Best-selling cars in the UK: petrol car registrations fall in June

Demand for petrol cars shrank in June versus the same month last year, but they still accounted for more than 50% of all UK sales. Here we reveal the models that proved most popular of all...

Author Avatar
by
Alasdair Rodden
Published04 July 2024

Dealership featuring Mercedes E-Class

The number of new cars sold in the UK grew by 1.1% in June compared with the same month last year, according to official figures.

In total, 179,263 cars were registered over the course of the month, around half of which (50.9%) were petrol cars. However, sales of petrol-powered models were 7.8% lower this June than last, while sales of hybrids and electric cars both increased.

Regular hybrids – that’s to say, hybrids you don’t have to plug in – were 27.2% more popular this June than last, with sales reaching 26,702 last month. Similarly, sales of plug-in hybrid cars (PHEVs) grew by 30.0%, to 16,604.

Meanwhile, electric car sales increased by 7.4% year-on-year, to 34,034. Such cars, therefore, represented 19% of all new car sales in June, but the market is still falling below the 22% target set by the Government’s ZEV mandate. What’s more, fewer than a fifth were sold to private buyers; most ended up in the hands of company car drivers who can take advantage of benefit-in-kind tax incentives.

Sales of diesel cars fell to just 10,696 this June; that’s a 17.2% drop from last year’s figure and shows the continuing dwindling popularity of the fuel.

The Kia Sportage – which is available with petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid power – topped last month’s sales chart, while the Tesla Model Y took the title of June’s most popular electric car.

But which other models made the list? Scroll down this story to find out. And if any of them take your fancy, you can also click through to our free New Car Deals service to see how much we can save you without the hassle of haggling.

Data source: SMMT

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Our pick: 1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 3 5dr

0-62mph: 9.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 562 litres
Insurance group: 20E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Lower-spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear leg room and boot space

Weaknesses

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear head room compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions

The family SUV market is extremely competitive, so a car has to be truly excellent to stand out. The Kia Sportage absolutely is, though – in fact, it's our reigning Family SUV of the Year.

Practicality is a particular strength; the boot is spacious and thoughtfully designed, and the interior offers plenty of leg and head room in both the front and the rear. In addition, the Sportage is plush inside – more so than the Hyundai Tucson to which it's closely related.

The entry-level model is very temptingly priced, but upgrading to our recommended 3 trim gives you lots of useful extras, such as heated front seats and keyless start.

Our favourite version 1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 3
List price £32,890
Target price £30,899
Target PCP £345

June sales 4113

Read our in-depth Kia Sportage review

Our pick: 1.0 DiG-T N-Connecta 5dr

0-62mph: 10.7 sec
MPG/range: 48.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 133g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 422 litres
Insurance group: 13E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Smart interior
  • Good safety rating
  • Lots of toys on our recommended trim

Weaknesses

  • Choppy ride
  • So-so infotainment system
  • Hybrid isn't as fuel efficient as a Toyota Yaris Cross

The Nissan Juke continues to be a popular choice among small SUV buyers, offering an upmarket interior as well as plenty of safety tech.

Practicality is also decent, but rivals such as the Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Roc edge ahead in this regard.

As standard, the Juke comes with a 112bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. While a more powerful hybrid model is available, we think this entry-level engine offers better value for money.

We reckon entry-level N-Connecta is the trim to go for; this gets you 17in alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and lots more.

Our favourite version 1.0 DiG-T N-Connecta
List price £25,500
Target price £22,928
Target PCP £219

June sales 3891

Read our in-depth Nissan Juke review

Our pick: Long Range AWD 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 4.8 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 48D
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Rapid acceleration
  • Great range between charges
  • Tesla’s charging infrastructure

Weaknesses

  • Unsettled ride
  • Noisy for an EV
  • A Model 3 is cheaper and better to drive

If you want an electric SUV with a long range and rapid performance, the Tesla Model Y is a great option. Our preferred Long Range version, for example, can rocket from 0-60mph in 4.8sec, and can officially travel 331 miles between charges. Even in the depths of winter, we eked 272 miles from its battery in our Summer range test.

