Features

Chart hits: UK's most popular cars of the last 50 years

We follow the trends in the UK’s new car market by revealing the most popular cars over five decades

The Ford Fiesta is once again dominating the latest sales figures, but it hasn't always been the most popular car in the UK. To find out what other cars have been successful in the past, we delved into the archives to find out what have been the most popular cars over the last 50 years.

• Best selling cars of 2016

Last year saw a major shift in the UK car industry, with record sales and a growing number of manufacturers producing vehicles on these shores. Superminis and the ever-growing crossover/SUV market are now the best sellers, but back in 1965, the year that the first official car registrations figures were produced, it was the Austin/Morris 1100 that proved to be the UK's favourite car. 

Ford's reign at the top began in 1975, when the Cortina took control, and the company has remained at the summit ever since as the Escort was the most popular car in 1985 and 1995 with its replacement the Ford Focus enjoying top spot in 2005. 

New car sales continue to grow in March

The figures, gathered with the help of BestSellingCarsBlog, provide a fascinating look into the UK's car buying habits and reveal a 50-year period of enormous change. 

So, to find out what other cars have made the top 10 list of the UK's most popular cars check out our detailed review of every decade by clicking the links on the top left menu or below. 

Top sellers each decade from the past 50 years

  • 1965 - Austin/Morris 1100
  • 1975 - Ford Cortina
  • 1985 - Ford Escort
  • 1995 - Ford Escort
  • 2005 - Ford Focus
  • 2015 - Ford Fiesta

Have you owned any of the UK's top selling cars? Let us know in the comments below... 

Most Popular

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed
BMW 3 Series Touring

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed

New hot BMW M3 Touring estate on the way and it’ll feature the same 503bhp straight-six engine as the saloon. Our exclusive image previews how it coul…
12 Aug 2020
Next-generation Nissan Qashqai spied ahead of 2020 launch
Nissan Qashqai

Next-generation Nissan Qashqai spied ahead of 2020 launch

Our spy photographers have spotted the new Nissan Qashqai during its development programme – although it’s still wearing heavy camo
13 Aug 2020
New 2021 Kia Stinger facelift revealed with new look and tech
Kia Stinger

New 2021 Kia Stinger facelift revealed with new look and tech

The Kia Stinger gets a subtle new look as part of a facelift for 2021
12 Aug 2020