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The Best British Cars of the 20th Century

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When it comes to cars, the British have a reputation for producing some pretty exceptional models. From a superfast F1 racer to a cosy four-door SUV, this country is home to some of the world’s most legendary marques. And if you’re looking for a new car it could be worth considering one of the 13 models on this list that were made in Britain.

Whether you’re after a family car, a practical hatchback or a sporty two-seater, there’s something for everyone on this list of british cars. To help you decide, we’ve analyzed starting on-the-road (OTR) prices for some of the UK’s most popular small, medium and larger cars. These prices include delivery charges, number plates, road tax (which depends on the vehicle’s emissions) and the first government registration fee.

We’ve also based our selection on the latest model year, as that’s when you’ll find the best deals available.

British-designed and built

The best-selling car on our list of british cars is the Nissan Qashqai, which pioneered the crossover sector when it launched in 2007. It was styled, engineered and built in Sunderland, and combines SUV styling with the economy and convenience of a hatchback. It has sold over 2.3 million units worldwide, making it the fastest UK car to reach this landmark.

As well as the iconic Mini, which revolutionized the small car market when it was launched in 1959, BMC’s Morris Marina was another big seller of this era. But it was a bit of a mishmash, designed in haste and on a slender budget. This included a cheap suspension inherited from the Morris Minor, which led to it understeering and bobbing on rough roads.

By the end of the 1970s, BLMC’s share of the market had fallen from 40% to 32% and many of its plants were closing down. The city of Coventry took the worst hit, with thousands of jobs lost.

Despite a drop in market share, the 1970s saw some excellent British-built models launched. The Triumph Dolomite Sprint, for example, was a high-performance version of the bestselling model of the time – the Triumph Tiger 800.

In the 1980s, Ford and Vauxhall introduced purpose-built people carriers to the UK market, allowing them to take advantage of rising demand for seven-seaters. These were joined by similar models from Europe, including the Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra. By the end of this decade, British-built MPVs had a small share of the market. However, the Ford Galaxy re-established the genre when it was launched in 1995.

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