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Britain, Britain, Britain. True, we may be rubbish at cricket, our lands may be mostly underwater, and an excitable creature called Dappy may be turgidly infesting our television screens. But at least our car market’s back in (relatively) rude shape.

Figures released by the SMMT today reveal that Britons bought precisely 2,264,737 cars in 2013. That’s up by 260,000 cars - or 10.8 per cent - over 2012, and the biggest year for UK car sales since 2007.

These results cement Britain’s position as Europe’s Greatest Nation (According To Very Specific Metrics). See, Blighty was the only of western Europe’s big car markets to show substantial growth. Spain recorded a minor 2.1 per cent rise on the back of its scrappage scheme, while Germany (minus 4.9 per cent), France (minus 7.1 per cent) and Italy (minus 7.7 per cent) all saw big falls.

In 2012, petrol cars made up just 45.6 per cent of UK sales, but the green stuff made a slight return last year: 48.8 per cent of cars sold in 2013 were petrol powered.

Sales of hybrid and plug-in electric cars rose a whopping 20.5 per cent in 2013, but - with sales of 32,715 units - still comprised just 1.5 per cent of the overall car market.

The Fiesta was Britain’s best-selling car of last year, shifting 121,929 units. Second-placed was another Ford, the Focus, with a pair of Vauxhalls (Corsa and Astra), a duo of VWs (Golf and Polo), a brace of BMWs (3-Series and 1-Series) and the soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Qashqai also making the top ten.

With 2014 predicted to be an even bigger for the UK car market, Top Gear confidently predicts top ten entries for the Morgan 3Wheeler, Rolls Royce Wraith and Radical RXC Coupe this year. And, if this weather continues, the TG Hovervan…

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