UK's most popular cars of all time

The Ford Fiesta is now our best-selling car ever, but what did it beat to reach the top of the UK most popular cars list?

Following news from a few years back indicating that the Ford Fiesta was then the UK’s best-selling car ever, we did some digging and uncovered the rest of the top ten most popular nameplates from the past fifty-odd years.

Compiled by The Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders, the list reveals Ford and Vauxhall have proved firm favourites with the British public since at least 1965, the two brands accounting for seven of the top ten cars. (The data is accurate at the time it was compiled in 2014.)

 The Volkswagen Golf also makes an appearance – ranking 7th with over 1.8 million sales – as does the original Mini. Bringing up the rear is the Metro, which collectively sold just under one and a half million models in its Austin, MG and Rover forms.

The top 10 most popular cars in the UK ever

1. Ford Fiesta – 4,132,294 all-time sales

Ford Fiesta best selling car ever

The Ford Fiesta doubles up as the UK’s best-selling car of all time and for 2014. Unsurprising really, given the mix of practicality, economy and great small car driving.

2. Ford Escort – 4,105,192 all-time sales

Beaten into second place 14 years after production ceased, the Ford Escort is still head and shoulders clear of third place. The nameplate is soon to be revived for a new model aimed firmly at the Chinese market, although it could make it back to Europe.

3. Vauxhall Astra – 2,845,357 all-time sales

Vauxhall’s long-time Ford Focus rival holds it own in terms of sales, even if the current Astra is slightly down in this year's charts.

4. Ford Cortina – 2,589,351 all-time sales

Despite a relatively short lifetime, the Cortina still ranks as one of our most popular cars, largely thanks to its unrivalled sales dominance in the 1970s.

5. Vauxhall Corsa – 1,829,581 all-time sales

The Vauxhall Corsa is now entering its fourth generation in the UK but originally arrived on these shores in 1983 as the Nova.

6. Vauxhall Cavalier – 1,816,529 all-time sales

Like the Ford Cortina, Vauxhall’s Cavalier was enjoyed huge success with British buyers during 20 years of production.

7. Volkswagen Golf – 1,813,373 all-time sales

The VW Golf is 40 this year, its longevity backed up by a well-earned reputation as one of the best all-round cars on sale. 

8. Ford Focus – 1,769,687 all-time sales

A replacement for the Escort in all but name, the Ford Focus has an impressive sales record for a car only launched in 1998.

9. Original Mini – 1,581,887 all-time sales

The original Mini is a true British icon that lasted 41 years in various different guises, and still hasn’t been eclipsed by the relaunched, BMW-owned MINI hatch.

10. Metro/R100 – 1,498,169 all-time sales

Austin, MG and Rover badges all adorned the Metro at one point of another during a 17-year lifespan, which was eventually rebranded as the R100 in 1994.

How many of the UK's most popular cars have you owned? Tell us what they were like in the comments section below. Then read our list of the best-selling cars in the UK from 2014.

Most Popular

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review
Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition - front
Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review

The small Volkswagen T-Cross SUV turns on the style in new Black Edition trim
11 Jun 2021
New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power
Toyota Land Cruiser - front
Toyota Land Cruiser

New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power

Six-cylinder engine line-up and clever new suspension tech for the new large Toyota Land Cruiser, but it’s not destined for the UK
9 Jun 2021
New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review
Mercedes E 300 Cabriolet - front
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review

The soft-top Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet gets the same updates as the saloon and estate variants
10 Jun 2021
New Genesis G80 2021 review
Genesis G80
Genesis G80

New Genesis G80 2021 review

Is the new Genesis G80 a worthy competitor in the executive saloon segment?
9 Jun 2021