Hastings Direct news: Our top 10 most loved cars of all time

Everyone remembers their first love … And by that we mean their first car! Before you set off on a romantic journey with your loved one this Valentine's Day, we wanted to give you a gentle reminder about those past loves — of the four-wheel variety — that got our pulses racing in years gone by.

10. Austin/Rover Metro

In at number 10, it's the Metro! Replacing the Mini was the original aim of this much-loved car as the emergence of the Volkswagen Polo in 1976 convinced the British Leyland group they needed a larger vehicle than the Mini. With sales of 1,498,169 it was the perfect choice for beginners — even the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer owned a Metro, and affectionately called it her 'courting car'!

9. Austin/Rover Mini

The iconic, original Mini comes in at number 9 with sales of nearly 1.6 million. A staple of British culture, the Mini was loved by the masses and had a celebrity following that included Sir Paul McCartney, Steve McQueen and 60s supermodel Twiggy. The Mini was the only Rover Group asset BMW retained with their brand takeover in 2000. BMW have been producing their own, modernised versions since 2001 but the original Mini will always have a special place in our hearts.

8. Ford Focus

While the Focus may be the latest debut on this list, it has achieved staggering sales of 1,796,687. Since 2000 the love for this car has continued to grow as it has consistently been top of the new car sales charts and finished in the top two of the year in 2014. Loved by families and commuters alike, the Focus is a bit like Mary Poppins — perfectly practical in every way!

7. Volkswagen Golf

Adored for its adaptability, the Golf is one the top household names in car design with sales of 1,813,730. Having seen seven generations of design since 1974, the Golf has claimed countless accolades, including numerous Car of the Year awards and two European Car of the Year titles. And who could forget that famous 1987 TV ad with model Paula Hamilton — she may have lost a husband, but at least her Volkswagen was reliable!

6. Vauxhall Cavalier

While the first model was admired, the Mark II and III models saw dramatically increased interest in the Cavalier from 1981. The love for this car has continued since production ceased in 1995, with all-time sales reaching an amazing 1,816,529.

5. Vauxhall Corsa

With an international reputation across mainland Europe, the Corsa takes the midway spot with sales of 1,829,581. Although not released in the UK until 1993 (11 years after it was first produced), the Corsa has been named the number two supermini for nearly two decades. Do you remember the 1992 commercial that featured a raft of supermodels including Kate Moss?

4. Ford Cortina

Bringing Britain from the love of the Mini to an age of compact family cars, the Cortina held the title of Britain's best-selling car for an entire decade until production ceased in 1982. Reaching sales of 2,589,351, it was propelled back into the TV viewers' consciousness as one of the stars of the hit TV series Life on Mars in 2006.

3. Vauxhall Astra

2015 saw the seventh generation of the Vauxhall Astra, one of the best-loved small-sized family cars since its introduction in 1979, enjoying a little competition with Ford along the way. With sales of 2,845,357 it's certainly gained a place in the nation's hearts.

2. Ford Escort

The longevity of the Escort is evidence of just how loved this car was in the UK. Running from 1980 to 2004, the Escort held the top spot in British car charts for an incredible eight years with sales of 4,105,192. Hands up who had one as their first car?

1. Ford Fiesta

And in the top spot at number one, it's … the Fiesta. Manufactured by Ford since 1976, this supermini first claimed the title of most bought car of the year in 1990. Since then, the Fiesta has won this position an additional 11 times up until 2014 and racked up sales of a staggering 4,132, 294! Did you know that before being named Fiesta, it was originally entitled the Bobcat — but what did you call yours?

Sales figures from Society of Motor Manufacturers, correct as of summer 2014.

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