July 2022 new car sales revealed: who were the winners and losers?

Global supply chain shortages and the rising cost of living hurt car sales in July, but some models still left showrooms in their thousands. So, which were the biggest sellers?...


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What Car? team

Dealership featuring Mercedes E-Class

The number of new cars sold in the UK fell for the fifth consecutive month in July, as continued supply shortages and the cost of living crisis continued to affect potential buyers. According to official figures, 112,162 new cars left showrooms in July – 9% fewer than in the same month in 2021.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that Covid-related lockdowns in key manufacturing regions in China exacerbated the supply shortages already being felt around the globe. This has increased how long buyers have to wait for new cars, and has prompted some brands to slim down their range of engines and options as a result.

Continued high petrol and diesel prices are thought to have caused an increase in sales of electric cars, with 12,243 leaving showrooms in July – up almost 10% compared with July 2021. 

So, which were the biggest selling car models in July 2022? Below, we count down the top 10 best-sellers.

10

Toyota Yaris

Our favourite version 1.5 Hybrid Icon | List price £21,460 | Target Price £20,228 | Target PCP £205 per month

If you want a small car that won't cost you a lot to run, the Toyota Yaris deserves a spot on your shortlist. In our real-world test, it returned impressive fuel economy both around town and on faster roads, and Toyota's excellent reliability record means you shouldn't face any issues with things going wrong, either. You also get a generous amount of standard kit, with our recommended Icon trim getting 16in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera.

July sales 1811

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Pros

  • Excellent real-world fuel economy
  • Toyota's reliability record
  • Slow predicted depreciation

Cons

  • Below-par infotainment system
  • Firm ride – especially on higher-spec models with bigger wheels
  • Cramped in the back
9

Toyota Aygo X

Our favourite version 1.0 VVT-i Pure | List price £15,405 | Target Price £15,405 | Target PCP £183 per month

Not so long ago, the Toyota Aygo was a small car built for the city, but now it's morphed into a small SUV that's more family-friendly. Like the Yaris above, it should be cheap to run thanks to its efficient 1.0-litre engine, while you also get plenty of kit as standard, including 17in alloy wheels, automatic headlights and air conditioning. Taller passengers will find themselves feeling cramped in the back, though, and the engine could do with a bit more pep, especially on faster roads.

July sales 1939

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Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Good level of safety kit
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Cramped in the back
  • Smaller boot opening than rivals
  • Lacklustre engine
8

Kia Sportage

Our favourite version 1.6 T-GDi HEV 3 | List price £35,200 | Target Price £34,256 | Target PCP £388 per month

With a big boot, generous interior space for four people, plus a smart-looking interior, the Kia Sportage is one of the best all-rounders in the family SUV class. It’s also available as a regular or plug-in hybrid, making it a shrewd buy in the wake of recent fuel cost increases.

July sales 2087

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Pros

  • Lower spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear legroom and boot space

Cons

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear headroom compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions
7

Audi A1

Our favourite version 30 TFSI Sport | List price £22,450 | Target Price £21,696 | Target PCP £242 per month

The Audi A1 is proof that a small car can still feel luxurious. It's comfortable to sit in, features mostly high-quality materials and is available with the kind of options you'd expect to find on a larger and more expensive model. Rivals get you more for your money overall, but the A1 still impresses with its peppy engines – the 108bhp 30 TFSI is our favourite – and smooth ride.

July sales 2098

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Pros

  • Smooth ride and tidy handling
  • Relatively quiet at higher speeds
  • Very slow depreciation

Cons

  • Cheaper trims not well equipped
  • Mini feels much plusher inside
  • Peugeot 208 offers more for less money
6

Vauxhall Corsa

Our favourite version 1.2 Turbo GS Line | List price £20,390 | Target Price £19,321 | Target PCP £236

The Corsa has long been one of the nation's favourite small cars, and the introduction of this new version will have contributed to its strong sales. There are better all-rounders, but it's easy to see the appeal of the Corsa: it's cheap to run and well equipped, and you can choose from a wide variety of power options (including the fully electric Vauxhall Corsa-e).

July sales 2121

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Pros

  • Well equipped
  • Decent boot
  • Efficient engines

Cons

  • Laggy and confusing infotainment system
  • Below-par safety rating
  • Poor resale values
5

Volkswagen Golf

Our favourite version 1.5 TSI Life | List price £25,950 | Target Price £24,759 | Target PCP £285 per month

The Volkswagen Golf is an ideal all-rounder, and this latest version is still a good option in the family car class. That's thanks in part to its solid blend of a good ride and handling, and the frugality promised by its petrol engines (especially our favourite 1.5 TSI 150 version).

July sales 2204

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Pros

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

Cons

  • Frustratingly fiddly infotainment system is full of software bugs
  • Interior quality could be better
  • There are more spacious rivals
4

Volkswagen T-Roc

Our favourite version 1.5 TSI Evo Life | List price £27,285 | Target Price £26,494 | Target PCP £283

This five-star SUV is a fantastic all-rounder, offering the kind of high-set driving position that lots of buyers love, plus impressive comfort and refinement. It's especially good if you opt for our favourite 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, which offers lots of power but also keeps running costs sensible. No matter which T-Roc you go for, you won't be left wanting for kit, because even entry-level Life versions get two-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and 16in alloy wheels.

July sales 2221

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Pros

  • Comfortable ride and quiet on the motorway
  • High-set driving position for a small SUV
  • Good boot by class standards

Cons

  • Touch-sensitive controls can be fiddly
  • Upper trims and engine options are too pricey
  • Unexciting handling (the Ford Puma is a sharper drive)
3

Hyundai Tucson

Our favourite version 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid 230 SE Connect 2WD | List price £33,370 | Target Price £32,149 | Target PCP £337 per month

The Hyundai Tucson is based on the same underpinnings as the Kia Sportage – and that means it offers a similarly spacious interior, as well as efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. The interior is well built and packed with standard kit, but the ride can be choppy at times.

July sales 2267

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Pros

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

Cons

  • So-so handling
  • Ride can get choppy at times
  • No sliding rear seats
2

Mini Hatchback

Our favourite version 1.5 Cooper Exclusive 3dr | List price £25,165 | Target Price £24,555 | Target PCP £306

The Mini is a hugely desirable small car with plenty of substance to back up its style. Its greatest strength is its classy, well-appointed interior, which we recognised as the best in the small car class in the 2022 What Car? Awards. The Mini isn't the most practical option – the Mini 3dr has only two seats in the back – and it scored a slightly disappointing four stars for safety when it was tested by Euro NCAP.

July sales 2410

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Pros

  • The classiest small car interior
  • Excellent infotainment system
  • Strong resale values

Cons

  • Ride is a bit firm
  • Not as safe as rivals
  • Only has two rear seats
1

Nissan Qashqai

Our favourite version 1.3 DiG-T MH N-Connecta | List price £30,815 | Target Price £27,906 | Target PCP £284 per month

With a well-built interior and lots of standard safety kit – so much that it won our Safety Award for 2022 – the Qashqai is a strong contender in the family SUV class. It’s not the most inspiring car to drive, though, and it lacks the seating flexibility of rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson.

July sales 2514

All prices correct at the time of writing


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Read more: The best and worst electric cars 2022 >>

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Pros

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

Cons

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