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Britain’s best-selling cars of 2022

Britain’s best-selling cars of 2022

As we head into the last few months of 2022, we now have a good idea of what the annual best-seller rankings might look like at the end of the year, with the Vauxhall Corsa continuing to lead in the sales race by a fine margin.

Despite growing cost of living concerns, the new car market marginally grew for the second month in a row in September, according to the latest data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

That said, September 2021 was the worst September result in nearly 25 years, so a sales increase of 5% over the worst result in a quarter of a century isn’t a massive step forward.

Over 225,000 new cars were registered last month, as car manufacturers either held back deliveries until the September number plate change or registered larger numbers of some cars to hit certain targets. With monthly sales this high, there was plenty of upheaval in the annual charts.

The Nissan Qashqai recorded a remarkable September of sales. With more than 9,000 registrations, the British-built SUV has moved up to second in the annual rankings and is currently just eight sales away from taking top spot from the Vauxhall Corsa, which failed to make the top ten in September.

The Tesla Model Y finished a strong second in September – a result that has moved the upmarket electric SUV back into annual top ten contention once again. After topping the charts in August, the Volkswagen Polo recorded another strong month of sales in September, and the Ford Fiesta is finally back in the monthly best-sellers lists after a long hiatus caused by supply issues.

Sales results for each car manufacturer (and even for each model range) have been heavily influenced by supply factors, as car companies battle component shortages – another hangover of the Covid situation from the last two years. Add the impending production stoppages that are now taking place as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the rest of 2022 is likely to remain difficult for car companies.

Read our monthly new car sales report: Fleet sales growth masks ongoing new car sales turbulence

Top ten best sellers, September 2022

1 Nissan Qashqai 9,311
2 Tesla Model Y 8,315
3 Volkswagen Polo 6,476
4 Ford Puma 5,799
5 Kia Sportage 5,107
6 Ford Fiesta 4,570
7 Ford Kuga 4,520
8 Kia Niro 3,861
9 Hyundai Tucson 3,776
10 Volkswagen T-Roc 3,512
Source: SMMT
Nissan Qashqai 2021 Teka+ front dynamic
Nissan Qashqai

Britain’s best-selling cars of 2022 (as of September)


1. Vauxhall Corsa

Best-selling cars of 2022 – Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa continues to hold the top spot in the UK best-sellers list, but its commanding lead has been reduced to just eight sales after last month’s registration results. The supermini failed to take top spot in the best-sellers charts in both June and August, and fell out of the top ten entirely in September.

Despite its continued sales success, the Corsa has received average reviews from the motoring media, with an Expert Rating of just 64% on our Expert Rating Index – with the electric Corsa-e a point higher.

2. Nissan Qashqai

2021 Nissan Qashqai front view | Expert Rating

The current jewel in the crown of the British car manufacturing industry, the Nissan Qashqai was missing from the monthly best-sellers list in August. This is in sharp contrast to the SUV’s resurgent September, which sees it move up into second place and directly challenge the Corsa for the annual top spot.

On sale since Autumn last year, the current-generation Nissan Qashqai holds an Expert Rating of 73%, which is reasonable for a medium SUV but nothing to really shout about.

3. Ford Puma

Best selling cars of 2022 – Ford Puma

The Ford Puma continues to sell in consistent numbers, but its fourth place finish in the September rankings is not enough to hold on to second in the annual best-seller charts, and so the compact SUV slips to third.

The Puma has received plenty of praise from the UK motoring media, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 78% on our unique Expert Rating Index. That puts it top of the charts for supermini-based SUVs.

4. Kia Sportage

Best-selling new cars of 2022 – Kia Sportage

A consistent performer, the brand-new Kia Sportage moves up one place to fourth in the annual sales chart after September. With over 5,000 registrations last month, the new Sportage looks to be comfortably continuing the sales success of the previous generation.

The new Kia Sportage hasn’t received that many reviews yet, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 73% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index. This could shift as more reviews are published in coming months.

5. Mini hatch

Best-selling cars of 2022 – Mini hatch

Usually a consistent seller, the twice-facelifted Mini hatch has been missing from the monthly top ten rankings for two months now, after selling up a storm in the first half of the year. While the hatch was only 100 sales behind the Nissan Qashqai just a month ago, the battle for best-selling British-built car now seems to be over, as the Qashqai has now established a commanding lead. The Mini slides to fifth in the annual sales rankings.

The Mini has received positive reviews, with an Expert Rating of 77% on our Expert Rating Index. The electric model doesn’t do so well, with a score of just 67%.

6. Hyundai Tucson

Best-selling cars of 2022 – Hyundai Tucson

Perhaps the most consistent seller in this list is the Hyundai Tucson SUV which took ninth in September’s turbulent sales charts. This hasn’t had much of an effect on the yearly rankings however, as the Tucson still holds on to sixth in the annual sales list.

The new Tucson has received positive reviews from the motoring media, with a solid Expert Rating of 76% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.

7. Ford Kuga

After several months of slowly sliding down the 2022 rankings, the Ford Kuga is once again recording respectable sales figures – also outselling the Kia Niro and moving up the annual sales rankings by one position. The smaller Puma SUV is proving to be the more popular Ford model as the year progresses.

Its Expert Rating of 74% places it firmly in the middle of a very competitive family SUV market.

8. Tesla Model Y

As we enter the final quarter of 2022, the upmarket Model Y SUV is proving to be Britain’s Tesla of choice, with over 8,000 new registrations in the month of September. This impressive sales performance sees the electric SUV re-enter the annual top ten, taking eighth place.

The Tesla Model Y has received a positive media reception here in the UK, and currently holds a solid Expert Rating of 80%.

9. Kia Niro

Best selling cars of 2022 – Kia Niro

The original generation of the popular Kia Niro has ended production and sales of the all-new model have now begun. After recording nearly 4,000 registrations in September, the Niro holds on to ninth in the annual sales rankings.

The Kia Niro received fairly mixed reviews, with the hybrid version ending up with an Expert Rating of 64% on our Expert Rating Index. The electric model did much better, with an outstanding score of 85%.

10. Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf continues to sell in consistent numbers as the year progresses, but can’t match the sales form of the smaller Polo. This is the second month in a row that the hatchback has been missing from the monthly top ten rankings, sliding from seventh to tenth in the annual best-seller’s list as a consequence.

On sale since 2020, the Golf currently holds an Expert Rating of 76%, with good scores from most UK media sources.

The next update (October results) will be due in the first week of November 2022.

Additional reporting by Stuart Masson

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