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 final arbitors of whether a car succeeds or fails. The top 10 best-selling cars in the UK in 2014 were all success stories in their own right. Scroll down the page for the official Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders 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 are missing from the top 10 - the buying public in the UK was clearly very fond of hatchbacks and superminis in 2014. The spread of cars included 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 – 131,254 registrations in 2014
The leading car in the supermini segment, Ford’s Fiesta was 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 – 85,140 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 – 81,783 registrations in 2014
The new Vauxhall Corsa is the best yet, offering plenty of practicality, quality and low running costs without a high price tag. It's the closest yet to the Fiesta in terms of driving enjoyment, too. That's clearly a winning formula: it was the third-highest-selling car in 2014.
4. Volkswagen Golf – 73,880 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 – 59,689 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 – 49,909 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. Volkswagen Polo - 48,004 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.
8. Audi A3 – 45,581 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.
9. Fiat 500 – 44,005 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. Nissan Juke - 39,263 registrations in 2014
The Nissan Juke's chunky styling and jacked-up bodystyle didn't put buyers off in 2014: it managed to creep into the top 10 best-selling cars of the year at the last minute. The facelifted version, which came out in 2014, brought a few small changes to the range - and that clearly encouraged some extra sales to boost it into the list at the end of the year.