How to write the perfect used car advert

How to write the perfect used car advert

Writing a used car advert might sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. You might have a perfect used car, but if the advert isn’t up to scratch, you’re not maximising its potential.

At best, it might take a little while longer for your car to sell. At worst, you could be missing out on hundreds of buyers who are keen to part with their cash.

You don’t have to be an ace salesperson or an award-winning writer to prepare a compelling used car advert, but there are some simple things to remember. If nothing else, be honest – it’s illegal to wrongly describe a used car.

At the very least, the advert should encourage people to pick up the phone or drop you an email to arrange a visit and/or test drive. If it’s a popular car, you’ll be competing for attention alongside other cars of a similar specification and price, so don’t be afraid to give it the ‘big sell’.

Some elements to include on a used car advert

Writing a used car advert

  • Make and model
    • For example: Ford Focus. Also include the trim level, e.g. Zetec, especially if it’s a special edition.
  • Year of registration
    • Include the letter or number, i.e. Y-reg or 2001. This could be important from a VED (road tax) perspective and also for buyers looking for facelift/refreshed models.
  • Engine size and type of fuel
    • For example: 2.0-litre TDCi diesel or 1.2-litre PureTech petrol.
  • Equipment
    • Create a list of the options and accessories fitted to the car. Concentrate on the big ticket items, such as air conditioning, leather seats, infotainment system, LED headlights, heated seats, etc.
  • Mileage
    • Be honest about the mileage, because it can be looked up online. Some buyers will be actively looking for low-mileage vehicles.
  • Owners
    • List how many owners the car has had, including yourself.
  • Warranty
    • State whether the car is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. If not, list any details of an aftermarket warranty, if applicable.
  • MOT
    • List the date when the MOT expires. If it’s due within a couple of months, it makes sense to get it tested prior to selling the car, as this will maximise the price you achieve. Alternatively, say you’ll provide a fresh MOT upon sale.
  • Service history
    • Buyers will pay more for service history, so make sure you include this in the ad. Be aware that full service history means that the car has been maintained to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule – if it hasn’t, it’s only part service history. A stamped service book complemented by receipts is always preferable.
  • The price
    • The price is essential, but don’t worry about adding ‘ono’ (or nearest offer) because buyers will be keen to negotiate anyway. Listing the car as ‘no offers’ could deter some buyers. Similarly, using ‘POA’ (price on application) is a no-no, as this irritates many buyers. Do your homework and find a price that’s suitable.
  • Contact details
    • Add your mobile number and email address, along with any times that are best to call or to avoid. Be prepared to answer any questions. One thing that’s often overlooked is that people will be more inclined to buy the car if the seller is polite and courteous. Be nice!

Other things to consider

The aforementioned items are the basic elements of a used car advert, but you might want to list any known faults or any significant damage to the bodywork. Most used car buyers will expect a few stone chips or scratches, so don’t go overboard.

This is also an opportunity to elevate your car above the thousands of other vehicles available online. If it has a full set of nearly-new premium tyres, say so, being sure to include the brand name. Mention if it has had a recent service, including expensive jobs, such as the gearbox, clutch or cambelt.

Avoid waffle. Auto Trader recommends between 50 and 75 words for an online ad, but you can adjust this accordingly. If it’s a rare, classic or exotic car, the buyer will be keen to discover more about it.

GR8 motor, M8

You should also avoid abbreviations and cliches. While some of the common abbreviations, such as ‘AC’ (air conditioning) and ‘FSH’ (full service history) are well known, others might give the impression that you’re a trader.

Cliches are another thing to avoid. ‘Future classic’, ‘tastefully modified’ and ‘first to see will buy’ are pointless and irrelevant. Oh, and avoid BLOCK CAPITALS, as it looks like you’re shouting at the buyer.

When you’re finished, stick the words through a spell checker, strip away any evidence of text speak and ask a friend or family member to check the advert.

This advice assumes that you’ve taken a decent selection of photographs and you’ve selected the right channel for your used car advert. For more information, visit our guide to advertising your car for sale. Good luck.

The cheapest and most expensive places to buy a used car

Cheapest and most expensive used cars

A new study has revealed some surprising regional variations in the price of a typical used car. Indeed, you could save thousands of pounds by travelling further afield.

There’s no north-south divide as such, but the research would suggest that heading north could bag you a good deal.

