What’s the UK’s most popular car option?

We, at carwow, are uniquely positioned because we get to see the buying habits of UK car buyers across a range of manufacturers. Sure, Mercedes can tell you how many Burmester stereos it’s shifted but it can’t tell you how it compares to audio systems sold across the broader motoring industry.

We can, however, because our car configurator has been used more than half-a-million times by UK car buyers to option-up some of the country’s most popular models. So what option box are car buyers most likely to tick?

Most popular option – alloy wheels

They say you can gauge the measure of a person by the shoes they wear and, it seems, the same applies to your car. It wasn’t so long ago that wheels were simply a cylindrical means to achieve forward motion but, with the proliferation of hip-hop music and flash footballers, they’ve become much more of a style statement.

It seems UK buyers are a style-conscious bunch because the most commonly specified optional extra is alloy wheels. In a sample of the 10,000 most recent configurations, wheels were chosen a total of 546 times or in 5.5 per cent of all configurations.

This sounds low but most cars above a certain price point include alloys as standard so this figure represents people choosing alloys over steel wheels or upgrading to a bigger set.

Most popular options – the runners-up

Closely behind alloy wheels in the eyes of buyers was heated seats. These were specified a total of 520 times in our 10,000 sample or in 5.2 per cent of cases. What this suggests is UK motorists are getting pickier about the kit their car comes with and are starting to expect more for their money.

Sat-nav, unsurprisingly, also featured in the top three. 4.7 per cent of configurations featured a built-in sat-nav system instead of a portable TomTom or equivalent. So, not only are UK buyers getting softer – they’re also getting worse at reading maps, so they’re happy to splash out the extra cash for a fully-integrated unit.

Privacy or tinted glass was selected 3.88 per cent of the time making it fractionally less popular than sunroofs (3.9 per cent). Reversing cameras – a blessing in many a modern city – were ticked in 3.8 per cent of configurations. Upgraded audio rounds off the most popular options at 3.7 per cent.

Cars-wise, Audi was our most configured brand with Volkswagen and Ford following closely behind. The Nissan Qashqai was our most configured car just edging ahead of the Ford Fiesta.

Least popular options

Given the complications of working out equivalent options between manufacturers, it’s hard to tell what actually holds the title of Britain’s least popular option. A selection of the least specified options includes 12V outlet sockets in the boot, auto-dimming rear-view mirrors, cargo nets and fatigue detection systems.

Weighing up your options

Why not head over to the car configurator and join the half-million other people building their ideal cars on carwow. Or, if you’re not sure what car to get, head over to our car deals page to see our latest discounts.

Nissan Qashqai

Compact SUV is a great family car
£18,545 - £29,840
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Ford Fiesta

Comfortable ride and sharp handling disguise Fiesta’s age
£13,545 - £19,145
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Volkswagen Golf

Proven family hatchback with a classy interior
£17,625 - £27,785
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