Currently reading: UK new car registrations: best-selling cars of 2021
The latest SMMT data shows which cars are proving most popular so far this year
Felix Page Autocar writer
4 mins read
6 April 2021

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.


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8. Kia Sportage - 7837

Kia's big-selling family SUV has entered its twilight years, with a radically restyled new generation set to touch down in 2022, but a combination of attractive pricing and a comprehensive trim and powertrain line-up ensures its continued popularity. There's a new mild-hybrid diesel version, which will prove popular with business buyers, and a choice of two petrol engines. 

9. Ford Puma - 7561

Well, what do you know? It turns out building a car for one of the UK's most popular segments with the underpinnings of the country's single most popular model was a shrewd idea. The Puma has been on sale for little more than a year but is already proving a smash hit with buyers, likely as a result of its attractive pricing and surprisingly keen dynamics. The ranks have swollen recently with the addition of automatic, plush Vignale trim and warm-blooded ST versions, too. 

10. Volkswagen Tiguan - 7384

The Tiguan is an SUV on the march, so to speak, as the second-most popular Volkswagen product on these shores behind the Golf hatchback. A facelift gave the Tiguan a boost in the summer of 2020, and additions to the line-up in the form of the Golf GTI's 242bhp engine and the range-topping Tiguan R have brought a frightening level of performance into the equation. The latter is said to be capable of 0-62mph in under five seconds, putting it in the same territory as some seriously fast – and expensive – family cars.


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Add a comment…
AddyT 4 March 2021

How can you possibly give the Golf in 8th position such praise with your comments?!! Its not selling because its an ugly and less ergonomic car to what went before it! We see few on the roads and it's obvious  why regardless of the false praise you give it! 

Finlay Turnbull 5 March 2021

Or maybe people who previously owned a Golf are attracted to the T-Roc or ID.3, both of which weren't available just a few years ago. 

Chris C 4 March 2021

Two older model Kias and no equivalent Hyundais - are Kia UK shifting unsold stock?

Finlay Turnbull 5 March 2021

I doubt it. Why would anyone buy a Hyundai over a Kia? Hyundai's tend to cost more than equivalent Kia's and come with a 2 year shorter warranty. The new Tucson is about £5000 more expensive than the Sportage!

Symanski 4 February 2021

All the noise about electric cars and not one in the top ten.


Maybe IC cars have a bit of life left yet.



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