• Published: 23 November 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we reveal Britain’s best-selling cars of the year and why they might hold those spots.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed their figures showing the UK's top 10 most popular cars. 

Following the pandemic and a global semiconductor shortage, the new figures reflect the continued struggle new car sales are facing. With 106,265 cars sold, the figures for October 2021 were down by 24.6% in comparison to those of 2020. Nevertheless, as the UK returns to some kind of normality, car sales seem to be performing better; new car sales are up by 2.8% for the year-to-date. Particularly, in September, the difference was 5.9% in favour of 2021. However there's still a long way to go before sales recover to the levels pre-Covid. Furthermore, as climate control becomes ever more topical, the switch to electric vehicles seems to be in full swing; there has been an 86% increase in new EV sales from 2020. 

The UK's best-selling cars for 2021 so far:

1. Vauxhall Corsa - 35,183

Where the Vauxhall Corsa placed second in 2020, it has taken a commanding lead this following year. A new generation of Corsa certainly helped it put pressure on the previous champion, the Ford Fiesta. Along with the all-electric Corsa-e model, it looks like it will claim the overall title for 2021. It returned to form in September after a rocky July and August, taking second place for the month.

2. Volkswagen Golf - 27,754

In silver position sits the iconic Golf. The Volkswagen Golf claimed third place in 2020, so improving to second in 2021 will feel like a great result. VW's own ID.3 could introduce new competition in future, as the all-electric hatchback could contend with its sales. With just 1,010 units separating second and sixth place, Ford’s Puma and Fiesta have time to take VW’s medal spots. So, there could be a few position changes before the year is out. 

3. Volkswagen Polo - 27,591

The Volkswagen Polo has maintained a steady rise throughout the rankings this year. Having sold more than 3,167 units in September, beating all other cars, things could get better with their new version. 

4. Mercedes A-Class - 27,183

The A-Class was Britain’s best-selling cars for premium cars in 2020, being the smallest and cheapest Mercedes’ car. Clearly attractive to new buyers this year, the hatchback surged to fifth place in the overall ranking. Overtaking the Fiesta and Puma in October, the A-Class is flying high in 2021. 

5. Ford Fiesta - 26,899

The Ford Fiesta is struggling to find its form in 2021. Its battle earlier in the year with the Corsa looks to be over, having fallen two more places in October. As it stands, it sits just behind the Mercedes A-Class and VW Polo. Its 2020 popularity seems to have dissipated as its title as last year's most popular car has not redeemed itself. Nevertheless, it isn’t all over, as a new Fiesta may help rejuvenate sales by the end of the year. 

6. Ford Puma - 26,744

The Puma has been revolutionary for Ford. Last year, it featured on the top 10 even though it had not been on sale for the full year. Its popularity has continued with more units being sold so far in 2021 than the Nissan Qashqai, making it the most popular SUV in Britain in 2021. As yet, it may gain yet another spot, potentially overtaking the Fiesta by the end of the year. 

7. Kia Sportage - 26,020

Having dipped in and out of the top 10 in 2020, the Kia Sportage is having a strong 2021. With its spot not being guaranteed in the top 10 for March, it seems to have gained stability. A new model has been released, so Kia will be hoping for a surge to overtake Ford's Puma before the year is out. 

8. Nissan Qashqai - 25,373

Unlike some of its rivals, the Quashqai does not have an all-electric option. Nevertheless, the it remains a strong contender in the best-selling cars list. Although it's had a July and August to forget, with it dropping out of the top 10 for both of those months, it seems to have recovered as buyers are now flocking to buy the all-new version, with it placing third for October. With the competition above, the new car must work hard to retain the title as Britain’s best-selling SUV for 2021.

9. BMW 3 Series - 24,948

The BMW 3 Series has fallen a couple of places in the past few months. There’s a chance the new all-electric i4 could also compete with its sales. However, there is still every chance that the 3 series could hold a spot in the top 10. 

10. Toyota Yaris - 24,522

The Toyota Yaris had a strong summer sales burst, placing second biggest-seller in July and third for August. With this, tenth overall seems an unworthy spot for the Yaris. Nevertheless, when you factor in that it's ahead of cars such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, we still consider it a pretty solid performance for the car this year. 

To find some of these top 10 cars, click here.

For reviews on these cars, click here.

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