Currently reading: 2018's most popular cars in Europe by market segment
Want to know what the best-selling SUV is in Europe? How about the most popular sports car or executive saloon? The answers are here

The car industry expands into new segments frequently, with new bodystyles popping up all over the place. 

What’s the best-selling in each one, though? We’ve got the latest data from market analyst JATO Dynamics to bring you the best-selling cars in Europe (EU countries), sorted by bodystyle.

The best-selling cars in Europe: by segment

City car: Fiat 500 - 167,708 sales

There’s no denying the 500’s charms, even if it’s not the best car to drive. European customers agree - it’s the best-selling city car on the Continent, followed by the Fiat Panda and Volkswagen Up

Supermini: Renault Clio - 284,241 sales

The Renault Clio is one of the best-selling cars in Europe, the top-selling car in France, Portugal and Slovenia and the top-selling supermini overall. It tops the Volkswagen Polo in second and the Ford Fiesta in third. 

Back to top
Back to top

Volkswagen’s hold on Europe continues with the Passat, which is officially the best-selling D-segment car in Europe. The the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is in second, with the Audi A4 in third, helping Mercedes come close to three-segment domination in the sales rankings.

Executive: Mercedes-Benz E-Class - 101,334 sales

The E-Class has helped Mercedes to become the largest premium car maker in the world, overtaking the BMW Group for world domination. The BMW 5 Series takes second and the Audi A6 third. 

Luxury: Mercedes-Benz S-Class - 12,723 sales

Back to top

Few surprises here, too - the S-Class is where Mercedes-Benz feels most at home. There’s a (relatively) new challenger in town, though: the Porsche Panamera has overtaken the BMW 7 Series to take silver. 

Small SUV: Renault Captur - 186,220 sales

This is the soon-to-be big league: the fastest-growing segment in the industry. And Renault claims another win, here with the Captur. Even today, five years after its launch, it beats the Dacia Duster and Peugeot 2008 for top spot.

Mid-size SUV: Nissan Qashqai - 206,636 sales

Back to top

A sort-of home hero takes the C-segment SUV market in Europe: the Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai, followed by the Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008. The Qashqai is only the UK’s third best-seller, yet the UK accounts for more than a quarter of European Qashqai sales.

Large SUV: Peugeot 5008 - 67,913 sales

Peugeot’s segment-leading 5008 is a new entry, as is the second-best-seller, the Skoda Kodiaq. Both lead the Nissan X-Trail. None of the three is in the UK’s top ten best-sellers. 

Small premium SUV: BMW X1 - 93,164 sales

Back to top

Another rapidly growing SUV segment, this, with the upcoming Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLB and recently introduced second-generation Range Rover EvoqueBMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40. But it's a relative old-timer, the BMW X1, that triumphs, with over over 90,000 sales so far this year. Stalwarts continue to excel in this class, with the not-long-for-this-world Mercedes-Benz GLA in second and the Audi Q3 in third.

Mid-size premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC - 108,323 sales

Two bodystyles help the Mercedes-Benz GLC (and GLC Coupé) top the mid-size premium SUV segment, followed by the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. It’s another segment that’s grown considerably in the last few months, with new entries from multiple premium brands and more on the way.

Large premium SUV: BMW X5 - 26,733 sales

Back to top

The seriously posh end of the SUV market is presided over by the segment-founding BMW X5, which usurps the former best-selling Volvo XC90 and hugely successful Mercedes-Benz GLE for first place. It’s a fairly quiet segment compared with the other SUV realms, with the X5 finding about a quarter as many homes as the GLC. 

Small MPV: Fiat 500L - 47,343 sales

The Fiat 500L is more warmly received on the Continent than in the UK, as shown by its best-seller status in the small MPV segment. The Honda Jazz and Dacia Lodgy (which isn’t available in the UK) take second and third respectively. Most MPVs are declining in sales numbers, though, as people turn to more fashionable, image-focused SUVs.

Mid-size MPV: Renault Scenic - 82,702 sales

Back to top

Another win for Renault with the Renault Scenic - the mid-sized MPV was Europe’s best-seller so far this year, overtaking the previous top-spot holder, the Volkswagen Touran, while the Citroën C4 Spacetourer remains at third. No MPV made it onto the UK’s top ten best-sellers list. 

Large MPV: Mercedes-Benz V-Class - 24,432 sales

Europe’s large MPV market is led by the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, although sales are down 7% year-on-year over 2017 in a declining market segment. The Ford S-Max takes second place, while the Seat Alhambra completes the podium.

Small sports car: Mazda MX-5 - 12,590 sales

Back to top

There could only be one, couldn’t there? The Mazda MX-5 clinches the win in Europe, although a 15% decrease year-on-year doesn’t bode well for the segment. Its cousin, the Fiat 124 Spider, follows, while the Lotus Elise comes in third, showing just how small the segment has become. 

Mid-size sports car: Audi TT - 10,273 sales

The Audi TT continues to reign over the mid-size sports car segment, beating the Porsche 718 models. The Ford Mustang overtook the 718 to take second, following Ford’s savvy decision to finally bring it to Europe. 

Large sports car: Porsche 911 - 16,936 sales

Back to top

MX-5, TT, 911 - it’s a class dominated by icons, and the Porsche 911 is the best-selling of them all. The 911 is Europe’s best-selling sports car of any size, let alone in its market segment. The Mercedes-AMG GT and Ferrari 488 follow in second and third.

More like this:

The 10 best-selling cars in Britain

The 50 best-selling cars in the world revealed

2018's most popular cars in Europe – by country

Join the debate

Add a comment…
timetableresults 19 July 2019

BA 2nd Year Result

Thanks for the Information... BA 2nd Year Result 2019

timetableresults 11 July 2019

Find My Dream Here

Whatever happened to the stunning F-Pace, Evoque and all the other “cars of the year” from the JLR stables?

BA 1st Year Result 

BA 3rd Year Result 

BA 2nd Year Result 

BSc 1st Year Result 

BA 2nd Year Result  BA 3rd Year Result 

Vertigo 27 September 2018


Looking on CarSalesBase, the Tesla Model S outsold the S-Class, Panamera and 7-series (by a large margin in the latter two cases). Not a luxury car as far as Autocar / JATO are concerned?