Top 10 best sellers reviewed
The numberplate change makes September the second-biggest month for car sales, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that registrations were higher than expected.
However, the organisation has cut its forecast for next year, blaming 'continued weakness in UK domestic demand and the uncertainty across European economies.'
Despite the gloomy economic outlook, almost two million buyers will have bought new cars by the end of 2011 – but which one is right for you? To help you decide, we've got the lowdown on Britain's most popular cars.
1 Ford Fiesta
Our verdict: It's great to drive, the engines are clean and it should be cheap to run.
Our pick: Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec 5dr
Hot deals: Ford Fiesta
2 Ford Focus
Our verdict: A superb family hatchback that’s well specified and competitively priced.
Our pick: Ford Focus 1.6T 150 Ecoboost Titanium 5dr
Hot deals: Ford Focus
3 Vauxhall Corsa
Our verdict: A great-value car that’s comfortable and has a roomy, high-quality cabin.
Our pick: Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback 1.4i VVT Exclusiv 5dr
Hot deals: Vauxhall Corsa
4 Volkswagen Golf
Our verdict: Desirable, refined and great to drive, the VW Golf is one of the best all-rounders.
Our pick: Volkswagen Golf Hatchback 1.4 TSI 122 Match 5dr
Hot deals: Volkswagen Golf
5 Vauxhall Astra
Our verdict: The classy, spacious cabin is a real highlight, but the Astra falls short of the best small family hatchbacks in too many other areas.
Our pick: Vauxhall Astra Hatchback 1.4T Exclusiv 5dr
Hot deals: Vauxhall Astra
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Top 10 best sellers on video
6 Vauxhall Insignia
Our verdict: A good family car that's available with plenty of high-tech features, but it's not the class leader.
Our pick: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160 Exclusiv 5dr
Hot deals: Vauxhall Insignia
7 Volkswagen Polo
Our verdict: The Polo isn't as much fun to drive as some supermini rivals, but few are as desirable.
Our pick: Volkswagen Polo 1.4 85 Match 5dr
Hot deals: Volkswagen Polo
8 BMW 3 Series
Our verdict: The 3 Series has superb engines and oozes class with top-notch cabin materials.
Our pick: BMW 318d ES 4dr
Hot deals:More BMW 3 Series
9 Nissan Qashqai
Our verdict: The Qashqai makes a brilliant family car because it's roomy, comfortable, refined and affordable to run.
Our pick: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 117 Visia Idle Stop 2WD 5dr
Hot deals: Nissan Qashqai
Our Verdict: The Mini provides a thrill-a-minute drive and a good ride, and it's still as desirable as ever.
Our pick: Mini Cooper Hatchback 1.6 3dr
Hot deals: Mini