Top 10 best-selling cars

Last updated: May 6, 2016

After last month's record-breaking antics, there was no way that April would match March's new car sales record. March and September are always the big-selling months, thanks to the introduction of the new registration plate. This is why it's no surprise that April saw a significant reduction in new car sales compared to March.

In all, 189,505 new cars were registered in the UK, compared to March's 518,707 new registrations. That said, if we compare to the same month in 2015, there's a slight increase in new car registrations, from 185,778 last year, to 189,505 in 2016. This represents a 2% increase year on year. However, this has been driven in the most part by a 6.1% increase in fleet sales and 2.8% increase in business sales, with private registrations dropping by 2.5%.

April also saw the reversal of the trend for more petrols being bought than diesels, although over the course of the year to date, significantly more petrol-powered cars have been bought than diesels. Alternatively-fuelled vehicle (AFV) sales are still on the up, too, with April seeing a 26.8% increase compared to the same month last year and a 24.3% increase over 2016 so far, compared to the same time period last year.

In terms of the best-selling cars, there weren’t any major surprises as to which car was the most popular in the UK in April. Once again, the Ford Fiesta topped the billing, while the Volkswagen Golf continues to defy predictions of falling sales for the brand since the diesel emissions scandal by being the second most popular new car in the country. Unsurprisingly, this is followed by some rather more predictable machinery in the shape of the Ford Focus in third place, the Nissan Qashqai fourth and the Vauxhall Astra rounding off the top five.

Volkswagen had further good news, with the Polo coming sixth, while the Vauxhall Corsa could only manage seventh (a surprise, considering it's the second biggest-selling car of the year so far, behind the Fiesta) while the Mercedes C-Class came. Rounding off April's top 10 is a second spot in the top 10 for the new Kia Sportage in ninth, which sold an enormous 17 more cars than the tenth-placed Audi A3

Ford Fiesta hatchback

More cars bearing the Ford Fiesta name have been sold in the UK than any other model. The current version went on sale in 2008, with a facelift surfacing in late 2013. It has dominated the best-seller chart more than any other car. It's not hard to see why: the Fiesta is handsome inside and out, well built and comfortable. But it's how the car drives that really sets it apart - it offers a fun driving experience that's close to some so-called sports cars. It's safe, too, with a full five-star crash-test rating, while the most economical models can top 85mpg and emit so little CO2 that road tax is free. At the other end of the scale is the Fiesta ST, which is our favourite small hot hatchback. With a range like that, there's something for everyone. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£10,345 - £18,595

Volkswagen Golf hatchback

The upmarket Volkswagen Golf is another stalwart of Britain's top-selling cars, despite the diesel emissions scandal which has engulfed VW. Few models have such a classy image, meaning they fit right in whether you're parked at the local football club or a posh country club. Estate and convertible models are available, but most choose a three or five-door hatchback. There are versions that'll return almost 90mpg and performance models like the Golf GTI and Golf R that are capable of delivering sports-car thrills. Whichever Golf you choose, you'll find it well built, comfortable, safe and fun to drive. The Golf range is well equipped, too: air-con, Bluetooth, DAB digital radio and a dashboard-mounted touchscreen are all standard. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£17,625 - £27,785

Ford Focus hatchback

Revisions to the Ford Focus last year have helped this family car maintain a high place on the list of Britain's best-selling models. The current version features more eye-catching styling that makes it look more upmarket than before. It still boasts a wide choice of engines, ranging from the excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost to the powerful 2.0-litre petrol in the Focus ST performance model. No changes were needed under the metal, because the Focus is as good to drive as it ever was. Buyers will spot some differences inside, though, as it's now fitted with Ford's SYNC 2 infotainment system, with voice recognition and the ability to read out text messages. Plus, there are fewer buttons on the dashboard, making this equipment easier to operate than before. Read more.

Key points

4.4 / 5
Price 
£16,245 - £26,135

Nissan Qashqai SUV

The Qashqai kick-started the crossover SUV class when the first generation arrived on UK shores in 2007. With a raised driving position, relatively compact size for an SUV and running costs similar to a conventional hatchback, it's not hard to see why the Qashqai is such an attractive prospect. This model, the second generation, has built on the original's success by adding a sharper design, comfortable ride and more technology. The 1.5-litre diesel engine can return up to 70mpg, while the deceptively powerful 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol is great for urban driving. Because of its popularity, the Qashqai now has a rival from almost all mainstream manufacturers, but (at least for now) it still represents the best all-rounder. Read more.

