Unlike the new car market, used car sales continued to do well in 2017. Although overall transactions were down slightly, a 1.1 percent fall was a much smaller decline than the hefty 5.7 percent decline in new cars sales.
A total of 8,113,020 used cars changed hands in 2017 – which still ensured last year was the second-highest year of secondhand car sales on record.
It’s superminis that continue to lead the way. One in three used cars is a supermini hatch such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. They weren’t the fastest-growing used car sector, though: SUVs lead the way there, with 9.5 percent more used sales in 2017. City cars also grew 4.3 percent.
Here, we reveal some of the details behind the data – including which was Britain’s most popular used car of 2017. Any guesses?
Top used car colours 2017
Britain’s favourite used car colour is still silver, with a whopping 1,737,339 silver cars sold last year. This is, however, a 6.5 percent decline – while white shot up the rankings, becoming the fifth most popular secondhand car colour, with 854,773 cars sold.
Top used car regions 2017
More used cars were sold in the South East than anywhere else in the UK: 1,205,166 transactions easily beat the second-best region, the North West, on 848,336 sales. Just under 800,000 used cars were sold in the West Midlands and the East, with 775k used cars sold in the South West.
657,320 secondhand cars changed hands in Scotland, and 427,400 were sold in Wales. London beat both of them, with 689,514 used cars sold.
Top used car fuels 2017
Nearly 6 in 10 used cars sold in 2017 were powered by petrol. This, surprisingly, was down 4.3 percent on 2016 – and diesel sales actually rose 3.3 percent, to make up 40.8 percent of all used car sales.
Although diesel sales are down in the new car market, the boom years of the fuel means there’s still plenty of them in the secondhand car arena. Air quality campaigners, take note – particularly as it’s older diesels that are worst for emissions, not ultra-clean brand-new Euro 6 cars…
Alternative fuel petrol-electric hybrid sales grew 22.2 percent, to 73,864 cars – albeit still just a small fraction of the 8.1 million used cars sold overall.
Top 10 used cars 2017
But which were the top 10 most popular used cars? Using full data revealed by the SMMT, we’re able to bring you the latest info. Without further ado, coming in at 10 is…
10: Audi A3
2017 used car sales: 115,352
Time was when the Audi A3 premium hatch was a relatively rare sight in Britain’s secondhand car dealers. Not any more – years of thriving sales mean there is now plenty of choice on the used car market. 115,352 of them changed hands in 2017 alone.
9: Volkswagen Polo
2017 used car sales: 152,169
A perennial supermini favourite, the Volkswagen Polo’s robust quality commands premium prices on the used car market compared to rivals, but this doesn’t stop eager secondhand-searching Brits buying them in droves.
2017 used car sales: 153,676
Many years ago, the classic Mini was a top 10 car for both new and secondhand buyers. These days, it’s history repeating itself: the ever-popular new Mini is a popular new car that’s similarly in demand among used car buyers as well.
7: Renault Clio
2017 used car sales: 158,776
Another supermini in the top 10 used car transactions for 2017, Renault’s timeless Clio continues to appeal among secondhand shoppers.
6: BMW 3 Series
2017 used car sales: 205,459
Auto Trader says the BMW 3 Series is its most searched-for car of all. There’s a huge amount of choice out there, and healthy secondhand sales of the premium saloon and estate reflect this – over 200,000 of them changed hands in 2017.
5: Volkswagen Golf
2017 used car sales: 260,329
British used car buyers love their hatchbacks. The Volkswagen Golf proves this, with more than 260,000 sold on the secondhand car market last year.
4: Vauxhall Astra
2017 used car sales: 285,654
The British-built Vauxhall Astra is a family hatchback even more popular than the Golf – something that’s not the case these days on the new car market. Secondhand buyers did deals on more than 285,000 of them last year.
3: Vauxhall Corsa
2017 used car sales: 333,999
The Vauxhall Corsa is even more popular among secondhand car buyers than the larger Astra. Well over 330,000 were sold on the used market last year. That’s a lot, but still only enough to place it third in the rankings…
2: Ford Focus
2017 used car sales: 347,691
The Ford Focus family hatch gives the blue oval a commanding position as the brand behind Britain’s favourite used cars. Almost 350,000 of them changed hands in 2017 alone. But it’s not quite number one – that honour goes to…
1: Ford Fiesta
2017 used car sales: 375,630
As with the new car sector, the Ford Fiesta leads the way for used car sales. Its margin of superiority isn’t quite as pronounced as in the showroom-fresh sales arena, but 375k transactions in 2017 alone is still pretty commanding…