On top of that, the added height and hatchback tailgate of the Model Y make it more practical than its sibling, the Tesla Model 3. However, it’s not as good to drive as that car.

Family SUV rivals such as the Genesis GV60 and Kia EV6 are also nicer to drive, while the former especially feels much more upmarket inside.

Our favourite version Long Range AWD
List price £52,990
Target price £52,990
Target PCP £515

June sales 3642

Read our in-depth Tesla Model Y review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Exceedingly comfortable ride with adaptive suspension
  • Tidy handling
  • Strong and frugal 1.5 TSI 150 engine

Weaknesses

  • Automatic gearbox can be hesitant
  • Interior quality could be better
  • There are more spacious rivals

It's one of the most well-known family cars on the market, but how does the Volkswagen Golf stack up against the competition? For a start, it mixes comfort and practicality very well – it’s about as smooth around town as the pricier Mercedes A-Class, for example, and has space for five carry-on suitcases in its boot.

You also get a good choice of engines with the Golf, including mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid options, as well as a diesel for those covering lots of miles. Our top choice is the mid-range 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol, which can get you up to motorway speeds swiftly, yet should also help keep running costs in check. It's worth noting that though the Golf handles well, the closely related Seat Leon is much more fun to drive quickly.

The Golf is due to be updated later this year, and this outgoing version is now only available from dealer stock.

June sales 3463

Read our in-depth Volkswagen Golf review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Superb build quality
  • Sporty handling
  • Class-leading infotainment system

Weaknesses

  • Mercedes A-Class is safer
  • SE trim not that well equipped
  • Road noise at speed

A new, fourth-generation BMW 1 Series is on its way, but the outgoing BMW 1 Series is still a good premium family car. It’s great to drive, and offers sharper handling than the rival Mercedes A-Class – although the Mercedes counters with a more cosseting ride.

The 1 Series is also fantastically well screwed together inside, with plush, soft-touch materials as far as the eye can see. In fact, it’s an even nicer place to be than either the Audi A3 or the A-Class. Plus, using BMW’s excellent rotary infotainment controller is much less distracting than prodding a central touchscreen.

June sales 3397

Read our in-depth BMW 1 Series review

Our pick: 1.6 TGDi Hybrid 230 SE Connect 5dr 2WD Auto

0-62mph: 8 sec
MPG/range: 50.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 616 litres
Insurance group: 18E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Frugal hybrid is a worthy alternative to diesel
  • Well-made interior
  • Spacious for passengers and luggage

Weaknesses

  • So-so handling
  • Ride can get choppy at times
  • No sliding rear seats

The Hyundai Tucson is among the most practical family SUVs – there’s lots of space in the front and the rear, and the boot is one of the biggest in the class.

Practicality aside, the interior is well laid out and feels solid, but lacks the premium feel you get inside rivals such as the Volvo XC40.

If you go for the hybrid version you can expect reasonable performance and impressive fuel economy, but ride comfort in all versions of the Tucson could be better, especially considering how comfortable some family SUVs manage to be.

Our favourite version 1.6 TGDi Hybrid 230 SE Connect
List price £35,950
Target price £33,153
Target PCP £259

June sales 3271

Read our in-depth Hyundai Tucson review

Our pick: 1.3 DiG-T MH N-Connecta 5dr

0-62mph: 10.2 sec
MPG/range: 44.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 144g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 479 litres
Insurance group: 12E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Great driving position
  • Smart interior

Weaknesses

  • So-so performance
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive
  • Lacks the seating flexibility of many rivals

For many buyers, the Nissan Qashqai exemplifies the family SUV class. After all, it was the car that first popularised the idea of a tall car without the sky-high running costs of a traditional off-roader. The latest version is a fine all-rounder, combining good practicality with some efficient engine options.

