In this guide we look at the best-selling new cars of 2020. Scroll down and you can 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
It’s no secret that the new car market has been through a rough ride in the past couple of years. And things look set to continue that way thanks to 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.
Sales of new cars in February 2020 represented what this uncertainty looks like in real terms. According to 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, registrations were down -2.9% compared with the same month the previous year, with 79,594 new cars leaving showrooms.
Private sales were down by -7.4%, while fleet sales remained stable (0.1% change). It proved another tough month for shifting diesel-powered cars. In total, demand for diesel was down -27.1% compared with February 2019, marking the 35th month of decline for this once hugely popular fuel-type. Demand for petrol-powered cars also fell by -7.3%.
GROWING DEMAND FOR ELECTRIFIED VEHICLES
Demand is, however, growing in what the SMMT calls the alternative fuel sectors. Registrations of pure battery-electric cars (BEVs) were up by 243.1% in February, while sales of standard hybrids (HEVs) increased by 71.9%, and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by 49.9%.
While combined these cars still represent small proportion of new car sales, demand is growing fast. How fast? As an example, in February 2019 pure battery electric vehicles made up 0.9% of new car registrations. In February 2020 that grew to 3.2%.
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: 9,210
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.
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2. Ford Focus
Number sold so far in 2020: 8,051
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.
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3. Volkswagen Golf
Number sold so far in 2020: 7,484
An all-new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf arrives in the UK in 2020, 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. Expect it to be a regular fixture in this list of the best-selling new cars of 2020.
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4. Vauxhall Corsa
Number sold so far in 2020: 6,244
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.
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5. Nissan Qashqai
Number sold so far in 2020: 5,901
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.
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6. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Number sold so far in 2020: 4,862
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.
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7. Vauxhall Grandland X
Number sold so far in 2020: 3,801
Vauxhall’s latest take on the crossover format, the Grandland X, is based on the same platform as the Peugeot 3008. However, it is the Vauxhall that is winning the battle for UK buyers. Perhaps that’s down to its more restrained styling inside and out. Either way, while it might not be terribly exciting to drive, the Vauxhall scores well for its blend of interior space and versatility, along with having the raised driving position and sense of safety and solidity that many car-buyers covet.
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8. Volkswagen Polo
Number sold so far in 2020: 3,787
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.
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9. BMW 3 Series
Number sold so far in 2020: 3,648
Along with the Porsche 911, the BMW 3 Series is a fine example of how to evolve a product to meet the latest standards of safety, emissions, and technology while at the same time holding on to all the things that made great in the first place. In the BMW’s case, these things include a sense of quality and refinement, along with a brilliant driving experience and a wide range of engines and specifications. It’s no wonder the latest 3 Series is selling so strongly.
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10. Kia Sportage
Number sold so far in 2020: 3,386
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.
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