Most popular cars 2017

The most popular cars on the road in Britain right now

Most popular cars 2017Records of every vehicle currently in use on Britain’s roads have been analysed to find the most popular makes and models of car right now. The annual research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is called the Motorparc analysis, and is among the largest of its type in the world.

The data shows that the diversity of cars on British roads has increased enormously in just the past decade alone. There has been a 25 percent rise in model ranges since 2007 – and buyers can now pick from a staggering 65,000 individual car specifications.

But despite such choice, some models remain go-to choices for British car buyers. Here, we run through the most popular cars in use on UK roads… and then highlight both Brits’ favourite styles of car, and also our favourite colours.

Records of every vehicle currently in use on Britain’s roads have been analysed to find the most popular makes and models of car right now. The annual research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is called the Motorparc analysis, and is among the largest of its type in the world.

Here, then, are the cars you’re most likely to see on the road in the UK right now. 

More on MR:

10: BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

Number on British roads: 491,388

Straight in at number 10 is the BMW 3 Series. Almost half a million of them are currently in use on British roads, showing the irresistible allure of the premium German car. It’s a frequent best-seller in the new car charts and its sturdy integrity means it’s a long-lived model.

Add in evergreen popularity in the used car arena and you’ve a car that beats many other big-name brands to a top 10 position in the UK’s favourite cars rundown.

9: Toyota Yaris

Number on British roads: 495,968

The Toyota Yaris has been around since the late 1990s and although it’s not the highest-profile model around, a great reputation for reliability, low running costs and practicality ensure it has enduring appeal with British car buyers.

The model range includes a fuel-efficient hybrid, one of the UK’s most popular petrol-electric cars thanks to its sheer affordability.

8: Renault Clio

Number on British roads: 546,808

The Renault Clio celebrated its quarter-century a couple of years back, and it’s been a favourite amongst supermini buyers seeking out a chic all-rounder for decades.

It’s another perennial top-10 new car best-seller, helped by a reputation for impressive equipment levels (many cars from the latest generation, even used ones, have sat nav as standard) and excellent fuel economy.

7: Mini


Number on British roads: 609,883

Since BMW reinvented the Mini in 2001, it’s been an irresistibly appealing small car for hundreds of thousands of Brits. Today, there are more than 600,000 in active use on UK roads, a result that is surely beyond BMW’s wildest expectations.

The new car model range encompasses larger family hatchbacks and SUVs, but the most popular Mini remains the core hatch range, which stretches from fuel-miser diesels right through to track-ready John Cooper Works models.

6: Volkswagen Polo

Number on British roads: 703,311

The Volkswagen Polo is seen as an upmarket supermini choice and, over the years, it’s slowly crept up the UK car popularity charts. There are over 150,000 more Polos in use on British roads than there are Renault Clios, a stat that says it all.

The success of the latest Polo – the current World Urban Car of the Year 2018 – is proof of its ongoing strengths.

5: Vauxhall Astra

Number on British roads: 1,086,780

There’s a big jump in numbers to the next car in the British popularity list, the Vauxhall Astra. It’s the first car to top the 1 million models in use mark.

It’s not the most exciting of choices, but a solid reputation for integrity, plus the fact it’s the only car in the top 5 to actually be built in Britain, helps improve its fortunes.

4: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

Number on British roads: 1,089,975

Just pipping the Vauxhall Astra is the Volkswagen Golf – continuing the long-running VW’s remarkable run right now. For a time in 2017, it was the best-selling new car in the UK overall, and it continues to be a frontrunner month after month.

But while the Golf has firmly toppled the Astra in the family hatchback popularity stakes, how long before it is able to take a run at the Ford Focus..?

3: Vauxhall Corsa

Number on British roads: 1,227,119

The Vauxhall Corsa is 25 years old in 2018 and it marks this with a secure podium spot in the rundown of Britain’s most popular cars in use.

Over 1.25 million Corsas are registered on UK roads; it’s particularly popular amongst younger motorists.

2: Ford Focus

Number on British roads: 1,401,889

The UK’s most popular family hatchback? Why, the Ford Focus, of course – continuing a front-running position that Ford has commanded for decades (which the Focus took over from the Ford Escort).

The Focus shows no signs of fading either, particularly as the blue oval is now lining up an impressive-looking all-new model for launch this autumn.

1: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

Number on British roads: 1,588,185

It’s the UK’s favourite car, by far – the Ford Fiesta is a national treasure that almost 1.6 million motorists have registered in their name right now.

It’s fully deserved. The Fiesta is practical, cheap to run, can be repaired anywhere, will always find a willing buyer ready to pay good money when you sell it on… and for an added bonus, it’s also fantastic to drive. It is a car we should be proud to see in such numbers on our roads: Brits are making the right choice.

Most popular types of cars 2017

5: MPV

Number on British roads: 1,939,205

In at number 5 is the MPV, with over 1.9 million of them in active service on British roads. It’s not as popular amongst new car buyers as it once was, but strong sales over the years mean it still holds onto a top-5 position – for now at least

4: SUV

Number on British roads: 3,537,379

We immediately leap up to over 3.5 million cars, for the remarkable rise of the SUV. New car buyers can’t get enough of them: it’s staggering to see the extent to which Brits have embraced the SUV.

3: Large family

Number on British roads: 4,235,553

This category includes family-friendly models such as the Vauxhall Insignia pictured above, but also premium alternatives like the BMW 3 Series. That’s why it’s still the third most popular sector for British car buyers: we’ve fallen out of love with Insignias and Ford Mondeos, but we still adore 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class…

2: Family hatch

Number on British roads: 9,245,945

There are over nine million family hatchbacks in active use in the UK. Nine million! For families, they are practical, affordable do-it-all cars, and although many are choosing to buy an SUV instead of a traditional hatch, the love affair with the hatch should still endure.

1: Supermini

Number on British roads: 11,492,113

Britain is a nation of supermini owners. We love them: a supermini is, by far, our most popular new car, and their margin over any other type of car is even more stark when you look at the overall UK car fleet. Be it a Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo or Renault Clio, almost 11.5 million car owners prove the sheer staying power of the supermini.

Most popular car colours 2017

5: White

Number on British roads: 3,846,223

Straight in at number 5 is white, a colour that’s, ahem, snowballed in popularity in recent years. If you thought there seem to be a lot of white cars on our roads at the moment, that’s because… there are!

But what’s striking is how neutral the rest of our favourite colours are. Red, for example, used to be a top new car colour in the UK, but is nowhere to be seen these days. Standout is, well, out: sobre and sensible is in.

4: Grey

Number on British roads: 4,592,278

From ice white to cool grey, a choice for nearly 4.6 million British car owners.

3: Blue

Number on British roads: 6,231,770

Blue cars have dropped down the order slightly in recent years, but there are still over 6.2 million in active service on UK roads.

2: Black

Number on British roads: 6,904,764

It’s a close-run thing for the title of Britain’s favourite car colour. Sitting just under the 7 million mark is black…

1: Silver

Number on British roads: 7,121,249

… Being beaten by silver, which sits just above the 7 million mark. The favourite colour of car designers is also the top choice on British roads, proving the old adage that you can’t go wrong by picking a new or used car in silver.

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *