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The ten fastest-selling used cars of 2021

Five-year-old cars are in high demand, according to data from Auto Trader on the ten fastest-selling used cars of 2021.

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With the rapid growth of new electric car sales, it’s not surprising that demand for used EVs is also increasing. This is reflected in data from used car dealers about the fastest-selling cars on their forecourts in the last year.

A report published by automotive marketplace Auto Trader crowns the previous-generation Nissan Leaf as the fastest-selling used car in the UK during 2021, taking just 17 days on average to sell once it had arrived on a used car forecourt.

This is the second time that an electric car has been Auto Trader‘s fastest-selling used car, after the Renault Zoe finished in top spot in 2019. In the most recent rankings, the Zoe finished in 7th place, while two Toyota petrol-hybrids also made the top ten – the Prius and Yaris.

Diesel cars make up the rest of the top ten, with the majority of 2021’s fastest-selling used cars being automatic models.

2021’s fastest-selling used cars

RankModelFuel & TransmissionPredicted Days to Sell
12016 Nissan LeafElectric – Automatic17
22016 Toyota PriusPetrol Hybrid – Automatic19
32016 Mazda CX-5Diesel – Manual19
42016 Peugeot 3008Diesel – Automatic19
52016 Citroen Grand C4 PicassoDiesel – Automatic20
62016 Toyota YarisPetrol Hybrid – Automatic20
72018 Renault ZoeElectric – Automatic20
82016 Peugeot 308Diesel – Manual21
92016 Nissan QashqaiDiesel – Automatic21
102016 Ford Grand C-MaxDiesel – Manual21
Source: Auto Trader

These rankings are based on Auto Trader‘s own ‘Fastest Selling Index’, which tracks the potential speed at which vehicles will sell based on live supply and demand in the market.

All of the automotive marketplaces tend to report on this data every month, but that is heavily influenced by specific stock and registration movements by manufacturers, which tends to turn up some very unusual results. Over a full year, however, the data becomes more relevant.

Interestingly, the top three places on the list comprise an electric car, a hybrid car and a diesel SUV. All but one of the models listed are 2016-registered vehicles, suggesting that five-year-old cars are a bit of a sweet spot for used car buyers.

An all-electric model takes top spot – proof EV demand is really high?

Auto Trader reports that at the start of 2021, a used electric car took 44 days on average to sell once it was bought by a car dealership. No doubt aided by the fuel shortages that hit the UK towards the end of the year, this average dropped to just 26 days by the end of the year.

By comparison, it took an average of 30 days for a diesel car to sell once it arrived on the forecourt, and 34 days for petrol models.

Auto Trader also reports that searches for electric models on its website rose by 74% in 2021, with the most viewed EVs being the Ford Mustang Mach-e, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Volkswagen ID.3.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.