In this guide we look at the best-selling new cars of 2020. Scroll down to see a list of the top 10 sellers in the UK, which we’ll update as the year goes on. But first, let’s take a look at the health of the UK new car market in general…
THE NEW CAR MARKET IN 2020
As with so many things, the new car market has been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. With showrooms closed and the public on lockdown for a sizeable part of the year, new car sales have taken a huge hit.
In June, which was the first full month showrooms in England were able to reopen after the easing of lockdown measures, new car registrations in the UK were down 34.9% compared with the same month the previous year. In total, 145,377 new cars registered in the month, with 69,498 going to fleets, 3,052 to business, and 72,827 to private buyers.
June’s results follow what has already been a difficult start to the year for new car registrations, with a combination of economic uncertainty, confusion over different fuel types, and changes in grants and taxes, particularly those associated with plug-in hybrid and electric cars, all taking their toll even before the arrival of the coronavirus. When COVID-19 then did hit and car showrooms were made to close in a bid to help slow the spread of the virus, car sales effectively collapsed. Six months into the year, new car sales were around -48.5% behind the same time in 2019, with 653,502 units registered.
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, estimates that around 240,000 private new car sales have been lost as a result of consumers staying at home. It is now calling on the UK Government to introduce measures to boost the economy in order to support car sales and the car industry, both on the manufacturing side and when it comes to automotive retail.
SALES DOWN ACROSS THE MARKET
Breaking the market down for June shows that sales were significantly down across most sectors, be it private (-19.2%), fleet (-45.2%), diesel (-59.8%), or petrol (-39.9%). There was some relief though in that sales for pure electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles have grown (from a small base), with demand up by 261.8% and 117% respectively compared with the same month last year.
THE UK’S 10 BEST-SELLING NEW CARS OF 2020
Below are the 10 best-selling new cars of 2020, according to SMMT data. You can explore the availability of nearly new and used versions of these cars for sale on CarGurus by clicking on the links below each one.
1. Ford Fiesta
Number sold so far in 2020: 21,098
The Ford Fiesta has been a best-seller for year after year. That’s hardly surprising when you consider that it is stylish, competitively priced, great to drive, and cheap to run. The latest Fiesta is also available with the kind of technology you used to only find in larger and more expensive cars, such as active safety systems and smartphone mirroring.
Search for a used Ford Fiesta on CarGurus
2. Ford Focus
Number sold so far in 2020: 18,145
The latest Ford Focus adds cutting-edge technology and what is close to class-leading levels of space to what has always been one of the UK’s most popular cars. More impressive still is that Ford has achieved this while at the same time maintaining the fine driving dynamics that have always helped the Focus to stand out from other family hatchbacks.
Search for a used Ford Focus on CarGurus
3. Volkswagen Golf
Number sold so far in 2020: 17,889
An all-new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf arrived in the UK in June, but that hasn’t stopped the outgoing model to continue to perform strongly in the sales charts. As ever, the Golf remains the family hatchback that really can do it all: it’s refined, comfortable, frugal, packed with technology and, in its performance-oriented models, it’s fantastic fun to drive, too. No surprise that it’s a regular fixture in this list of the best-selling new cars of 2020.
Search for a used Volkswagen Golf on CarGurus
4. Vauxhall Corsa
Number sold so far in 2020: 17,646
The arrival of an all-new Corsa is big news for Vauxhall, particularly when it includes the introduction of an all-electric version of its long-running supermini. In 2020, then, it’ll be fascinating to see if Vauxhall’s latest take on the perfect supermini, which is more advanced but also more expensive than its predecessor, can continue to fly high in the sales charts.
Search for a used Vauxhall Corsa on CarGurus
5. Nissan Qashqai
Number sold so far in 2020: 14,806
Nissan kicked off the craze for so-called crossovers with the original Qashqai in 2006. More than a decade later it’s still reaping the rewards, and it’s hardly surprising. While its number of competitors has grown considerably, the Qashqai is still among the best when it comes to combining SUV styling with hatchback running costs.
Search for a used Nissan Qashqai on CarGurus
6. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Number sold so far in 2020: 13,726
The latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class might look fairly conventional from the outside, but climb in and you’ll find one of the most tech-packed interiors of any family hatchback on sale. To get the full effect be sure to upgrade to the two large screens for the dials and infotainment system.
Search for a used Mercedes-Benz A-Class on CarGurus
Number sold so far in 2020: 12,240
Despite the arrival of several competitors in recent years, it’s the MINI that remains as the most popular premium small car on the market. The latest model is available with three or five doors, and maintains the distinctive styling and entertaining driving dynamics that have always made it so popular. There’s also now a pure EV MINI Electric for those who want to make the switch to battery motoring.
Search for a used MINI on CarGurus
8. Toyota Yaris
Number sold so far in 2020: 10,134
As the only car in the supermini class that’s available with a frugal hybrid system, the Yaris offers buyers something genuinely different. Not only are running costs low, but the Yaris Hybrid is great to drive around town and has Toyota’s proven reliability record behind it. Throw in the availability of cheaper petrol-only models and even a high performance GRMN hot hatch, and the Yaris offers an impressively broad range.
Search for a used Toyota Yaris on CarGurus
9. Kia Sportage
Number sold so far in 2020: 10,122
The Sportage is one of the models responsible for transforming Kia from a curiosity into one of the most desirable mainstream car brands of 2020, not to mention a regular in this list of the UK’s best-selling new cars. As well as being stylish, well-equipped, and good to drive, the Sportage’s strength lies in its seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. This provides consumers with the kind of long-term peace of mind that no other brand can match.
Search for a used Kia Sportage on CarGurus
10. Volkswagen Polo
Number sold so far in 2020: 10,114
The Polo is a small car that offers the space and driving manners that you used to only find in models from the class above. With a range of frugal and responsive engines, and trim levels to suit most budgets, it’s no wonder the Polo continues to be a hit with buyers.
Search for a used Volkswagen Polo on CarGurus
In the market for a used car?
CarGurus makes it easy to find great deals from top-rated dealers. CarGurus compares price, detailed vehicle data and dealer reviews to give each used car a deal rating from great to overpriced, and sorts the best deals first. Find out more and begin your used car search at CarGurus.