Best selling cars

Last updated: Sep 5, 2014

Each month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) releases figures detailing the UK's best selling cars. It's been an impressive couple of years for the British car industry, with August 2014 representing 30 consecutive months of growth – with new car registrations up 10.1% year-on-year.

Buyers are looking at more and more alternatively-fuelled vehicles this year, too, with sales of electric and hybrid cars up 51.3% in the first six months. Although none of those appear in the list below, they account for an increasing proportion of sales this year. While that may be a small proportion of the 1.2 million cars sold from January to June, their market share is increasing at quite a rate.

All the cars you see here offer decent value for money, while also being practical, comfortable, stylish and good to drive. To help secure sales, a model should offer a good range of specifications, from basic models with the bare essentials, to range-topping cars with loads of kit and high performance engines.

Here, we run down the best selling cars of 2014, so keep reading for the Carbuyer guide to the UK's top-selling cars.

Ford Fiesta hatchback

The Ford Fiesta has dominated the best selling cars list ever since it first launched in 2008. All Fiestas are good to look at inside and out, are well built, comfortable, and fun to drive. Even the basic model has electric windows and a CD player, while all Fiestas get a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The most economical model can return economy of up to 85.6mpg and emits just 87g/km of CO2 for free road tax. If it’s near-lightning pace you seek, the performance-orientated Ford Fiesta ST can get from 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds and is lots of fun to drive. Read more.

Key points

4.7 / 5
£9,995 - £17,995

Ford Focus hatchback

If you like the Ford Fiesta but it isn't quite big enough, then you can't go far wrong with it's bigger brother, the Ford Focus. It's an excellent all-rounder, and while it might not look quite as pretty, it's still well-built and stylish inside. All models are well equipped, with even the basic car getting remote central locking, air-conditioning and a USB-compatible stereo. The Focus also carries a five-star Euro NCAP rating. Economy can be as high as 83mpg if you opt for the 1.6 TDCi diesel, which also emits just 88g/km of CO2. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
£13,995 - £23,520

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

Healthy discounts, strong dealer networks and public loyalty to UK brands have undoubtedly helped the Vauxhall Corsa into the UK’s list of top-selling cars. It's by no means a terrible choice, but the Corsa is not one of the best models in its class – though we hope a new model due later this year will change that. Positives are the spacious cabin, low running costs and a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP but there are quite a few areas in which the car could be improved. The styling, for example, could be more distinctive, the driving experience needs to be better and equipment levels could also be more generous. However, the most economical Corsa can return 85.6mpg and emits 88g/km of CO2 – easily on a par with the more popular Ford Fiesta. Read more.

Key points

2.4 / 5
£8,995 - £17,005

Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Along with the Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Golf is an excellent all-rounder. Its build quality is excellent and, although the styling is a little conservative, it has proved to be one of the most recognisable cars on the market. The Golf is also fun to drive and offers a comfortable ride, while all models boast a five-star Euro NCAP rating. All Golfs come with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB digital radio, while a dashboard-mounted touchscreen is also standard. The Golf Bluemotion can return excellent economy of 88.3mpg and qualifies for free road tax, while the Volkswagen Golf GTI can do 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
£16,975 - £30,845

Vauxhall Astra hatchback

The Vauxhall Astra is a much easier car to like than the smaller Corsa. While the Astra is not as fun to drive as the Ford Focus, it is not far off, with well-weighted steering and suspension that strikes a good compromise between comfort and good handling. The engines also strike a good balance between economy and performance – ranging from economical diesels to the super-quick VXR petrol model. All cars get air-conditioning and remote central locking, and the Astra also has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Read more.

Key points

3.2 / 5
£12,995 - £25,285

Nissan Qashqai SUV

The 2014 Nissan Qashqai has a bigger boot and more headroom than the car it replaces, and there are plenty of practical cubbyholes dotted around the cabin, too. The new Qashqai has slightly stiffer suspension than the old model but it doesn't really affect comfort too much. It's more fun to drive and interior noise (even at motorway speeds) is low. The Qashqai can return up to 57.6mpg when fitted with four-wheel drive, or more than 60mpg in front-wheel drive form. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
£17,995 - £28,280

Audi A3 hatchback

The Audi A3 offers an upmarket badge, along with the choice of four body styles - including two hatchbacks, a saloon and a desirable convertible. All models are based on the Volkswagen Golf, but the extra money you’ll pay for the Audi gets you a higher quality interior. The Audi is good fun to drive and comfortable on the motorway. Both the saloon and hatchback are practical, with decent boots, while the convertible is one of the best-looking cars on the road. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
£18,575 - £32,420

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

The Volkswagen Polo is just like a smaller version of the Volkswagen Golf. That means it has good – although slightly conservative – looks, and is well built inside and out. A revised version is on the way, and while it isn't as much fun to drive as the Golf, it still feels more grown up than rivals like the Kia Rio and Vauxhall Corsa. We'd advise avoiding the more basic models with underpowered engines that become strained and noisy at high speeds. All cars get a DAB digital radio, electric front windows and central locking, and some models even manage 81mpg fuel economy. All Polos have a five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety. Read more.

Key points

4.1 / 5
£11,100 - £19,715

Fiat 500 hatchback

The Fiat 500 is a stylish hatchback that promises cheap running costs and a lower list price than the popular MINI hatchback. The 500 might not be as fun to drive, but it is still a perky performer. Fiat offers the 500 with a wide range of colours and accessories, so it’s easy to make your 500 stand out from the crowd. Models such as the Volkswagen up! are more practical, though. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5
£10,320 - £15,970

BMW 3 Series saloon

The BMW 3 Series is our favourite compact executive car - and it seems the car buying public agree, buying the car in thousands. Not only is it great fun to drive, it oozes quality and thanks to a brilliant range of engines it won't cost you a fortune to run either. Our pick is the BMW 320d for its mix of performance and running costs, but there's a choice of powerful petrol engines and even models with xDrive four-wheel drive. If you want a reliable, desirable and economical saloon car, you can't go far wrong with a 3 Series. Read more.

Key points

4.9 / 5
£23,555 - £43,685

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