What's hot and what's not? The SMMT's new car registrations data reveals all, so we've been studying the most recent figures to find out which are Britain's best-selling new cars.
The latest numbers have shown which cars have drawn the biggest sales since the start of 2021, with some retaining a market stronghold against the odds while others fight their way onto the best-sellers list for the first time.
Best-selling cars 2021
1. Vauxhall Corsa - 12,413
The perennial runner-up to the Ford Fiesta in the supermini class finally edges itself into the top spot overall, confirming its position as Vauxhall's best-selling model in Britain – still technically its home market. All-new PSA-developed underpinnings are sure to keep the nameplate in the top 10 best-sellers list, with the new pure-electric version bolstering its popularity.
2. Ford Fiesta - 11,645
It's hardly a surprise to see Ford's supermini hang around near the top of the chart. It has been the UK's best-selling new car every year since 2009, but what is surprising is that demand for it hasn't slipped more significantly following a radical line-up reshuffle in 2019 that brought its entry-level price up by nearly £2000. Clearly, the Fiesta's ability to blend efficiency with dynamism and charm is still a winning formula for a large portion of UK buyers.
3. Nissan Qashqai - 10,739
When the Qashqai first arrived in 2006, it heralded the birth of the crossover class, which is now the most crowded and in-demand segment in the UK. Even now, 14 years later, and with nearly 30 well-rounded opponents to fend off, Nissan's mid-sized SUV remains the king, and the reveal of the all-new generation next month is sure to spark renewed buyer interest.
4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 10,169
A surprisingly premium entry here from Mercedes, but one that makes a lot of sense when you consider the sheer variety of drivers the A-Class would suit. With petrol, diesel and now plug-in hybrid options on the roster – as well as an overwhelming array of specifications and trim levels to choose from – the A-Class has become a real people pleaser. The new plug-in hybrid A250e variant - with its 42-mile electric range and super-low tax rates for fleet buyers - is sure to be a strong seller, too.
5. BMW 3 Series - 8092
The BMW 3 Series is the best compact executive car in the business, and clearly UK buyers agree as it's one of the outright best-selling cars in the UK. More than 15 million examples have been sold across the globe over the past four and a half decades, and the all-round performance of the current model is incredibly hard to fault. It drives well, it's comfortable, the on-board tech is cutting-edge and the addition of a plug-in hybrid variant capable of 30 miles on electric power alone means its appeal is as wide as ever.
6. Volvo XC40 - 8084
There'll be champagne in Gothenburg as Volvo bosses celebrate the brand's baby SUV overtaking its formidable Volkswagen Tiguan rival in one of its most crucial markets. Volvo's traditional trump cards - strength, safety and dependability - play well in this segment, and although the diesel option was pulled from sale in mid-2020, the remaining petrol, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and - soon - pure-electric versions help it cater to a wide audience.
7. Volkswagen Golf - 7896
A slip down the charts for the usually dominant Golf, but the year is still young… The eighth-generation car represents a more radical departure from its predecessor than any iteration since the fifth, and if the sales chart – and our comprehensive road test – are anything to go by, the evolution is welcome indeed. Improved dynamics and a radically overhauled interior are the headline changes, but economy and usability enhancements sweeten the deal.