Best British-made cars

Want to buy British, but have no idea which cars are actually made here? Read on to find out which British-built cars could fit the bill

Sam Naylor
Sep 20, 2021

The UK car manufacturing industry may not be the giant it once was, but there are still quite a few cars being produced here - and of course, there are plenty of used models that were built right here in Britain available right now.

Buying a British-built car over one that was shipped here from overseas means the car should have a lower carbon footprint, since the boats used to move cars around the world are huge polluters. This is even more relevant if you’re after an electrified model - there is even one of these to choose from below.

Your new British-built car might have even been assembled surprisingly close to where you live, as there are plants all over the country, although admittedly only in England.

We’ve picked out a wide variety of models here, from SUVs and estates to hot hatches and sports cars - so no matter what kind of car you want, there’s bound to be a British-built model that’s right for you. All are available to buy right here on BuyaCar.

Best cars made in Britain

1. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Best for families

Our pick Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 VVT-i Hybrid Design
Used deals from £22,495
Monthly finance from £362*

That’s right - the first car on our list of the best British-built cars is a Toyota, which is a Japanese car brand. Brands from other countries outside the UK on this list do make an appearance, but all the listed cars are built in Britain. Toyota’s plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire produces the Corolla, and here we’ve picked out the Touring Sports version, which is a roomy hybrid estate.

It’s not the most spacious estate car around, but with 598 litres of boot space with the seats up, there’s more than enough room for the weekly shop or even a couple of bikes. There’s plenty of rear legroom as well - which makes it a great family car.

That’s not all - the Corolla name might remind you of some rather mundane models from years gone by but this new model is great to drive and comfortable too. Plus, it’s got most of the tech you’d want. Most importantly, the Corolla is available as a petrol-electric hybrid, which is the model we’ve picked out. This means lower running costs and emissions.

TOYOTA COROLLA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Nissan Leaf

Best for commuting

Our pick Nissan Leaf (30kWh) Acenta (first generation)
Used deals from £10,799
Monthly finance from £204*

Both the original and current Nissan Leaf are Sunderland-built. We’ve chosen the previous-generation model because it represents great value for those looking at getting their first all-electric car.

For around £230 per month, you can get into a relatively low-mileage model. The Leaf was one of the first of the modern generation of electric cars, offering rock-bottom running costs, near-silent running at lower speeds and a straightforward ownership experience.

Standard kit on the Acenta model we’ve chosen here includes Bluetooth, cruise control, a rear-view camera, 16-inch alloy wheels and sat-nav. It’s comfortable and nippy to drive around town, so it’s well worth a look if its maximum range of 100 miles per charge suits your needs.

2010-2017 NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Honda Civic Type R

Best for all-round fun

Our pick Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC Type R GT
Used deals from £21,950
Monthly finance from £420*

There’s no doubt about it - the Honda Civic Type R is one of the best hot hatchbacks you can buy. Like all models in this class of car it mixes the practicality of an everyday hatch with the performance and handling of a true sports car, and yes - the Type R is built in Britain, at Honda’s Swindon plant.

What makes the Type R special is the way it blends its talents. While it certainly isn’t a subtle car in the styling department, set it to Comfort mode using a button on the dash and it drives much like the normal Civic, dealing with bumps in the road very well. Yet at the same time, it’s up there with the best sports cars when it comes to handling around corners - there’s loads of grip and it’s brilliant fun.

The 2.0-litre engine delivers astonishing performance, and the manual gearbox is a delight to use. All of this comes in a car that will comfortably seat five, with loads of room in the boot for luggage. It’s a true all-rounder.

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Range Rover

Best for luxury

Our pick Range Rover 3.0 SDV6 (275hp) Vogue
Used deals from £62,861
Monthly finance from £915*

A staple of the British motor industry for over 40 years, the Range Rover is still primarily built right here - although demand has seen the need for a few to be built overseas, too. Many cars have tried to copy the Range Rover’s perfect combination of luxury and off-road capability, but very few have succeeded.

