What’s hot and what’s not? The SMMT’s new car registration data reveals all, and we’ve been studying the most recent figures to find out Britain’s best-selling new cars.
The figures shown for each model are the most recent year-to-date sales numbers available, but it’s important to note that, with just 4321 new cars sold overall in April 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, individual model sales figures have risen only modestly over the past month.
Best selling cars 2020
1. Ford Fiesta – 45,807
It’s hardly a surprise to see Ford’s supermini hold on to the top spot, because it has been the UK’s best-selling new car every year since 2009. What is surprising is that demand for it hasn’t slipped following a radical line-up reshuffle last year 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.
2. Vauxhall Corsa – 43,410
The perennial runner-up to the Ford Fiesta in the supermini class finds itself in second place, and remains Vauxhall’s best-selling model in Britain – still technically its home market. The arrival of the all-new PSA-developed car is sure to keep the nameplate in the top 10 best-sellers list, with a new pure-electric version bolstering its popularity.
3. Volkswagen Golf – 38,369
The new Golf has landed in the UK, and has a lot to live up to if it’s to maintain the strong sales of its Mk7 predecessor. It’s now been through the full Autocar road test, and showed that Volkswagen’s uncanny ability to combine people-pleasing styling, efficient yet potent powertrains and overwhelming practicality in one affordable package is alive and well.
4. Ford Focus – 36,887
There’s success for the Blue Oval in the hotly contested family hatchback segment, too. When we tested the Focus in 2018, we liked its playful chassis set-up, engaging driveline and improved ergonomics – plus points that continue to tempt buyers away from German, Spanish and Czech equivalents. Strong demand for the Focus in June helped it to overtake its VW Golf rival in the sales charts, but it’s narrowly missed out on a podium spot again this month.
5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 34,847
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. Nissan Qashqai – 30,863
When the Qashqai arrived back 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.
7. Mini – 28,701
Strong sales in early 2020 nudged the Brit-built Mini hatch into the top ten, and straight past best-selling stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and VW Polo. And why not? There’s plenty to like about the retro-styled runabout, including a spacious, well-put-together interior and a range of engines that offer pep and frugality.
8. Volkswagen Polo – 25,374
The Polo has lost some ground in the past couple of years. It was the sixth best-selling car in 2018 and in December of that year was second only to the Fiesta. The fact remains, however, that it’s our favourite supermini on the market today. According to our reviewers, the Polo is “at once roomier, plusher, more technology rich, more pleasant to use and more polished to drive than almost any supermini on the road”.
9. Ford Puma – 23,694
Well, what do you know? 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 less than a year, but is already proving a hit with buyers, likely as a result of its attractive pricing and surprisingly keen dynamics. The ranks have swollen in recent weeks with the addition of automatic, plush Vignale trim and warm-blooded ST versions, too.
10. BMW 1 Series – 22,494
The new 1 Series received a largely cool reception from diehard BMW fanatics, who bemoaned its switch from rear- to front-wheel-drive, but the transition has clearly done little to dent its appeal for the average consumer. Our testers thought it a shame that the interior and styling aren’t more closely linked to its 3 and 5 Series siblings, but found it a well-rounded proposition with improvements in ride quality.