Key points

4.7 / 5
Price 
£18,545 - £28,990

Vauxhall Astra hatchback

The Vauxhall Astra has always been a big seller, and this latest version is a major improvement over any of the previous iterations. It's good value for money, stylish, good-to-drive and practical, while the excellent range of petrol and diesel engines are both powerful and cheap to run, too. Our pick of the petrols is the 104bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder which is a strong performer, but still emits less than 100g/km of CO2, making it free to tax. If you're a business user, or a private buyer who does loads of miles, then a diesel will likely tickle your fancy and in this regard, we recommend the 109bhp 1.6-litre, which is the most efficient in the range. It'll return nearly 80mpg and CO2 emissions are rated at just 94g/km. This means no road tax and a BiK rating of just 16% - impressive for what isn't a small car. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£15,295 - £23,520

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

Britain's always had a love affair with the supermini - as evidenced by the popularity of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa - and the Volkswagen Polo is no exception. Despite the company's issues in 2015, the Polo has remained a supremely popular product, with its high-class interior, comfortable ride and reasonably sharp handling combining well with its subtly handsome looks and reasonable running costs to make it a popular little car. It also feels like a very high-quality proposition, while also being very well equipped. The small turbocharged petrol engines are the pick of the range, although if you do loads of miles, then we'd recommend you go for the 1.4-litre diesel. If you're after a hot hatchback, however, the GTI is one of the more sensible of the breed, although you might have more fun in a Ford Fiesta ST or Vauxhall Corsa VXR. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£11,525 - £20,140

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

There's plenty of choice for Vauxhall Corsa buyers. You can choose from three or five-door bodystyles, eight engines and nine trim levels. But the reason buyers are still flocking to Vauxhall's supermini is because it's so easy to drive, so cheap to run and such good value. The latest model offers a more upmarket interior than before, plus a cracking 1.0-litre turbocharged engine. But if it's fuel economy you crave, check out the 1.3-litre diesel - what it lacks in refinement, it more than makes up for in efficiency - it can return more than 88mpg if you drive it gently. If it's more power and fun you're after, Vauxhall will sell you a VXR model, which has 202bhp, making it good for a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds. Read more.

Key points

4 / 5
Price 
£9,595 - £17,825

Mercedes C-Class saloon

The Mercedes C-Class saloon has always proved to be a popular choice for company car buyers, thanks to its combination of low running costs, impressive refinement and, in this model especially a cosseting, luxurious and tech-filled interior. It also rides superbly, making it the perfect car in which to pound up and down the nation’s motorways. In the past, however, it’s always been slightly behind its hugely impressive rivals like the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4 in terms of sales figures, but the Mercedes is clearly capturing the UK’s car-buying imagination. Read more.

Key points

4.1 / 5
Price 
£28,295 - £70,045

Kia Sportage SUV

With daring new styling, the Kia Sportage has obviously boosted its popularity among British buyers, but it’s not just the new look that’s impressed. It’s more comfortable, better built and better equipped than ever before, with a real feeling of quality in the interior. It’s also spacious, cheap to run, good value for money and the range is simple, with few, if any optional extras, making the buying process nice and easy. Combine all these features with the very tempting seven-year/100,000-mile warranty that offers real peace of mind. Read more.

Key points

4 / 5
Price 
£17,995 - £31,645

Audi A3 Sportback hatchback

The Audi A3 is the biggest selling 'premium' family hatchback, despite being tarred with the VW Group diesel emissions scandal. If you put that to one side - as plenty of buyers are clearly doing - both the three-door Audi A3 hatchback and the slightly larger five-door Audi A3 Sportback are excellent all-rounders. Unsurprisingly, the A3 Sportback takes the lion's share of sales, thanks to a good-sized boot and enough space in the back seats for most people's needs. It's good to drive, although the VW Golf is arguably more fun, but there's no doubting the quality feel of the interior. The diesel engines offer good fuel economy (diesel emissions scandal notwithstanding), but our favourite engine is the exceptionally smooth and quiet 1.4-litre TFSI petrol, which can switch off half of its cylinders when they're not needed in order to save fuel. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£22,135 - £35,690