Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain
The latest list of Britain’s best-selling cars hints at changing trends as well as showing the continuing popularity of some stalwarts, but what car is top?
Established brands and models dominate the top 10 list of best-selling cars in the UK and the hatchback rules supreme. However, the list of sales in 2016 so far shows that some newer additions to Britain’s roads are growing in popularity, perhaps foreshadowing a change in preferences among buyers.
The latest figures cover the year to the end of August and show that superminis are the order of the day. The Ford Fiesta continues to fly out of dealerships, with the Vauxhall Corsa is chasing hard but some way behind in overall sales. Ford also wins the battle of the compact hatchback, with the Focus attracting plenty of fans, but the Volkswagen Golf retains fourth place despite VW’s recent tribulations.
Nissan’s Qashqai shows the continuing popularity of small SUVs by holding on to the fifth place it achieved in 2015. Meanwhile, Vauxhall’s Mokka – 10th overall last year before climbing to ninth, has been knocked out by the Audi A3, with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class climbing into ninth place.
The Vauxhall Astra continues to sell well, albeit not in the numbers needed to trouble the Focus, and the Volkswagen Polo shows that there are plenty of buyers willing to pay extra for a more classy supermini.
The latest-generation Mini hatchback has climbed to eighth from its 2015 position of ninth.
1: Ford Fiesta – 96,139 registrations
The Fiesta has been a British favourite for decades and that shows no signs of changing, even though the latest incarnation is now eight years old. Its sales figures are well ahead of its closest rivals’, even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. Its sales performance is well deserved, though. We describe the Ford supermini as “hugely impressive” in our four-star review, lavishing particular praise on its ride and handling, interior quality and smooth engine range.
2: Vauxhall Corsa – 64,925 registrations
The Corsa is another established doyen in the UK and Vauxhall’s perennial rival to the Fiesta. The latest generation arrived in 2014 and offers something for most people, from the 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol option to the 202bhp snorting VXR version. It’s competitively priced, drives and rides well and is designed and specced to please the car’s large fan base. It’s hard to see it dropping far down this list anytime soon.
3: Ford Focus – 57,137 registrations
The Focus has delivered an outstanding drive since it replaced the Escort with aplomb in 1998, offering impressive road manners at a volume price. It has been so good, in fact, that we were slightly disappointed by the diluted dynamics of the latest version. However, as our review notes, it’s still a very appealing, complete car. It looks good, has a strong, economical engine range and offers a lot of quality for its price.
4: Volkswagen Golf – 54,934 registrations
Just a short distance behind the Focus, the Golf is another classic name in motoring that attracts legions of diehard fans to keep it riding high in the charts, even with Volkswagen’s recent scandal. Emissions concerns aside, the seventh-generation Golf is a consummate all-rounder. In our 4.5-star review, we called it the best hatchback in the world, and we’ll stand by that assessment.
5: Nissan Qashqai – 50,923 registrations
Is it really a decade since Nissan’s now ubiquitous crossover first arrived? Its blend of hatchback size and SUV pretensions have proved a huge draw for customers and it’s now the best-selling small SUV in the country, leaving a trail of imitators in its wake. The second-generation model, released in 2014, keeps dynamic, economic and interior standards high, garnering a 4.5-star review from our road test team. No wonder it’s holding firm in the sales charts.
6: Vauxhall Astra – 44,771 registrations
The Astra is something of an also-ran to the Ford Focus, but the latest generation, launched in 2015, is a thoroughly decent car in its own right. Well equipped with sharp handling and economical engines, it earns a strong four-star review from us, although we had reservations about its ride and styling. Overall, though, it deserves to be considered as one of the best compact hatches you can buy.
7: Volkswagen Polo – 43,642 registrations
Volkswagen’s supermini offers a touch more class and sophistication than the Fiesta and Corsa, albeit at a higher price. It’s more mature and conservative in its demeanour, but many of the British car-buying public embrace such traits, which is why the Polo is a top 10 stalwart and scores four stars in our review. Now in its fifth generation, it could easily be mistaken for a smaller Golf, which is no bad thing.
8: Mini – 36,738 registrations
The release of the ‘new’ third-generation Mini in 2014 prompted the characterful hatchback’s climb into the UK’s top 10 best-seller list and we’re pleased to see it here because it’s a great little car. In our 4.5-star review of the Cooper model, we praise the new-found maturity and quality lacking in earlier cars. It also still hangs on to the sense of fun that attracted the attention of so many people in the first place.
9: Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 34,994 registrations
It’s unusual for a premium car to find itself in the top 10, but it’s testament to the C-Class’s appeal, particularly among fleet customers, that it’s shifting so many units for Mercedes. Looking like a miniature S-Class doesn’t hurt the latest version, which was launched in 2014. It’s an excellent offering that garnered a four-star review from our test team, who fell for its high-quality interior and alluring looks. Good residual values do it no harm, either.
10: Audi A3 – 33,240 registrations
It’s more unusual for two premium cars to crack the top ten, but the Audi A3 has done it, knocking the Vauxhall Mokka out of the running. The A3 accounts for every fifth Audi registered worldwide, and with a range of body styles to choose from including convertible, saloon, three-door and five-door hatches, as well as blistering S3 and RS3 models, it’s clear to see why it has a place among the UK’s best-sellers.