case if you can find one fitted with Vauxhall’s turbocharged 1.0-litre engine.
Search for a used Vauxhall Corsa on CarGurus
4. Vauxhall Astra
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 205,996
CarGurus says: It might lack the more premium image of a Volkswagen Golf or Audi A3, but the Vauxhall Astra is so much cheaper to buy it’s hard to ignore. It’s also roomy and doesn’t cost much to run, plus there are go-faster VXR versions for those who crave serious performance from their family car.
Search for a used Vauxhall Astra on CarGurus
5. Volkswagen Golf
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 204,649
CarGurus says: The Golf can trace its roots back to the 1970s when it replaced the rear-engined Beetle with a front-engined, front-wheel-drive design. With such a long history there is a Golf to suit every budget, whether it’s a cheap old runabout for a couple of hundred pounds or a four-wheel-drive R model with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that gives it the pace to keep up with much more expensive sports cars.
Search for a used Volkswagen Golf on CarGurus
6. BMW 3-Series
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 151,088
CarGurus says: In recent years premium-badged cars such as the 3-Series have stolen huge numbers of buyers from the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia with their appealing image and excellent driving dynamics. Opt for a diesel and you’ll also benefit from exceptional fuel economy, with cars such as the 320d able to return around 50mpg in normal driving as well as often being cheap to tax.
Search for a used BMW 3-Series on CarGurus
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 125,315
CarGurus says: When BMW relaunched the MINI brand in 2001 nobody could have guessed how popular it would turn out to be. Part of that is down to the car’s retro styling and the amount of personalisation buyers can specify, but it’s also been helped enormously by the fact that MINIs are great fun to drive and have strong residual values, making them more affordable to own than you might expect.
Search for a used MINI on CarGurus
8. Volkswagen Polo
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 119,667
CarGurus says: Although one of Volkswagen’s smallest and cheapest cars, the Polo has still always managed to encapsulate much of the brand’s appeal. True, Polos are rarely as exciting to drive as the likes of the Ford Fiesta or Mazda2, but they do offer a real feeling of quality when you get behind the wheel as well as a wide range of engines and enough space to carry four people in comfort.
Search for a used Volkswagen Polo on CarGurus
9. Renault Clio
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 107,680
CarGurus says: The Clio is Renault’s rival to the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, and excels when it comes to offering low running costs and excellent value for money. In Renaultsport versions such as the 172, 182, 197 and 200 you’ll find some of the best hot hatches ever built, but even cheaper, less performance oriented models are good to drive, while Clios also tend to offer above average safety credentials compared with similar size cars of the same age.
Search for a used Renault Clio on CarGurus
10. Audi A3
Number registered in first three-quarters of 2018: 93,048
CarGurus says: Essentially the A3 is a posher version of the Volkswagen Golf, but so good is Audi when it comes to designing and building interiors that it always feels like it’s worth the extra money. The most recent version with its slim infotainment screen that glides out of the dashboard is a case in point, adding a level of sophistication and desirability that buyers clearly love.
Search for a used Audi A3 on CarGurus
READ MORE ON THE CARGURUS BLOG
- The 10 Best Selling New Cars in 2018
- Six Mid-Engined Masterpieces for MINI Money
- Six Recent Car Technologies Everybody Should Try
In the market for a used car? CarGurus makes it easy to find great deals from top-rated dealers. CarGurus compares price, detailed vehicle data and dealer reviews to give each used car a deal rating from great to overpriced, and sorts the best deals first. Find out more and begin your used car search at CarGurus