Top Ten Best Selling New Cars of 2021
SMMT figures show the new car market is recovering and see an upturn in new car sales in 2021 after seeing sales and production slowed due to COVID restrictions in 2020. There has also been a shortage in materials and components such as semi-conductors which feature heavily in modern vehicles, which has impacted production.
Overall new car registrations in 2021 to July are up nearly 25% on the same period in 2020.
Pure diesels have seen the biggest drop (around a third less new diesels are being registered in 2021) while diesels with mild hybrid technology have filled that gap (up 150% on last year). Petrol cars are still the most popular, while electric technology is on the rise, in particular plug-in hybrid cars which see a 150% rise on the same period last year.
Several of the UK’s best new small cars features heavily in the list, here are the most popular 2021 new cars in the UK to date:
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Ford Fiesta
- Volkswagen Golf
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class
- Ford Puma
- KIA Sportage
- Volkswagen Polo
- Toyota Yaris
- Nissan Qashqai
- BMW 3 Series
The Vauxhall Corsa tops the list of new car registrations for 2021 to date, with over 26,000 new registrations.
The latest Corsa features a good range of petrol and diesel engines and the Corsa-e, a full electric model with a range of up to 209 miles. If you are looking for a sportier option, the Sri model offers interior and exterior sports styling with features like sports seats and a digital driver display.
All models are well equipped, across the range you get a colour touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay support. Standard driver aids include cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane assist and lane departure warning.
The Corsa is affordable and shouldn’t be too costly on insurance, the latest model has seen some interior upgrades with build quality improved on previous models, it also widely considered to be a much better car to drive, featuring more responsive and precise handling than previous models.
You can save up to £4,947 off list price on a New Vauxhall Corsa, compare models here.
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Coming in at number 2 on the list with 23,521 new registrations is the Fiesta and it’s not rocket-science to work out why it is one Britain’s favourite cars.
There’s a huge range of options available from economical entry-level models that won’t break the bank to full hot hatch ST models. You also have the Active models that bring a Crossover flavour with a higher driving position, more rugged exterior styling and additional drive modes to tackle more demanding driving conditions.
The Fiesta is one of the best and most fun cars to drive, the latest model has seen upgrades and improvements in interior build quality. Fords multi-award-winning petrol engine with cylinder deactivation technology is now paired with mild hybrid technology too, for improved efficiency.
You can save up to £5,624 off list price on a New Ford Fiesta, compare models and deals here.
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Coming in at number 3 with 21,970 new registrations in 2021 to date the Golf is VW’s classy mid-sized hatchback.
One of the reasons why the Golf continues to be so popular is it bridges the gap between two worlds. It makes a great family car but also is equally seen as a viable competitor in the premium vehicle segment such is the high regard it is held in.
This means people looking at more mainstream hatchbacks like the Ford Focus or Skoda Octavia will likely be looking at a Golf as an alternative. Equally, people looking vehicles like at a BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class or an Audi A3 may also be looking at a Golf as an alternative, this gives the Golf extremely wide appeal.
Like a lot of manufacturers, VW are offering some mild hybrid options and if you are looking to make a leap into the electric car scene there is a full plug-in hybrid option.
The Golf delivers a fantastic blend of quality, practicality and models meaning there is something there for just about everybody, from economical diesels to exhilarating ‘quick’ models like the GTi or at the top of perfomance the new 2021 Golf R, touted as the most powerful Golf to date.
You can save up to £4,437 off list price on a new VW Golf, compare deals here.
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4th in the list, the A-Class accounted for 21,684 new registrations, available as a hatchback, saloon and the closely related CLA Coupe. The A-Class rivals other premium badged cars like the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.
One of the stand-out differences of the A-Class when compared with A3 and 1 Series is its softer ride that delivers a more comfortable experience in the cabin. The A-Class soaks up bumps well, making it a great family car for covering distance whilst the model range still offers some sporty options that can get your heart racing.
The Mercedes A-Class offers a multitude of trim-levels, options and engines, our advice is to take your time researching specs, as it can get a bit overwhelming with all the options and combinations available.
Engines-wise there is a range of petrol and diesel offerings and a plugin-hybrid. For those looking for economy the 180d might be up your street to keep running costs down. If it must be a diesel, but you want something punchier, there is a 200d and 220d which offer more power.
