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.
HOW THE USED CAR MARKET IS PERFORMING IN 2020
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 three quarters of 2020, during which 2,168,599 cars changed hands. That represents an decrease of -17.5% compared with the first three-quarters of 2019.
As has been the case with the new car market, overall demand for used cars has dropped in 2020 as a result of stay-at-home orders put in place in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For new cars that meant a worst month drop in registrations of 97.3% (recorded in April). Data for the used car market is reported on a quarterly, rather than monthly, basis. It shows that steady growth of used car registrations in January (2.9%) and February (4%) was wiped out by a -30.7% drop in March, when the UK lockdown came into force. The downward trend continued in the second quarter of the year, with the final figure of 1,039,303 used cars sold representing a drop of -48.9% compared with the second quarter of 2019. However, the third quarter of 2020 saw a welcome return to growth, with Q3 sales up 4.4% (or 92,217 more cars) compared with the same period in 2019 as showrooms reopened.
Demand for used cars increased across all fuel types in the third quarter of 2020; sales of battery electric cars grew by 34.4%; plug-in hybrids by 35.7%; petrol by 4.5%; and diesel by 2.6%. Overall, it was still petrol and diesel cars that accounted for 97.4% of used car registrations.
To see the top 10 best selling used cars in the UK 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 the third quarter of 2020: 92,173
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, 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 the third quarter of 2020: 76,443
CarGurus says: As with the Fiesta, the Focus stands out from its rivals because it’s just so enjoyable to drive. It has responsive steering and a good range of engines that includes Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost.
Search for a used Ford Focus on CarGurus
3. Vauxhall Corsa
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 75,617
CarGurus says: The Corsa represents excellent value for money and later versions 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 petrol engine.
Search for a used Vauxhall Corsa on CarGurus
4. Volkswagen Golf
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 69,755
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 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
5. Vauxhall Astra
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 61,070
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
6. BMW 3 Series
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 49,728
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. 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 the third quarter of 2020: 48,180
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 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 the third quarter of 2020: 42,493
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. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 34,949
CarGurus says: The C-Class takes much of what is great about Mercedes-Benz’s flagship models such as the S-Class and E-Class and shrinks it into a package that can rival the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. The result is a comfortable cruiser with efficient engines and an inviting interior.
Search for a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class on CarGurus
10. Audi A3
Number registered in the third quarter of 2020: 33,437
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
Search Car Reviews
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.