Here are the UK’s latest monthly car sales stats from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Family hatchbacks still rule the roads, with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa proving most popular among buyers, but SUV rivals such as Nissan’s Qashqai are becoming increasingly common, too.
10 – Mercedes-Benz C-Class
We may prefer the Audi A4 as a junior exec, but the buying public chooses the Mercedes-Benz C-Class – with plenty of reason. Its superb cabin is well equipped and its efficient engine range makes it tax friendly for both private and business drivers. Our favourite C220 Bluetec offers the best compromise of power and economy.
9 – Mini
With a three-door, five-door and convertible to consider, among other bodystyles, Mini surely offers the broadest body range on the market. The stylish premium supermini is great to drive, cheap to run and gives a good return come resale time. The 1.5-litre petrol Cooper model is our pick, along with its Cooper D diesel counterpart.
8 – Audi A3
The Audi A3 premium hatchback does most things brilliantly. It offers a plug-in hybrid among a range of excellent engines, plus a well equipped and comfortable cabin and great driving characteristics. The buying public says it’s the best top-end family hatch around.
7 – Vauxhall Astra
A big improvement on models of old, the new Vauxhall Astra family hatch is quite a star. Its lightweight agility makes up for the fact that most of its powerplants are less powerful than rivals’, and the icing on the cake is that it’s cheap to buy and run.
6 – Volkswagen Polo
This classy supermini has a spacious and premium feel, with good all-round leg and headroom for this sector. The Volkswagen Polo 1.4-litre petrol is our favourite, while the performance-oriented models, especially the GTI, also make worthy buys.
5 – Nissan Qashqai
One of our favourite mid-sized SUVs of the year, this excellent family car majors on practicality, space and powerplant selection. Four-wheel drive on some variants adds to its appeal. The Nissan Qashqai offers impressive economy and CO2 emissions in it class, too.
4 – Ford Focus
The fun to drive and well kitted-out Ford Focus is still a popular family hatchback, even if better, more rounded rivals are now available. City dwellers are well served by the 1.0-litre Ecoboost model, while regular motorway drivers will prefer the 1.5-litre diesel.
3 – Volkswagen Golf
A large cabin, smooth, quiet engine range and engaging drive help justify the higher price of the Volkswagen Golf, which is one of our favourite family hatchbacks. And you’ll recoup a fair chunk of that money come resale, thanks to strong residuals.
2 – Vauxhall Corsa
This excellent small car features a roomy cabin that can carry five adults, while its economical engine range boasts some of the sector’s lowest CO2 emissions. The Vauxhall Corsa can’t touch its Ford Fiesta rival for driving prowess, but competitive pricing makes it easy to recommend.
1 – Ford Fiesta
More than 19,500 UK sales last month alone prove just how popular this supermini really is, and back up the fact that it’s one of the best small cars around. Big dealer discounts are a real sweetener, but the Ford Fiesta’s fun drive, practical cabin and cheap running costs all add to its appeal.