The automotive industry suffered more than most in 2020, with new car registrations falling by 29 per cent in 2020, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Though while the figures don’t make for the best reading, there are positives to take away – not least EVs rising in popularity by 185 per cent compared to 2019, with plug-in hybrids and regular hybrid-powered models also increasing their market share significantly.
But what about the new cars that found the most homes? Here are 2020’s most popular models.
1. Ford Fiesta, 49,174 registered
While plenty might have changed during last year, one thing that didn’t was the fact the Ford Fiesta continues to be the UK’s most popular car, with almost 50,000 being registered in 2020.
With Ford offering a broad choice of trim options – such as affordable ‘Trend’ models, upmarket ‘Vignale’ versions and also the ST hot hatch – there is a Fiesta to suit most. It was also improved even further last year with the introduction of more efficient mild-hybrid petrol engines and additional technology.
2. Vauxhall Corsa, 46,439
Vauxhall introduced a new Corsa right at the start of 2020, and it was a big step forward – featuring a more stylish design, a host of new tech and being far better to drive. It’s little surprise to see that it’s proven so popular then, as it rises from fourth place in 2019 to second.
Another key attraction of the latest Corsa is the fact it’s available as an EV for the first time – featuring a 50kWh battery pack, which allows for an electric range of 209 miles.
3. Volkswagen Golf, 43,109
The Volkswagen Golf was another car to have a total revamp in 2020, with a next-generation model being introduced, boasting a new design, digitalised interior and further electrification.
And given it was sold alongside the outgoing model, it was a strong year for this German manufacturer, with 43,109 models being registered.
4. Ford Focus, 39,372
Much like the smaller Fiesta, Ford introduced new mild-hybrid powertrains to its Focus in 2020, with this greater efficiency improving the overall package further.
With a wide choice of models on offer, as well as the option of a hatchback or estate, it’s little surprise to see the Focus continuing to prove a big hit, with 39,372 models being registered last year.
5. Mercedes A-Class, 37,608
Consumer demand for premium products continues to be as strong as ever, and plenty of buyers chose the Mercedes A-Class as their small car of choice in 2020. With a high-quality cabin, show-stopping technology and the all-important upmarket image associated with Mercedes, the A-Class continues to be a big hit, with 37,608 models being registered last year.
The A-Class range is also broader than ever, with buyers able to choose from a range of powertrains – including a new plug-in hybrid – along with a new saloon model for the first time.
6. Nissan Qashqai, 33,972
While a new Nissan Qashqai might be on the way in 2021, it didn’t stop plenty of buyers getting behind the wheel of this crossover last year, which remains the popular model in its class – amassing 33,972 registrations in 2020.
With low pricing, plenty of standard equipment and a roomy interior, this Sunderland-built model is a popular choice with families.
7. Mini, 31,233
When it comes to premium superminis, it’s tough to beat the iconic Mini, and buyers clearly agree, as this Oxford-built hatchback saw more than 30,000 examples being registered.
With its cool styling, well-built interior and fantastic range of personalisation options, it’s not surprising it’s one of the UK’s most popular hatchbacks.
8. Volkswagen Polo, 26,965
When it comes to practicality and refinement from a small car, the Polo remains tough to beat in the supermini class, and it’s little wonder so many buyers are choosing it.
Efficient petrol engines, a high-quality cabin and range of derivatives add yet more to the appeal, with nearly 27,000 being registered during 2020.
9. Ford Puma
Despite the Puma only arriving at the start of 2020 as an all-new compact crossover for Ford, it’s already proving a hit with buyers, who value its efficiency, great driving experience and practicality.
We wouldn’t be surprised if it proved even more popular during 2021, not least with the arrival of a sporty ST model.
10. Volvo XC40
The Volvo XC40 is another new entry for 2020 and showcases just how far this Swedish manufacturer has come in recent years. Its focus on design, quality and electrification are clearly paying dividends, with just over 25,000 being registered.