The latest SMMT data shows which cars are proving most popular so far this year
What’s hot and what’s not? The SMMT’s new car registrations data reveals all, so we’ve been studying the most recent figures to find out which are Britain’s best-selling new cars.
The latest numbers have shown which cars have drawn the biggest sales since the start of 2021, with some retaining a market stronghold against the odds while others fight their way onto the best-sellers list for the first time.
Best-selling cars 2021
1. Vauxhall Corsa – 32,616
The perennial runner-up to the Ford Fiesta in the supermini class once again finds itself in the overall top spot, confirming its position as Vauxhall’s best-selling model in Britain – still technically its home market. All-new PSA-developed underpinnings are sure to keep the nameplate in the top 10 best-sellers list, with the new pure-electric version bolstering its popularity.
2. Volkswagen Golf – 26,606
The Golf’s comeback continues, as it edges its way back up towards the top of the sales charts. The eighth-generation car represents a more radical departure from its predecessor than any iteration since the fifth, and the evolution is welcome indeed. Improved dynamics and a radically overhauled interior are the headline changes, but economy and usability enhancements sweeten the deal.
3. Ford Fiesta – 26,360
The first of two Fords in the top four this week, it’s hardly a surprise to see the firm’s supermini hang around near the top of the chart. It has been the UK’s best-selling new car every year since 2009, but what is surprising is that demand for it hasn’t slipped more significantly following a radical line-up reshuffle in 2019 that brought its entry-level price up by nearly £2000. Clearly, the Fiesta’s ability to blend efficiency with dynamism and charm is still a winning formula for a large portion of UK buyers. Sales will likely be bolstered soon, as the Fiesta is due to gain a facelifted model with design and tech upgrades.
4. Ford Puma – 26,129
It turns out building a car for one of the UK’s most popular segments with the underpinnings of the country’s single most popular model was a shrewd idea. The Puma has been on sale for a while now, and is still bringing in those consistent sales. It’s been a smash hit with buyers, likely as a result of its attractive pricing and surprisingly keen dynamics. The ranks have swollen recently with the addition of automatic, plush Vignale trim and warm-blooded ST versions, too.
5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 24,944
A surprisingly premium entry here from Mercedes, but one that makes a lot of sense when you consider the sheer variety of drivers the A-Class would suit. With petrol, diesel and now plug-in hybrid options on the roster – as well as an overwhelming array of specifications and trim levels to choose from – the A-Class has become a real people pleaser. The new plug-in hybrid A250e variant – with its 42-mile electric range and super-low tax rates for fleet buyers – is sure to be a strong seller, too.
6. Volkswagen Polo – 24,422
Volkswagen’s ever-popular small hatchback makes a strong return to the top ten. A new model is on the way, with Volkswgaen’s now characteristic lightbar and a fresh new design, and a new GTI model was also recently announced retaining its 2.0-litre TSI engine and traditional GTI design features.
7. Kia Sportage – 24,400
Kia’s big-selling family SUV has entered its twilight years, with a radically restyled new generation touching down in 2022, but a combination of attractive pricing and a comprehensive trim and powertrain line-up ensures its continued popularity. There’s a new mild-hybrid diesel version, which will prove popular with business buyers, and a choice of two petrol engines.
8. Toyota Yaris – 23,969
Toyota’s VW Polo rival re-enters the top ten with a focus on fuel economy and a smaller wheelbase this time around. An array of hybrid tech is available in a time where the switch to electric power is inevitable, and it performs excellently both on long motorway stints and around town. You also get adaptive cruise control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and automatic wipers and headlights as standard. There’s certainly plenty to like.
9. BMW 3 Series – 23,253
The BMW 3 Series is the best compact executive car in the business, and clearly UK buyers agree as it’s one of the outright best-selling cars in the UK. More than 15 million examples have been sold across the globe over the past four and a half decades, and the all-round performance of the current model is incredibly hard to fault. It drives well, it’s comfortable, the on-board tech is cutting-edge and the addition of a plug-in hybrid variant capable of 30 miles on electric power alone means its appeal is as wide as ever.
10. Nissan Qashqai – 22,535
When the Qashqai first arrived in 2006, it heralded the birth of the crossover class, which is now the most crowded and in-demand segment in the UK. Even now, 14 years later, and with nearly 30 well-rounded opponents to fend off, Nissan’s mid-sized SUV remains the king, and the all-new third-generation car is sure to spark renewed buyer interest.
New car registrations up in March as dealers prepare to open
UK car sales tumble in 2020 to 28-year low
Autocar’s best cars in every segment