The entry-level petrol offering is an A180, if your look for more performance, the A200 should get you from 0-62mph in under 8 seconds while the A250 will do 0-6mph in little over 6 seconds.
The plug-in hybrid is badged the A250e, Mercedes say it can do up to 44 miles in full electric mode and it is fairly nippy too, 0-62mph is achievable in around 6.6 seconds.
Inside as you’d expect the A-Class shines with premium materials and the twin screens (infotainment and digital driver display) give it a real hi-tech feel. Depending on your configuration you can upgrade them to two large 10-inch screens which really looks the part.
You can save up to £4,778 off list price on new Mercedes-Benz A-Class models, compare here.
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Coming in 5th on the list is the Ford Puma with 20,853 new registrations in 2021 to date. The Puma is Ford’s compact Crossover built on the same platform as the Fiesta.
Traditionally the small Crossover segment was very limited, the Nissan Juke with its funky styling was almost in a segment of it’s own as a small Crossover but has seen competition in recent years from vehicles like the Renault Captur and Ford Puma.
Back in the 1990’s the Puma badge was a Coupe model that went down very well with motoring experts, for some reason it didn’t hit the sweet spot with the public and sell in the numbers Ford had hoped, so it was discontinued. Ford re-introduced the Puma badge but as a sporty looking small Crossover.
Sharing the same platform as the Fiesta it does have some of its traits, making it great fun to drive and while there are some frugal engine options you even get a nippy ST model which uses the same powertrain found in the Fiesta ST hot hatch.
Trim Levels including an entry-level Titanium Design, Titanium, ST models which offer sportier interior and exterior styling and as mentioned above you have the option a swift ST model too, all models are well-equipped.
Engine-wise you get a 125bhp or 155bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine with mild hybrid technology, manual transmission is standard, some models are available with the option of automatic transmission too.
You can save up to £4,132 off list price on a Ford Puma, compare deals and models here.
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Coming in 6th on the list with 18,941 new registrations in 2021 to date, is the Sportage, KIA’s mid-sized SUV.
The Sportage has been around for quite sometime and it just goes to show, that if you keep plugging away and trying to hit the sweet spot, eventually you might get there. The KIA is now one of the most popular mid-sized SUVs, and you’ll see a lot of them on UK roads.
What KIA have done is find a formula that makes the Sportage an all-round, attractive package and if you throw in KIA’s 7-year warranty that makes it an even more attractive prospect. It features solid, all round build quality, spacious interior and the latest model gets some tech upgrades, including a new infotainment system with sharper screen.
Two 1.6-litre petrol engines available, the more powerful option is equipped with 4-wheel and can be had with manual or DCT transmission. There is also a single 1.6-litre diesel engine with mild hybrid technology. The diesel can be had with front wheel or 4-wheel drive.
Inside the Sportage feels pretty good quality with plenty of nice finishes and soft touch materials, there are a few hard plastic but overall it’s good qulaity. All models get an 8-inch touchscreen with integrated navigation and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay support for smartphone mirroring, if you go for one of the top-grade GT Line models, you’ll get a premium JBL sound system.
The Sportage is spacious and practical too, making it a great choice as a family car.
You can save up to £4,775 off list price on a new KIA Sportage, compare models and deals here.
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Coming in 7th with 18,601 new registrations in 2021 to date is the VW Polo.
The Polo is Volkswagen’s classy small car that competes with other popular small cars like Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Vauxhall Corsa.
Like it’s bigger sibling the Golf, the Polo brings a bit of class to the small car segment, interior quality is very good, new exterior looks bring it much closer to the Golf’s design too, it wouldn’t be remiss to call it a mini-Golf.
The latest model boasts various updates, new LED lights that are now standard across the range and for the first time level two semi-autonomous driving tech is available for the Polo in the form of VW’s ‘Travel Assist’ system. Higher grade models get matrix headlights and sequential indicators.
Inside for the first time all models get a digital cockpit as standard, an 8-inch display on entry level models, with a larger 10.25-inch display available on higher grades. You also get a 6.5, 8 or 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen depending on the model/options you choose. You can read our in-depth comparison of the new Polo trim-levels here.
If you couple the 10.25-inch driver display with the largest 9.2-inch infotainment screen it looks impressive. The dash has been tidied up somewhat too, some old-fashioned dials have been replaced with touch sensitive panels (to operate heating/air con for example).
