The ever-popular Ford Fiesta topped the new car sales list last year, ahead of the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa
James Attwood, digital editor
7 January 2019

The Ford Fiesta was comfortably the best-selling car in Britain in 2018, with 95,892 examples of the supermini being snapped up during the year.

In total, 2,367,147 new cars were registered in the UK in 2018, a decline of nearly 7% on 2017 levels. Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the Fiesta was the most-registered new car in Britain, outselling the second-placed Volkswagen Golf by more than 30,000 units.

Click here to read about the latest new car sales figures for the UK market

Britain's best-selling cars of 2018 

1. Ford Fiesta – 95,892 registrations

The Fiesta has been a British favourite for decades and this shows no signs of changing. The car's sales figures are well ahead of those of its closest rivals, even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. The latest version of the Blue Oval's supermini scored an impressive 4.5-star review from Autocar's road testers. We particularly like its ride, handling, interior quality and smooth engine range.

2. Volkswagen Golf - 64,829 registrations

The Golf is another long-established nameplate that remains popular with buyers, and the seventh-generation machine was the second-best-selling car in the UK last year. That's despite the fact that the eighth-generation Golf will be unveiled later this year.

3. Vauxhall Corsa – 52,915 registrations

The Corsa, Vauxhall's perennial rival to the Fiesta, continues to be a popular choice for motorists. The current model arrived in 2014, is competitively priced, drives and rides well, and is designed and specced to please the car's large fan base. The next version - due to be revealed later this year - should further spruce up sales, especially as the first Corsa to benefit from Vauxhall's new PSA Group owners.

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta

In remaking Britain’s best-selling car, Ford has trodden lightly with the new Fiesta. But does the all-new supermini do enough to keep its place at the head of the table?

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4. Nissan Qashqai – 50,546 registrations

The car that created the crossover boon continues to lead sales in the category, despite an influx of new and highly regarded rivals. 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 league table.

5. Ford Focus – 50,492 registrations

The Focus has delivered an outstanding drive since it replaced the Escort in 1998, offering impressive road manners at a reasonable price. The fourth generation of the Volkswagen Golf-rivalling family hatch arrived last year, and impressed our road testers with its driving dynamics, strong and economical engine range and quality for the price. 

6. Volkswagen Polo - 45,149 registrations

The latest-generation Polo has honed the car into something close to a slightly smaller Golf, and it offers a similar level of all-round Volkswagen polish. That's helped the supermini to rise up the sales charts during 2018.

7. Mini – 44,904 registrations

Britain's appetite for the Mini is far stronger than the European average, perhaps because each model is still built in this country. The car was recently facelifted (it gained new Union Jack-motif rear lights) and it'll gain an all-electric variant this year. But the best-selling version remains the one that stays truest to the original: the three-door hatchback. 

8. Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 43,527 registrations

Mercedes' smallest model is another car that climbed up the sales charts throughout 2018, helped by the arrival of a well-regarded new generation during the year. The fourth generation of the A-Class is further proof that Mercedes can offer a premium product for the small car class.

8. Ford Kuga – 40,398 registrations

The Kuga quietly remains Britain's second-best-selling SUV behind the Nissan Qashqai, a strong result given the rising competition in the class. The Kuga is decent-handling, refined and rides well. 

10. Kia Sportage - 35,567 registrations

The appearance on this list of Kia's best-seller is a testament to both the Korean firm's growth in the UK and the popularity of SUVs overall.

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Comments
66

6 September 2016
Surely its only a matter of time before the Astra and Corsa overtake the sales of the Focus and Fiesta? We all know the Corsa is a light makeover of the previous version, but its still a very capable, fresher offering than the Fiesta. The Astra seems to be well rated and looks good to me, and again, a newer alternative. On the evidence of its latest offerings, the Fiesta may well lose its dynamic advantages with the replacement model, so maybe then other manufacturers will take a lead on the ever popular Ford.

6 September 2016
I can't see Vauxhall outselling Ford anytime soon. Cars don't sell to the masses on their dynamic ability, so no matter how much Ford dilutes the driving experience of the forthcoming Fiesta, I'm sure it will still reign supreme in the sales chart. If you think back to the late eighties/early nineties when the Fiesta and Escort were well off the pace dynamically, they still outsold all their rivals.