Our preferred choice is the entry-level 1.3-litre petrol, which has mild-hybrid technology to help lower your fuel bills.

Meanwhile, there's a good reason why most Qashqai buyers choose N-Connecta trim, because it bundles together lots of desirable kit – including 18in alloy wheels, a fully digital driver display and a leather-wrapped steering wheel – for a reasonable price.

Our favourite version 1.3 DiG-T MH N-Connecta
List price £32,305
Target price £29,426
Target PCP £303

June sales 3194

Read our in-depth Nissan Qashqai review

Our pick: 1.0 EcoBoost Hybrid mHEV 155 ST-Line DCT 5dr

0-62mph: 8.7 sec
MPG/range: 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 128g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 17E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Great fun to drive
  • Remarkable blend of performance and fuel economy
  • Big and cleverly designed boot

Weaknesses

  • Rear space is adequate rather than outstanding
  • Visibility could be better
  • Volkswagen T-Roc is more comfortable and quieter

The Ford Puma is a former What Car? Car of the Year, and even though its small SUV crown has now been taken by the excellent Lexus LBX, it remains one of the best cars in its class.

The Puma should certainly put a smile on your face, because it's very agile, especially in ST-Line guise, because this comes with sports suspension and well-weighted, engaging steering.

The Puma's interior is well laid out and reasonably plush, although rivals such as the Volkswagen T-Roc provide a much more upmarket feel. Also, the Puma's rear visibility isn’t ideal, and the view out of the front can be limited depending on your seating position.

The boot is large for the class and has a height-adjustable floor with even more storage underneath. Excellent fuel economy and a low CO2 output also help to make the case for the playful Puma being a sensible buy.

Our favourite version 1.0 Ecoboost mHEV 155 ST-Line
List price £29,250
Target price £27,730
Target PCP £330

June sales 3169

Read our in-depth Ford Puma review

Our pick: 1.5 VTi-TECH Excite 5dr

0-62mph: 10.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 448 litres
Insurance group: 15E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Low price
  • Surprisingly smart interior
  • Standard seven-year warranty

Weaknesses

  • Limited safety aids
  • Unsettled ride
  • Performance is so-so

Once you account for the fact that it’s definitely a budget SUV and built to a low price point, the MG ZS has quite a few strengths. For starters, interior space is impressive for a car of its size, and there are plenty of useful storage areas.

Interior quality is even more impressive (for the price), featuring soft-touch plastics where it matters and solid-feeling buttons on the dashboard.

The 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol engine offers more flexible performance than the entry-level 1.5-litre VTi-Tech petrol, but we'd ultimately choose the latter because it keeps the purchase price down.

Our favourite version 1.5 VTi-Tech Excite
List price £18,335
Target price £16,628
Target PCP £190

June sales 3113

Read our in-depth MG ZS review

Our pick: RWD 4dr Auto

0-62mph: 6.1 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 594 litres
Insurance group: 36D
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Fast and reliable charging via Tesla's Supercharger network
  • Long range between charges
  • Surprisingly practical

Weaknesses

  • Fiddly interior controls
  • Handling not as entertaining as the best petrol-powered rivals
  • Windscreen pillars hamper visibility

If you’re in the market for an electric executive car, look no further – the Tesla Model 3 is both the best electric car and best executive car you can buy. It’s spacious, comes packed with tech and is pleasant to drive, meaning it’s something of a jack-of-all-trades.

Long Range variants can officially travel 390 miles on a charge – that could get you from London to Berwick-upon-Tweed without needing to plug in. And, when the time comes to top up, you’ll be able to make use of Tesla’s prolific Supercharger network.

However, it’s worth noting that while the Model 3’s minimalist interior is a nice place to be, the lack of physical controls (most notably the indicator stalks) can make everyday actions pretty fiddly.

Our favourite version RWD
List price £39,990
Target price £39,990
Target PCP £509

June sales 3111

Read our in-depth Tesla Model 3 review