Top 10: best-selling cars in the UK

Total registrations were down compared with the same month last year, but electric cars sales continued to boom and the UK's most popular car was a big surprise.....

Fewer new cars were sold in the UK in October than in the same month in 2019, freshly released figures have revealed.

Mercedes A-Class front - 19 plate

Although the drop had more to do with supply issues and regional lockdowns than a lack of demand. In total, 140,945 new cars were registered – 1.6% down on October 2019's figures – according to industry body The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Of the cars that did leave showrooms, almost half (49.5%) were petrol, while sales of diesels accounted for just 14.9% of the market and were down almost 40% compared with last year.

By contrast, sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars continued to boom, with a combined 28,148 sales in October 2020 compared with 14,231 in October 2019. Such models have so far accounted for 16% of new car sales in 2020.

But what about the cars that did leave showrooms in October? Let’s take a look at the top 10, starting at number 10 and working our way through to the best seller – and it may surprise you…:

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10: Audi A3

Audi A3 long termer

If you're in the market for a family hatchback with a premium badge on its bonnet, then you could do a lot worse than the latest Audi A3. It's good to drive, with sharp handling and a punchy range of engines, of which the 1.5-litre petrol in the 35 TFSI model is our favourite. Add in an excellent driving position and reasonable space for the family, and it's easy to recommend.

October sales: 2523

10: Audi A3

Audi A3 Sportback 2020 dashboard

Sharp handling
Excellent driving position
Punchy petrol 35 TFSI petrol engine

Interior quality is good but could be better
Fiddly infotainment system
Audi's unimpressive reliability record

9: BMW 1 Series

1 Series long-termer London tracking

Like the Audi A3 above, the 1 Series is a premium family hatchback, and it gets the same four-star rating as the Audi on our road test. It's a decent all-rounder, blending driver appeal with decent ride comfort, but it also has one of the nicest interiors of any family hatchback, plus a brilliant infotainment system.

October sales: 2606

9: BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series interior

Superb build quality
Sporty handling
Class-leading infotainment system

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

8: Ford Focus

2020 Ford Focus front action

If you're looking for a family hatchback that's also great to drive, the Focus should be on your shortlist. With sharp handling and a range of peppy engines, it's capable of putting a big smile on your face, while its quiet cruising manners and roomy rear seats make it a sensible choice, too.

October sales: 2823

8: Ford Focus

2020 Ford Focus dashboard

Great handling
Quiet at speed
Roomy rear seats

Mediocre performance
Low-rent interior
Octavia has a much bigger boot

7: Mini hatchback

Mini hatchback 3dr

The Mini hatchback is an enduring icon in the small car market, and marries cutesy looks with an engaging drive. Our recommended 1.5-litre petrol engine makes for peppy performance around town, while the number of optional packs on offer gives owners plenty of scope for personalisation.

October sales: 3100

7: Mini hatchback

Mini hatchback 3dr - interior

Fun to drive
Low running costs
Strong resale values

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

6: Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 front

Volvo's Family SUV is a former What Car? Car of the Year and remains one of the very best options in its class. It's good to drive, spacious inside for both people and luggage, and has a well-built interior.

October sales: 3548

6: Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 2020 RHD dashboard

Stylish and high-quality interior
Comfortable ride on most versions
Comprehensive safety kit

Lacks the rear seat flexibility of some rivals
Fiddly infotainment system
Road noise on the motorway

5: Ford Puma

Ford Puma long term

The Puma isn't just the best small SUV you can buy in 2020, it's the best car full stop. Yes, the Puma is our Car of the Year, thanks to an alluring mix of practicality and low running costs, combined with an engaging driving style.

October sales: 3609

5: Ford Puma

Ford Puma dashboard - grey 69-plate car

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

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

4: Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf front action

The arrival of a new Volkswagen Golf is always big news, and comes with big expectations, too. Fortunately, this latest version remains highly recommendable, with a comfortable ride, tidy handling and a strong range of engines.

October sales: 3831

4: Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf dashboard

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

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

3: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta 2020 rear cornering

Having lead the sales charts for a number of months, the Fiesta hatchback slumped to third place in October, but don't think that makes it any less recommendable – it's superb to drive and won't cost you much to run.

October sales: 3845

3: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta 3dr dashboard

Brilliant to drive
Punchy Ecoboost engines, especially the Hybrid versions
Good fuel economy and CO2 emissions

Some rivals are better value
Decent but not class-leading practicality
Important safety kit not standard

2: Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa 2019 LHD rear tight tracking view

There are better all-rounders in the small car market, but it's still easy to see the appeal of the Corsa: it's cheap to run, well equipped and you can choose from a wide variety of power options (including a fully electric version).

October sales: 3957

2: Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa-e 2020 RHD dashboard

Well equipped
Decent boot
Efficient engines

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

1: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes A-Class side

The A-Class is every inch the premium family hatchback, from its stunning interior to its comfortable ride. It's usually an expensive choice, but big discounts are available through our New Car Buying service, and buying through a PCP deal can make the car surprisingly affordable.

October sales: 4149

1: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes A-Class interior

Strong safety rating
Feature-packed infotainment system
Good to drive and very comfortable

Not cheap to by outright or on finance
Restrictive and pricey option packs
Poor reliability record

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