2013 saw a 0.9% year-on-year increase in used car sales, with 6,806,198 cars changing hands.
Not since 2008 have used car sales been so high when annual sales were recorded at 7,208,100, said data provider Experian.
Cars aged nine years or older had a good year in 2013 with annual sales rising by over 6% making it the most popular age category for used cars. Sales of models aged three to six years and six to nine years both dropped by 4.4%.
For the second year running the Ford Focus was the best selling used car in the UK with a 3.67% increase in sales this year up to 312,221 from 301,154 in 2012. It was closely followed by the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Corsa both with sales of more than three million.
Looking at the different segments, Experian figures show that the biggest growth in used car sales came from larger models with the MPV and 4X4 categories both on the rise (4.6% and 4.3% respectively).
The most popular selling MPV was the Vauxhall Zafira with just under 100,000 units sold in 2013.
Alternative fuel models have been seeing double digit growth since records began and 2013 saw a continuation of this trend. Sales of hybrid cars were up by 31.8% while electric cars experienced a 20.2% uplift in sales.
The Toyota Prius was still the star model of the hybrid segment, dominating with 40% of sales in that category and the Nissan Leaf was the best-selling electric model in 2013.
Regionally, Experian's analysis shows the country is still divided, with those living in the north of England and Scotland preferring Vauxhalls whilst Ford remained the favorite brand for car buyers from the South East, South West, East Anglia, West Midlands and Wales.
Most regions attributed to the overall upward trend in used car sales, with East Anglia leading the way – up 8.08% on 2012. Only Greater London and the North West experienced a slight decline compared to last year (1.18% and 1.09% respectively).
Keith Ambrose, managing director of Experian Automotive, said: “Used car sales data allows automotive organisations to recognise the preferences of their customers and fulfil their requirements at a geographical level. This means they adopt a much more personalised service to increase sales opportunities and encourage growth.
"The 2013 figures reveal that car buyers are increasingly turning to older used car models."
Top selling used cars in 2013
1 FORD FOCUS 312,221
2 FORD FIESTA 308,410
3 VAUXHALL CORSA 303,868
4 VAUXHALL ASTRA 267,766
5 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 216,500
6 BMW 3 SERIES 188,848
7 RENAULT CLIO 170,634
8 PEUGEOT 206 141,318
9 VOLKSWAGEN POLO 128,354
10 FORD MONDEO 127,822 (Source: Experian/DVLA)
LAND ROVER FREELANDER 487,675 (4.36 % change from 2012)
MERCEDES C CLASS 309,652 (-0.58)
FORD FOCUS 1,860,615 (1.52)
BMW 7 SERIES 41,841 (-0.38)
VAUXHALL ZAFIRA 396,541 (4.69)
SMART FORTWO 117,193 (-0.62)
AUDI TT 242,557 (-1.86)
FORD FIESTA 2,231,781 (3.48)
BMW 3 SERIES 1,034,180 (-5.86) (Source: Experian/DVLA)
Top selling used cars by region in 2013
FORD FOCUS 340,550 (8.08% difference to 2012)
VAUXHALL CORSA 575,891 (1.68)
FORD FIESTA 606,112 (-1.18)
VAUXHALL CORSA 327,989 (0.20)
FORD FOCUS 648,984 (-0.09)
BMW 3 SERIES 562,062 (0.10)
FORD FIESTA 1,447,852 (1.61)
Yorkshire and the Humber
VAUXHALL CORSA 684,190 (0.61)
VAUXHALL CORSA 371,239 (0.11)
VAUXHALL CORSA 662,618 (0.73)
FORD FIESTA 578,629 (0.44) (Source: Experian/DVLA)
Fuel type: total used cars sold in 2013
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2,291,008 (8.19% change to 2012)
NISSAN LEAF 4,783 (20.24)
VAUXHALL CORSA 4,466,330 (-2.58)
TOYOTA PRIUS 30,561 (31.86) (Source: Experian/DVLA)