Currently reading: New car registrations: Best-selling cars in the UK
We run through the latest new car registration data to see which models are flying off forecourts
Felix Page Autocar writer
4 mins read
4 September 2020

What's hot and what's not? The SMMT's new car registrations data reveals all, and we've been studying the most recent figures to find out Britain's best-selling new cars. 

The figures shown for each model are the most recent year-to-date sales numbers available, but it's important to note that, with just 4321 new cars sold overall in April 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, individual model sales figures have risen only modestly over the past month. 

Best selling cars 2020

1. Ford Fiesta - 29,891

It's hardly a surprise to see Ford's supermini hold on to the top spot, because it has been the UK's best-selling new car every year since 2009. What is surprising is that demand for it hasn't slipped following a radical line-up reshuffle last year 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. 

2. Ford Focus - 25,517

There's success for the Blue Oval in the hotly contested family hatchback segment, too. When we tested the Focus in 2018, we liked its playful chassis set-up, engaging driveline and improved ergonomics – plus points that continue to tempt buyers away from German, Spanish and Czech equivalents. Strong demand for the Focus in June helped it to overtake its VW Golf rival in the sales charts, claiming the number two spot under its Fiesta sibling. 

3. Vauxhall Corsa - 25,182

The perennial runner-up to the Ford Fiesta in the supermini class finds itself in third place, and remains Vauxhall's best-selling model in Britain – still technically its home market. The arrival of the all-new PSA-developed car is sure to keep the nameplate in the top 10 best-sellers list, with a new pure-electric version bolstering its popularity.  

4. Volkswagen Golf - 24,395

The new Golf has landed in the UK, and has a lot to live up to if it's to maintain the strong sales of its Mk7 predecessor. It's now been through the full Autocar road test, and showed that Volkswagen's uncanny ability to combine people-pleasing styling, efficient yet potent powertrains and overwhelming practicality in one affordable package is alive and well. 

5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 19,370

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. 


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6. Nissan Qashqai - 18,736

When the Qashqai arrived back 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. 

7. Mini - 16,528

Strong sales in early 2020 nudged the Brit-built Mini hatch into the top ten, and straight past best-selling stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and VW Polo. And why not? There's plenty to like about the retro-styled runabout, including a spacious, well-put-together interior and a range of engines that offer pep and frugality. 

8. Volkswagen Polo - 14,512

The Polo has lost some ground in the past couple of years. It was the sixth best-selling car in 2018 and in December of that year was second only to the Fiesta. The fact remains, however, that it's our favourite supermini on the market today. According to our reviewers, the Polo is "at once roomier, plusher, more technology rich, more pleasant to use and more polished to drive than almost any supermini on the road".

8. Volkswagen Tiguan - 14,467

Europe's best-selling SUV holds its place in the UK top 10 for the second month running, showing that the firm's uncanny ability to balance build quality with affordability and good looks is not limited to the hatchback class. The facelifted model is inbound, bringing fleet-friendly plug-in hybrid and 316bhp R versions, so chances are the crossover will continue to be a strong seller.

10. Toyota Yaris - 13,546

The all-new fourth-generation Yaris, revealed in October 2019, has just gone on sale in the UK. Chances are, if it offers the same value-for-money, spaciousness and build quality as the outgoing model, we'll continue to see Toyota's answer to the Fiesta in this list for a long while yet. 

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26 March 2020

I'm assuming these sales figures are based on the first two months of the year, in which case it would be interesting to see how they compared with last year? Otherwise this is not a popular time to buy a car - and the only conclusion that can be drawn is that SUVs are not yet in a position of dominance, with conventional models still dominating the top four and occupying seven out of the top 10 sales positions. 

26 March 2020
'German, Czech or Spanish'. A pointless distinction given that they are the same cars with different socks on.

Why does anyone buy a car from the monkey gassing cheaters anyway?

26 March 2020
Good point, only 3 in 10 SUVs.

26 March 2020

I don't know how they complie these lists but using my own eyes when I'm out and about, that last doesn't tally with my findings. I've seen plenty of 20 registration plates but I don't think I've yet seen a 20 plate Golf and it's number 3!

Could it possibly be the case that it's the dealerships / manufacturer who has bought the cars and e won't see them for another 2-3 mths when it becomes time to sell their pre-reg?

Best selling new cars are therefore not necessarily the most popular selling new cars with Joe Public.

26 March 2020

I must get rid of this useless new blutooth keyboard. Bluetooth and Windows10 still not talking to each other. Apologies for the less than perfect English.

26 March 2020
Glad to see the Grandland doing well. Yes, we all know it's PSA under the skin, but it is at least it's own Vauxhall designed skin, and shows there still love for the marque.

6 April 2020

 March car sales ....DOWN 44.4%!?

6 April 2020
It is incredible to note that Autocar has failed to tell us that Tesla Model 3 kicked VW Polo out of Britain's best selling cars in March. You can't really hide something like that. But hiding something like that could affect your credibility.

5 May 2020
fadyady wrote:

It is incredible to note that Autocar has failed to tell us that Tesla Model 3 kicked VW Polo out of Britain's best selling cars in March. You can't really hide something like that. But hiding something like that could affect your credibility.

But, I can't see why?, and this is just an opinion, it ain't pretty!, and from the few I've seen they look a bit plasticky,cheap built, fast they may be, but I want my car to look nice too.

5 May 2020

There have been some fascinating insights into Tesla recently, which explains why the rest of the industry, including Autocar, is trying to downplay them.

1. VW boss said that Tesla's half a million or so cars on the road form a massive interlinked network that feeds back info. This enables Tesla to build updates and deploy them across the fleet every 14 days via wifi. No-one else can do that, according to him.

2. Tesla have no dealers and an online ordering process, so have kept delivering cars throughout the current crisis. Again, no one else can do this.

3. The Supercharger network, which is prolific and reliable, gives Tesla an advantage over other car makers. It's also currently being upgraded to 250kw charging, so a Model 3 can charge to 80% in 15 minutes.These are all reasons why the mainstream tries to ignore Tesla, because they feel threatened.

And it's going to get a lot worse when Rivian arrive next year. 


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