Buying a new car: Fiesta, Corsa, MINI among the UK's best-selling cars

Which cars are the most popular new motors among buyers? And do they deserve that popularity?

New car registrations are on the rise.

According to the latest data from the Society Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) new car registrations in May saw 156,737 new cars registered, up by a remarkable 674%  on the same point last year.

That’s on account of May being slap bang in the middle April 2020 being the first full month of the first lockdown last year, though sales figures are still down substantially on what we would normally see at this point of the year.

So which cars have driven this increase and are proving most popular among drivers looking for a new set of wheels?

10 ‒ Audi A3

The A3 has emerged as a popular car over the last few months, in May selling 2,489 units.

It’s a favourite of the WhatCar? team, winning praise for how good it is to drive as well as boasting an excellent driving position and wide range of engines.

It comes with an RRP of £23,795.

Audi A3 among the best-selling cars in the UK (Image: Shutterstock)

9 ‒ MINI

A new entrant in May, the MINI shifted an impressive 2,561 units over the month.

It’s an iconic car, and that makes it hugely desirable for anyone in the market for a small motor. But according to the WhatCar? reviewers, there’s plenty of substance to match the style too, with a great engine and classy interior.

It has an RRP of £16,605.

8 ‒ Toyota Yaris

The Yaris is another new entry for the month, having sold 2,578 units, which is enough to secure eighth place.

There are no shortage of selling points to the Yaris, from its excellent fuel economy to its impressive reliability. Perhaps most importantly of all, the WhatCar? team reckons it will hold its value well.

It comes with an RRP of £19,915.

7 ‒ Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta remains a bestseller according to Whatcar? (Image: Shutterstock)

The Fiesta has had a barnstormer of a 2021 ‒ it’s the second-highest selling model of the year to date according to SMMT figures. However, it could only take seventh position in May, with sales of 2,794 units.

It’s great to drive, and won’t break the bank either, with an RRP of £16,645 and respectable running costs.

6 ‒ Kia Sportage

Another car that’s sold well in the year to date is the Sportage, and it’s also continued to prove popular in May, with 2,956 units leaving forecourts.

It’s a family SUV that WhatCar? praises for delivering great value for money, so long as you stick to the lower trim levels.

While other SUVs are apparently more comfortable and fun to drive, the fact that the Sportage is good at retaining its value is another selling point.

It has an RRP of £23,810.

5 ‒ Ford Puma

It’s worth reflecting on the fact that this small SUV is a former car of the year in the WhatCar? Awards, boasting plenty of space for families and a cracking drive.

In May it shifted a whopping 3,158 units, while it’s the sixth best-selling motor of the year to date.

4 ‒ Mercedes Benz A-Class

A total of 3,313 A Class units were sold in May, giving the car fourth spot in the bestseller lists.

It’s described as “every inch the premium family hatchback” by WhatCar?, on account of its cracking interior and comfortable ride.

It comes with an RRP of £24,100.

3 ‒ Volkswagen Polo

The Polo is a big jumper over the month, from ninth place in April to third this time around.

WhatCar? reckons that few small cars can rival the Polo for quality, describing it as a “truly great all-rounder”.

Clearly the nation’s drivers agree.

2 ‒ Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa is the best-selling car of 2021 so far, but it can only take second spot in May, with 3,643 units leaving forecourts across the country.

According to WhatCar?, there are better all-rounders in the market but the Corsa continues to be popular on account of the fact that it’s cheap, well equipped and comes with a bunch of different power options.

It has an RRP of £16,815.

1 ‒ Volkswagen Golf

The Golf takes top spot for May, with 4,181 units sold, while it’s now the fourth-highest selling model of 2021 to date.

It’s a cracking all-rounder, comfortable and offering decent space, while also providing a good ride. WhatCar? reckons that its rivals are better to drive though, and with easier to use infotainment systems.

Be prepared for the Golf to set you back £23,360.

Save a packet on your next car

Of course, whether you’re going for one of these best-selling models or something a little more niche has caught your eye, you’re going to want to bag a bargain when it comes to actually getting your hands on the keys. 

Thankfully there are plenty of simple ways to save money when you do so, from doing your research on what really constitutes a fair price to giving haggling a go and seeing if you can get the dealer to knock a few quid off the listed price.

For more, check out our guide to buying a car for less.

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