Looking for a new car but not sure which model is right for you? Sales figures may not be the be all and end all for making your buying decision, but they are usually a good indicator of where to start.
Sales of conventional diesels have dropped significantly largely replaced by a surge in the new wave of mild hybrid diesels.
Sales of full electric vehicles has surged, and they have narrowly outsold Plug-in Hybrid cars in 2020.
Self-charging hybrids are still outselling plug-in hybrids by 2 to 1 but that figure will surely change in the coming years.
Top 10 Best Selling New Cars 2020 To Date (January and February):
- Ford Fiesta
- Ford Focus
- Volkswagen Golf
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Nissan Qashqai
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class
- Vauxhall Grandland X
- Volkswagen Polo
- BMW 3 Series
- KIA Sportage
Ford Fiesta - 9,210 New Registrations
The Ford Fiesta has held the crown of Britain’s favourite car for several years. The Fiesta line-up offers something for every taste, from economical models that offer low running costs to a full-blown hot hatch experience.
The Fiesta’s handing and drive is a treat, even the lower-powered models are a joy to drive. Move up the range and pair a sporty ST-Line model with the most powerful EcoBoost petrol engine and you get a nippy little car or take it to the next level with ST models for full hot hatch experience.
We like the Titanium models which offer plenty of standard equipment, if you want every bell and every whistle plus a touch of luxury the top-grade Vignale may be for you.
The Fiesta Range has been further expanded with Active and Active X Crossover models which take all that’s good about the Fiesta and give it an SUV-inspired twist, delivering a higher driving position/more road clearance, rugged exterior styling (chunkier tyres, bumpers and moulded wheel arches) and an additional drive mode ‘slippery’. As the name suggests 'Slippery' drive mode helps driving in more demanding conditions like ice, snow, very wet/muddy environments.
Ford Focus - 8,051 New Registrations
The Focus is Britain’s best-selling medium sized hatchback, it faces fierce competition from the VW Golf though which sells almost as well.
Ford have certainly been looking at improving the Focus’s weaknesses (not may to speak of, to be honest), interior cabin quality is improved (you can argue the VW Golf still feels a bit more upmarket) and leg room for passengers has ben improved, boot space is also more generous than before.
The Focus is also renowned for its handling and excellent drive and much like its smaller sibling the Fiesta there’s a model for every taste. Want a low-cost medium hatch that’s cheap to run or a hot hatch designed to get your pulse racing, it’s all there in the Focus range.
The Focus also gets the Crossover treatment like the Fiesta with Active and Active X models offering a higher driving position, rugged exterior styling and an additional drive mode for trickier road/weather conditions.
VW Golf - 7,484 New Registrations
The VW Golf is built for fun or comfort, it can literally do both in one package and if you go for the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) you’ll get some added handling benefits. You can put the Golf into ‘Comfort Mode’ at any time to get an ultra-smooth and soft ride, perfect for long cruises.
Interior cabin quality is where the Golf has always trumped similar-priced rivals and the latest Golf delivers in that department, it may not be quite as impressive a the Mercedes A-Class but it still has an upmarket feel, with plenty of soft touch finishes and good build quality.
Much like the Focus, it’s fierce competitor you can go from frugal diesels offering low running costs to hot hatch performance, the GTI with the performance pack can do 0-62mph in around 6-seconds. The eight generation Golf R represents the top-end of performance but it will not be available until late 2020/early 2021, 0-62mph will be somewhere between 4 and 5 seconds.
Vauxhall Corsa - 6,244 New Registrations
The Vauxhall Corsa is providing primary competition for the Fiesta along with other popular small cars like VW Polo.
The latest Corsa is significantly different to look at, its sleeker less dumpy appearance is going to have mass appeal, thanks to the revamped, sharper looks.
Interior is more refined too; better quality materials have gone into the cabin and existing Corsa owners moving to a new model will notice significant improvements. A very big trim-level line-up means there’s plenty of options and equipment levels to choose from.
The new engine line-up offers improved economy figures, the more frugal petrol engine can return around 50mpg whilst the sole diesel option will return around 70mph.
The big news is the new Corsa-e full electric model which makes a debut, it has a range of over 200 miles.
Nissan Qashqai - 5,901 New Registrations
The Nissan Qashqai is the UK’s favourite SUV, what it does so well is … pretty much everything. You can pick out similar vehicles that may offer or claim to better in one area or another. The Qashqai, however, excels by being good if not excellent in every department and at its price-point it represents extremely good value for money.
Our advice is to skip the entry-level Visia model when doing your research, it lacks a few features most will want like rear parking sensors and the touchscreen entertainment system.
Another area that makes the Qashqai so popular and a great family car is comfort, the engines are smooth, the ride is soft and cabin noise is minimal. You’ll find many rival SUVs will have a stiffer/bumpier ride or more cabin noise than the Qashqai.
One final thought and a good reason to buy the Qashqai is its’ built in the UK, so as well as purchasing a very worthy, all-round SUV you’ll be supporting the UK economy and workforce. Nissan’s Sunderland factory is in fact the biggest car manufacturing plant in Britain.
Mercedes A-Class - 4,862 New Registrations
The A-Class is primarily available as hatchback, with Coupe (CLA model) and Saloon models also available.
Whether you want a frugal petrol or diesel model or an ultra-fast AMG hot hatch model there’s plenty to choose from, even a plug-in hybrid model offering super low running costs. So, the A-Class is equally adept as a family car or getting your heart racing hurtling from 0-62mph in swift time.
The 180d diesels are a good option, quick enough (0-62mph in around 10.5 seconds), if you’re in the market for a diesel but want more punch there’s also the 200d or 220d.
