The best selling cars of 2020 so far

January presents a gloomy start to the year for car sales, but a rise in electrified car sales means it's not all bad news. So, who were the big winners?.....

More than 7% fewer new cars were sold in the UK in January than in the same month in 2019, new figures have revealed.

Four car compilation image

The downturn, which saw 149,279 new models leave showrooms in the first month of 2020, is being blamed on continuing confusion surrounding diesel and the government's approach to clean air strategies. The decline is particularly prevalent for diesel-engined cars, which put in the worst sales performance since the turn of the millennium, with registrations down by 36% compared with January last year. Conversely, petrol car sales are down by 9.5%.

Sales of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars fared better, with purely electric car sales up by more than 200% compared with last year. However, even with 1334 cars sold, electric vehicles still accounted for just 2.7% of the total market in January. To put that into context, for every electric car sold in January, Ford sold more than four Fiestas.

Below and over the next few pages, we'll look at the 10 best-selling cars in January 2020.

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10: Vauxhall Grandland X

New Vauxhall Grandland X vs used Audi Q5: which is best?

The largest of Vauxhall's trio of X-named SUVs is based on the Peugeot 3008, and offers many of the same comfort and practicality benefits of that car.

10: Vauxhall Grandland X - interior

Vauxhall Grandland X - interior

It drives fairly well, too, and has enough space for most families.

January sales: 2261

What Car? rating: Rated 3 out of 5

9: Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo front and side

The Polo is our champion in the small car class, and it's easy to see why.

9: Volkswagen Polo - interior

Volkswagen Polo - interior

Not only is it deceptively spacious, but it's also quiet on the move, has a supple ride and is offered with a range of peppy engines. It genuinely feels like a car from the class above, and while it can be a tad pricey, our Target Price deals mean that need not be a problem.

January sales: 2336

What Car? rating: Rated 5 out of 5

8: BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series Saloon 2019 wide front tracking shot RHD

A glut of What Car? Car of the Year Awards trophies are no doubt helping the latest 3 Series' popularity. Not only is the 330e plug-in hybrid version our favourite plug-in hybrid and our favourite executive car, but the 3 Series range as a whole picked up our Safety Award too.

8: BMW 3 Series - interior

BMW 3 Series Saloon 2019 dashboard RHD

It really is one of the best and most well-rounded new cars on sale.

January sales: 2422

What Car? rating: Rated 5 out of 5

7: Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage

The Sportage is a versatile family SUV that represents great value for money, especially if you stick with the lower trim levels. It also has decent space for rear passengers and in the boot, which means it can haul your family and all their luggage in comfort.

7: Kia Sportage - interior

Kia Sportage - interior

Add in that resale values are also decent and it's thoroughly recommendable.

January sales: 2457

What Car? rating: Rated 3 out of 5

6: Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes A-Class driving

The A-Class is Mercedes' rival to premium hatchbacks, such as the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series.

6: Mercedes A-Class - interior

Mercedes A-Class - interior

It has a stunning interior and a sophisticated infotainment system, plus it's good to drive. It can be pricey, though, so our Target Price discounts are well worth paying attention to.

January sales: 3214

What Car? rating: Rated 4 out of 5

5: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf front three quarters

Ask a group of people to name a family hatchback and the chances are most of them will mention the Golf. It’s consistently among the most popular new cars sold in the UK, and with good reason; with such a wide range of engines and versions on offer, from frugal petrols through to diesels and even an electric version, there's a model to suit everyone.

5: Volkswagen Golf - interior

Volkswagen Golf - interior

It’s also brilliant to drive and competitively priced. If you're willing to wait a few months, an all-new Golf is going on sale soon.

January sales: 4027

What Car? rating: Rated 5 out of 5

4: Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa 2019 front left cornering RHD

There's lots to like about the latest Vauxhall Corsa, including an efficient range of engines and lots of equipment.

4: Vauxhall Corsa - interior

Vauxhall Corsa 2019 dashboard RHD

It's also decent to drive, making it a competent all-rounder in the small car class. Rivals are safer and offer more space, though.

January sales: 4373

What Car? rating: Rated 3 out of 5

3: Nissan Qashqai


You can't go far wrong with a Qashqai. There's a range of efficient engines on offer and the ride is comfortable if you stick with smaller wheels.

3: Nissan Qashqai - interior

Nissan QASHQAI 1.5 DCI 115 ACENTA PREMIUM 5DR - interior

You miss out on some of our recommended safety kit on lower trims, though.

January sales: 4608

What Car? rating: Rated 4 out of 5

2: Ford Focus

Ford Focus ST-Line 1.0 EcoBoost 125PS

For many, the Focus is the definitive family hatchback, and the latest model competes strongly with the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and co.

2: Ford Focus - interior

Ford Focus ST-Line 1.0 EcoBoost 125PS FWD - interior

We like its supple ride, sweet steering and roomy rear seats, although its engines aren't as frisky as those of its rivals.

January sales: 5287

What Car? rating: Rated 4 out of 5

1: Ford Fiesta

Used Ford Fiesta (17-present) long term test review

The Ford Fiesta was toppled in the monthly rankings by the Vauxhall Corsa in December but returns to take the top spot overall in 2019 – and by a serious margin, too. It helps that this little Ford is easy to recommend, being great fun to drive and available with petrol engines that are punchy, quiet and frugal.

1: Ford Fiesta - interior


It also feels more modern inside than its predecessor and has a much better infotainment system.

January sales: 6087

What Car? rating: Rated 4 out of 5

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