Three of the top five cheapest locations are in Scotland, namely Kilwinning, Kilmarnock and Prestwick. This would suggest Elvis Presley was searching for a great deal on a used car when he stopped by in 1960.

Gloucester and Wellingborough are the other two locations named as being great for cheap used cars.

Conversely, there’s a definite south-east bias when it comes to expensive used cars, with Chelmsford, Chatham and Acton named as places to avoid when hunting for deals.

Orgreave and Winsford are the other two locations named in the ATS Euromaster study.

You could save thousands

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

Looking for some evidence? The research shows that a BMW 3 Series with 35,000 miles on the clock costs an average of £15,995 in Kirkcaldy. Meanwhile, the same car in Newton-le-Willows could cost £21,600.

Similarly, a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport with 38,000 miles on the clock might cost £19,495 in Kirkcaldy, but £22,500 in Chelmsford.

It goes without saying that the more commonplace the car, the greater the chance of finding a good deal. Vendors will be forced into offering discounts if the same car can be secured elsewhere for a lower price. Either that or they’ll have to put up with the car remaining on sale for a longer period of time.

As the UK’s most popular new car, there’s a ready supply of used Ford Fiestas on the market. Finding the right colour, spec and condition should be easy – just be prepared to travel.

The ATS Euromaster research found that Greater London has the greatest number of Fiestas listed at any one time. On average, there will be 200 Fiestas for sale in the area, with Poplar seeing the largest concentration.

The most expensive area for a Fiesta is Billericay in Essex. Alternatively, 30 miles up the road is the town of Layer de la Haye – the cheapest place for a Fiesta.

Click here to see more results from the ATS Euromaster study.

Revealed: the fastest-selling used cars of 2019

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

Before we launch headlong into a new decade, there’s still time to take a retrospective look at the motoring scene of 2019. Here, we reveal the fastest-selling used cars on the AA website. In other words, these are the cars that spent the shortest time for sale. If you fancy one of these motors, don’t delay – phone today.

10. Volkswagen Tiguan

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

Predictably, the top 10 contains a fair number of SUVs. We kick off with the Volkswagen Tiguan – one of Europe’s most popular 4x4s. What makes this all the more remarkable is the fact that the Tiguan shares its platform with the cheaper – and just as good – Skoda Kodiaq and Seat Tarraco. That’s the power of the brand.

New, a Volkswagen Tiguan costs upwards of £25,000. Meanwhile, used examples on the AA website are available from £3,500. That’s based on a 2009 Tiguan 2.0 TDI Sport with 119,000 miles on the clock.

9. Ford Fiesta

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling used car on the AA website, but it finishes ninth on the list of the fastest-selling used cars. The fact that it’s Britain’s most popular new car means that you can afford to be picky when searching for a used example.

Turn to the AA website and you’ll find everything from a 2004 Ford Fiesta 1.25 Finesse for £695 to a 2019 ST-3 for £20,699. New prices start from a smidgen under £16,000, so you’ll save a packet – not to mention a short wait – by buying used.

8. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is an A-Class on stilts, designed for people who can’t decide between a hatchback and a compact SUV. It’s more expensive than the standard A-Class, but that hasn’t stopped it being among the fastest-selling used cars of 2019.

The earliest examples have dropped below £10,000, which might explain the increased demand. In truth, there are two available for a four-figure sum – one has 165,000 miles on the clock, the other has covered 135,000. A more realistic price is £12,500 for a 2014 car.

7. Renault Clio

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

The Renault Clio has been on sale since 1990, so there are plenty to choose from in the UK. The earliest examples are becoming classics in their own right, so buying a Clio II or Clio III will ensure you get the most supermini for your money.

A new Renault Clio was unveiled at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. Despite appearances, it represents a massive step forward over the old model. It’s too new to appear on the AA used car website, but you will find Clios from as little as £800. Be quick, because on this evidence, the best Clios won’t hang around for long.

6. Ford Kuga

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

The replacement for the current Ford Kuga is long overdue. Thankfully, the new Kuga arrives this year, but old models remain in demand. A combination of low running costs, a long list of standard equipment and keen pricing makes the Kuga an incredibly popular used buy.

If you’re prepared to put up with high miles and a sketchy service history, early examples start from around £3,500. That gets you a 2009 car with 156,000 miles on the clock. Alternatively, nearly-new examples cost as much as £29,000, but it should be possible to negotiate a good deal, as dealers will be keen to shift stock ahead of the new car.

