We’ve written before about the top five brands from some of the most industrious countries in the automotive sector including the most popular models from GermanyFrance and Italy. Today, we’re going to take a look at brands that are a little closer to home with our top picks of British brands.

Best British Brands

If you’re looking for a new car you might not think of looking at a British brand but there are some great homegrown models for you to choose from whether you’re looking for a compact hatchback, large SUV or anything in between the two.

When we looked into the British brands, we were pleasantly surprised to see that there were more than we expected, but we’ve chosen what we think are the best of the bunch for our top five pick.

1. Land Rover

Our first pick goes to the iconic Land Rover a brand that revolutionised off-roading and introduced SUVs to the UK in the same way the Jeep did for the US.

Land Rover began life as a sketch on an Anglesey beach by the Wilks brothers, who were thinking about the benefits of a four by four designed specifically for UK roads, terrain and weather. Both Spencer and Maurice Wilks worked for the Rover Car Company and so had the knowledge, skill and contacts to bring their beach doodles into reality.

A year after their 1947 beach designs the first Land Rover was produced. Maurice worked with fellow Rover engineer Arthur Goddard to design the vehicle whilst his brother Spencer, who held a managerial position at Rover, was able to sign off on the designs. Although the Rover Car Company remained the parent company for the Land Rover brand it was able to create and maintain its own sense of style and function.

original range rover

Over the years Land Rover has been a subsidiary of a number of different larger companies including the Rover Group, BMW, Ford and Tata Motors. It was under Tata Motors that Land Rover merged with Jaguar in 2013 to create the Jaguar Land Rover but the two brands remain separate with distinctly unique styles and vehicles.

Today Land Rover is still the go to for UK off-roaders in models like the Discovery but the more modern Range Rover models pair practicality with a high-spec luxury interior.  Unlike other brands Land Rover has a few core models in their range; the Discovery, Defender and Range Rover, and different specs like the Evoque or Sport available in them. This select range means that they’ve really fine-tuned their models to give drivers what they are looking for, what the brand is known for, a stylish and capable SUV with all the latest features you could want.

land rover current models

2. Mini

Another icon of the British Isles is the Mini. The brand today is known for creating fast and small hatchbacks and this comes from a long history of working in and alongside the racing industry.

The classic Mini came from two companies collaborating the Cooper Car Company and the Morris Company.

The Cooper Car Company was solely focused on designing and building Formula Three racing vehicles, which were generally single-seat models powered by rear engines. The Cooper Car models were very successful, especially with new young drivers and it was in a Cooper Car that racing legend John Cooper would win many championships, including the Formula One World Championship.  

Whilst the Cooper Car Company was focused on racing prowess Morris and it’s owner Sir Leonard Lord were providing cars for the everyday driver. After the Second World War the needs of UK drivers were changing significantly, as were their budgets and seeing the changes in their customer base and the country as a whole Sir Lord tasked his top engineer Alec Issigonis with designing something completely new. He wanted a small car that was capable of carrying four adults, cheap to purchase and cheap to run – from that brief the Mini was born.

It was immediately a hit and the hatchback was quickly followed by van and pick-up versions. And then they collaborated with John Cooper in 1961 to create the Mini Cooper.

classic mini

John Cooper could see the potential of the compact car on the racing circuit and helped with the design of a Mini that was designed for racing, with a more powerful engine, larger brakes and modified interior for better performance on the track. From this initial Mini Cooper the brand has continued to grow with close ties with racing, and just as their track models take inspiration from their everyday models the road models are inspired by the track models. This has created a brand that is known for creating punchy cars that are fun to drive but practical in the real world.

mini current models

3. MG Motors

MG Motors first emerged nearly a hundred years ago in the early 1920s and has been on, and off, UK roads ever since. There have been a few periods of time where the MG brand has been shelved, or out of production due to changes in their parent companies but the current iteration of the company MG Motor UK was established in 2006 and has been going strong since then. In recent years we’ve seen the brand grow rapidly in popularity here and abroad.

As a brand MG has predominantly focused on the most popular models – SUVs. They do have a hatchback in the MG3 and an estate in the MG5 but the majority of their catalogue are SUVs. An SUV is a great choice if you’re looking for more room for passengers and goods, a higher viewpoint of the road or just want something that has a larger road presence.

mg motors current models

4. Jaguar

Jaguar is a premium car brand known for creating luxury cars with all the latest in convenience and comfort features finished to a high quality. The first Jaguar was produced in 1935 as a partnership between the Standard Motor Company and Swallow Sidecar Company. Swallow had years of experience in the automotive industry producing sidecars for motorbikes and the bodies for other companies’ passenger cars and with the collaborative project they found success creating their own cars.

jaguar c type

Ten years later Swallow changed their name to Jaguar and the brand continued to evolve, creating cars that inspire and thrill drivers.

Whilst Jaguar has remained a brand known for luxury they’ve also been at the forefront of some of the boldest technological advances such as Dunlop disc brakes and the first fully-electric SUV in the UK.

jaguar current models

5. Aston Martin

Our final pick is the iconic Aston Martin brand. It’s a premium brand known for their superfast high-powered sports cars, kitted out with the latest tech and all of the luxury touches of a premium model.

The brand was first established in 1913 as Bamford and Martin, after the two founders Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. Both men had experience selling Singer cars and racing cars themselves, especially in the Aston Hill Climb. Their first car was a special model built by Martin to compete in the 1914 Aston Hill Climb, using an existing engine and chassis but the first official company vehicle was built and registered the following year. 

World War One halted production as they both served in the military so the next Aston Martin model wasn’t built until 1920. The initial cars were designed predominantly for racing, though they were available to the public and in four years they produced around 55 vehicles. It was in the inter-war period that the company was officially renamed Aston Martin.

aston martin db5

During this time the company changed ownership several times and after WW2 in 1947 Aston Martin was sold to tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited. This company had also purchased another car manufacturer Lagonda which came with the new V6 engine their engineer W.O. Bentley had created. This led to the 2 litre sports models that remain popular with drivers to this day. In fact, it was one such DB5 that made Aston Martin’s first appearance in a Bond movie, with James Bond driving a modified version in the 1964 hit Goldfinger.

Modern Aston Martins remain a popular choice for drivers that want a luxury performance car that their favourite spy would drive!

aston martin current models


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