Ford models top Britain's best-loved first cars of all time

Article date: 28 August 2012

  • Aviva reveals mum and dad are more likely than ever to fund and insure their child’s first car

Ford favourites are revealed as the most popular first cars of all time in a newly published league table by the UK’s largest insurer, Aviva1.

The Ford Escort and Fiesta top the list, with the iconic Anglia, famously seen flying through the air in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, taking third spot. The Anglia, a British classic, was also the most popular car for first-time owners in the 1960s.

Top 10 most popular first cars of all time - Make/model (of all time) 

  1. Ford Escort
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Ford Anglia
  4. Vauxhall Corsa
  5. Nissan Micra
  6. Vauxhall Viva
  7. Morris Minor
  8. Volkswagen Golf
  9. Renault Clio
  10. Mini Cooper

However, Aviva research found that over the last 50 years there has been a fundamental change in who pays for that first car and at what age drivers buy it.

Today there is an increased reliance on parents to support the initial outlay and cost of running a first car. In the 1960s, eight in 10 (80%) first-time car owners funded the
purchase themselves. Fast forward to the 2010s and a third (33%) of first cars are now paid for by someone else, most likely by mum and dad or other family members.

Alongside the general increase in cost of living over the years, the case is similar when it comes to insuring first cars. Today, one in five (21%) first car owners now has their own insurance paid for by someone else, compared with just one in 20 (6%) in the 1960s.

Changing face of the typical first car owner
The typical first car owner has changed dramatically over the past 50 years:

  • In 2012, the average age of a first car owner is 25 compared to only 21 in the 1960s
  • A quarter (23%) of today’s first car owners is living with a partner or married by the time they get a run-around of their own. This has risen sharply from just 9% in the 1960s
  • First car owners are now more likely to be studying full time at college or university (37%), compared to the 1960s when four in five (84%) were working full time and only 13% were in education
  • First cars in the 2010s are more than three times as likely to be new (26%) than in the 1960s (8%) when 92% of first cars were second-hand.

Commenting on the research, Heather Smith, director of marketing at Aviva said: “Owning a first car is a fantastic milestone of independence and whether it’s a much-loved treasure or a shiny new set of wheels it provides an important rite of passage for any driver.

“Over the past five decades, we have seen a fundamental shift in the typical first car owner. However, despite these changes the nation’s love for affordable classics, from Corsas to Golfs, Ford has stayed at the forefront in the history of the first car and feature as firm favourites across Britain’s driveways.”

Parents could save up to 1/3 off with Aviva MultiCar insurance when adding their child’s car to their policy, even for a student living away during term time2. Visit for more information.

Top five first car makes and models for each decade

Most popular model throughout the decades



  1. Ford Anglia
  2. Ford Popular
  3. Morris Minor
  4. Volkswagen Beetle
  5. Ford Cortina


  1. Ford Escort
  2. Ford Cortina
  3. Ford Anglia
  4. Vauxhall Viva
  5. Morris Minor


  1. Ford Escort
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Mini Cooper Clubman
  4. Vauxhall Viva
  5. Ford Cortina


  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Escort
  3. Nissan Micra
  4. Volkswagen Golf
  5. MG Metro


  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Vauxhall Corsa
  3. Renault Clio
  4. Nissan Micra
  5. Vauxhall Astra


  1. Vauxhall Corsa
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Nissan Almera
  4. Ford Focus
  5. Volkswagen Golf


If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:
Liz Kennett - Aviva Press Office
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 681258
Mobile: +44 (0)7800 699667

David Chambers - Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Telephone: +44 (0)207 413 3155
Mobile: +44 (0)7759 157673

Joey Ng - Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Telephone: +44 (0)207 973 5941

1 Aviva commissioned the First Car Research with Populus who interviewed 2,054 UK adults online between 6 and 8 July. At some point, 1,702 owned a car. Results have been weighted to be representative of all UK adults.

2 We expect 20% of customers to achieve the maximum saving of a third off. This discount will apply to the cheaper of the two vehicle insurance premiums. Both vehicles must be registered at the same address. Discount does not apply to optional extras. Minimum premium applies. If you already have more than one car insured with us, you can transfer to our MultiCar policy when one of your cars comes up for renewal. However, as you may already be benefiting from a loyalty discount it may be cheaper to continue insuring them on separate policies, so please call us at renewal to discuss the best option for you.

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable brands and Aviva plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3 million into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours. 

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at

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