Best-selling cars of 2023

These were the country’s official favourite cars in 2023

​2023 is now just a fading memory, but fortunately for the UK’s new car industry, it’s a relatively happy one as it was the strongest year of growth since the Covid pandemic. A whopping 1,903,054 new cars were registered last year but, of course, only one could be crowned as the UK’s best-selling car.

2022 saw the Nissan Qashqai beat back the opposition to become the country’s home-grown favourite, but in 2023 it faced some very steady competition from the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Puma. All three of these cars held positions towards the top of the best-seller charts throughout the entire year, but Nissan finished off by shifting a final 4,253 Qashqais in December — over 1,000 more units than its two arch rivals. This made for a tight finish.

In the end, the Ford Puma won and took the title as the UK’s best selling car of 2023. It was a particularly good year for Ford with the Ford Transit Custom the best-selling van and the Ford Ranger the best-selling pick-up truck, but it didn’t top the manufacturer charts. Volkswagen was the best-selling car brand with 162,085 units registered, 18,000 more than Ford could manage. 

Best-selling cars of 2023

These are the UK’s official best-selling cars of 2023, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

10. Vauxhall Mokka - 29,984 registrations

Vauxhall experienced a small car sensation last year, not only did the Corsa sit high on this list for several months, but the Mokka crossover was a regular sight, too. The Mokka is a rival for the Ford Puma and Nissan Juke that appear further up this list but, unlike those two, this model already has the option of all-electric power.

9. Audi A3 - 30,159 registrations

The big three German premium brands — AudiBMW and Mercedes — were once staples of Britain’s roads, but this family hatchback is the only model to represent them in 2023’s best-seller list. This could be evidence of the traditional executive car’s declining popularity.

8. Nissan Juke - 31,745 registrations

Nissan’s quirky crossover has long been a sales success for the brand, and the second-generation model continued this trend. Although the Ford Puma was the clear leader for small SUV sales in 2023, the Juke managed to hold its own.

7. MINI - 33,385 registrations

Since 1959, Britain has always loved the Mini. Today, the next generation of MINI models is due to arrive very soon but, in the meantime, buyers still snapped up plenty of the brand’s existing models last year. Will the next generation of Britain’s iconic small car be just as popular? Only time will tell.

6. Hyundai Tucson - 34,469 registrations

Just like the rest of the Korean brand’s line-up, the Hyundai Tucson has developed into a much more sophisticated vehicle than its predecessors. Class-leading levels of space, a striking design and solid build quality are just some of the reasons why we have named it our Mid-size SUV of the Year for three years in a row, and it’s clear that buyers shared our positive opinions.

5. Tesla Model Y - 35,899 registrations

The Tesla Model Y was officially the UK’s best-selling electric car of 2023. Although the competition was hotter than ever, the Model Y SUV continued to strike the right chords with British buyers, and it’s quickly becoming a common sight on our roads.

4. Kia Sportage - 36,135 registrations

The latest Kia Sportage is clear evidence of Kia’s rapid progression towards becoming a more upmarket brand. The fifth-generation Sportage’s eye-catching styling, comfortable ride and up-to-date technology mean that this model has come a very long way from its utilitarian roots, and it was hugely appealing to buyers as a result.

3. Vauxhall Corsa - 40,816 registrations

Britain loves its SUVs, but the Vauxhall Corsa led the way for supermini sales. Its continual appearance towards the higher end of the 2023 best-seller charts should go some way towards quashing concerns about the demise of the small car — even though the smaller city car segment has seen a major decline.

2. Nissan Qashqai - 43,321 registrations

2022’s best-selling car couldn't quite emerge from the Ford Puma’s shadow in 2023. Nissan may be licking its wounds for a while after this defeat, but with over 43,000 units shifted, the Qashqai was clearly still a firm UK favourite. 

1. Ford Puma - 49,591 registrations

After sitting at the top of 2023’s sales charts for a grand total of nine consecutive months, the Ford Puma was always the bookies’ favourite to be the year’s outright best-seller. This sporty crossover is good to drive, practical and also rather stylish, and these are all qualities that were essential towards making the Puma stand out in the fiercely contended small SUV sector, as well as on the market as a whole. 

The demise of the closely-related Fiesta supermini could have been another reason for this sales boom, too, as customers searched for a similar alternative. Whatever the reason, Ford finally managed to reclaim the best-seller throne.

The UK’s best-selling cars of 2023

  1. Ford Puma
  2. Nissan Qashqai
  3. Vauxhall Corsa
  4. Kia Sportage
  5. Tesla Model Y
  6. Hyundai Tucson
  7. MINI
  8. Nissan Juke
  9. Audi A3
  10. Vauxhall Mokka

Now take a look at the UK's best-selling cars from over the years...

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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