In the motoring world, best sellers are usually popular for all the right reasons, with many of the best-selling vehicles of all time consistently enjoying a long, proud, and successful history. In fact, the majority of Britain’s most popular autos are still going strong today. If you want to know which of these best-selling hatchbacks of all time are our favourites, read on and discover some of the UK’s chart-topping vehicles.


In addition to our favourite picks of the most popular cars on British roads ever, we thought we’d also do a quick round up of some of the UK’s best-selling cars of 2020, creating two lists to compare and contrast – a handy tool for anyone looking to purchase a vehicle and for automotive buffs looking to speculate on the future of best-selling cars. The units sold data is compiled from The Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT):

  • Vauxhall Corsa: 3,078
  • Kia Sportage: 2,986
  • Nissan Qashqai: 2,835
  • Ford Fiesta: 2,594
  • Volvo XC40: 2,201
  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 1,859
  • Volkswagen Golf: 1,779
  • Ford Puma: 1,760
  • Kia Niro: 1,741
  • Ford Focus: 1,686


When it comes to compiling a list such as this one, there are a lot of vehicles throughout the years to consider. Of course, choosing the best sellers is easy, whilst selecting our favourites is the hard part. Undoubtedly, we’ve omitted some very popular and brilliant cars, yet those that’ve made it this far have done so because they have the sales to back them up, and the excellence to secure a place forever in our memories. Do you agree with our top 10 favourite best-selling hatchback cars?


The Ford Fiesta is a popular sight in many top 10 lists and it tops this one too as our favourite best-selling car. Introduced in 1976 and currently in its eighth generation, the Fiesta gets it right.

It has superb handling, which is the best in its segment, resulting in a fun driving experience. It has good performance with a nice selection of efficient engines, plus it offers low running costs too.

It has a full five star safety rating with Euro NCAP dating from 2012 onwards, and it enjoys high scores prior to the overall rating system as well (pre-2009). In addition, it’s known to be reliable too.

In short, the Fiesta is the obvious choice out of many sectors.

Best features:

  • Class-leading handling
  • Good reliability record
  • Low running costs



The iconic Mini is a best-selling car that’s hard to ignore. It offers something distinctly different, from the way it looks, to the way it drives. The car is unmistakable and it holds a special place in many a motorists’ heart, ours included.

With unique styling, a high-quality cabin, and greater interior space than its seemingly small proportions suggest, the Mini Hatch is a handsome sight.

When it’s on the road, the Mini comes into its own even more, offering a true go-kart like feel thanks to the low centre of gravity and light steering, which go hand-in-hand with a light and nimble ride experience. In short, it’s a lot of fun to drive.

Best features:

  • Go-kart like to drive
  • High-quality cabin
  • Iconic and unique



One of the most popular cars in Britain, the Vauxhall Corsa has officially been on our roads since 1993, although prior to that it was known as the Nova, which ran from the 1980s. From then on, the supermini has carved a path to success with its affordable starting price and low running costs, proving to be a car that is easy, yet still enjoyable to drive. Unsurprisingly, it is a favourite amongst new and young drivers.

It’s also practical as an inexpensive small family car, enjoying a rather spacious cabin for its outward dimensions. Older models are available in 3 or 5-door guises, whilst the latest Corsa is strictly 5-doors.

It’s now also available as an EV for greener credentials.

Overall, it’s a vehicle that offers an all-round package and that is undoubtedly the key to its success.

Best features:

  • Easy to drive
  • Low running costs
  • Great all-rounder



One of the most popular vehicles in Britain of all time, the Volkswagen Golf is a leading car in the hatchback sector, with few rivals that can match its pace and standards. Now in its eighth generation, the car was first introduced way back in 1974.

More recent models come with a string of class-leading features, such as a high-quality cabin finished with premium materials and an excellent driving experience that is very refined and comfortable.

It’s a great looking car too, with a timeless design that is consistently pleasing. It’s a credit to Volkswagen that models from decades ago still hold their own in the image department.

Other noteworthy aspects of the Golf include the solid build quality, the consistent high scores in safety with Euro NCAP from 1998 onward and a full five star overall rating from 2009, and, finally, the good range of efficient, yet punchy engines (now also available as a mild hybrid for greater economy).

Overall, it’s a superb family hatchback.

Best features:

  • High-quality cabin
  • Excellent driving experience
  • Very refined and comfortable



Another stylish hatchback, the Honda Civic actually started life as a very small compact car all the way back in 1972. Over the years, it has grown in stature with estate and coupe models added to the mix, settling on the hatchback design of today with a mighty ten generations under its belt. That makes it one of the longest running cars in automotive history and it’s no surprise why it has remained so popular.

