UK's best selling cars 2024
Britain’s best-selling cars are our favourites for a reason. Here we look at the ten that dominated the sales charts last year and explain why they're such great buys.
Records of Britain’s best-selling cars have been kept since 1964, when the humble Ford Cortina topped the charts.
The automotive landscape has changed quite a bit in the six decades since, with traditional saloons giving way to hatchbacks, then small cars and now small SUVs at the top of the sales charts – a reflection not just of changing tastes, but of advances in technology and improvements in safety.
Ford, however, remains the nation’s favourite manufacturer, with its popular Ford Puma model notching up 49,591 registrations in 2023 alone. The current top 10 best-sellers in the UK are a varied bunch, with SUVs rubbing shoulders with small cars and even a desirable electric executive car making the cut. All have much to recommend them.
So if you want to find out what cars the great British public buy, read on and find out which of the best-selling cars in Britain would suit you...
Best-selling cars 2024
Best top-seller for driver appeal
Our pick: Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid ST-Line
Read our Ford reviews
As well as being a decent small SUV, the Ford Puma is also fantastic to drive, with eager acceleration and sharp handling. It offers neat styling and a practical, well laid-out cabin.
Available in five trim levels (confusingly, the once top-of-the-range Ford Puma Titanium is now the entry-level spec), the five-door Ford Puma comes with a selection of mild hybrid engines. Most use a 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol turbo unit with either 127PS or 157PS – and both return over 50mpg..
Best top-seller for families
Our pick: Nissan Qashqai 1.3 Tekna 5d
Read our full Nissan Qashqai review
The Nissan Qashqai is a perennial strong seller and a smart-looking car that’s perfect for family life. It’s packed with high-tech equipment, comfortable and lively to drive, plus comes with some cutting-edge safety kit. No wonder it’s Britain’s second-favourite car.
Most current-generation Nissan Qashqai models are powered by a punchy 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol engine in either 142PS and 160PS forms, while there’s also a clever extended range 191PS e-Power model that uses a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which serves as a generator to charge a small 1.8kWh battery. The battery then powers an electric motor that drives the front wheels.
Well-built and reliable, the Nissan Qashqai also provides plenty of practical space for families. No wonder it's become a common sight on every street corner and supermarket car park.
Best top-seller for low running costs
Our pick: Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 GS
Read our full Vauxhall Corsa review
A one-time top seller in the UK, the Vauxhall Corsa is still nipping at the heels of the top two and remains popular, especially with young drivers. A wide model range is core to its appeal, stretching from the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol models to the Vauxhall Corsa Electric, which isn’t cheap but promises more than 200 miles of range, along with impressively lively performance.
The majority of Vauxhall Corsas have 1.2-litre petrol engines and that’s no bad thing as the turbocharged unit is one of the liveliest in its class. There are three different power outputs – 76PS, 101PS and 132PS. The lowest is good for affordable insurance costs and younger drivers, the mid-range version is a fine all-rounder and the 132PS unit is genuinely lively.
All models come with a seven-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It’s a good car to drive, comfortable and well-finished – the perfect recipe for a desirable small car.
Best top-seller for a long warranty
Our pick: Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi 157
Read our full Kia Sportage review
Now looking far more interesting than ever before, the latest generation Kia Sportage has the purposeful looks to match its functionality.
It’s offered with a hugely competent range of engines including petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic (hybrids are auto only). The hybrid has impressive performance and plenty of overtaking power, switching seamlessly between petrol and electric.
The more expensive plug-in hybrid can cover about 40 miles on a charge, which will suit many daily commutes. But if you need a long-range option, then the diesel will appeal – it can do 500 miles on a tank and return over 50mpg. Kia’s seven-year warranty, meanwhile, remains one of the best on the market.
Best top-seller for emissions-free desirability
Our pick: Tesla Model Y Long Range
Read our Tesla reviews
There’s only one spec level on the Tesla Model Y, but it has all you’ll need. However, the electric SUV is available with a Long Range or Performance powertrain and whichever you choose it’s very well-equipped.
