IN CONTRAST with the downturn seen in the UK’s new car market, the demand for used vehicles in the country has remained remarkably strong.
Though its full figures for 2018 have yet to be published, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported approx 6.1m used cars had been sold in the country by the end of the third quarter — putting the UK on track for 8m used sales be the end of the year.
Before the SMMT publishes its used sales figures for 2018, AA Cars has analysed the data itself, and compiled a run-down of the 10 best-selling used cars in the UK last year.
10 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Though not the most popular used Mercedes in the UK last year, the A-class saw enough demand to enter the top 10 in 2018.
As the A-class was one of Mercedes’ best-selling cars when new, AA Cars’ CEO James Fairclough reckon “there should be an A-class model suitable for all buyers” on the used market.
The recent launch of a brand new A-class may also tempt owners of the older car to trade-in their current motor, giving used A-class buyers even more options to choose from.
9 Nissan Juke
New car buyers may no longer be as enamoured with the Nissan Juke as they used to be, but used car buyers seemingly can’t get enough of the quirky crossover. Though the looks are arguably the car’s USP, there’s more to the Juke than its distinctive design: by crossover standards, the Nissan is fairly sporty to drive, and even newer examples with lower mileages aren’t overly expensive to buy. Expect an all-new Juke to be revealed (possibly at the Geneva Motor Show in March), so if you want a really great deal on a used Juke, it might be best to wait until later in 2019.
8 Fiat 500
It’s perhaps testament to just how good a job Fiat’s designers did with the retro 500 supermini that the shape has only had minor tweaks since the car was launched back in 2007. That longevity also means there shouldn’t be any issues with finding a used one, though be wary of cars with more questionable customisation options fitted.
7 Mercedes-Benz C-class
It was the best-selling new saloon in 2018, so it’s perhaps appropriate the Mercedes-Benz C-class was the UK’s most popular used saloon, too. Being a popular choice with executive car buyers (32,600 new C-classes were sold in Britain last year) means there should be plenty of choice when shopping around for a used one. However, according to Fairclough you’ll be lucky to find a used plug-in hybrid version.
6 Volkswagen Golf
It’s already one of the most well-rounded new cars on the market, so the Volkswagen Golf makes for a mighty fine used buy, thanks to its premium image, efficient engines and overall practicality. If you’re looking at a diesel Golf, don’t be put off if it doesn’t have the “dieselgate fix”, as it wasn’t mandatory and the car can still pass an MOT test without any recall work being done to it.
5 Nissan Qashqai
Reflecting its success in the new sales charts, the Nissan Qashqai is also the UK’s most popular used SUV. As a result, finding one shouldn’t be too difficult (at time of writing, 3,297 were advertised on the AA Cars website alone), and you can also nab yourself a low-mileage example of the recently-facelifted model if your budget stretches far enough.
4 Vauxhall Astra
New Vauxhall Astras may not be flying out of showrooms at the moment but it appears Brits can’t get enough of secondhand models. Being spacious and affordable to buy certainly make the Vauxhall enticing as a secondhand buy, as does the broad range of engine options that were available when new. Plus, there are plenty of Vauxhall dealerships across the country at which you can buy and service your used Astra.
3 Ford Focus
Pipping its Vauxhall Astra arch nemesis to the final podium spot, the Ford Focus is worthy of its placement, with Fairclough declaring the Ford to be “one of the best compact cars on the market”. Like the Mercedes A-class, a new version of the Ford Focus has also just gone on sale, while the Focus is one of the most popular new cars on sale, so there should be a huge number of used examples for you to peruse.
2 Vauxhall Corsa
The Vauxhall Corsa may have slumped a tad in the new sales charts but the supermini soldiered on strongly in the used market, finishing runner-up overall last year. The biggest factor in its appeal is probably its amazing affordability: according to the AA Cars CEO, “you can typically find a used Vauxhall Corsa with 2010 plates or newer with relatively low mileage and still have change from £5,000”.
1 Ford Fiesta
With so many Ford Fiestas on UK roads (it’s been the country’s best-selling new car since 1990), it’s perhaps no surprise the supermini also tops the used car charts. You likely won’t find a used version of the current car in the classifieds or dealerships just yet, though there should be plenty of well-equipped versions of the previous Fiesta to choose from.