Revealed: The most stolen cars in the UK

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

The days when you could break into a car with a coat hanger are be long gone.

Man braking into car

But the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has revealed that there were still 52,288 cars stolen in the UK in 2019 – one every nine minutes.

The DVLA released the figures following a Freedom of Information request by Rivervale Leasing, who also studied 10 years of data from the Office of National Statistics and found that just 40% of stolen cars are returned to their owners.

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: Audi A3

Audi A3 cornering front three quarters

Number stolen: 456

It's about to be replaced by an all-new model, yet this Volkswagen Golf-based family hatchback remains one of the best all-rounders in any class and Audi's number one seller in the UK.

This blend of desirability and 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: 506

The 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: 612

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: 791

The 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: 836

After decades among the UK's very biggest sellers, Vauxhall's mid-sized hatchback, the Astra, failed to make the top 10 in 2019. 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: 1042

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: 1200

Another popular model sits in fourth place; in fact, the Focus was the third best-selling car in the UK in 2019. Interior quality is a bit iffy, but the Focus is great to drive.

3: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf front three quarters

Number stolen: 1331

The Golf finished one place ahead of the Focus in the 2019 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: 1917

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

First place (if we can call it that) goes to the 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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