In 2023, Britain’s fifth best-selling car was the best-selling new model globally, such has been the rapid growth of Tesla’s dealer network and charging infrastructure. And of course, there is the genuine kerbside appeal that comes with the premium badge.
Despite weighing over two tonnes, the Tesla Model Y feels agile and dynamic. It’s rapid, too, even when not specified with the Performance powertrain. However, we’d go for the Long Range version, as it gives the Tesla a range of 331 miles.
Best top-seller for hectic lifestyles
Our pick: Hyundai Tucson T-GDi 230 Hybrid
Read our full Hyundai Tucson review
With a distinctively stylish front end in which the headlights are concealed within the grille and an equally avantgarde interior, the Hyundai Tucson builds on the success of the previous model and thoroughly deserves its place among the UK’s best-selling new cars.
It’s a family-friendly SUV that’s available with petrol, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains, of which the mild hybrid is probably the best option for hassle-free day-to-day use. The plug-in will do around 40 miles on a charge and is very tax efficient for company car drivers, so shouldn’t be discounted.
All Hyundai Tucsons come with 1.6-litre petrol engines and those without electric assistance are arguably better value. There’s plenty of tech, the interior is stylish and spacious plus it enjoys good road manners for a large vehicle, while build quality is impressive.
Best top-seller for outright character
Our pick: Mini Cooper 3dr
Read our full MINI Hatchback review
Ever since MINI was launched as a standalone brand in 2001, it has been a near-permanent fixture in the sales charts and that shows no signs of abating, with the cheeky small car in seventh place overall in the UK’s top 10 best-sellers in 2023.
Marketed as a premium small car with build quality and technology to match larger machines, the upmarket hatch is a hoot to drive, with fantastic steering, great handling and incredible levels of grip.
You can choose from three or five-door MINI hatchbacks. The five-door is more practical than the three-door, but it’s still a compromise compared with bigger rivals. The three-door model is much more in keeping with the MINI’s cheeky character and more fun to drive.
Best top-seller for unique styling
Our pick: Nissan Juke 1.0 N-Connecta
Read our full Nissan Juke review
Following on from its controversially styled predecessor, the latest iteration of the Nissan Juke is a more civilised and mature small SUV, albeit one that still manages to retain the look of the oddball original.
Now far more refined and purposeful in its appearance, the latest model has a more upmarket interior and a plenty of technology onboard including LED lighting, a digital cockpit display and an intuitive media system that integrates with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It’s far more spacious than the old Nissan Juke while only marginally bigger, meaning that the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engines are still up to the job, especially when coupled with Nissan’s seven-speed dual clutch auto gearbox. A hybrid model is also available.
Best top-seller with a premium feel
Our pick: Audi A3 40 TFSI S-Line
Read our full Audi A3 review
Based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf, the Audi A3 actually now outsells its stablemate as buyers crave even more premium badges and branding. The Audi A3 is at its best in higher trim levels, gaining large digital screens and high-end materials, although it’s not quite as posh-feeling as the Mercedes A-Class or BMW 1 Series.
It benefits from a large range of fuel-efficient and lively engines, with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid options, plus the high-performance Audi S3. The entry-level engine is the 1.0-litre 112PS petrol model, badged the 30 TFSI. It’s sprightly enough, but the 152PS 1.5-litre 40 TFSI engine is usefully more powerful.
Plug-in hybrid tech comes courtesy of the 207PS 40 TFSI e and the 248PS 45 TFSI e. Both will cover 40 miles on electric power when charged and are likely to appeal to company car buyers due to their low tax bands.
Best top-seller for SUV familiarity
Our pick: Vauxhall Mokka 1.2 130 SE
Read our Vauxhall reviews
The majority of Vauxhall Mokka models use the lively 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 100PS or 130PS depending on specification, with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes.
It makes most sense in entry-level trim, as sportier models have an unnecessarily hard ride. There’s also the Vauxhall Mokka Electric, which is claimed to offer a range of up to 252 miles.