Many drivers prefer the reassurance of buying a popular tried-and-tested model when buying a new car. We’ve used data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to show you the 10 best-selling cars in the UK.
Check out our new car deals page to see how much carwow can help you save. For more help deciding what to buy, read our list of the 10 best family cars, the top 10 SUVs currently on sale and our rundown of the best small cars you can buy.
1. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta’s blend of style, space and fun handling was enough to win over more than 100,000 buyers in 2016 alone. It might be one of the oldest superminis on sale – Ford is preparing to launch an all-new Fiesta in 2017 – but it makes a compelling rival to the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo.
You don’t have to pick one of the more expensive ST versions to have a real hoot behind the wheel, either. Even entry-level models handle brilliantly and offer a range of peppy petrol engines that’ll return as much as 65mpg – in EcoBoost guise.
2. Vauxhall Corsa
The Vauxhall Corsa is hugely easy to drive and has, as a result, become immensely popular with learners and new drivers alike. It’s not just a car for teenagers, however – small families will appreciate the numerous cubby holes dotted around the cabin and its fair 285-litre boot.
The latest Corsa offers a vastly improved range of engines over its predecessor, including an excellent 1.0-litre petrol unit that produces 114hp yet can return 57.6mpg. If you’re looking for a sportier hatchback, it’s also available in raucous VXR trim with a potent 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with 202hp.
3. Ford Focus
The Ford Focus is the Fiesta’s bigger brother and, as a result, boast a more spacious 316-litre boot – it does lag behind key class rivals, however. Taller rear passengers may find its sloping roofline limits headroom slightly but there’s plenty of room for three kids to sit comfortably in the back.
All models come well equipped and all but the most basic versions come with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. It might be starting to show its age against more modern rivals but the Focus is still one of the best handling cars in its class. It’s not only more fun to drive than a VW Golf but it rides well and is fairly refined, too.
4. VW Golf
The Golf is VW’s best-selling model and its also one of the UK’s most popular cars. Nearly 60,000 have been sold in 2016 alone thanks to its tempting blend of smart styling, a well-built cabin and a great range of powerful and efficient engines. From the free-to-tax 1.0-litre petrol unit to the lively 1.4-litre turbo and a range of torquey diesels, there’s something to suit almost every driver’s needs.
The recently facelifted Golf comes with a subtly redesigned bodykit and new gesture control features for its larger infotainment system. A second digital display behind the steering wheel will replace the outgoing model’s conventional instruments while a semi-autonomous driving feature is offered on cars fitted with a DSG automatic gearbox.
5. Nissan Qashqai
The first non-hatchback entry on our list is the high-riding Nissan Qashqai crossover. Since 2015, more than 55,000 drivers have been won over by its smart interior, decent cabin space and excellent ride quality.
If you avoid entry-level models, you’ll find the Qashqai comes generously equipped with leather trim, automatic lights and wipers, climate control and an upgraded infotainment system. All models are offered with a good range of engines, too, including a frugal 1.5-litre diesel that can return 70mpg.
6. Vauxhall Astra
The new Vauxhall Astra manages combines a stylish body with a roomy interior and an impressive 370-litre boot. Its slick cabin comes with an excellent selection of equipment including Vauxhall’s OnStar personal assistance system and an app that allows you to unlock the car from your phone.
You can choose from six different engines including an impressively quiet 1.6-litre ‘Whisper’ diesel unit and a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol shared with the smaller Corsa. The latter can deliver excellent fuel economy of 67.3mpg.
7. VW Polo
The VW Polo is a popular supermini with a wealth of upmarket. Even entry-level models come with a DAB digital radio and USB connectivity while mid-range versions boast a 6.5-inch infotainment system with the option of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
The Polo’s 280-litre boot lags slightly behind the Fiesta’s but it’s still fairly roomy and, in Match trim and above, comes with a removable false floor as standard. The front seats boast excellent adjustability and the back seats are spacious enough for two adults to sit in comfort – for short journeys at least. If you regularly carry more than three passengers, however, you may be better off with the larger Vauxhall Corsa.
8. Mini Hatchback
The Mini Hatchback offers a retro-styled alternative to the more mundane crop of compact hatchbacks. The latest model combines subtly tweaked styling with a myriad of personalisation options that should make sure you’ll not easily lose it in a supermarket car park.
It might not boast the most spacious interior – and its 211-litre boot will certainly limit how much you can carry – but the compact Mini Hatchback is terrific fun to drive. A selection of efficient diesel engines – including a 1.5-litre unit that can return 83.1mpg – and peppy petrol models help make this a compact family car that’ll put a smile on your face without costing the Earth to run.
Read our full Mini Hatchback review to decide of this is the perfect new car for you.
9. Mercedes C-Class
The Mercedes C-Class is the first executive saloon to feature in our top 10 list. It combines elegant styling with a range of frugal engines and a practical 480-litre boot. Choose the optional air suspension and it’s comfortable and refined behind the wheel, too.
Its eye-catching cabin comes equipped with a decent amount of equipment as standard. Unfortunately, Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system lags slightly behind both Audi and BMW rivals but it’s still fairly intuitive to use. The C-Class isn’t the most fun car in its class to drive but it makes a great choice if you’re looking for a sumptuous and spacious saloon.
10. Audi A3
Audi recently facelifted its A3 with a sharp new look, a revised interior and a comprehensive range of engines to suit every need – and most budgets. An efficient 1.6-litre diesel that can return 72mpg should cater for the cost-conscious buyer while a potent 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol bridges the gap to the rapid 306hp S3 hot hatch.
All A3 models, including the Sportback and Saloon variants, come with an upmarket interior that isn’t just spacious but leads the field in terms of build quality. Thanks to numerous plush materials, good equipment levels – even entry-level cars come with cruise control – and a stylish design, the A3’s cabin really is leaps and bounds ahead of its main rivals.
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