If you’re looking for even more speed but the AMG models are out of your reach, look at a model with the A250 petrol engine which is swift, it's capable of 0-62mph in a fraction over 6 seconds. The A250e plug-in hybrid is also pretty swift (0-62mph in around 6.5 seconds) with a full electric range of around 40 miles.
At the top end of performance is the AMG A45 which is lightning quick, 0-62mph should be achievable in under 4 seconds.
Inside an A-Class is impressive, build quality feels premium, all models come with a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, upgrade to the Premium package and you get a larger 10.3-inch, you can also upgrade the standard 7-inch infotainment screen to a 10.3-inch one and that combo makes the dash looks extremely high-tech and impressive, especially at the night time when it’s lit up in its full glory.
If you’re looking for a classy/comfortable hatchback for the family or an exhilarating hot hatch the A-Class range has it all covered.
Vauxhall Grandland X - 3,801 New Registrations
The Grandland X is Vauxhall largest SUV, relatively new to the line-up it was launched back in 2017 and provides competition for other popular mid-sized family SUVs like the Qashqai, KIA Sportage and Peugeot 3008 with which is shares the same platform.
You get some solid petrol and diesel engines, front-wheel drive models substitute all-wheel drive with ‘Intelligrip’ drive mode designed to help tackle trickier driving/weather conditions.
The entry-level 1.2 petrol is surprisingly good, the 1.5 diesel feels like it has a bit more pull, both are good options as a frugal family car to keep running costs down.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid available with 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive (the latter badged Hybrid4). Both hybrids pack a punch, but the 4-wheel drive is the real powerhouse boasting 296bhp, you should be able to achieve 0-62mph in under 6-seconds.
All models are well-equipped, and you should find that an entry-level Grandland X will match up well to higher-grade models of rival family SUVs. All models get front and rear parking sensors as standard, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Inside quality is pretty good with some nice soft-touch surface and trim. One of the best interiors in this segment is the Peugeot 3008, although the Grandland X is built on the same platform the interior doesn’t quite match up to the impressive 3008, having said that few, if any mid-sized SUVs at this price-point do, so that’s not a major criticism.
If you’re looking for a mid-size family SUV with generous levels of standard equipment, the Grandland X should be on your shortlist. The Hybrids are expensive, so they won’t be for most people, but the entry-level petrol and diesel engines are good offerings.
Volkswagen Polo - 3,787 New Registrations
The VW Polo has arguably the classiest interior of it’s immediate rivals like the Fiesta, Corsa and SEAT Ibiza. It’s also grown considerably in recent years meaning it’s one of the most spacious small cars available and it looks a lot more like its bigger brother the VW Golf than ever before.
The Fiesta has seen some interior improvements but still doesn’t quite match up to the VW Polo which is closer the Audi A1’s interior quality. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is also built on one of the best platforms available in a small car.
Engine’s-wise most will probably want to skip the 1.6 diesel or the entry-level EVO petrol engine, instead look at the TSI 95 (surprisingly good) or for a bit more grunt the TSI 115.
If you are looking for sportier performance the GTI models provide that or the R-Line model is available to provide interior and exterior sports styling with less overall performance.
Skip the entry-level model which lacks some standard features like alloy wheels and parking sensors, start your search with the SE model.
BMW 3 Series - 3,648 New Registrations
The BMW 3 Series 7th gen model retains its rear-wheel drive status but does also offer BMW xDrive all -wheel drive system and a plug-in hybrid option too.
From economical runners to some very swift models everything is there for all tastes. The diesels are very good, the entry-level 318d is an excellent all-rounder. If you need more punch you can look at the 320d at the top end of diesel performance is 330d that will rival petrol hot hatch vehicles with a 0-62mph figure of around 5.5 seconds, it’s actually a tad quicker than the 330i with its 254bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine.
For all-out performance the M340i petrol with 363bhp can take you from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds. M Sport models are equipped with stiffer suspension which can be softened for more comfort by adding adaptive suspension as an optional extra.
As you’d expect from a BMW interior cabin quality is very good, lower grade models get the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen system while M sport trim gets a larger 10-inch screen. The infotainment platform is one of the best available, Apple CarPlay is available and an excellent navigation system which may compensate Android phone users for the lack of an Android Auto option.
The 3-Series is also one of the safest cars you can drive with a long list of safety features.
KIA Sportage – 3,386 New Registrations
The Sportage is KIA’s spacious mid-sized SUV that boasts eye-catching exterior looks, excellent interior cabin quality and generous levels of standard equipment. Even entry-level ‘1’ models get 16-inch alloy wheels, air con, front and rear electric windows, 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, cruise control and reversing camera.
Move up to the ‘2’ model and you get some extra comfort and tech that includes integrated sat nav, rear parking sensors, dual zone air conditioning, heated front seats, lane keep assist, high beam assist, an equipment list more akin to a top of the range car.
The ‘4’model adds more luxury and tech including leather interior, a premium JBL sound system and 360 around view monitor. GT-Line models add some sport styling like D-Shaped steering wheel and leather interior with red detail stitching
There is a good choice of practical petrol and diesel engines with some mild hybrid options giving economy figures a boost. The 2.0-litre 184bhp diesel is good for towing, it comes with 4WD and automatic transmission. The 2WD petrol models are pretty good for around town driving and you can also get the 1.6 GDi petrol with AWD, it feels noticeably quicker off the mark than the 2WD version.
If you are looking for a mid-sized SUV the Sportage must be on your shortlist with generous levels of standard equipment, excellent interior cabin quality and a solid engine line-up.