Best Selling Cars in the UK of 2019

8 minutes Published: 12/03/2020
Rowan Harris

Are you the kind of person that likes to do things a little bit differently? To take risks?

Or do you trust other people’s judgements and accept things for the way that they are?

Whatever your answer, there is a reason why some cars will continue to outsell others.

These are cars that have been put through their paces, again and again, and stood the test of time.

We’ve rounded up the top 10 best selling cars of 2019! It’ll be interesting to see how things shape up this year - will we see more electric options in the top 10?

If you're feeling patriotic, check out some of the Best British Cars! 2020 is here and the next decade promises a transition to electric vehicles - so get on board early and check out our Best Electric Cars, or even our Best Hybrid Cars!

1. Ford Fiesta

RRP: £12,520 - £26,805 | From £158.75 per month to lease
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 179g/km

Pros

  • Sporty, great handling.

  • Decent fuel economy.

Cons

  • Entry level model missing some fairly standard safety kit.

  • Some rivals are better value.

Topping the list of best selling cars in the UK this year is: surprise, surprise - the Ford Fiesta. It was also the UK’s best selling car in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and, well… you get the picture.

So, what is it that makes the Fiesta such a firm favourite among the British? It’s certainly not the cheapest car in its category, and competition is fierce.

But what it does well, it does very well. Handling is some of the best-in-class, with precise turning and well-weighted steering making this car a joy to drive. With a decent amount of practicality and good tech, you can’t go wrong with a Fiesta.

2. Volkswagen Golf Hatchback

RRP: £23,070 - £35,905 | From £236.51 per month to lease
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 3.2
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 278g/km

Pros

  • Great handling.

  • Very comfortable.

Cons

  • Still some cheap feeling materials used.

  • Automatic gearbox is sluggish.

In second place is another household name, the Volkswagen Golf, which was launched all the way back in 1974. Since then, car sales have gone through the roof, with over 35 million of this family-friendly hatchback being purchased.

As the folks at Volkswagen were keen to point out, that equates to one VW Golf sold every 41 seconds. To put that into perspective, in the time since you started reading this article, another 1 or 2 Golfs have just been sold.

And there’s a good reason for its continued success. The latest iteration of the VW Golf is one of the most comfortable cars on the market, with a supple suspension and minimal vibration. It’s also markedly plusher than some of the alternatives on the market, offering a rather posh driving experience.

3. Ford Focus Estate

RRP: £18,830 - £35,185
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 222g/km

Pros

  • Handles like a dream.

  • Supple ride.

Cons

  • VW Golf has better equipment.

  • Not a bargain.

The latest Ford Focus brings some much needed improvements, including a larger boot. The Focus makes for an excellent family car, with plenty of safety tech and spacious rear-seats.

As you’d expect from a Ford Focus, this is a car that handles well. Steering is natural and it’ll keep composed through corners, even with the entry-level suspension.

Driving comfort is top-drawer, with height and lumbar adjustment as standard across the range, and the option to upgrade to a ‘comfort’ seat which will offer 18-way manual adjustment, as well as an extendable seat squab.

4. Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback

RRP: £15,365 - £26,425 | From £128.51 per month to lease
  • Doors: 2 - 5
  • Engine: 1.8
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 203g/km

Pros

  • Good infotainment.

  • Reasonable interior quality.

Cons

  • Lacklustre handling.

  • Bit small for a family.

In fourth place is the Vauxhall Corsa - a firm favourite with first-time buyers and more experienced drivers alike. The new model is a vast improvement on the previous generation, and is the first produced since the brand was acquired by French car manufacturer Groupe PSA in 2017.

That means that this car actually has a lot in common with the latest Peugeot 208. The interior may not be quite as pleasing as the Peugeot, and the exterior certainly isn’t as exciting, but if you like to keep a low-profile and you’re not a fan of the lion’s claw tail-lights and sharp, sabretoothed profile of the new 208, then the new Corsa is an excellent choice.

Like the Peugeot 208, there’s also a fully electric version: the Corsa-e. Not the most exciting or inventive name, we’ll admit. As far as electric cars go, it’s reasonably competent, although it wouldn’t be our first pick for an electric hatchback.

5. Nissan Qashqai

RRP: £19,080 - £31,760 | From £198.89 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 208g/km

Pros

  • Comfortable ride.

  • 1.3 litre diesel is nice and quiet.

Cons

  • Top-spec models get quite pricey.

  • Engines lack power.

The Nissan Qashqai, or “cash cow”, as punning journalists have referred to it, has been a hit with consumers since its first release in 2007. Offering all of the comfort, accessibility and visibility of an SUV in a smaller footprint, the Qashqai sits somewhere between a compact MPV and compact SUV.

It may not be quite as good at handling as the Seat Ateca or the Volkswagen Tiguan but it fares much better than either of these when it comes to minimising engine noise. It’s also very supple, handling bumps better than most of the other small SUVs on the market.

While not the most comfortable car in class, it offers plenty of practicality for everyday life, and you won’t be wanting for more - unless you’ve got a huge family!

6. Mercedes A Class Hatchback

RRP: £22,630 - £37,425 | From £249.47 per month to lease
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 2.1
  • Fuel: D, P, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 32 - 197g/km

Pros

  • Gorgeous interior.

