The most stolen cars in the UK

A car is stolen in the UK every eight minutes, according to the latest figures from the DVLA. But which models are most popular with thieves?...

Car security: what to do if your car is stolen

The days when you could break into a car with a coat hanger might be long gone, but the DVLA has revealed that there were 64,087 vehicles reported stolen in 2023 – an increase of 5% on the previous year. That equates to 176 cars stolen every day, or one car stolen every eight minutes and 12 seconds, from somewhere in the UK last year.

The top 10 comprises a mix of prestige models and some of the UK’s best sellers, including the Fiesta. Production of Ford's small hatchback was discontinued in the summer of 2023, but it has been the country's biggest-selling car every year for more than a decade. There are around 1.5 million examples on our roads, so it's hardly surprising it's also the most stolen. 

There has been a decrease in the number of cars stolen for most models in the top 10, and Land Rover has done best of all at stemming the flood of some of its models into the hands of thieves. The number of Range Rover Sport models stolen last year was down 29% on the previous year. 

It's not such good news for Mercedes, though, because the DVLA data reveals the number of Mercedes C-Class vehicles stolen last year was 30% higher than in 2022. 

Criminals are also targeting electric vehicles (EVs). The Kia Niro was the most stolen EV, with 177 examples taken, followed by the Hyundai Ioniq, with 139 cars stolen. In contrast, exotic and high-performance vehicles are less popular with thieves: only 43 Ferraris, 51 Porsche 911s, 14 Lamborghinis and 29 Teslas were stolen last year. 

Read on to find out more about the 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in 2023. Our list is generated from the latest DVLA data.

Most stolen cars in 2023:

1. Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta 2023 front

Number stolen 5979

First place (if we can call it that) goes to the Ford Fiesta, a small car that's great at putting a smile on your face. It’s fun to drive, comes with a range of punchy turbo-powered petrol engines and has low emissions and good economy. 

However, you won’t be happy if your Fiesta gets stolen, so you’ll need to consider security carefully. Its position in this list also has a lot to do with the fact it was the UK's best-selling car for many years, so there are millions on UK roads today for car buyers and thieves to choose from. And it could retain its dubious title for a while yet, because Ford has recently discontinued the model which is likely to fuel demand for spares.

Read our full Ford Fiesta review >>

2. Ford Focus

Ford Focus 2023 driving

Number stolen 2120

Like the Fiesta, the Ford Focus stands out because it’s the best family car to drive, with particularly entertaining handling if you go for the sporty ST-Line trim. It also has a comfortable ride with little road or wind noise and a roomy interior. It’s not the cheapest family hatchback you can buy, and the higher trim levels stray into Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class territory. 

On top of that, the quality of the trim is a bit disappointing, but this doesn't seem to put off buyers – or criminals. With more than a million examples on our roads, thieves and buyers also have a huge pool of cars to pick from.  

Read our full Ford Focus review >>

3. Volkswagen Golf 

VW Golf front right static

Number stolen 2038

It’s amazing to think that the VW Golf has been a top seller for eight generations now. And as well as maintaining its usual blend of impressive practicality and driving dynamics, the latest version adds a host of clever technologies into the mix. This includes mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions that offer good economy and low emissions. Its other merits include tidy handling and an exceedingly comfortable ride, especially if you pick a model with adaptive suspension. 

Like some of the models already covered, the Golf owes its presence here to two things: desirability and sheer numbers on the road. It offers many of the premium features you'd expect to only get in a more expensive car, and it finished eighth in the UK sales chart in 2022.

Read our full Volkswagen Golf review >>

4. Mercedes C-Class

Mercedes C-Class front cornering

Number stolen 1786

The fact that the C-Class finishes higher up in this list than last year (when it was seventh) will be a concern to Mercedes. It's currently proving more popular with thieves than its main rival the BMW 3 Series, which lies in seventh place for 2023. 

Our pick of the line-up is the C300e plug-in hybrid, which is an exceptionally good all-rounder. As well as impressive ride comfort, it boasts low emissions and good fuel economy, helped by its real-world pure-electric range of 60 miles. It’s also a very affordable company car. The only area where rivals top it is the interior, which doesn’t feel as premium as that of an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series. 

Read our full Mercedes C-Class review >>

5. Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Sport LT front

Number stolen 1631

Despite its appearance in this top 10, thefts of Range Rover Sport models were down by 29% last year, when it was the second most frequently stolen model, with 2283 examples taken. 

