The 10 best-selling new cars of 2019 might look relatively familiar from previous years. However, when you dig into the numbers it’s clear that much as changed. Where once the new car market bounced from one month of record registrations to the next, in 2019 it continued to cool. Faced with seemingly never-ending political uncertainty, increased taxes and a lack of clarity over the future of diesel, consumers held back on changing to a new car, resulting in a market that was down -2.4% compared with 2018. As such, 2019 marked the third consecutive year of declining sales for the UK new car market.
THE FACTS AND FIGURES
December 2019 actually bucked the trend somewhat, with a +3.4% improvement in new car registrations. Typical of other months this year, sales of petrol cars in December were stable, while battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) posted strong growth in sales of +220.7% and +21.8% respectively compared with the same month the previous year.
December was another tough month for sales of new diesel cars, however, which fell by -19% compared with 2018. Sales of new diesel cars have now been in decline for 33 consecutive months.
Looking at 2019 as a whole, diesel sales fell by -21.8% (to 583,488) compared with the previous year. Petrol sales were up by 2.2% (to 1,498,640), and battery electric by 144% (to 37,850). PHEVs meanwhile had a difficult year followed by the removal of plug-in car grants for such cars in November 2018. As a result overall sales of such cars were -17.8% down compared with 2018, to 34,734.
Superminis and small family cars remained the most popular car types on sale in 2019 with a combined market share of 57.1%. It was dual purpose vehicles (SUVs and crossovers) and specialist sports cars that experienced the strongest growth in demand, however, up +12% and +19.2% respectively.
This data comes from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the trade association that supports the UK car industry and monitors sales of new and used cars in the UK. It reports that overall sales of new cars in 2019 stood at 2,311,140 units.
THE UK’S 10 BEST-SELLING NEW CARS OF 2019
Below we have rounded up the 10 best-selling new cars of 2019, according to SMMT data. If you fancy exploring the availability of nearly new and used versions of these cars, click on the links below each to find great deals from top rated dealers in the CarGurus classifieds.
1. Ford Fiesta
Number sold in 2019: 77,833
Ford’s supermini continues to dominate the UK sales charts, and is loved for its smart design, competitive prices and low running costs. Throw in the fact that it’s great to drive and it’s not difficult to see why it’s so popular.
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2. Volkswagen Golf
Number sold in 2019: 58,994
Volkswagen might be building an increasing number of SUVs these days, but it is still a hatchback that serves as its best-selling model. That car is of course the Golf, a version of which exists for every type of buyer.
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3. Ford Focus
Number sold in 2019: 56,619
The arrival of a new Ford Focus is always a big deal, so it’s not surprising to see this latest model flying high in the sales charts. It remains as enjoyable to drive as ever, but now mixes in more space and technology in a bid to stay ahead of rivals.
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4. Vauxhall Corsa
Number sold in 2019: 54,239
It might not be the most cutting-edge car on sale, but the outgoing Vauxhall Corsa continued to be one of the best-selling news cars of 2019 thanks to its efficient engines and keen pricing. Look out for some great deals as Vauxhall brings the new Corsa into showrooms for early 2020.
Search for a used Vauxhall Corsa on CarGurus
5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Number sold in 2019: 53,724
If you like your hatchback to be packed with the latest technology then get down to your nearest Mercedes showroom and have a closer look at the A-Class. In particular, the optional dual-screen setup for the dials and infotainment system is one of the best in the business.
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6. Nissan Qashqai
Number sold in 2019: 52,532
The original SUV-hatchback crossover continues to do excellent business for Nissan. The introduction of a new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine for 2019 makes what was already a strong performer even better.
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7. Ford Kuga
Number sold in 2019: 41,671
The Kuga is Ford’s rival to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Seat Ateca. While it might not have the largest boot in the class, the Kuga is roomy enough for passengers as well as being good to drive, helping it to become one of the best-selling new cars of 2019.
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Number sold in 2019: 41,188
In 2019 it was the 60th anniversary of the original Mini, meaning there were plenty of celebrations. Today the company is part of BMW, and continues to go from strength to strength in terms of the quality and appeal of its products. No wonder it’s a sales success, as proven by the appearance of the MINI hatchback in the list of the UK’s best-selling cars of 2019.
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9. Volkswagen Polo
Number sold in 2019: 37,453
The Polo has long been considered as the most grown-up small car on sale, and with the latest model Volkswagen has moved the game on yet again. In fact, so roomy and refined is the Polo these days that it almost feels like a car from the class above.
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10. Kia Sportage
Number sold in 2019: 34,502
Even judged purely on its pragmatic qualities it is easy to see why the Sportage has been such a big seller for Kia, and thus why it was one of the best-selling new cars of 2019. It is, after all, roomy, economical, good value and sold with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The icing on the cake for many buyers is that the Sportage is also smartly styled inside and out, and comes with lots of standard equipment.
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