It is an affordable, cheap to run vehicle that is good value money, plus it has a strong reliability rating and great residual values, with some of the classic models now becoming sought-after. Add impressive handling and punchy performance to the mix and you can see why the Honda Civic has gone from strength to strength.

There’s also the hot hatch version of the Civic, the Type R, which is a leader in its segment, thanks to the perfect balance of precision and incredible performance power.

Best features:

  • Excellent driving experience
  • Strong reliability rating
  • Great residual values



Coming to market in 1998 after replacing the Ford Escort, the Ford Focus is another best-selling car in Britain and a true rival to the Volkswagen Golf.

What sets the Focus apart from the competition is the fact that it is one of the best to drive in its class, with well-weighted, balanced handling that results in a family car that is a lot of fun.

Available as a hatchback or an estate, the Focus also enjoys stylish looks and a fantastic variety of trim options and engine choices, from the efficient to the powerful. It really does cater to the style and needs of various drivers. Spacious and practical, the Focus is a great all-rounder.

Furthermore, it has a strong safety record as well, consistently scoring five stars in Euro NCAP tests from 2012, and enjoying high ratings prior to the overall star system pre-2009.

Best features:

  • One of the best to drive in segment
  • Fantastic variety of trim options
  • Spacious and practical



There’s a theme with the majority of the best-selling cars on this list, most have been around for a fair few decades cementing their popularity with attractive designs and great driving characteristics. In this regards, the Volkswagen Polo is no different.

The hugely popular nameplate, arriving in 1975, is now in its sixth generation, offering drivers excellent build quality, a spacious and practical cabin, great standard safety kit and high levels of refinement for a supermini.

It’s available as a 5-door hatchback and a 4-door saloon, with a fantastic range of both efficient and performance-based engines.

Regardless of the body type, it is a brilliant car and superb  cruiser for everybody, from new drivers to small families.

Best features:

  • Superb refinement
  • Excellent build quality
  • Lots of standard safety kit



Yet another car that is one of the longest running vehicles in automotive history, arriving over 50 years ago in 1966, the Toyota Corolla enjoys the impressive moniker of being the world’s best-selling nameplate.

Now in its twelfth generation, the latest Corolla is available as a hatchback, an estate, or as a saloon, plus there are two hybrid powertrains to select from for those looking for a greener, more efficient car.

More recent models offer a spacious cabin and a good driving experience, all wrapped up in attractive styling.

In short, it is a fantastic family car, one that has pushed each generation further, setting new standards for the segment.

Best features:

  • Good driving experience
  • Spacious cabin
  • Attractive styling



One of the most popular family hatchbacks in Britain, the Vauxhall Astra (again) has a long history dating back to 1979. Also available as an estate, the Astra is a great all-rounder of a car offering excellence in most departments.

It provides low running costs and an affordable starting price, representing good value for money. It has stylish looks and a roomy cabin with a sizeable boot. It has a nice selection of efficient, yet punchy engines and a wealth of trim choices to suit your needs and budget.

Most importantly, the Vauxhall Astra is good to drive, proving comfortable on long motorway journeys and sprightly nipping through town.

Made in Britain, the Astra is quite simply a fantastic family car.

Best features:

  • Good to drive
  • Low running costs
  • Good value for money



The only car on this list that is sadly discontinued (in the year 2000) and now only available on the used car market, the Ford Escort still brings fond memories with many a driving fan.

It was a consistent best seller in Britain and the hatchback of the 1980s and 1990s. First on sale in 1968 as the Ford Escort Mk1, the car enjoyed multiple generations, with the Mk3 seeing a new dawn for the Escort as it switched to the hatchback body style and managed to go toe-to-toe with the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf. From here on, the Escort proved itself to be a real hit, all the way up to the fifth and final generation, which arrived in the 1990s.

Adding to the appeal, Ford offered sportier models too, like the XR3 and XR3i, capturing the style and essence of the 80s. And of course, there is the rally-bred Ford Escort RS Cosworth to mention – an iconic, high-performance model and an instant legend.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the nameplate waned in the late 90s and was deemed past reviving, but from its history, the impressive Ford Focus was born to carry the torch.

Best features:

  • The iconic RS Cosworth
  • Sportier models
  • Boxy looks


After one of the most popular cars of 2020? Find the perfect used car at

Search used hatchbacks
Back to articles March 15, 2021

The Best Electric Cars of 2021

The electric car segment is growing thick and fast with new models being added all the time. In fact, with this rapid rate of expansion, there are more options than eve...

Read More

The Best vans to drive

The humble van is relied upon by thousands of people each day to perform all sorts of functions. From builders to removal companies, delivery drivers and everything in ...

Read More

The Best Electric Cars for New Drivers

Just passed your test and curious about electric cars? Our top ten’s got you covered.

Why Go Electric?

Whilst electric vehicles normally cost a little more upfront initially, they do offe...

Read More