5. Kia Sportage

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

It’s not difficult to see why the Kia Sportage is such a popular used car. Buyers love its practicality, value for money and seven-year warranty. Indeed, even a Sportage registered in 2014 will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, assuming it hasn’t covered more than 100,000 miles.

There are around 1,200 for sale on the AA used car website, with early versions available for £1,500 to £2,000. You’ll need to part with at least £5,000 for the much improved fourth-generation Sportage, or £10,000 for the current model.

4. Ford Ecosport

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

There’s no accounting for taste. The Ford Ecosport sits on the lowest rung of the compact crossover ladder, but that hasn’t stopped it from being one of the fastest-selling used cars of 2019. The British public must have a thing for side-hinged tailgates and oddball styling.

New, you’ll spend upwards of £18,650 on a Ford Ecosport, but used prices start from £6,750. There are 780 to choose from on the AA website, so you can afford to be picky. Alternatively, wait for the new Ford Puma, which is likely to be a far better car. We’re driving it next week…

3. BMW 116

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

The AA is being very specific here, because it’s the BMW 116 rather than the entire 1 Series range up next. Amazingly, prices start from £1,000, although that’s for a 2004 car with 159,000 miles on the clock. Even so, perfectly serviceable examples are available for less than £2,000.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “Some cars are being sold within a very short period of time after being advertised because they are very popular, or because there are fewer on the market. However, it is important not to rush into buying as it’s impossible to know if everything is in perfect working order without a pre-sale vehicle inspection.”

2. Volkswagen Polo

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

There’s a Volkswagen Polo to suit all pockets. From an insurance-friendly first car for £750 to a nearly-new GTI for £23,000, you’ll find a wide range of Polos for some on the AA used car website.

James Fairclough added: “If you are set on owning a certain model but you are worried it may not be in full working order, it’s definitely worth considering a pre-sale vehicle inspection from a service such as ours to give you peace of mind.”

1. Hyundai Tucson

Fastest-selling used cars 2019

This might come as a surprise, because the fastest-selling used car on the AA website wasn’t a hot hatch, sports car or desirable supermini. Instead, it was the venerable Hyundai Tucson. Why is it so popular?

A five-year/unlimited mileage warranty certainly helps, as does a long list of standard equipment. The Hyundai Tucson is also spacious and has a good reputation for reliability. Still want that Nissan Qashqai?

‘Amazon for cars’: new start-up delivers used cars to your door

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

A new used car marketplace from the man who created LoveFilm and Zoopla launches today. Cazoo aims to make buying a used car simpler.

The entire process of buying from Cazoo is online, with home delivery offered. The difference here is that Cazoo actually owns all the cars it stocks, with each prepared and readied for sale at its 55-acre facility in the Midlands.

Each car is MOTed, comes with service history and goes through a 150-point check as it comes into stock.  Cazoo says it wants to ‘Amazon’ the used car market.

Buying sight unseen – how will it work?Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

Buying a car without inspecting it in person is usually seen as risky.

Cazoo wants to remedy this by offering the most comprehensive advertisements, with the lowest possible prices. Each ad has high-quality 360-degree images, with the car’s full specification and history included. The prices are fixed and the adverts are transparent, in an attempt to keep everything upfront.

If you buy, your new purchase should arrive within three days. After that, Cazoo has a seven-day money-back guarantee, to ‘replace the seven-minute test drive around the block’. If it’s not working for you, they’ll collect the car for free, no questions asked.

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

“Used cars are one of the last remaining consumer markets yet to benefit from any digital transformation,” said Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Cazoo.

“Cazoo makes used car buying simple and convenient like buying any other product online today. We take away the need to travel, to haggle, to spend countless hours at a dealership and to risk any buyer’s remorse.”

The company announced another £25 million of funding today. The venture now has £80 million behind it, making it one of the UK’s best-funded new businesses ever.

‘Nearly new’ is the most popular age of car to buy

Nearly new most popular used cars

A new survey reveals that 74 percent of cars purchased are second-hand. Of the 15,000 people questioned in the AA-Populus poll, 25 percent had bought pre-owned over five years old, while 26 percent said they’d opted for a brand new car. However, it’s the ‘nearly-new’ category that came out top.

In total, 29 percent said they’d bought a nearly-new car, which is defined as being less than three years old.

