The top 10 best-selling new cars of 2019 revealed


New car sales in Britain dropped for the third consecutive year in 2019 to the lowest point since 2013, official registration figures show. Much of the decline was down to another significant dip in diesel demand, with sales of the under-fire fuel type falling by over a fifth.At the same time petrol car sales rose by…

New car sales in Britain dropped for the third consecutive year in 2019 to the lowest point since 2013, official registration figures show

Much of the decline was down to another significant dip in diesel demand, with sales of the under-fire fuel type falling by over a fifth.

At the same time petrol car sales rose by 2.2 per cent and now make up more than three in five new models hitting the road while alternative fuel models had a record market share of 7.4 per cent.

What impact has this shifting market had on the list of the most popular models? Here’s a rundown of the top 10 most-bought cars of 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders’ figures.

The Sportage SUV cemented its position in the top 10 most-popular UK cars for the second year running – no small achievement for Korean brand Kia

10. Kia Sportage, 34,503 registrations

2018 position: 10th

2018 registrations: 35,367

The first non-mover of 2019 is the Kia Sportage, the Korean brand’s compact SUV. 

It cemented its position as the UK’s tenth most popular car with just over 34,500 sales – down almost 800 units on 2018.

The Sportage has proved attractive to buyers given it has a starting price of less than £20,000, comes packed with equipment and is sold with Kia’s long-lasting seven-year warranty. 

The Polo slipped three spots back to 9th in the standings with VW dealers selling around 7,700 fewer examples in 2019 than it did the year previous

9. Volkswagen Polo, 37,453 registrations

2018 position: 6th

2018 registrations: 45,149

The first big loser of 2019 is the VW Polo, dropping three places to ninth spot on the UK popular models list.

Volkswagen dealers shifted almost 7,700 fewer last year than they did in 2018, though it still remains one of the most chosen superminis on the market.

What makes it an enticing option is the fact it’s bigger and plusher than most rivals – pretty much the same size as earlier Golfs – and has more badge kudos than most small models.

The arrival of the new Mini Electric (pictured) could help boost the registration performance of the Mini hatch in 2020

8. Mini Hatchback, 41,188 registrations

2018 position: 7th

2018 registrations: 44,904

As well as the Polo’s slip down the standings, the Mini hatch’s position drop from 2018 suggests that premium superminis are becoming less popular.

Sales fell by around 8 per cent year-on-year. This could be down to the diesel impact, with Mini offering a number of oil-burning variants.

Expect to see volumes rise this year, though, as sales of the eagerly-anticipated Mini Electric, produced at the Oxford plant in the UK, kick off.

Ford dealerships have been offering big discounts on the outgoing Kuga this year as salesmen try to make room for the arrival of the latest model, which is in showrooms from this month

7.  Ford Kuga, 47,671 registrations

2018 position: 9th

2018 registrations: 40,398

The first positive mover in the standings is the Ford Kuga. It has moved up two slots in the UK popularity table, and sales are up by an impressive 18 per cent,

This is likely down to dealers offering big discounts on the outgoing model, which has just been replaced.

As demand for small SUVs continues to grow, plenty of drivers would have taken advantage of big discounts offering by salesmen to make room for the latest-generation Kuga to arrive in showrooms. 

Popularity of the Qashqai has been hampered by the fall in demand for diesel cars, though it remains the most-bought SUV in the UK – a title it has held for over a decade

6. Nissan Qashqai, 52,532 registrations

2018 position: 4th 

2018 registrations: 50,546

While the UK-built Qashqai has dropped two places to sixth in the most-bought models list, the volume of registrations have remained pretty stable and cemented its title as Britain’s top-selling SUV.

Sales have likely been hit by the fall in demand for diesel vehicles, though fortunately there are plenty of petrol Qashqai variants available.

Nissan confirmed the next-generation Qashqai won’t be available with a diesel motor when it launches later this year. 

The latest A-Class is safe, classy and full of tech – no surprise, then, that Mecedes’ medium-size family car has moved up the standings in 2019

5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class, 53,724 registrations

2018 position: 8th

2018 registrations: 43,527

The biggest forward mover of 2019 wad the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The premium family hatchback and saloon leaped three spots, with registrations up by more than 10,000 units – a rise of 23 per cent.

The second-generation A-Class only arrived on the market late in 2017, and private buyers and fleet operators have been lapping it up.

It has been widely regarded as one of the best models available in the medium-size family segment, has one of the best interiors of any car in its class and is also rated as one of the safest new cars in showrooms. 

A new Corsa will replace the one pictured in 2020 – and there’ll be an electric version, which should help boost sales

4. Vauxhall Corsa, 54,239 registrations

2018 position: 3rd

2018 registrations: 52,915

While the Astra has dropped out of the top 10 in recent years, the Corsa is Vauxhall’s lifeline in the UK market.

Sale volumes have remained almost unchanged in the last three years, suggesting appetite is stable. However, big discounts have been available during the previous year, as dealers looked to move on old stock before the arrival of the new 2020 version – as well as head off the popularity of the new Ford Fiesta.

The new version hits showrooms early this year, and an electric version should help improve demand. 

The latest-generation Focus enjoyed its first full year on sale in 2019, and registrations grew by more than 6,000 units as a result

3. Ford Focus, 56,619 registrations

2018 position: 5th

2018 registrations: 50,492

Another positive story was the Ford Focus, increasing registrations by over 6,000 units year-on-year.

Ford’s family hatchback was the last car to top the UK best-sellers charts before the Fiesta’s decade-long dominance.

A new model arrived in 2018, making last year the first full year it has been on sale. And with some success, jumping two places back up to the sharp end of the standings.

The seventh-generation of the long-standing VW Golf (pictured) has now gone out of production to make way for a more advanced Mk8 example. Expect sales to rise in 2020

2. Volkswagen Golf, 58,994 registrations

2018 position: 2nd

2018 registrations: 64,829

The Golf has retained its spot as the second most-popular new car in the UK for a third consecutive year, proving there’s been a shift from affordable family cars to more premium options.

Despite staying in the runners-up spot, registrations dropped by almost 6,000 units.

That’s no surprise, given the new eighth-gen Golf is now on sale – and should be a real hit. 

What might impact the Golf’s performance in 2020, though, is the arrival of the VW ID.3 – Volkswagen’s first model from the electric-dedicated ID range, which is the same size as the brand’s long-standing flagship hatchback.

The Fiesta is the UK’s most popular new car for the ELEVENTH consecutive year. That said, registrations fell by 19% year-on-year as demand for superminis appears to be shrinking

1. Ford Fiesta, 77,833 registrations

2018 position: 1st

2018 registrations: 95,892

It’s now 11 years at the top of the charts for the Fiesta. That said, the volume of registrations is way back on the previous year.

Some 18,000 fewer units were shifted by dealerships in 2019 than the year previous – a decline of 19 per cent.

This suggests superminis are becoming a less attractive option for drivers. The Fiesta still retains a healthy cushion over the Golf in second spot, so we’d be surprised if it doesn’t make it to 12 years at the peak of the popular car standings in 2020.


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