TS7

6 September 2016
...well, guessing, that on the very rare occasions the Corsa has outsold the Fiesta it's been nothing more than a statistical blip. It might happen during the odd month, but never over the course of a year, for example.

TS7

6 September 2016
...but in europe as a whole the Corsa did indeed outsell the Fiesta from 1997 to 2004, 2007 & 2008. Though my previous comments refer to the UK only.

4 November 2016
catnip wrote:

Surely its only a matter of time before the Astra and Corsa overtake the sales of the Focus and Fiesta? We all know the Corsa is a light makeover of the previous version, but its still a very capable, fresher offering than the Fiesta. The Astra seems to be well rated and looks good to me, and again, a newer alternative. On the evidence of its latest offerings, the Fiesta may well lose its dynamic advantages with the replacement model, so maybe then other manufacturers will take a lead on the ever popular Ford.

Considering all fords are made in the EU, they are best placed to receive tariffs on their all their cars. Vauxhall on the other hand do produce the Astra in the uk so hopefully this time in a few years it will be topping the charts. 3 out of 10 cars made in the uk just goes to show how the uk has lost out in car production while being in the EU membership with Germany clearly the biggest winner.

No Honda and Toyota just goes to show how obsessed the British are with German junk even though the Japanese have far far superior reliability. We act like we have pride in our country yet buy nothing that we make ourselves and support OUR economy. It shameless

5 April 2017
GODFATHER wrote:
catnip wrote:

Surely its only a matter of time before the Astra and Corsa overtake the sales of the Focus and Fiesta? We all know the Corsa is a light makeover of the previous version, but its still a very capable, fresher offering than the Fiesta. The Astra seems to be well rated and looks good to me, and again, a newer alternative. On the evidence of its latest offerings, the Fiesta may well lose its dynamic advantages with the replacement model, so maybe then other manufacturers will take a lead on the ever popular Ford.

Considering all fords are made in the EU, they are best placed to receive tariffs on their all their cars. Vauxhall on the other hand do produce the Astra in the uk so hopefully this time in a few years it will be topping the charts. 3 out of 10 cars made in the uk just goes to show how the uk has lost out in car production while being in the EU membership with Germany clearly the biggest winner.

No Honda and Toyota just goes to show how obsessed the British are with German junk even though the Japanese have far far superior reliability. We act like we have pride in our country yet buy nothing that we make ourselves and support OUR economy. It shameless

How has the UK lost in car production whilst in EU? Vauxhall has been part of GM for decades prior to PSA ownership. Rover , Bentley RR all sold off. BL a disaster way before joining EU. Even though most volume manufacturers are foreign owned production has grown.
Don't count on the Astra being kept in U.K. Opel Poland manufactures it along with Buicks using cheaper labour. Would not be surprised if PSA use economies of scale and transfer everything to Europe in the long term.

4 November 2016
catnip wrote:

Surely its only a matter of time before the Astra and Corsa overtake the sales of the Focus and Fiesta? We all know the Corsa is a light makeover of the previous version, but its still a very capable, fresher offering than the Fiesta. The Astra seems to be well rated and looks good to me, and again, a newer alternative. On the evidence of its latest offerings, the Fiesta may well lose its dynamic advantages with the replacement model, so maybe then other manufacturers will take a lead on the ever popular Ford.

Registrations for October 2016: Vauxhall Astra- 4985 (second best selling car); Ford Focus- 4096 (sixth best selling car).
I however think this is more a one off than a long term trend.
Source: SMMT

5 June 2017
catnip wrote:

Surely its only a matter of time before the Astra and Corsa overtake the sales of the Focus and Fiesta?

Who knows. It is interesting that while other manufacturers are madly introducing high-tech new models all the time, Ford continues to knock out ancient designs like the Fiesta and Focus year after year and hey're best sellers.

6 September 2016
The Fiesta is a superb drive, the Corsa isn't.

6 September 2016
2nd that

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