Nearly new most popular used cars

The rise in popularity of car finance, particularly PCP deals, has led to a massive influx of nearly-new stock on the used market. The average age of pre-owned cars is going down, with the average price going up. It means that more car buyers could potentially find what they’d look for in a brand new car on the pre-owned lot.

“The growing popularity of car finance is changing the shape of the car market as a whole,” said James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars.

Nearly new most popular used cars

“It has provided a steady flow of ‘nearly new’ vehicles into the used car market. This surge in supply has improved the value and range available to used car buyers – and allowed them to snap up low-mileage, well-maintained vehicles at prices that would have been unthinkable until recently. 

“As a result, motorists now have more choice than ever – both among the huge range of cars available on the second-hand market, but also the various financing schemes open to them.”

Who is buying new cars?

Nearly new most popular used cars

More than 5,000 of respondents to the poll said they’d never bought a new car: 34 percent overall, or 32 percent of men and 37 percent of women. 

Predictably, brand new cars were least popular with young people: 64 percent said they’d not yet bought new. Just six percent said they bought new last time, and seven percent had bought nearly-new.

Scottish and Northern Irish drivers have a strong taste for ‘new car smell’, with 30 percent from these areas saying they bought new last time. New cars are less popular in the East Midlands, with just 23 percent of respondents having recently purchased one.

Which type of car should I buy?

Which type of car should I buy

Choosing a car from scratch may leave you feeling baffled about where to begin. But you can quickly start to narrow down your choices by asking yourself a few basic questions, the first of which is what basic shape or type do you want or need? 

Even that decision will leave you with many more options now than it did in the past. The new car market has been sliced up into ever-increasing body shape segments and new style niches, to suit every possible motoring whim.

But getting that right is essential. It will not only dictate the level of practicality you’re after – a cavernous boot and cinema-style seating, or room for a passenger and little else – but also the overall driving experience.

Do you want something nippy, responsive or relaxing? Quiet and economical or thrilling and unapologetically thirsty? A high driving position, or something that seats you right at the heart of the action?

Our guide to the most popular car types or classes on the market should help make that decision easier.

City car

Seat Mii city car

These runarounds are the smallest cars on the road, and perfect for new drivers, couples, or thrifty, eco-minded motorists. So don’t be put off if you’re looking to downsize, as modern city cars are more capable on motorways than you’d think. The Skoda Citigo and its sister models, the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii, for example, have levels of refinement and comfort that could shame cars two classes above.

City cars are designed to carry two people comfortably up-front; legroom can thus be limited in the back. Expect a small boot too, but parking will be a doddle, and the tiny dimensions (well under four metres long) means they can be powered by a small engine, and still feel incredibly nippy. Coupled with a lightweight frame, fuel bills will be low and you’ll enjoy some of the lowest CO2 emissions on the road. That’s good news for business users wanting to save on company car tax, too.

Five popular city cars:


Suzuki Swift supermini

Don’t be fooled by the name. This car class includes big hitters such as the Ford Fiesta (Britain’s best-selling new car), Volkswagen Polo and Citroen C3 – and it gets bigger with each generational revamp. Other standard-setting superminis include the Seat Ibiza, Nissan Micra and Suzuki Swift.

The Mini itself now falls into this class, in fact, and is a good showcase for the modern supermini’s best attributes: fun to drive, stylish and economical to run. They’re slightly roomier than a city car, making them more practical, but you won’t necessarily look like a motorist on a modest budget. There’s even more scope to customise a supermini too, so expect a wide range of trim levels, engines and optional extras.

Five popular superminis:

Family hatchback

Skoda Octavia

Flexibility is key in this huge, catch-all class, which is characterised by its hatchback boot design. This gives owners to access to a generous and customisable luggage space, which can be expanded by folding one or all of the rear seats flat. Yet these machines are still small enough to be slotted into the tightest spaces and feel confidence-inspiringly compact on twisting back roads.

No wonder they’re so popular with families – and the cabin design will reflect that, with useful storage space and budget-friendly trim levels. Small, large and sporty versions are available with three or five doors, so buyers are also spoilt for choice; the Ford Focus has nearly 70 hatchback derivatives on offer. The impressive Skoda Octavia, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf also feature in this category.

Thrifty, eco-friendly engine choices run alongside more performance-focused alternatives. One thing to note is that retained values can sometimes only be average – but this does mean you should easily be able to pick up a nearly-new hatchback bargain.