All models are well equipped and a performance GTi version is expected in 2022, in the meantime the R-Line model offers exterior and interior sports styling to fill the gap.
Compare the latest VW Polo models and deals here.
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8th on the list with 18,125 new registrations in 2021 to date is the Toyota Yaris.
The Toyota Yaris is offered as a dedicated hybrid range and Toyota say It was built from the ground up to be the safest small car in the world.
The new hybrid powertrain combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with a battery that has been improved and refined meaning it is lighter yet more powerful than before. It can you get you from 0-60mph in a tad over 9 seconds, with CO2 emissions as low as 92g/km and fuel economy up to 68mpg, so you should find running costs are very attractive.
Inside the Yaris feels solidly put together, quality-wise it probably trumps a lot of rivals, but it falls short of the VW Polo’s interior quality.
All models get Toyota’s Toyota Safety Sense is standard; a collection of driver aids that includes features like automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, speed limit alerts, lane departure warning and high beam assist. Other handy driver aids include a rear-view camera and rain sensing windscreen wipers.
Inside all trim-levels get a touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay as standard so you can mirror your favourite sat nav app on the screen (or any other app for that matter). Entry-level models get a 7-inch screen while higher grades get an 8-inch version.
As you move up to higher grade models you get additional goodies like a premium JBL sound system, synthetic leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.
You can save up to £3,833 off list price of a new Toyota Yaris, compare deals and specs here.
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9th on the list is the Nissan Qashqai, a very popular mid-sized Crossover that over the years has consistently been the best seller in the UK in its segment.
The latest Qashqai has seen a large list of updates, new equipment, restyled more ‘coupe-like’ exterior looks and new two-tone paint options with contrasting roof and door mirrors.
If you already own or are familiar with the Qashqai, you’ll notice the interior has undergone a serious upgrade in quality and it features new tech. Build quality and materials are much better than the old model and there’s a new, larger 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system on higher grade models (8-inch on lower grades).
The new touchscreen is big improvement on the old, aging one, the screen is much sharper, and much more responsive, it also features Android Auto/Apple CarPlay for smartphone mirroring. If you go for a top-grade model, you also get the luxury of 3D quilted, premium Nappa leather seats.
From the N-Connecta trim-level and above you also get a 12.3-inch TFT digital driver display couple with 9-inch colour touchscreen infotainment it gives the dash a real hi-tech look.
All models get a long list of next level driver aids including intelligent emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning/lane keep assistant, blind spot warning and intervention, driver attention alert and traffic sign recognition which works in conjunction with intelligent cruise control. We wrote an in-depth comparison of each new Qashqash model here.
The new Nissan Qashqai represent a huge upgrade on the outgoing model, and it is very competitively priced. If you are looking for family car or a mid-sized crossover it should be on your shortlist.
You can save up to £6,924 off list price of a new Nissan Qashqai, compare deals and specs here.
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BMW 3 Series
10th on the list is the BMW 3-Series with 17,188 new registrations in 2021 to date.
When it comes to premium badged vehicles, the BMW 3 Series is a huge seller, the big pull is the saloon model but if you need more boot/storage space you can look at the Tourer (estates model). Which could be a great family option.
The BMW 3 Series primary competitors are the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, all three offer a premium badge with the quality that comes with it.
Engines-wise you get a pretty-wide selection to choose from, from thrifty diesels to some nippy options (both diesel and petrol options). There are also a new range of diesel engines featuring mild hybrid technology and a swift plug-in hybrid, badged the 330e. The plug-in hybrid model can take you from 0-60mph in under 6-seconds and it has a range of up to 37 miles in full electric mode.
Inside the latest BMW sees some upgrades/improvements in build quality and materials. The centre piece of the dashboard is BMW’s touchscreen infotainment system with integrated navigation and Apple CarPlay support. All models get three-zone air con, cruise control, and heated seats. The infotainment screen can be paired with BMW’s Live 12.3-inch Cockpit Professional digital display and higher-grade models get a larger 10-inch touchscreen.
There are a lot of options and combinations you can choose when buying a BMW 3 Series, our advice is to take your time researching models, engines and specs or call us on 0161 946 3500 for further advice.
You can browse the latest BMW models and research specs here.
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