Let’s be honest, though, few Range Rovers ever see anything but tarmac. Fortunately, it performs very well on the road, too. Our chosen model with the diesel V6 engine should prove plenty for daily driving, although a petrol V8 is also available if you prefer more power over efficiency.

Along with its sheer presence among traffic, the interior of the Range Rover is where it truly shines. Lashings of leather, plenty of technology and a great deal of spaciousness are what await you when you climb into this giant yet incredibly refined SUV.

RANGE ROVER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mini Hatchback

Best for young drivers

Our pick Mini Hatchback 1.5 Cooper 5dr
Used deals from £9,590
Monthly finance from £189*

The original Mini was the ultimate British car, representing the boom of the 1960s and the might of the UK car industry at that time. The new model might be backed by BMW - itself German - but the cars are still built in Oxford, and they’re brilliant in so many ways.

We’ve chosen the five-door Mini as this version has useable rear seats (the three-door model’s back seats are pretty cramped), but retains the three-door Mini’s brilliant handling, punchy 1.5-litre petrol engine and smart looks.

The Mini is a big-seller, so there’s plenty of choice on the market and you can pay less than £200 per month for one on BuyaCar.

MINI 5-DOOR HATCHBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Nissan Qashqai

Best for crossover style

Our pick Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T Acenta Premium
Used deals from £10,500
Monthly finance from £238*

Along with the Leaf, Nissan’s Sunderland plant also produces the Qashqai - arguably the car that kick-started the current wave of 'crossovers' - family hatchbacks styled as SUVs. These cars have become all the rage in recent years thanks to their higher driving position, appealing to drivers who like the idea of driving a big and imposing car that drives like a hatchback.

The Qashqai is great value, as you can get into a model that’s nearly new, with less than 10,000 miles on the clock, for around £270 per month. Go for an Acenta Premium model and you get features including sat-nav, smartphone connectivity, parking sensors, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and plenty of active safety kit.

The 1.3-litre petrol engine is our pick of the bunch - it was introduced on later models and is quiet, reasonably efficient and you don’t have to work it hard to make good progress. If you're after a good-value family SUV you could do a lot worse.

NISSAN QASHQAI BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Vauxhall Astra

Best for long trips

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTI 136hp SRi Nav 5-door
Used deals from £8,390
Monthly finance from £157*

Vauxhall is one of the oldest British car brands and while it’s now owned by the same company that owns Citroen and Fiat, it continues to build the Astra in Ellesmere Port. The current Astra is a sleeper hit - it’s a far cry from the dull older models that share its name, as it’s actually really good to drive, has space for a family and is comfortable too.

Diesel isn’t dead yet, as it still really suits those drivers who do a lot of miles each year. A 1.6-litre diesel Astra has an official economy figure of around 70mpg, and that should be achievable on the motorway with a careful driver - so it’s an economical choice. It’s great value to purchase as well, with low monthly payments available.

We’ve picked out a low-mileage diesel car in SRi Nav spec, bringing sat-nav and a sharper look thanks to its 17-inch alloy wheels.

VAUXHALL ASTRA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jaguar F-Type

Best for sports car appeal

Our pick Jaguar F-Type 3.0 V6 Coupe
Used deals from £35,880
Monthly finance from £489*

A list of British cars wouldn’t be complete without a sports car - and lightweight, back-to-basics niche models such as the Caterham Seven and Lotus Elise are good examples. Yet there’s a much more popular and upmarket model, the Jaguar F-Type, that’s built at the brand’s Castle Bromwich facility near Birmingham.

The F-Type is all about having fun. The big V6 engine in our chosen model sounds great, and brings strong performance: 0-62mph takes around five seconds, and the car’s top speed is 161mph. The Coupe model makes more sense than the convertible, as it’s cheaper and looks great - but if you’ve got the cash to spend, the drop-top is just as good to drive.

The F-Type is a fast, stylish and well-equipped sports car that you’ll have no trouble driving every day, as it rides well and the automatic gearbox is smooth and easy to use.

JAGUAR F-TYPE BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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