Best-selling cars in the UK 2018

The Ford Fiesta tops the sales charts, selling almost 100,000 units in 2018 while EVs and hybrids gain popularity

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed the top ten best-selling cars in the UK for 2018.

Once again, the Ford Fiesta topped the charts with over 95,000 registrations, putting it well ahead of the Volkswagen Golf in second place.

• UK new car registrations 2018: the winners and losers

The German hatchback sold 64,829 units, while the Vauxhall Corsa rounds off the top three with 52,915 sales, knocking out the Nissan Qashqai, Britain’s best-selling SUV.

New car sales were down 6.8 per cent in 2018, with diesel sales taking the biggest hit dropping by a significant 29.6 per cent.

Confusion around the Government's policy on diesel was blamed for the fall in new diesel registrations however petrol cars rose by 8.7 per cent. Meanwhile, sales of alternatively fuelled cars grew by 6.1 per cent despite the cuts to EV and PHEV grants in November.

Pure electric sales grew by 13.8 per cent but, with only 15,474 registered, they still represent just 0.7 per cent of the market.

Electric car sales predicted to surge this year

The last 18 months have proved tricky for the car industry thanks to uncertainty over Brexit, the announcement of a non-electrified car sales ban for 2040, and the introduction of new VED road tax rates with more severe tariffs on emissions. And while 2018 was still the fourth-biggest year in a decade for car sales, industry experts fear more turbulence for the future following the uncertain impact of any Brexit deal.

So the Ford Fiesta remains the best-selling car in Britain, but which other models made the top ten in 2018? Read on to find out…

Top ten best-selling cars 2018

1. Ford Fiesta - 95,892 registrations

The Ford Fiesta has topped the sales charts once again, having outsold the second-best-seller by just over 31,000 registrations. 95,892 new Fiestas hit the road in 2018, and we can expect to see it keep its place at the top of the list over the coming 12 months.

2. Volkswagen Golf - 64,829 registrations

Second in the final 2017 top ten standings, the Volkswagen Golf is also second overall in the 2018 rankings having secured 64,829 registrations. With the current Mk7 model starting to feel its age now, sales are likely to spike when the new Mk8 goes into production later this year.

3. Vauxhall Corsa - 52,915 registrations

Vauxhall is a brand that desperately needs to show some promise in 2019, and strong sales for the Corsa in 2018 have given the car maker a boost. The brand will be keen to hold onto that position with no other models in the top ten following the Mokka X’s departure from the list early in the year.

4. Nissan Qashqai - 50,546 registrations

The Nissan Qashqai has performed steadily in the charts but remains at fourth after dropping down from its third-place position in August. In 2017 it was the most popular SUV in Britain, but the Vauxhall Mokka X stole an early march in the race for that title in the first two months of this year. Since then though, the Qashqai has reclaimed its crown, while the Mokka X has disappeared from the top ten altogether.

5. Ford Focus - 50,492 registrations 

Not content with securing first place with the Fiesta, Ford also occupies fifth overall with the Ford Focus. Its position on the list could rise in 2019 though, as the new Focus only went on sale in September…

6. Volkswagen Polo - 45,149 registrations

The Volkswagen Polo made a quiet start to 2018, but with 45,149 registrations, it’s finished in a solid 6th position, just missing out on the top five. With the VW Golf securing second place, the German brand will be pleased that another of its models is performing well in the UK.

7. MINI Hatch - 44,904 registrations

After breaking into the top ten best selling cars list back in March, the MINI finished the year in seventh place overall. Its distinctive styling and great driving dynamics are still managing to attract customers with sales likely to remain strong in 2019.

8. Mercedes A-Class - 43,527 registrations

While the old model remained popular all the way to the end of production, Mercedes has secured a second consecutive top ten finish with the all-new A-Class. The premium feel and rafts of tech are sure to keep the hatch flying out of showrooms in 2019.

9. Ford Kuga - 40,398 registrations

Another Ford in the top ten, ensuring there’s no place in the 2018 best-selling list for former regulars such as the Vauxhall Astra. The Kuga's boot might be a tad smaller than some rivals’, but lots of passenger space is a strong selling point.

10. Kia Sportage - 35,567 registrations

Rounding off the top ten with 35,567 registrations is the Kia Sportage. While it’s still a fair way from the top three, Kia has impressed us with the new Ceed and the Stinger so expect to see at least one of its models near the top of the charts in 2019.

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