The massive drop in thefts is due to an initiative last year by Lane Rover that involved upgrading the security of 75,000 secondhand vehicles dating from 2018 to prevent them from being vulnerable to criminals who aim to exploit the cars' keyless entry systems. 

The Range Rover Sport was voted What Car?'s Luxury SUV of 2023 because it offers superb levels of comfort and lavish equipment, without the high purchase price of some premium rivals. 

Read our full Range Rover Sport review >>

6. Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque front

Number stolen 1489

Although the Evoque isn't as popular with thieves as the larger Range Rover Sport, it's still being targeted in alarmingly high numbers, so owners are advised to take security precautions. Land Rover is retrofitting upgraded security features to secondhand models, so owners may also benefit from checking on the availability of these with their local dealer. 

The Evoque gains a five-star What Car? rating because it's good to drive, well-appointed inside and practical. The plug-in hybrid version will appeal to company car drivers for its low ownership costs.  

Read our full Range Rover Evoque review >>

7. BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series front cornering

Number stolen 1466

It may be a prestige model, but the BMW 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. Those engines include the 330e plug-in hybrid, which has bisk performance and a pure-electric range of 37 miles in our real-world test. Equipment is generous, even on the cheapest Sport trim level, but we’d opt for M Sport Pro to get adaptive M Sport suspension, which can be stiffened or softened whenever you want. 

The only downsides are that the ride is fairly firm – and that the 3 Series really appeals to the unscrupulous.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review >>

8. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa front cornering

Number stolen 1110

In most respects, the Vauxhall Corsa is a competent small car rather than an outstanding one. But like its bigger brother, the Astra, it's a very common sight on UK roads. Indeed, it was the third best-selling car of 2023 and has been on sale in different guises since 1993. 

The sheer volume of models around, and their relative affordability, means it holds a special place in the hearts of many people who learnt to drive in one, or had it as their first car. The latest version is well equipped, practical and has a range of efficient engines. 

Read our full Vauxhall Corsa review >>

9. Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra front right driving

Number stolen 1086

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

It’s still a great value-for-money family hatchback, with a large boot, punchy and economical engines, lots of equipment and a well laid-out dashboard. It’s just not as good as rivals in many areas: the Ford Focus handles better, the Seat Leon accelerates more swiftly and the Skoda Octavia is roomier and has a better ride. That said, the cheaper trim levels are appealing. 

Read our full Vauxhall Astra review >>

10. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering

Number stolen 954

While higher-end Land Rover models have already benefited from the brand's efforts to foil thieves, it seems the fixes haven't filtered down to older Discovery Sport models. Thefts of these highly desirable vehicles are up by 15% on 2022. 

The Discovery Sport is a practical family load-lugger, especially in seven-seat form. The D200 diesel engine makes most sense for private buyers, while company car users will find the P300e much cheaper to run.

With a sumptuously appointed interior and a glassy ride, it’s easy to see why it attracts the unwanted attention of thieves, as well as admiring glances from other drivers.

Read our full Land Rover Discovery Sport review >>

How do car thefts in 2023 compare with the previous year? 

Make and model

2022 thefts

2023 thefts


Ford Fiesta




Ford Focus




Volkswagen Golf




Mercedes C-Class




Range Rover Sport




Range Rover Evoque




BMW 3 Series




Vauxhall Corsa




Vauxhall Astra




Land Rover Discovery Sport




What are the most stolen car brands? 

And at brand level, Land Rover is the most frequently stolen make, with one in every 100 vehicles reportedly taken in the 12 months to March 2023. 

Next up is Mercedes, closely followed by Ford, highlighting the fact that owners of less prestigious makes and models need to be just as vigilant about protecting cars. 

How to protect your car from thieves

There are some simple car security measures you can take to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on your car. Even simple deterrents, such as steering wheel locks, are likely to make your car less appealing to thieves, so consider buying one of these devices.  

When you’re at home, keep the keys in a secure place away from the front door, and in a metal box or Faraday pouch if it has keyless entry and could be stolen using the relay theft method. 

If you leave your car in a public place, pick a well-lit car park with security cameras if you can, and don’t leave any valuables on display as theft from vehicles is just as prolific as theft of entire vehicles.

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Read more: Britain's most secure cars revealed >>

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