Five popular family hatchbacks:


Audi A4 saloon

This executive car class may conjure up images of ageing opulence, but you don’t have to be Arthur Daley to sport a saloon. A huge range of luxurious and sporty models are now available. BMW’s saloon car range includes the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series; Audi has the A4, A6 and A8, while Mercedes-Benz has the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class. These come with excellent levels of refinement, business-friendly running costs, generous performance and oodles of kerbside appeal.

All models share the traditional and less practical ‘three-box’ body layout, however. That means the boot tends to be a prominent, but not necessarily practical, part of the design. The opening is smaller than a hatchback, while even with the rear seats folded (a feature that’s often optional on pricey German models) there’s less space to play with. Luckily, many offer estate versions of the same car. See below…

You can expect quality interiors, a decent sound system and state-of-the-art connectivity. High-mileage owners will find a decent mix of thrifty diesel engines alongside a choice of more powerful, performance-oriented powertrains.

Five popular saloons:


Skoda Superb estate

It’s all about the space in this load-lugging class, which is characterised by a cavernous boot. You don’t have to buy an estate to bag plenty of room in the back these days, but what’s brilliant about these cars is you get the same levels of refinement as the family hatchback or executive saloon on which they are based. So expect the handling and pace of car that’s much more compact.

Many drivers prefer the long, sleek profile of an estate, compared to its boxier hatchback equivalent, too – think class leaders such as the Skoda Superb Estate or Peugeot 508 SW. The options are endless, too. Estate versions pop up in the supermini, compact family hatchback and executive car classes. So choose any combination you like – even an estate with off-road capabilities, such as the Audi A4 Allroad.

What’s common to all, however, is a wealth of practical touches such as fold-flat seats, electric tailgates, boot dividers and retractable tow bars. Given the loads these cars are expected to shift, you’re also more likely to be offered a diesel engine. So they should still be reasonably economical.

Five popular estates:

SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)

Nissan Qashqai SUV

Buyers can’t get enough of the cars in this class, which were designed to combine the practicality of an off-roader with the style and composure of a large family hatchback – hence the name. And this best of both worlds approach has produced everything from the crossover-style Nissan Juke to full-blown 4x4s like the Land Rover Discovery.

Much of the appeal is based around the SUV’s raised ride height, which gives you a clearer view of the road ahead and makes it easier to lift children into the back. Combine that with the option to seat up to seven in many models, and it’s easier to see why these cars are so popular with families.

These practicalities don’t have to come at the expense of power, either. There are plenty of sporty derivatives on offer, and advances in suspension and chassis design mean these models are far more nimble on the road than you’d think. Not all come with four-wheel drive, but as SUVs tend to spend most of their time on the tarmac, that’s not always a deal-breaker.

Five popular SUVs:


Seat Alhambra MPV

If you have a big family, or popular kids, a people carrier (or ‘Multi-Purpose Vehicle – MPV), designed with multiple occupants in mind, should be right up your street. There’s enough seating and legroom for up to seven, and flexible cabins typically include lots of clever storage space and sliding seats or benches that fold flat to adapt the space to suit your needs.

MPVs vary in size, but their long and relatively boxy frames mean you can’t expect hot-hatch handling on the school run. Popular models such as the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, Ford S-Max and Seat Alhambra come with a range of economical engines, although a diesel is likely to be the best bet if you plan to spend most of your time with a full cabin. Diesels are generally more efficient, and their improved torque (pulling power) helps boost performance.

Five popular MPVs:


Ford Mustang

If it’s thrills you’re seeking, look no further than the coupe. The name itself is derived from the French word to cut, and refers to the steep angle of the rear screen, which gives the coupe its rakish good looks. Think of the Audi TT, Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type.

That design means these cars are best enjoyed with just one passenger in mind. But as practicality isn’t likely to be crucial here, this should not put you off. It’s the drive that matters most. So a coupe should be fast, responsive, agile and tonnes of fun. That’s thanks to its muscular frame, low centre of gravity and, at the heart, a muscular engine to power it.

Five popular coupes:


Rolls-Royce Dawn

These days you don’t have to rely on British summer to drop the top on your convertible. Windbreakers and sophisticated climate controls all provide enough shelter from the worst of the elements to use any rain-free day as an excuse to head out for a spin. Better still, some models even have ‘air scarves’ that blow hot air from the base of the headrest onto the necks of drivers and passengers.

