Best-selling cars of 2021

We reveal Britain’s best-selling cars for 2021 so far

The Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed the UK car registration figures for March 2021, giving us our latest update on the UK's best-selling cars charts. 

2020 was a year to forget for the majority of automotive brands with the coronavirus pandemic forcing dealerships to shut and denting sales of new cars. Unfortunately, early 2021 continued the trend of low sales with dealerships in England remaining closed due to the coronavirus lockdown. Traditionally, March is a better month for new car sales than February as buyers get drawn in by the plate change (21-plate in this year's case) but this year many manufacturers are looking to car dealers reopening on April 12th as their light at the end of the tunnel. 

Despite dealerships remaining shut, a growing number of companies are offering online car buying solutions, from click and collect to home delivery, that can get you a new vehicle in socially distanced safety. The hope in the industry is that a relaxation in the rules in April will help car sales return to something like normal. 

As far as car sales go, the Ford Fiesta has had a poor start to the year by its high standards, although last year's best-selling car is showing signs of life with a second-placed finish in February and March. The Vauxhall Corsa is leading the way so far for 2021 as a whole. Its total of just 12,413 units sold is the highest volume of any UK model but that only indicates the struggles the industry faces as it comes out of lockdown. 

The Nissan Qashqai completes the current 2021 top three with 10,739 units, impressive considering the news that an all-new version will be launched in the summer.  

Coronavirus had just started to make headlines in the UK this time last year so 2021's March has actually improved on 2020's with 11.5 per cent more cars sold. Petrol car sales are down 28.4 per cent for the year to date and diesel cars are down 46.9 per cent. There is some good news, however, as pure electric vehicles are up 74.1 per cent and plug-in hybrids are up 93.6 per cent. 

The UK's best selling cars for 2021 so far

1. Vauxhall Corsa - 12,413

The UK’s second best-selling car of 2020 is going one better so far in 2021. A new generation of Corsa has certainly helped it put pressure on the Ford Fiesta, but there’s still a long way to go before it can win the overall title for 2021. Taking the best-selling title for March is a good indicator as it's one of the typically more positive months for new car sales. 

2. Ford Fiesta - 11,645

The Ford Fiesta is struggling to find its form. While no one would expect it to reach the heights of previous years for obvious reasons, it's a surprise to see it fall behind its key rival, the Vauxhall Corsa. A second-place March keeps it within touching distance of the Corsa. 

3. Nissan Qashqai - 10,739

Despite not having an all-electric option like some of its rivals, the Nissan Qashqai remains a strong contender in the best-selling cars list. It has its work cut-out to retain the title of Britain’s best-selling SUV and despite the promise of an all-new version due in the summer, the current generation model is performing well. 

4. Mercedes A-Class - 10,169

The A-Class was Britain’s best-selling premium car in 2020. Despite being the smallest and cheapest car in Mercedes’ range, buyers were clearly not put off as the hatchback surged to fifth place. The A-Class managed over 7,000 units sold in last month - more than double the previous two months and indicative of the importance of March for new car sales. 

5. BMW 3 Series - 8,092

The BMW 3 Series had a relatively bumper March compared to previous months. 5,681 sales pushed the premium compact saloon up to fifth. It's unlikely the launch of the ballistic new M3 made much of a difference to the total sales. 

6. Volvo XC40 - 8,084

Volvo’s premium small SUV still looks fresh despite being launched four years ago. The XC40 just snuck into the top 10 last year so sixth is impressive so far - especially considering it didn't feature in the top 10 for March.  A new all-electric Recharge version should bolster its popularity along with over-the-air updates to boost range. 

7. Volkswagen Golf - 7,896

The Volkswagen Golf came a respectable third in 2020 so seventh spot for 2021 so far will feel like a big blow for the German giant. The new ID.3 could spell even more bad news for the Golf as the similarly sized all-electric hatchback could eat into its sales.

8. Kia Sportage - 7,837

Dipping in and out of the top 10 in 2020, the Kia Sportage is having a promising start to 2021. It dropped out of the top ten for March which means the Sportage has lost four places - severely denting its hopes to be the best-selling SUV in the UK.

9. Ford Puma - 7,561

Ford's controversial decision to name its new small SUV after a 90's coupe doesn't seem to have damaged its sales success. The Ford Puma featured on last year's top 10 despite not being on sale for the full year. Its popularity seems assured now with more units being sold so far in 2021 than even the Ford Focus

10. Volkswagen Tiguan - 7,384

Despite not featuring in March's top 10 best-selling cars, the Volkswagen Tiguan manages to creep into the top 10 for the year so far. With the newly-released, all-electric and similarly-sized ID.4 due soon, Tiguan sales could suffer as a result. 

Looking to buy a new car in 2021? Check out our list of the best finance deals available right now...

Recommended

New 2022 BMW iX1 electric SUV spied
BMW iX1 - front
BMW iX1

New 2022 BMW iX1 electric SUV spied

New BMW iX1 electric crossover will launch next year, sitting alongside the petrol-powered X1 in the company’s line-up
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen ID.4: orders open for series models
Volkswagen ID.4 - front
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2021 Volkswagen ID.4: orders open for series models

Volkswagen’s new ID.4 Life, Family and Max trim levels are on sale in the UK now, with prices starting from £41,570
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Cupra Born teased in official spy shots
Cupra Born
Cupra el-Born

New 2021 Cupra Born teased in official spy shots

Road ready version of all-electric Cupra Born will be revealed in May
7 Apr 2021
Best small automatic cars 2020
Best small automatic cars 2020 - header
City cars

Best small automatic cars 2020

You can't beat an auto if you want a relaxed drive. We've picked ten of the best affordable automatics on sale today...
7 Apr 2021

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d
VW Golf GTD vs BMW 120d - main
Volkswagen Golf GTD Hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d

Can the Volkswagen Golf GTD or BMW 120d prove diesel isn't dead?
10 Apr 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed

The new all-electric Kia EV6 gets two batteries, 4WD and even a rapid sporty GT version. Prices start from £40,895
30 Mar 2021