Best selling cars

Last updated: Mar 7, 2014

There can be no better judge of the quality of a car than the number of units a manufacturer manages to sell. Luckily for us, many of the cars we rate extremely highly are also some of the best selling models in the UK today.

Value is the key to making a model a bestseller and it's something that all the cars on our list share. That means, no matter what you are paying, the car should be stylish to look at, practical, comfortable to travel in, yet also good to drive whatever the situation.

To help secure those sales, and to appeal to a wider audience, the model range should offer a good mix of specifications, from basic models with decent levels of equipment and frugal engines, to top-of-the-range cars that offer more kit and higher performance.

Here, we run down the best selling cars of 2013, so keep reading for the Carbuyer guide to the UK's top-selling cars.

Ford Fiesta hatchback

If one car encapsulates the introduction to this article then it is the Ford Fiesta, which explains why it is the UK’s top-selling car. 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 Fiesta’s get a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The most economical model can return economy of up to 85.6mpg and returns CO2 emissions of just 87g/km, for free road tax. But, if it’s near-lightening 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
Price 
£9,995 - £17,995

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

Healthy discounts, strong dealer networks and public loyalty to UK brands has no doubt helped the Vauxhall Corsa into the UK’s list of top-selling cars. Although not a terrible option, the Corsa is not one of the best models in its class. Positives are the spacious cabin, low running costs and a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. But there are quite a few areas that could be improved on. The styling, for example, could be more distinctive, the driving experience needs to be better and equipment could also be more generous. However, the most economical Corsa can return 85.6mpg and emissions of 88g/km – easily on a par with the more popular Ford Fiesta. Read more.

Key points

2.4 / 5
Price 
£8,995 - £17,005

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 performance. The engines also give a decent balance of frugality and performance – ranging from economical diesels, to super-quick VXR petrol models. 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
Price 
£12,995 - £25,285

Ford Focus hatchback

Like its little sibling, the Fiesta, the Ford Focus is an excellent all-rounder. While it might not look quite as pretty as the Fiesta, it’s still decent to look at outside, as well as being 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 can also return emissions of just 88g/km. The other extreme of the range is the fast Ford Focus ST, which can get from 0-60mph in just 6.5 seconds and still returns around 40mpg. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£13,995 - £33,580

Volkswagen Golf hatchback

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 Golf's 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 just 6.5 seconds. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£16,975 - £30,845

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. The Polo is not as fun to drive as the Golf, though, and the more basic models have underpowered engines that become strained and noisy at high speeds. Nonetheless, 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
Price 
£11,100 - £19,715

Mercedes C-Class saloon (2011-2014)

The new Mercedes C-Class may be arriving on our shores soon, but that hasn’t harmed sales of the current version. Mercedes has done well to keep the C-Class fresh and it remains one of the most comfortable saloons on sale. It has a quiet and spacious cabin, as well as being available with some clever optional kit. The Mercedes also has an excellent choice of engines that range from very economical to very quick. It even looks modern, despite the fact that it is now a relatively old design. Resale values for the Mercedes should also remain strong – even after the new model goes on sale. Read more.

Key points

4.1 / 5
Price 
£31,340 - £32,840

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback

The Vauxhall Insignia has decent looks and is excellent on a long-distance cruise, while also being decent fun to drive on twisting back roads. Despite looking good, the Insignia has a spacious cabin, with plenty of room for the family, their luggage, and the general clutter of daily life. Although, some may find rear headroom is a little cramped. It’s also worth noting that basic models are sparsely equipped, and the Vauxhall also suffers from poor resale values. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£16,479 - £31,289

Audi A3 hatchback

The Audi A3 offers a premium badge, but also the practicality of three or five-door hatchback body styles. The A3 is based on the Volkswagen Golf, but the extra money you’ll pay for the Audi gets you a cabin with a more premium look. The Audi is quite good fun to drive – although it is outclassed by cars like the BMW 1 Series – and also comfortable on the motorway. The cabin is practical, with decent space front and back, and the boot is a useful size and shape. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
Price 
£18,280 - £32,120

BMW 3 Series saloon

The BMW 3 Series is one of the best all-rounders on sale today, so it’s no surprise to see it is one of the UK’s top-selling cars. The 3 Series is good fun to drive, but also quiet and comfortable, inside. The interior is well-built, but also spacious and has plenty of storage spaces dotted around the cabin. The BMW has one of the best engine ranges we know of – offering excellent economy or huge performance – and the car should also hold its value extremely well. Read more.

Key points

4.9 / 5
Price 
£23,555 - £43,685

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