There’s a convertible for every budget, too, ranging from the modest Smart Fortwo Cabrio to the enormous Rolls-Royce Dawn. Some offer a sardine tin-style peel-back canvas roof – such as the Fiat 500C – while others, such as the Mazda MX-5 RF, have a retractable hard-top. These are more durable for all-weather motoring, but will also add weight, which will eventually show up on your fuel bill.

Five great convertibles:

For more information on buying, running and selling a car, check out our ever-growing advice section.

Volkswagen Polo is the UK’s fastest selling used car

Volkswagen Polo is fastest selling used car

The Volkswagen Polo is the fastest selling used car in the UK, according to data released by the AA.

Used car buyers are quick to get their hands on the popular supermini, with the Polo advertised for the shortest length of time before being snapped up.

Superminis and SUVs dominate the top of the AA’s list, with the Volkswagen Polo finishing ahead of the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 2008, Ford Focus and Ford Kuga. It’s the first time the 2008 has appeared on the AA’s list of the fastest selling used cars.

Volkswagen Polo used car

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “The fastest-selling cars list is a great indication of how the used car market continues to provide a huge range of makes and models, some of which were only introduced in the past six or seven years. The Vauxhall Mokka, Peugeot 2008 and Peugeot 208 for instance, were only released relatively recently, meaning second-hand buyers are enjoying the benefits of much newer cars without the same price tag as a brand new vehicle.

“The availability of car finance has made it easier for drivers to pay for their cars, and has meant they have been able to upgrade to these nearly-new models.”

Fastest selling used cars

1.Volkswagen Polo
2. Ford Fiesta
3.Peugeot 2008
4. Ford Focus
5.Ford Kuga
6.Vauxhall Mokka
7.Volkswagen Tiguan
8.Renault Clio
9.Kia Sportage
10.Peugeot 208

But while the Volkswagen Polo is the fastest selling used car, the Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular second-hand vehicle in terms of numbers.

Ford Fiesta used car

Based on the current rate, the Fiesta is likely to be the most popular used car of the year for the FIFTH consecutive time. The Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus have been the second and third most popular used cars every year since 2015.

James Fairclough added: “It comes as no surprise that there is a strong correlation between the fastest-selling and most popular vehicles. The enduring popularity of certain marques and models over the past four years shows British car buyers are very loyal, and they continue to be drawn to the same well-known brands they associate with reliability, safety and affordability.”

The most popular used cars

1.Ford Fiesta
2. Vauxhall Corsa
3.Ford Focus
4. Vauxhall Astra
5.Nissan Qashqai
6.Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7.Fiat 500
8.Vauxhall Corsa
9.Mercedes-Benz A-Class
10.Volkswagen Polo


Revealed: Britain’s favourite specialist used cars

Chevrolet Camaro

If the mainstream motoring media is to be believed, everybody is buying crossovers and SUVs. But while many people might be falling for the ‘charms’ of these jacked-up hatchbacks, some of us dream of driving something a little different. Which is where the CarGurus Desirability Score comes in. By analysing the ratio of unique user searches to inventory listed on the CarGurus website, each car is given a score. Here, we reveal the most in-demand used vehicles, with the selection limited to cars listed on the site with fewer than 100 on sale since July 2018.

10. Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit

Commenting on the data, the editor of CarGurus, Chris Knapman, said: “Whilst the majority of our consumers are just searching for a great deal on their next car, the CarGurus Desirability Score also acts as the automotive equivalent of window shopping – it highlights the vehicles customers are most interested in or wish they owned, even if they aren’t always the most practical of choices.”

With a Desirability Score of 1,070, the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit just creeps into the top 10. Launched in 1980, the Silver Spirit was a reworking of the outgoing Silver Shadow, and it offers tremendous value for money – if you can live with the ongoing maintenance bills. There are 12 for sale on CarGurus, with prices ranging from £8,995 to £23,960.

9. Ferrari 360 Modena

Ferrari 360 Modena

The classified listings on the CarGurus website include a note about whether the car is fairly priced. For example, a 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena at £99,995 is listed as ‘overpriced’, while another 2001 car priced at £77,500 is considered to be a ‘fair deal’. The 360 Modena gets a Desirability Score of 1,120.

We wonder what the CarGurus experts would have made of this 1999 Ferrari 360 Modena. It sold for €66,125 (£58,500) at a recent RM Sotheby’s auction in Essen, which strikes us as a ‘fair deal’ for a car with just 10,000km on the clock.

