Motor expert reveals 2023’s biggest car search trends

Red Ford Fiesta on show

cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, has unveiled the most popular car-buying trends of 2023 based on millions of searches each month on its website.

Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, said: “We’ve unpacked millions of searches to reveal UK car buyers’ most-wanted car models, brands, colours and features of the year.

“The now-discontinued Ford Fiesta proved to be an evergreen choice for UK motorists, clinching the title of most-popular car for a second consecutive year.

“In the EV/hybrid used car market, Tesla’s Model 3 came out on top. And the overall most popular brand on cinch was Audi – jumping up from fourth spot in 2022 to clinch the crown.

“We also saw some surprising spikes in searches related to cultural moments, such as the blockbuster Barbie film and the Rugby World Cup.”

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. VW Golf
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Mercedes A-Class
  5. BMW 1 Series
  6. Nissan Qashqai
  7. Audi A3
  8. VW Polo
  9. Range Rover Evoque
  10. BMW 3 Series

Despite production being discontinued in July after 47 years, the Ford Fiesta has certainly not lost its charm. The Fiesta was the most sought-after vehicle on cinch’s website for the second year in a row, with its design, features and affordability all continuing to appeal to used car buyers.

The Mercedes A-Class dropped from second most popular brand in 2022 to fourth place in this year’s list, leapfrogged by the much-loved VW Golf and Ford Focus.

The family-friendly Nissan Qashqai gained a couple of positions, climbing from eighth in 2022 to sixth this year.

  1. Audi
  2. BMW
  3. Ford
  4. Volkswagen
  5. Mercedes-Benz
  6. Land Rover
  7. Vauxhall
  8. Nissan
  9. Kia
  10. Hyundai

The most searched-for car brands this year were used Audis followed by BMW and then Ford. While only fourth most-popular brand in cinch’s 2022 list, the four rings of Audi accelerated to the top and now sit in pole position.

Surprisingly, last year’s most searched-for brand, Mercedes-Benz, dropped into fifth place.

Hyundai deserves a special mention, too. The South Korean brand, known for its reliability and modern styling, is the sole new entrant in 2023’s ‘most popular brand’ list. It replaces MINI, which occupied 10th spot in 2022.

  1. Tesla Model 3
  2. Toyota C-HR
  3. Nissan Leaf
  4. VW Golf
  5. Mitsubishi Outlander
  6. Hyundai IONIQ
  7. Toyota Yaris
  8. BMW 3 Series
  9. Kia Niro
  10. Toyota Corolla

As of the end of November 2023, about 950,000 EVs are cruising along UK roads.

Based on the total visits to individual car listings pages on cinch, the most popular electric and/or hybrid model with used car buyers was the Tesla Model 3, overtaking the Toyota C-HR.

While the C-HR has slipped to second place this year, Toyota still has plenty to be proud of. The Japanese brand features three times in cinch’s electric and hybrid list, with the Yaris (7th) and Corolla (10th) also featuring in the top 10.

The Corolla is the only new model to enter the 2023 eco-friendly list, having replaced BMW’s i3 in the popularity stakes.

It’s also worth mentioning the eye-catching Hyundai IONIQ. Jumping from ninth position in 2022 to sixth in this year’s list, the IONIQ has no doubt piqued the curiosity of eco-conscious UK car buyers during 2023.

  1. Black
  2. White
  3. Grey
  4. Blue
  5. Red
  6. Silver
  7. Green
  8. Orange
  9. Yellow
  10. Pink

Black was by far the most popular car colour of 2023 on cinch, recording double the amount of searches of white motors (in second place).

Black is sleek, elegant and is great at hiding dirt and grime – no wonder it’s a favourite among British drivers. This year’s most searched-for black car models were the Mercedes A-Class, Range Rover Evoque, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Qashqai and VW Golf.

Interestingly, pink became one of the most sought-after colours this year. Perhaps helped by the ‘Barbie effect’, it replaced purple in 10th position on cinch’s list.

Searches for pink cars reached their peak on 10 September, in the same week as the release of the Barbie film on digital streaming platforms.

  1. Apple CarPlay
  2. Parking sensors
  3. Heated seats
  4. Sunroof
  5. Sat-nav

When it comes to in-car tech, entertainment and features, Apple CarPlay proved to be the most-wanted motoring accessory on cinch.co.uk.

Allowing drivers to connect their iPhone to the car and get the most out of their infotainment screen, this feature appears to be a must-have for many UK motorists and was the most filtered-by feature on cinch for a second year running.

Comfort and warmth were also important for drivers in 2023. The luxury of heated seats proved popular with buyers, bumping this feature up from fifth in 2022 to third this year.

Searches for sat-navs dropped from third most searched-for feature in 2022 to fifth in 2023, suggesting that people are increasingly relying on mobile phones to navigate their route.

An info graphic on popular car trends in the UK 2023

Other interesting data

Land Rover Defender x Rugby World Cup

The Land Rover Defender – sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup – received plenty of attention on cinch throughout the tournament, especially during England matches.

Searches for the 4×4 were 41% above the 2023 daily average on the day of the England v Samoa game on 7 October – no doubt helped by pitch-side advertising boards and TV commercials.

There was another spike in searches for the Defender on the day of the England v South Africa semi-final (21 October) – 28% above the 2023 daily average.

VW scrapping ICE engines

On 3 April 2023, VW announced it was ceasing the production of internal combustion engine Golfs when the current Mark 8 cycle ends.

In response to the news, many Brits flocked to the cinch website to look for hybrid and electric versions of the popular hatchback.

In the three weeks following the announcement, searches for hybrid/electric Golfs were 88% higher than the 2023 weekly search average.

CUPRA in, SEAT out

In September, the VW Group announced it would focus on growing its CUPRA brand in the next few years; no longer producing cars with the SEAT badge.

During 2023, more and more drivers were searching for CUPRA cars on cinch. Searches for the brand rose by 245% year-on-year, demonstrating a nationwide curiosity for its up-and-coming performance vehicles.

On the other hand, searches for SEAT cars remained flat in 2023 compared to 2022 figures.

Heating up in the convertibles market

2023 saw the hottest June in UK history, with temperatures reaching 32 ̊C in parts of south-east England.

Searches for convertible cars on cinch skyrocketed at the start of summer, with June recording the biggest number of monthly searches for drop-top motors across the year.

The most popular convertible car on cinch was the Mercedes C-Class, known for its muscular and luxurious silhouette.

So, there you have it – that’s cinch’s biggest car search trends of 2023 all wrapped up. Are you surprised by any of the results?

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