Top 10: best selling cars in the UK 2012

Most of us drive around at least twice a day, commuting to and from work. We see plenty of vehicles on the road in the process – some of us might even play games, such as spot the latest registration plate.

But have you ever wondered what’s the best-selling car in the UK, and thus the car you’re perhaps most likely to see?

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 10 best selling models in Britain last year, according to registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

  1. Ford Fiesta
    The Ford Fiesta was Britain’s best-selling car in 2012, with the firm moving 109,265 units. Not even awareness of a facelift towards the end of the year – equipping the Fiesta with a larger range of engines and more technology – could put buyers off.
  2. Vauxhall Corsa
    The Ford beat off competition from Vauxhall’s Corsa – which sold nearly 20,000 fewer cars at 89,434. The Vauxhall is still a competent and capable supermini, but the Fiesta’s arguably more cutting edge styling and advanced engine line-up make it more of a favourite with the buying public.
  3. Ford Focus
    Finishing third was another Ford – this time the Focus. With the same great 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (as now fitted to the Fiesta) delivering decent power but improved emissions for those looking to downsize their engines, the Focus was a hit. 83,115 people agreed.
  4. Vauxhall Astra
    Just getting pipped by Ford in the class again is Vauxhall, with its mid-size Astra family hatchback. The British marque sold 63,023 units in 2012, with some of them built here in the UK at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant.
  5. Volkswagen Golf
    The highest placed premium manufacturer to make the list was Volkswagen with the Golf hatchback. Like the Fiesta, a new Golf model recently went on sale, but that didn’t create a lull towards the end of last year. VW still sold 62,021 Golf models in 2012.
  6. Nissan Qashqai
    Nissan’s Qashqai has been around since 2007, during which it has been the best-selling SUV crossover in the UK. The Japanese mid-size off-roader continued its dominance of the market, selling 45,675 and featuring as the only 4x4 in the top 10.
  7. BMW 3 Series
    The BMW 3 Series is the highest placed vehicle from the German manufacturer and proves that people still love to buy premium products. The latest generation 3 Series sold 44,521 units in the UK last year, edging out its upmarket rivals in the form of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.
  8. Volkswagen Polo
    Volkswagen’s Polo supermini is a solid small hatchback. It offers an upmarket, ‘mini-Golf’ feel for just a small amount more cash than a rival model. Volkswagen upgraded it last year with a high-tech new engine that can shut down half its cylinders to save fuel.
  9. Mercedes C-Class
    Mercedes sold 37,261 C-Class models across all body style variants in 2012. Although not as much as the BMW 3 Series, it shows that vehicles such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo are not the reliable sales giants they once were, outsold by more upmarket opposition.
  10. BMW 1 Series
    Rounding out the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the UK last year is the BMW 1 Series – that car sold 34,488 units. The cachet of the badge and a full year’s sales of the facelifted model helped it steal a march on the updated Audi A3 and newly introduced Mercedes A-Class.