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

Fiat 500 0

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

Renault clio uk 1

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. 

Family hatchback: Volkswagen Golf - 378,167 sales

Volkswagen golf 0


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Surprise, surprise: the Volkswagen Golf - best-selling car in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Latvia and Luxembourg, second-best-seller in Norway, Switzerland and the UK and third-best-seller in Denmark, Ireland and Sweden, is Europe’s favourite family hatchback. The second-placed Skoda Octavia and third-placed Ford Focus didn’t stand a chance. 

Mid-size saloon/estate: Volkswagen Passat - 137,794 sales

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Renault scenic front quarter

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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?