Revealed: The most stolen cars in the UK

With figures showing that a car is stolen in the UK every seven minutes, we reveal the models that are most popular with thieves...

The number of cars stolen last year was up 33% on 2019

Man braking into car

The days when you could break into a car with a coat hanger might be long gone, but figures from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) show that there were still 74,769 cars stolen in the UK last year – one every seven minutes and a 33% increase on 2019.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 72% of stolen vehicles are never returned to their owners, too.

Unsurprisingly, the list of the most popular cars with thieves is dominated by a mix of prestige models and some of the UK's best sellers. But is your car among them? Here we reveal the top 10.

10: Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

Number stolen: 655

An all-new Nissan Qashqai is just arriving in dealerships, but the previous version was such a hit that it remained the best-selling car of its kind even in its final full year on sale. This popularity makes it easy to understand why it's on the list.

9: BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 678

The BMW 5 Series is our reigning Luxury Car of the Year because it combines superb ride comfort and refinement with sharp handling and surprisingly low running costs. Unfortunately, it's the first of two BMWs in the list that clearly attracts unwanted attention.

8: Mercedes E-Class

Mercedes E-Class front three quarters

Number stolen: 766

Usually, Mercedes would be delighted to see the E-Class finish higher in a list than its arch-rival, the 5 series, but this instance is no doubt an exception. Strengths of the car include a supple ride and generous standard spec, while the boot of the estate version is enormous.

7: Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 900

The Land Rover Discovery is a huge seven-seater SUV that's awash with smart design touches that make life easier, including a cubby in the front that will swallow four iPads. Despite its presence here (or perhaps because of it), the latest examples are equipped with one of the most sophisticated engine immobiliser systems around.

6: Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 1126

After decades among the UK's very biggest sellers, Vauxhall's mid-sized hatchback, the Astra, finally dropped out of the top 10 in 2020. However, there are still a vast number of them on Britain's roads, giving thieves plenty to target.

5: BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series front three quarters

Number stolen: 1435

It may be a prestige model, but the 3 Series regularly features near the pointy end of the UK sales charts, and with good reason: attributes include fun handling, strong, efficient engines and a smart, user-friendly interior. It's just a pity these things also seem to appeal to the unscrupulous.

4: Ford Focus

Ford Focus cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 1587

Another popular model sits in fourth place; in fact, the Ford Focus was the fourth best-selling car in the UK in 2020. Interior quality is a bit disappointing, but the Focus is great to drive.

3: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf front three quarters

Number stolen: 1975

The Volkswagen Golf finished one place ahead of the Focus in the 2020 sales charts, and is also one place ahead in this list. Like some other models already covered, it owes its presence to desirability as well as quantity.

2: Range Rover

Range Rover cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 2881

The second Land Rover to feature is the brand's flagship model: the luxurious and cosseting Range Rover. The incredibly well equipped Autobiography version is a particular target for thieves.

1: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 3392

First place (if we can call it that) goes to the Ford Fiesta – a small car that's great to drive, frugal and smart inside. However, as good as it is, its position in this list probably has more to do with the fact it's the UK's best-selling car by a considerable margin, and has been for years.

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