Most popular cars on the road – What is the most common car in the UK?

Last year, there were 39.2 million licensed vehicles on the roads of Great Britain. From old gas-guzzlers to brand-new EVs, there are a massive variety of car brands and models out there. But what is the most popular car in the UK?

We’ve analysed research from the DVLA to discover the top ten car brands, licenced to be driven on the road according to the latest statistics. 

The most common cars on British roads 

According to the most recent data from the DVLA, the most common car brands being driven on the streets of the UK in 2020 were as follows: 

Cars (by brand)Cars on the road (million)
Ford4.158
Vauxhall3.160
Volkswagen2.870
BMW1.944
Audi1.790
Mercedes1.645
Toyota1.593
Nissan1.577
Peugeot1.393
Honda1.036
Renault1.014
Citroën0.955
Hyundai0.911
Kia0.910
Land Rover0.866
MINI0.817
Skoda0.813
Fiat0.675
Volvo0.615
SEAT0.609
Mazda0.564
Suzuki0.462
Jaguar0.382
Mitsubishi0.229
Dacia0.181
Lexus0.167
Porsche0.163
MG0.122
Smart0.95
Chevrolet0.84

With 3.1 million Vauxhalls and 4.2 million Fords on the UK roads, this means that one in every four cars on the UK’s roads is either a Ford or a Vauxhall.

Fewer cars were registered in the UK last year

The outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic and the resulting shortfall in microchips gave rise to unprecedented periods for the UK auto industry over the last two years. 

During the UK Covid-19 lockdowns, vehicle dealerships and showrooms were forced to close, removing the main method through which new cars are sold in the UK, which naturally impacted new registrations during 2020 and 2021. 

Last year, only around two million vehicles were registered for the first time in Great Britain – nearly a 28.7% reduction from 2019’s figures.

The rise of Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Despite an industry-wide lull in new car registrations, ahead of the looming electrical switchover in 2030, EVs enjoyed a record year in the UK in 2021. 

More Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were sold in the UK in 2021 than over the previous five years (2016-2020) combined, with 190,727 registrations (11.6% of all new car sales), whilst Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) made up a further 7% of sales, with 114,554 cars being registered. 

Overall, this means that a whopping 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in.

The RAC estimates that there are around 308,000 plug-in hybrids on the UK roads today. Plus, around 395,000 zero-emission BEVs – more than half of which were registered in 2021 alone.

Most popular car models on the UK roads

According to figures released by the DVLA, the top ten most common cars in the UK are as follows: 

1. Ford Fiesta – 1.54m on the UK roads

2. Ford Focus – 1.3m on the UK roads

3. Vauxhall Corsa – 1.11m on the UK roads

4. Volkswagen Golf – 1.07m on the UK roads

5. Vauxhall Astra – 0.96m on the UK roads

6. Volkswagen Polo – 0.68m on the UK roads

7. BMW 3 Series – 0.61m on the UK roads

8. Nissan Qashqai – 0.49m on the UK roads

9. Toyota Yaris – 0.49m on the UK roads

10. Renault Clio – 466,000 on the UK roads

2022’s most popular cars so far

The latest car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) provide an overview of what is selling well in 2022.

Despite fears that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine may disturb car production later in the year, the early months of 2022 have been largely positive for the automotive industry, with 174,081 new cars being sold in the UK up to the end of February – a 23% increase on the same period last year.  

Though there is still a long way to go before any car model can be officially awarded bestselling status in the UK, according to the SMMT’s figures, so far in 2022, the top five most popular new cars are: 

5. Vauxhall Mokka – 3,659 sales

With its elevated driving position and competitive price, the Mokka gives buyers on a stretched budget the opportunity to own an elegant and very impressive-looking SUV. 

The model has been one of Vauxhall’s few success stories on the UK car market over the last few years, even outselling the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai. 

Vauxhall Mokka. One of the most popular cars in the UK
Looking to sell your Vauxhall Mokka or another Vauxhall model? Find your best offer from over 5,000 dealers and sell for up to £1,000* more. It’s that easy.

4. Ford Puma – 3,773 sales

The original ‘Ford Puma’ was a small coupé that arrived on the market in the late 1990s, which, whilst picking up some strong reviews, failed to sell well. It has now returned to the Ford line-up as a small, sporty-looking SUV – and is selling in much bigger numbers. 

The Ford Puma also has a mild-hybrid engine that is not typical in other cars in its class, and which allows for the – very popular combination of – fast acceleration and fuel economy. The eighth bestselling new car in the UK in 2021 – it seems to be doing even better this year. 

Ford Puma. One of the most popular cars in the UK.
Looking to sell your Ford Puma or another Ford model? Find your best offer from over 5,000 dealers and sell for up to £1,000* more. It’s that easy.

3. MINI – 4,088 sales

MINIs have a long history of selling well in the UK – with the original Mini selling a whopping 5.3 million units during its original 41-year production run. 

The iconic British car is now part of the BMW family but remains loyal to its past – and has stayed popular as a result. The model’s unique character and clever compact layout revolutionised the small car market. 

The new MINI’s success may also be because they are available at several different price points. Finishing third on the bestselling car list in 2021, MINI’s all-electric model also helped the brand bump up sales figures – and it’s already looking like a strong contender for 2022.

The Mini. One of the most popular cars in the UK
Looking to sell your mini? Find your best offer from over 5,000 dealers and sell for up to £1,000* more. It’s that easy.

2. The Kia Sportage – 4,134 sales 

The Kia Sportage finished ninth in the bestselling table last year. This year, the Sportage started in first place in January but dropped down from the top spot in February. 

Like the Corsa, the Sportage offers the buyer a lot of choice. Currently, you can buy the model as a regular internal combustion car, a mild hybrid, a full hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid. 

If you’re not keen to venture down the route of pure electric, there is a Sportage for everyone. They also come in a choice of five trim levels – from regular, through to sporty and up to luxury level.

Kia sportage. One of the most popular cars in the UK
Looking to sell your Kia? Find your best offer from over 5,000 dealers and sell for up to £1,000* more. It’s that easy.

1.    The Vauxhall Corsa – 4,282 sales

So far, in 2022, the top cars are mirroring last year’s statistics and the Vauxhall Corsa has come out on top again. The ever-popular small car is a regular bestseller across all the countries of the UK. 

What is it that makes the Vauxhall Corsa so popular? Well, the brand is renowned for its versatility and ability to create cars with engine and trim choices to fit practically every need – and, crucially, every budget.

Vauxhall is also now part of the French PSA Group – which includes Peugeot, Citroën, and DS.  

looking to sell your Vauxhall Corsa or another Vauxhall model? Find your best offer from over 5,000 dealers and sell for up to £1,000* more. It’s that easy.

Ready to sell? Check out our helpful guides to get started:

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