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The UK’s best selling cars in 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, here are the cars that have topped the United Kingdom's sales charts over the past 12 months. Party poppers at the ready...

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What are the UK’s best-selling cars?

The UK car sales charts have been in chaos in the last two years – like most industries, to be fair. This is due to the global pandemic disrupting the car selling process, and a critical shortage of vital superconductor components hampering car production.

Overall UK car sales are down, though showing some signs of recovering – particularly where there are new electric and hybrid models available. More than one in 10 new UK car sales are for purely electric models now.

What makes a best-selling car?

It’s not as simple as the best car wins. There are lots of factors that can push a car into the best-sellers chart. It may not even be the latest models that hit the charts. When a car's successor is revealed, brands often work harder to clear their existing stock to make space for the latest machine.

In contrast, a new model may be given a big temporary boost in sales by lots of press, advertising, and promotions. Or it may be that a type of car grows with such a huge range of coupes, hatchbacks, estates, and convertibles that it scoops buyers from many different categories.

You’ll see that the biggest sellers are almost always from one of the biggest manufacturers. That’s because they can promote their cars heavily and have more dealerships to offer test drives and an after-sales service.

Of course, the car itself needs to tick certain boxes in order to make the best-sellers’ charts. It needs to appeal to a wide group of drivers, offering competitive prices, looks, fuel economy, space, and equipment.

Best-selling cars tend to be mainstream family cars. In recent years superminis, hatchbacks and crossovers have been the UK’s favourites. Saloons, estates, SUVs and sports cars rarely make the top 10. More niche manufacturers and specialist vehicles only reach the top 10 car sales chart occasionally.

We’ve compiled the latest top ten sellers from the UK and suggested some of the reasons why they’re among Britain’s top of the car pops:

Britain’s top 10 selling cars

1. Vauxhall Corsa

Now produced along with Peugeot and Citroen supermini stablemates, the Corsa’s sales have been boosted by a new electric version.

2. Ford Fiesta

Ford’s acclaimed all-rounder supermini has been the UK’s top-selling car since 2009 and is always near the top of the sales charts.

3. VW Golf

Now in its eighth-generation the perennial family hatchback is still one of Europe’s most popular car buys.

4. Mercedes A-Class

A surprise contender from the premium class, the classy Mercedes hatchback is winning more sales thanks to its new hybrid version.

5. Ford Puma

Crossovers are now the UK’s most popular type of car, so Ford’s Fiesta-based Puma range has two key ingredients to sell well.

6. VW Polo

Volkswagen’s popular long-standing supermini is selling strongly thanks to plenty of discounts – as a new version is due soon.

7. Kia Sportage

A seven-year warranty and a range of new versions have helped the Korean SUV/crossover make it into this year’s charts.

8. Toyota Yaris

The sporty looks of the latest Yaris hatchback have propelled it up the charts. An eco-hybrid and a hot hatch version have added to the appeal.

9. BMW 3 Series

The only family saloon in the top ten is the classic compact executive model from BMW, now boosted by new plug-in hybrid versions.

10. Nissan Qashqai

A revised version of the pioneering crossover has won sales thanks to a more up-market cabin full of enticing on-board tech.

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