Revealed: 10 most popular cars in the UK

Bright blue Ford Fiesta speeding along a country road


What is the most common car on the UK’s roads? Are silver cars more popular than blue ones? And how many cars are there on Britain’s highways?

A new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed the current state of the UK’s ‘Motorparc’. The biggest ever census of car ownership in the UK has been published by the industry body and contains some fascinating facts about cars in the UK. Keep reading to learn more…

Number of cars on UK roads hits record high

Rising new car registrations – thanks partly to cheap car leasing and more fuel efficient models – and longer lasting cars has combined to push up the total car population of the UK by more than 436,000 units. That’s the conclusion of a new study by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) who annually produce the UK’s biggest automotive census.

Covering 31,917,885 cars on UK roads, the report found that the number of cars in the UK rose by 1.4 per cent in 2013, the fastest rate of growth for 10 years. The number of older cars rose sharply as ever-increasing reliability and economic factors combined to push the number of cars older than 12 years up 11.3 per cent against 2012 figures.

Compared with a decade ago, the average age of a car in the UK is now a full year older (7.7 years old), as the trend grew of cars remaining on the road for longer.

“With more cars bought and less scrapped in recent years, the total number on UK roads reached an all-time high last year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Major investment by manufacturers in advanced production techniques, supported by longer vehicle warranties, has seen car reliability enhanced still further.

“Additionally, spreading the cost of regular maintenance through service packages [on car leasing and contract hire plans] makes car ownership more affordable, so it is not surprising that people are running cars for longer.”

The 10 most common cars in the UK

Silver Ford Focus

Ford Focus

The SMMT research found that there are more than 1,453 different models on UK roads. Overall, the most popular car with car lease, contract hire and used car drivers is the Ford Focus, which boasts almost 1.5 million owners.

In the survey of the most popular cars on Uk roads, the smaller Ford Fiesta secures second place while the rest of the top 10 features a range of family cars and superminis highlighting demand from motorists for affordable, fuel-efficient, well-equipped vehicles.

The ten cars you’re most likely to see in a UK car park are:

  1. Ford Focus
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Vauxhall Corsa
  4. Vauxhall Astra
  5. Volkswagen Golf
  6. Renault Clio
  7. Volkswagen Polo
  8. Ford Mondeo
  9. Peugeot 206 [See 208]
  10. Renault Megane

Colour drains from UK roads

Over the last few years, according to SMMT, the colour has been draining from Britain’s roads. There has been an increase in the number of black, grey and white cars on the road while manufacturers have sold fewer models in brighter colours.

Almost one in four cars in the UK (24.9 per cent) is silver, 18.4 per cent are black and 10.8 per cent are grey. In the past year, the UK’s roads have lost blue (-2.7 per cent) and red (-0.5 per cent) models in favour of black (+4.8 per cent) and grey (+5.6 per cent).

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