The latest figures cover the year to the end of February and show that superminis and hatchbacks are the most popular. The Ford Fiesta continues to fly out of dealerships, with the Vauxhall Corsa is chasing hard but some way behind in overall sales.
1: Ford Fiesta
2: Ford Focus
3: Nissan Qashqai
4: Volkswagen Golf
5: Vauxhall Corsa
6: Vauxhall Astra
7: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
8: Volkswagen Polo
9: 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, perhaps foreshadowing a change in preferences among buyers.
The latest figures cover the year to the end of February and show that superminis and hatchbacks are the most popular. The Ford Fiesta continues to fly out of dealerships, with the Vauxhall Corsa is chasing hard but some way behind in overall sales. The Focus is still attracting plenty of fans; even more than the Volkswagen Golf, which is now fourth overall despite VW’s recent tribulations.
The Vauxhall Astra continues to sell well and is chasing the Focus, while the Volkswagen Polo shows that there are plenty of buyers willing to pay extra for a more classy supermini.
1: Ford Fiesta – 50,779 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. Its sales figures are well ahead of its closest rivals', even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. Its sales performance is well deserved, though. The Ford supermini as hugely impressive, our four-star review proves that. We particularly like its ride and handling, interior quality and smooth engine range.
2: Ford Focus – 31,762 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.
3: Nissan Qashqai – 28,471 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.
4: Volkswagen Golf - 27,895 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. In our 4.5-star review, we called it the best hatchback in the world, and we’ll stand by that assessment.
5: Vauxhall Corsa – 27,821 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 hard to see it dropping far down this list anytime soon.
6: Vauxhall Astra - 25,431 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 compact hatches you can buy.
7: Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 23,284 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.
8: Volkswagen Polo - 22,500 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, it could easily be mistaken for a smaller Golf, which is no bad thing.
9: Mercedes-Benz A-Class - 19,222 registrations
Mercedes' smallest model takes ninth place from Mini, and knocks the Nissan Juke out of the top ten in an increasingly premium-segment list. It's tight, though, as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series were both among the best-sellers of April 2017, but didn't sell enough to nab a top ten place across the year.
10: Mini - 18,952 registrations
The Mini has dropped into tenth place after the A-Class stormed into ninth. It's a top-ten regular though; and who can blame buyers either? 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.