  • Lots of tech.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest entry-level model, but then it is a Mercedes.

  • Competitors drive better.

After a slightly disappointing third generation, the latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz A Class sees the luxury German manufacturer bring their A game. Whether you’re looking for an affordable petrol car, a frugal diesel car or a more sustainable plug-in hybrid, there’s an A-Class for you.

Starting on the outside, Mercedes has made some big improvements to the car’s aesthetic. The front face of the car features Mercedes’ mesmerising diamond-effect grille, a flat panel design which keeps creases to a minimum and new sleeker looking headlamps which give the car a much meaner look

Despite this being Mercedes’ entry-level car, it comes with some top notch tech features to boot. A two-screen set-up for an infotainment system makes things like satellite navigation a breeze. You can also get voice control, mechanical massage seats, ambient lighting, lane change assistance and augmented reality navigation. Take that Tesla.

7. Volkswagen Polo

RRP: £13,660 - £24,280 | From £165.23 per month to lease
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 206g/km

Pros

  • Upmarket.

  • Comfortable to drive.

Cons

  • There are more exciting alternatives to drive.

  • Families are probably better served by the Golf.

The Volkswagen Polo may be one of the smaller cars on the market but when you slide into the rear seats you certainly wouldn’t think so. It’s very comfortable, with ample leg and head room even for passengers in the back.

It doesn’t scrimp on storage space either, with a generous boot and an adjustable boot floor making this a top pick for the practically-minded.

Volkswagen hasn't skimped on the soft-touch materials either, and while it may not have the most exciting dashboard or drivers display it’s smart and practical - which is all you need really. An 8-inch touchscreen comes as standard, while every trim barring the entry-level model comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

8. Ford Kuga

RRP: £23,770 - £38,900 | From £258.41 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.5
  • Fuel: D, P, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 244g/km

Pros

  • Reasonable entry level prices.

  • Good reliability.

Cons

  • Interior feels cheap.

  • Not the most refined exterior.

The Ford Kuga is a family-friendly SUV. But if you’re the kind of driver that likes a big road presence then you’ll love the Kuga’s new front face design. Taking its design cues from the much larger Ford Edge, the new Kuga pairs its larger form factor with a bigger grille and a pair of aggressively shaped headlamps for an altogether much sterner aesthetic.

It’s great to drive, too. It has sharp steering, grips firmly and resists body lean in corners better than many SUVs - all without sacrificing the quality of the ride.

As far as trims are concerned, even the entry-level Zetec comes with a number of nifty features such as Ford’s ‘Quickclear’ heated windscreen, DAB radio and cruise control. If it’s technology you’re after then the Titanium trim comes up trumps with its SYNC 3 infotainment system and its eight-inch touchscreen, while the Titanium X adds everything from a panoramic sunroof to heated leather seats with electric adjustment.

9. Mini Hatchback

RRP: £12,180 - £31,065
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 216g/km

Pros

  • Iconic.

  • Lots of options for customisation.

Cons

  • Depending on where you live, the tail lights might make you a target.

  • Expensive.

The Mini is one of the smartest looking small cars there is. If there’s one thing it demonstrates, it is that there is increasingly a demand for upmarket brands in the supermini class. Once again, it has gone out of its way to prove exactly how quintessentially British it is, despite being a subsidiary of German manufacturer BMW.

For example, the tail-lights feature a split union jack design (and yes, it is the right way round). This is a standard feature, which might raise some eyebrows in the current political climate!

The Mini may be a four-seater, but it will take an Olympic acrobat to actually clamber in to the rear of the car if you choose the 3 door option, so go for the 5 door variant instead if you plan to use these seats a lot. Thanks in part to its small form factor however, the Mini is an absolute joy to drive. It tackles corners directly and precisely and offers plenty of fun.

10. Kia Sportage

RRP: £19,735 - £31,970
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.7
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 275g/km

Pros

  • 7 year, 100,000 mile manufacturer’s guarantee.

  • Lots of room inside.

Cons

  • Its big, round body isn’t for everyone.

  • A bit dull to drive.

If you’re looking for a car with a seriously spacious cabin that’s perfect for a family, you can’t go wrong with the Kia Sportage.

Despite its athletic sounding name, the Sportage looks anything but lean. The angular creases of cars like the Qashqai are nowhere to be found on the Sportage. It looks more portly than powerful.

Chummy and cheerful, perhaps, but certainly not a sporting champion. And to be fair, if you are looking for a car that won’t ever leave your side, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one. If Kia’s standard 7-year, 100,000 mile warranty doesn’t instill confidence in this companionable car, we don’t know what will.

Summary

So, that’s the best selling cars of 2019. Chances are, we will see some big changes to this list before long. The climate crisis hasn’t left the news of late and the launch of new electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 in Britain have already made an impact on sales, with the latest Tesla finishing 3rd overall in August 2019’s vehicle registration figures.

It’s likely that in 2020, we will see much of the same cars as top-sellers: it’s hard to imagine the Fiesta being knocked off the top spot. It’d be a smart gamble to bet that there’ll be at least a few hybrid or electric cars! 

With more and more electric cars coming to market, there’s never been a better time to grab one of our Best Electric Cars, or Best Hybrid Cars! If you’re feeling patriotic, check out our Best British Cars list.