Best-selling cars 2024: the UK’s top 10 most popular models

These are the country’s most popular cars of the year so far, but which is in pole position?

​The Ford Puma’s victory as the best-selling car of 2023 is now a distant memory for carmakers and it’s game on for 2024. January saw 142,876 new cars registered in the UK — one of which was the millionth EV to hit our roads — and the new car market is continuing on an upwards trajectory, growing by 8.2 per cent year-on-year.

There’s plenty of good news for the industry, but Ford may be hesitant to celebrate as the Puma only managed a second-place finish in the January sales charts with 4,201 units sold. This is still a strong number, but it was beaten by 4,239 brand-new Kia Sportages. 2022’s best-seller, the Nissan Qashqai, has also reappeared at the top end of the best-seller list with 4,008 hitting the road last month.

In light of the UK now having 1,000,000 EVs on its roads, all ten of January's best-sellers have at least one combustion engine in their respective line-ups, so it looks like manufacturers still have some way to go to convince buyers to make the switch to electric.

Top 10 best-selling cars 2024

Without further ado, here are the UK’s official best-selling cars of 2024 so far, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

10. Hyundai Tucson - 2,373

The Hyundai Tucson is the sister car to the current best-seller but the Kia Sportage has a lower starting price, which could be a factor in the sales discrepancy between the two. Popularity aside, though, the Tucson is a great car that doesn’t look out of place when parked among much more expensive rivals. We think Hyundai has done such a good job that we named it Mid-size SUV of the Year at our 2023 New Car Awards

9. Nissan Juke - 2,421

Much like the larger Qashqai, the Nissan Juke enjoys a pretty constant stream of steady sales. This funky crossover is undoubtedly one of the more distinctive models in this area of the market, but it’s struggling to top the mighty Ford Puma when it comes to outright appeal. A new Nissan Juke is on the way with an all-electric power, but the brand is yet to confirm when this will arrive. 

8. Volkswagen Golf - 2,456

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf has been met with its fair share of criticism, with VW customers being deterred by oversights such as an infuriating lack of physical controls and backlighting. However, the latest iteration of VW’s staple hatchback is still holding its own in the sales charts, and the brand intends to right many of the wrongs with the arrival of the facelifted Mk8.5.

7. Audi A3 - 2,648

Hot on the heels of its arch-rival, the BMW 1 Series in this list, the Audi A3’s popularity is further evidence that UK buyers are still big fans of the big three German premium brands. The A3 isn’t quite as much fun to drive as the 1 Series, but it boasts a plush interior that’s filled with the brand’s latest technology. It’s well suited to use as a family car, too.

6. MINI - 3,079

An all-new model is imminent, but buyers are still snapping up the existing MINI in droves. It’s a well-built car that offers plenty of the retro charm of the original, as well as the affordability, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen a MINI at the top end of this list. Perhaps the new version will be the car to change that.

5. BMW 1 Series - 3,204

This list may be heavily populated with SUVs, but there’s still room for a premium hatchback. The BMW 1 Series offers all of the driver engagement and quality that you’d expect, but wraps it up in a more compact yet highly practical body. It’s pretty easy to see why it’s proving so popular. 

4. MG HS - 3,413

After a brief stint as the UK’s best-selling car in January 2023, the MG HS is still doing its part to bring the iconic octagonal badge back into the mainstream. This family-oriented SUV is one of the older members of MG’s line-up, but it still carries a starting price that’s far lower than most of the competition at just £23,995. It’s a hit with budget-conscious buyers as a result. 

3. Nissan Qashqai - 4,008

2022’s British-built best-seller is still a firm favourite, even though it's no longer top-dog. Just like the Ford Puma, the Nissan Qashqai is set to gain an all-electric variant very soon, so this could bring in swathes of buyers who are searching for a zero-emission family car. The electric SUV competition is fierce, though, so Nissan will need to get the price just right.

2. Ford Puma - 4,201

After a highly successful 2023, the Ford Puma only just missed out on top honours in the first month of 2024. It’s very early days, though, and this sporty small SUV still appears to be filling the Fiesta-shaped hole in a number of Ford buyers’ lives. An all-electric version is set to arrive later this year, which could bring in a big sales boost, so the Puma is definitely still one to watch.

1. Kia Sportage - 4,239

The fifth-generation Kia Sportage has been a regular sight on this list since it launched in 2021, and it seems that it’s only increasing in popularity. With its distinctive styling, technology that’s bang up-to-date and overall quality feel, the latest Sportage is worlds apart from its predecessors. In fact, we think it’s one of the best mid-size SUVs to buy right now.

The UK’s best-selling cars 2024

  1. Kia Sportage
  2. Ford Puma
  3. Nissan Qashqai
  4. MG HS
  5. BMW 1 Series
  6. MINI
  7. Audi A3
  8. Volkswagen Golf
  9. Nissan Juke
  10. Hyundai Tucson

Sales vs registrations: inside the numbers

There’s an important distinction to be made where the UK’s monthly and annual car sales numbers are concerned. Namely, that they don’t actually count the number of cars sold in the sense that many people might imagine. The numbers provided by the SMMT are for car ‘registrations’ rather than being sales figures.

When customers buy a new car it is registered before it can be driven on the road but cars are also registered by manufacturers and dealers before they have a customer to go to. This practice of processing pre-registered cars is done for various reasons but often the goal is to move stock through the supply chain, avoiding bottlenecks or to hit targets. It means that a significant proportion of the cars in the ‘sales’ figures could be pre-registered and estimates range from between 10 and 20 per cent.

Looking to sell your current car quickly and for a good price? We’ve partnered with Motorway to bring you the best offer from its network of UK dealers...

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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