8. BMW 8 Series

BMW 8 Series

We suspect the arrival of the new BMW 8 Series has led to heightened interest in the original E31 model. The 8 Series finishes just ahead of the 360 Modena with a score of 1,125, and we found 34 for sale on CarGurus, including 20 new models.

The E31 8 Series was unveiled at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show, with initial interest so high, some people were prepared to spend twice the list price to avoid the six-month waiting list. BMW managed to shift just over 30,000 units before pulling the plug in 1999.

7. Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

The second of two Ferraris to make the list, the 612 Scaglietti was named in honour of Sergio Scaglietti, the legendary stylist and coachbuilder responsible for some of Ferrari’s most iconic cars of the 50s and 60. It finishes seventh, with a Desirability Score of 1,295.

There are just three listed for sale on the CarGurus website, but you’ll have to dig deep to grab a slice of this avant-garde 2+2 grand tourer. The ‘cheapest’ is £74,995, while the most expensive will set you back £95,000.

6. Infiniti Q60

Infiniti Q60

Hands up if you’d forgotten about the Infiniti Q60. Hardly surprising, and it won’t be long before the brand disappears from Western Europe for good, leading to the sad closure of the Infiniti plant in Sunderland. If the Audi A5 is too obvious, the tech-laden Q60 could be worth a look.

Not that you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Infiniti Q60 wasn’t on sale long enough for there to be a huge range to choose from – and it was never a big seller – so you’re limited to a pair of 2.0-litre models and a single 3.0-litre version on CarGurus. At £21,000 to £26,000, they look like good value, but watch the depreciation.

5. Vauxhall VXR8

Vauxhall VXR8

Amazingly, there are more Vauxhall VXR8s for sale on CarGurus than there are Q60s, which says something about Infiniti’s inability to penetrate the UK market – and maybe a little about our love for crazy V8 monsters from Oz.

The VXR8 finishes fifth, with a Desirability Score of 1,875, and there are five to pick from on the CarGurus website. A 2009 model with 109,000 miles on the clock looks awfully tempting at £12,989, while even a relatively low mileage car with 45,720 miles on the clock comes in at less than £19,000. Strewth, mate.

4. Piaggio Porter

Piaggio Porter

If the Piaggio Porter looks familiar, it’s because it’s based on the seventh-generation Daihatsu Hijet. The microvan market isn’t particularly huge in the UK, but the Porter is popular enough to feature here.

The Piaggio Porter is available to buy new, with the UK importer offering fixed deck, tipper and panel van versions. You can even order an electric Porter. There are three Piaggio Porters for sale on CarGurus, with prices ranging from £2,000 to £4,000.

3. Nissan Elgrand

Nissan Elgrand

The cars occupying the top three berths couldn’t be more diverse. First up is the Nissan Elgrand, a popular Japanese import, which gets a Desirability Score of 1,993. It’s not hard to see why, because these MPVs are practical, flexible and well-equipped.

There are five for sale on the CarGurus website, each one powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine, with prices ranging from £3,690 to £5,995. Think about the Elgrand when you’re about to sign a PCP contract for a compromised compact crossover.

2. Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

It would appear that people are visiting the CarGurus website hoping to fulfil their dreams of becoming a faded end-of-the-pier entertainer or establishing a wedding car business. The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow finishes second, with a Desirability Score of 2,131.

Why are these things so popular? Well, the Silver Shadow is a Roller for supermini money, and because they were sold in such huge numbers, there are plenty to choose from. There are eight for sale on the CarGurus website, with prices ranging from £10,995 to £75,960. Do a little homework and then live the dream.

1. Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro

Finally, storming the charts with a Desirability Score of 2,471, it’s the Chevrolet Camaro. Who’d have thought the Camaro would be more desirable than the Piaggio Porter?

There are four for sale on the CarGurus website, including a 1998 Camaro available for £3,989 and a 2014 car for £31,990. An opportunity to live the American dream in the UK or to fulfil your ‘Bumblebee’ fantasies. Whatever takes your fancy.

The Renault Kadjar is the UK’s fastest selling used car

Renault Kadjar used car

Advertise a Renault Kadjar for sale today and it’ll be sold within 17 days, according to figures released by Auto Trader.

The study found that the 2018 Renault Kadjar was the most sought-after used car in February, flying off the forecourts in a little over a fortnight. In Scotland, it took just a week for the Kadjar to find a new home.

