Despite the fact that modern vehicles are equipped with high tech theft protection systems and GPS navigation, a large number of cars still go missing each year. According to the UK National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, these are the 5 most commonly stolen cars in the UK. So, if you own one of these vehicles, you might consider keeping them in a locked garage.

Audi S3

It is not surprising that Audi S3 is the most stolen car in the UK with an alarming rate of 8.6 thefts per 1000 registered vehicles. The German hot hatch is interesting not only to people who are looking for a fast and usable compact car but also to quite a lot of car thieves. Regardless of the generation, the S3 was always equipped with a powerful engine and competent all-wheel-drive system which translated into sublime handling characteristics. Even the oldest S3 from the late `90s has more than 200 HP on tap with the latest model delivering 300 HP to all four wheels.

The main reason why the S3 is on top of this list is its appearance and Audi`s hot hatch has pretty unassuming looks and design which is quite similar to other A3s and other Audi models. This makes it ideal for using it as a getaway car since it is fast, extremely capable in real life conditions, can seat four people and it looks nearly identical to your neighbour`s A3 with a 1.9 diesel engine.

Land Rover Defender

With 5.8 thefts per 1000, the legendary Land Rover Defender holds a strong second place on the list. You might be puzzled by this, but it’s actually pretty logical. Firstly, with thousands of them on the UK`s roads, it’s easy to find them everywhere. Secondly, the Defenders don’t have any anti-theft protection at all and you can open them with a regular screwdriver and hotwire them in a matter of seconds if you are an experienced car thief.

Of course, who would want to steal an old Land Rover in the first place? They’re cheap, right? Well, since the classic Defender was discontinued in 2016, there is a need for spare parts, body panels and various components which are now getting more and more expensive. With Defenders becoming lifestyle vehicles and not just trusty workhorses, shady characters opt for stealing them and breaking them for parts which can be sold without a trace.

Ford Escort

For decades, the Ford Escort was the bestselling car in Britain but the last one rolled off the assembly line in 1998 before the model was replaced by the Ford Focus Mk1. Even though there wasn’t a new Escort sold in this country for 20 years, this car still holds a strong third position on the list of most stolen vehicles in the UK with 3.6 percent per 1000 registered vehicles. Why?

Well, Escorts are everywhere and they are produced with little or no theft protection systems. You can break into one with nothing more than a little wire and screwdriver and start it just as easily if you know what you are doing. Of course, there is not much money to be made stealing Escorts unless it’s the fast Cosworth ones, but they are good for breaking to spares, selling body panels or just for joyriding. Since they are so cheap, owners, police and insurance companies tend to let them go and not investigate as much as they would with more modern and expensive cars.


BMW`s oldest and biggest luxury SUV is amongst the most stolen vehicles not just in the UK but globally and thieves love this premium off-roader. At 3.1 percent this car is number 4 on our list. However, the way X5s are stolen and disposed of is a bit different from the rest of the cars.

First, as a very advanced and high tech modern car, the BMW X5 cannot be stolen by simply breaking into and hotwiring it. You must use the latest technology and special (cracked) BMW software used by dealers. The most common way is to somehow get access to the car`s main computer through the OBD port used for car diagnostics and servicing. Then by using a laptop, you delete all the settings regarding anti-theft protection. When this is done, you start the car with a click on the keyboard and you drive off without any problems.

The BMW X5 is also very hot for “export” markets and most of the cars stolen in Europe end up in Asia or the Middle East. Also, lots of X5s get broken for spares and since BMW parts are pretty expensive, there are quite a lot of people who are happy to pay less for parts which didn’t exactly come from a dealership`s warehouse.

Audi A5

On the fifth place, we feature another Audi which not only proves that Audi is universally loved by car thieves but also that the company needs to do something about theft protection of its cars. With a relatively high 3.1 percent per 1000 registered vehicles, the A5 is a pretty hot car at the moment.

Positioned above the A4 and just below the A6 executive sedan, A5 comes in three flavours – coupe, convertible and sleek fastback sedan with a low roofline. As it is a modern car, the process of stealing is high tech and includes finding the main electrical cord, cutting power and installing a relay which will give the main computer faux settings and trick it to open its doors. Then the thieves start the car and drive off.

But why would you want to steal the A5? For two reasons, one is to break it into spares since A5 has the same mechanics, engines and suspension components as many other Audis and shares a lot of parts with them. Second, if you steal the A5 sedan, it would be a great getaway car since it is fast and stable and bystanders will have a hard time telling the police what exact car just sped away, especially in the dark. All Audis look the same and even most car guys have a hard time telling an a4 from an a5.