1: Ford Fiesta
2: Volkswagen Golf
3: Ford Focus
4: Nissan Qashqai
5: Vauxhall Corsa
6: Volkswagen Polo
7: Vauxhall Astra
8: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
10: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Established brands and models dominate the top 10 list of best-selling cars in the UK and the hatchback rules supreme. However, the latest sales figures show that some newer additions to Britain’s roads are growing in popularity, despite an overall slowing down of market sales.
The latest figures cover the year to the end of October and show that superminis and hatchbacks remain the most popular, particularly Volkswagens; this month, the Golf overtook the Ford Focus for second place, and the Polo overtook the Vauxhall Astra for sixth place. Longstanding leader, the Ford Fiesta, continues to fly out of dealerships, but the Nissan Qashqai led the pack in September 2017, ahead even of the Fiesta last month, with the Volkswagen Golf coming in second.
1: Ford Fiesta – 83,070 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 and its replacement is soon to arrive. Its sales figures are well ahead of the closest rivals', even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. The Fiesta's sales performance is well deserved, though. The Ford supermini as hugely impressive, as our four-star review proves. We particularly like its ride and handling, interior quality and smooth engine range.
2: Volkswagen Golf - 62,565 registrations
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, including newly introduced facelifted version, is a consummate all-rounder - so much so that it was actually June's best-selling car. In our 4.5-star review, we called it the best hatchback in the world, and we’ll stand by that assessment.
3: Ford Focus – 62,029 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: Nissan Qashqai – 57,120 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.
5: Vauxhall Corsa – 48,315 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 being rapidly caught up by the Volkswagen Polo, but even so, it's hard to see it dropping further down this list any time soon.
6: Volkswagen Polo - 43,158 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, soon to be sixth, it could easily be mistaken for a smaller Golf, which is no bad thing.
7: Vauxhall Astra - 43,116 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 hatches you can buy.
8: Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 41,281 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.
9: Mini - 38,964 registrations
The Mini has moved back into ninth, retaking the place from the Mercedes A-Class in June. Although near the base of this list, the Mini is a top-10 regular - and who can blame buyers? Charming looks, sharp handling and BMW-quality are just three of its strong points, but now there's also a five-door variant for added practicality.
10: Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 37,937 registrations
Mercedes' smallest model rounds out the top 10, keeping the Nissan Juke out of the club in an increasingly premium-segment list. It's tight, though, as models such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series are all close behind.