And people are prepared to splash out to secure a used Kadjar, spending an average of £17,865 on the French SUV.

It’s the third consecutive month that an SUV has topped the Auto Trader chart, highlighting the continued demand for crossovers and high-riding vehicles. It’s a trend that continues throughout the regions.

London Calling

2015 Nissan Qashqai

In London, the 2015 Nissan Qashqai was the fastest selling used car, with examples snapped up in just 14 days. The Hyundai Tucson took the honours in the South (15 days), the Ford Focus in the West Midlands (15 days), and Mercedes-Benz GLC in the South East (19 days).

At the opposite end of the scale, it took an average of 34 days to shift a 2013 Ford Fiesta in the South West, and 29 days to sell a used 2018 Nissan Qashqai in Wales.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products, said: “Aside from the clear signs of a huge investment in electric, this month’s Geneva Motor Show was dominated by an exciting array of new generation 4x4s and crossovers.

“And with SUVs taking the crown for overall fastest selling used car for three consecutive months, their position as a forecourt favourite shows no sign of abating.

The UK’s top 10 fastest selling used cars in February 2019

RankMake and modelDays to sellAverage price
12018 Renault Kadjar Hatchback Petrol Manual17£17,865
22014 Ford Focus Hatchback Petrol Automatic21£7,734
32011 Seat Ibiza Hatchback Diesel Manual21£3,584
42016 Mazda CX-5 SUV Diesel Manual22£15,084
52016 Fiat 500 Hatchback Petrol Automatic22£9,123
62018 Mercedes GLC-Class SUV Diesel Automatic23£32,376
72016 Mercedes GLC-Class SUV Diesel Automatic23£27,164
82017 Audi S3 Hatchback Petrol Automatic23£27,648
92017 Vauxhall Meriva MPV Petrol Manual23£8,330
102016 Vauxhall Mokka Hatchback Diesel Auto 24£10,858
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Demand for low-emission used cars up 30 percent – but most Brits still prefer petrol or diesel

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVMore than two million used cars changed hands in Q3 2018, new data from the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) has revealed.

This was, it adds, a slight 2.1 percent dip on 2017 – but demand for ultra-low and zero-emission cars has rocketed, rising 28.6 percent over the busy summer months.

Almost 30,000 ultra-clean used cars were sold, mainly hybrids and plug-in hybrids. The UK’s burgeoning electric car market is also starting to develop in the second-hand sector, with used EV sales rising 8.3 percent.

It is, however, still a drop in the ocean of used car sales, acknowledges the SMMT. Petrol and diesel cars still make up more than 98 percent of second-hand car transactions. What’s more, unlike the new car market, used diesel sales don’t seem to be suffering compared to petrol – both dipped by a similar 2.5 percent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “It is encouraging that the UK used car market has remained solid in the third quarter of the year, and good news that there is growing enthusiasm for alternatively powered vehicles.”

And the best way to filter these through to the used market is, added Hawes, to introduce the right policies and incentives for new cars. Rather than, for example, cancelling the Plug-in Car Grant for plug-in hybrids…

Other used car trends during summer 2018 included a 6.2 percent rise in SUV sales and a surprising 2.4 percent increase in executive car volumes. Superminis were still Britain’s top used car sector, but they declined 3.1 percent – although the total of second-hand supermini sales so far this year has still now topped the two million mark.

Our favourite used car colour this summer? Black, followed by silver, and blue. We’re quickly going off green cars though, as sales dropped 17.1 percent. 22 years ago, it was actually the most popular new car colour in Britain…

Despite the summer used car sales dip, Auto Trader director Ian Plummer expects the rest of 2018 to be more promising. “The narrow pipeline of WLTP compliant vehicles provides a great chance to capitalise on impatient car buyers open to nearly new alternatives,” he said.

“Indeed, we’ve seen an increase in nearly new ad views over the last two months.” 

Best-selling used cars – Q3 2018

2011 used Ford Fiesta

  1. Ford Fiesta (93,260 cars)
  2. Ford Focus (84,014)
  3. Vauxhall Corsa (80,789)
  4. Volkswagen Golf (68,614)
  5. Vauxhall Astra (66,942)
  6. BMW 3 Series (49,025)
  7. Mini (42,309)
  8. Volkswagen Polo (41,726)
  9. Renault Clio (35,141)
  10. Audi A3 (31,766)