At Auto Express we test every new car that goes on sale in the UK but ultimately it's you, the car buying public, who are the ultimate arbitors of whether a car succeeds of fails. The top 10 best-selling cars in the UK so far this year are all success stories in their own right. Scroll down the page for the list in full.
Of course, some small-volume cars, like sports cars or dedicated off-roaders, won't sell as many units in a year as these ten top bestsellers do in a single month. They have different targets but it's still all about sales in the end: each car maker obviously wants to sell as many of each model it makes as it possibly can.
Supercars, luxury saloons and large SUVs may be missing from the top 10 but the buying public in the UK is clearly very fond of hatchbacks and superminis. The spread of cars includes a few other bodystyles, though.
With the usual superminis and family hatchbacks supplemented by a city car, crossover SUVs and a premium hatchback, the top 10 bestsellers reflect both the increasingly diversified product ranges offered by manufacturers and the UK public’s broadening tastes.
1. Ford Fiesta – 79,007 registrations in 2014
The leading car in the supermini segment, Ford’s Fiesta is also the top-selling car in the UK. Ford’s finest manages to tick the practicality and economy boxes that are so crucial for any small car but it’s also a blast to drive, whether you opt for the entry-level version or the Fiesta ST hot hatch.
2. Ford Focus – 50,767 registrations in 2014
Alongside the Fiesta, the Focus is the powerhouse of the Ford range. It’s big enough to cope with the demands of family life but sufficiently compact to keep running costs to a minimum. As we’ve come to expect from modern Fords, the driving experience is first class and the Focus is about to get a styling refresh that should enhance its appeal further.
3. Vauxhall Corsa – 47,752 registrations in 2014
The current Corsa is no spring chicken but that hasn’t stopped Vauxhall selling its supermini in big numbers. A facelifted Corsa is set to come out soon but tight pricing and attractive finance deals are helping the existing car more than hold its end up while we wait for the replacement to hit the showrooms.
4. Volkswagen Golf – 43,277 registrations in 2014
The Volkswagen Golf is a thoroughly impressive family hatchback. It has a high quality feel that none of its mainstream rivals can match and the potential to pinch sales from premium hatches in the class above. Brilliantly-judged suspension, high-tech turbocharged engines and that classy VW image all count in its favour.
5. Vauxhall Astra – 36,578 registrations in 2014
Vauxhall’s long-time rival for the Ford Focus continues to hold its place in the sales charts. The Astra is a big, comfortable car for the family hatch class with attractive styling that’s shown-off best by the coupe-like GTC versions.
6. Nissan Qashqai – 30,919 registrations in 2014
We have the Qashqai to thank for kick-starting the current crossover SUV boom. By taking compact 4x4 looks and high-riding practicality then marrying the to the polished driving dynamics of a conventional car, the Qashqai has proved a sales sensation for Nissan. The second generation model launched in 2013.
7. Audi A3 – 26,638 registrations in 2014
The Audi A3 uses the same platform and many of the same engines as the Volkswagen Golf but flexes its premium brand muscles to command higher prices. It’s a tactic that’s clearly working, however, because the A3 has muscled its way into the top 10 best sellers in the country.
8. Volkswagen Polo - 25,161 registrations in 2014
The Polo is, to all intents and purposes, the junior Golf and it mirrors the qualities of its big brother in the smaller supermini segment. Despite its compact dimensions, the Polo has that highly prized ‘big car feel’ in spades. It’s pricier than its direct rivals but that doesn’t seem to be deterring buyers. A revised Volkswagen Polo with engine and spec upgrades is set to cement its stay at the top.
9. Fiat 500 – 24,707 registrations in 2014
Fiat hasn’t been having the best of times recently but the 500 city car is a big, retro ray of light for the company. Such is the 500’s sales success that Fiat has expanded the family to include MPVs and hot Abarth versions. It might not be the most technically adept city car but people just love the way it looks.
10. BMW 3 Series – 22,832 registrations in 2014
The BMW 3 Series is one of the best executive cars you can buy, so it's no surprise to see it get into the top 10 - but a slow start to the year means it can only manage a 10th place finish. A strong March (with the new 14-plate registrations) was good news for BMW, though.