/ Motoring

Afraid of car theft? Best drive an old banger

There’s now a great excuse for owning an uncool car. It seems even car thieves have standards – they’re far less likely to target your vehicle if it’s deemed “cheap, with no power and no street cred”.

That’s the verdict of security expert and ex-burglar Michael Fraser, commenting on the recent survey by car insurance comparison site, Confused.com.

Analysing its data from 2006 to the present, Confused.com found that the Ford Ka was the least stolen vehicle of all – less than one in 5,000.

In contrast, one in every 256 VW Touaregs was targeted. And there’s bad news for Toyota Yaris owners – this little city runabout was the most frequently pinched (one in every 244 lost to thieves). The Yaris does seem to buck the trend though – most of the other vehicles at the top of thieves’ wish lists are big and desirable, such as the Porsche 911 and Range Rover Sport.

Is your car a steal?

Overall these findings back up a theory I’ve had for many years. It started when I was so enthusiastic to get to an inner London music concert that, not only did I leave my car unlocked, I left the keys in the ignition. Thankfully for me the car in question was a beaten up Triumph Toledo (not even the more desirable Dolomite), and when I returned seven hours later, both the car and key were still there.

Realising how good it was to have a car nobody else wanted, I stuck with this form of car security – and chose a stream of ugly duckling motors. Morris Marina, Renault 4, Citroen 2CV and my current motor, a little Renault Modus mini-MPV, which is never noticed by thieves as it waits at the train station every day.

So do you choose your car because it has street cred? Or would you consider buying an uncool car so you can be more confident that it wont’ be lost to thieves?

Inthesilence says:
26 August 2011

You don’t need to worry about thieves if you have a Morris Marina Claire. But you do need to be wary of the Top Gear Team who have a habit of accidentally dropping pianos on them.


My girlfriend had a Ford Ka at University. The car was so worn out, and had been repaired by her mechanic father so many times that by the end that you could open any door using a filed down spoon end/screwdriver. It was definitely not going to be pinched, although sometimes we wished someone would so we could get something better!!

Phil says:
26 August 2011

Ah but there’ll be another report along soon telling us that older and cheaper cars are more likely to be stolen because they have worse security than newer models or are more likely to be wanted for parts.


Have to add – I also have been aware of the ‘advantages’ of old cars for years. I used to live next to Pentonville Prison when the area was being redeveloped – and the council were relocating people into new flats.- I had a newish Mini and very proud of it – so I polished it at least weekly – It was stolen – found and returned. Continued to polish it – stolen again – found three weeks later.. I lost interest in polishing it – it quickly became very scruffy due to circumstances – not stolen again.

Years later had a new Mazda – but normally parked off road – when I did park it on road it was stolen but was recovered. Stopped polishing it – stopped being stolen.

Now I don’t polish my Hyundai car though it rarely looks that filthy – and it is 10 years old – Several times I’ve found I didn’t even lock it and nobody bothered to steal it – It is certainly not a cool car by any means but is reliable..

With newer cars, thieves often break into your house to obtain the car keys which are often left on a hall stand – as it is easier to break into the house than the car. I think older cars may be easier to break into – but unless you have a good old one – most thieves wouldn’t bother.

It depends entirely on where you live.

Years ago I owned a ford escort, it was stolen from Hyde Park in Leeds, as was pretty much every car parked on that street.

So actually, having the same locking mechanism as my old escort, a Ford Ka is one of the easiest cars to break into and so I would refrain from advising buying one, I would also advise against leaving your keys in the ignition!

It also depends on whether any opportunists are walking by at that point.

So just to recap, to get into a Ford Ka and start it, all you need is a screwdriver, a hammer and a biro to start it. Ford didn’t change any of their systems for years after mine was stolen so you would probably have to go for a new shape focus before they actually start getting more secure. Basically any Ford with a round key is the easiest car to steal in the UK.

There is no either/or, my friend was held up at gunpoint in his own house in Manchester for the keys to his subaru impreza

Steve Gebhardt says:
7 September 2019

Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage used to repair or replace your vehicle from an incident that does not involve a collision. Examples of when this coverage applies include acts of vandalism or theft.