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Britain’s best-selling cars – August 2019

Some familiar faces and one very new name made up the top ten new car registration chart in August.

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Results published last week showed that private new car sales were 1.7% down on the same month last year, which is only about 700 vehicles as August is one of the two slowest months of the year.

The overall results were skewed by a fair amount of self-registration (where car companies and dealers register cars in their own names because they don’t have enough actual customers) and the headline-grabbing sales launch of the new Tesla Model 3.

August appeared to be a good month for Alfa RomeoAudiDacia, DS AutomobilesJeepLexusMaseratiMGPorscheSsangYongToyota and Volvo, who all saw registration numbers jump by at least 10% compared to the same month last year. However, it was unhappy times for AbarthAlpineBentleyBMWFiatHondaInfinitiJaguarLand RoverSmartSubaru and Suzuki, who all suffered double-digit declines compared to last August.

Read our full report on August’s new car registration figures: New car registrations fall slightly in August.

There was a bit of movement in the top ten bestsellers list this month, with Ford and Volkswagen hogging most of the positions. Let’s have a closer look:

The UK’s ten best-selling cars – August 2019

1. Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta news, reviews, safety and eco ratings | Britain's best-selling cars | The Car Expert

By our calculations, it’s been nearly two years since any other car beat the Ford Fiesta to the top spot in the registration rankings, and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. August marked yet another month of the Fiesta’s dominance, more than 500 units ahead of the next-best car.

The Fiesta currently holds an Expert Rating of 86% in The Car Expert’s all-new New Car Ratings database, which compares reviews from across the UK motoring media. This is higher than any other car in the supermini class and also the highest rating in the top ten best-sellers list, so it seems that motoring journalists and the buying public are in agreement on the Fiesta’s qualities.

2. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf 2017 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The Volkswagen Golf had another strong month to finish second in the rankings. Not only that, but the margin back to its arch rival, the Ford Focus, was sufficient for the Golf to jump past the Focus into second place on the year-to-date ladder as well.

The Volkswagen Golf holds an Expert rating of 82% in The Car Expert’s New Car Ratings database, so it’s popular with journos as well as buyers.

3. Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 (2019) new car ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

This was the biggest surprise of the year to date, as the Tesla Model 3 became the third biggest-selling new car in the UK in its first month on sale. It’s also comfortably the best performance ever for an electric car.

However, there’s certainly an element of careful PR planning here. The Model 3 has been long anticipated, with plenty of customers having placed orders over a period of many months. So there was certainly a strong order book to account for the first shipload of cars arriving from the US. Register them all in the quietest month of the year and boom – instant best-seller and plenty of press attention.

Realistically, the Model 3 is not going to maintain this position. September will see more than 300,000 new cars registered, rather than the 92,573 in August. It’s entirely possible that the Tesla will drop right out of the top ten next month, even if it’s still maintaining its current delivery rate.

The Tesla Model 3 currently holds an Expert Rating of 82% in our New Car Ratings database, which is certainly very good. However, there have been very few local reviews yet so this may vary by quite a bit (either up or down) in coming months.

4. Ford Focus

Ford Focus 2018 - ratings and reviews | Uk's best-selling cars | The Car Expert

It’s the Fourth Focus once again this month, but the Ford only managed a bit over half the sales of its arch-rival, the Volkswagen Golf. This means it has slipped behind the Golf in year-to-date registrations, and Ford will be pushing for a strong September to try and pull that back.

The Focus currently holds an Expert Rating of 81% in our New Car Ratings database, and was also listed by safety gurus Thatcham Research as one of the ten safest cars for 2019.

5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Another August non-mover in fifth position is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which was only seven units short of beating the Ford Focus into fourth place.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has an Expert rating of 77% in The Car Expert’s New Car Rating system. The overall score is dragged down somewhat by lower ratings from a couple of performance car titles (Evo and Top Gear), otherwise it would be a solid 80% or more. However, it does rank highly for safety, winning awards from Euro NCAP, Thatcham and What Car? for its protective qualities.

6. Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga 2017 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Having bounced back into the top ten in July, the Ford Kuga improved one place to sixth in Augut. The current model is not long for this world, with an all-new replacement announced back in March.

The Kuga has a relatively poor Expert Rating of 65% on our New Car Ratings aggregator, which is one of the lowest scores for a top ten car. The current model was given a substantial update in 2017, but it lags behind the class leaders. Ford dealers will be keenly awaiting the new model, although the company hasn’t announced when it will arrive in the UK.

7. Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc (2017) new car ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The Volkswagen T-Roc makes its debut in the 2019 top ten chart, arriving in seventh place at the expense of its supermini sister, the Volkswagen Polo, and becoming the best-selling small SUV in the country.

The T-Roc currently holds an Expert Rating of 82% in The Car Expert’s New Car Ratings calculator, which is very much at the sharp end of a highly competitive sector.

8. Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Another car holding its ground in August was the Volkswagen Tiguan, which was once again the third of four SUV/crossover models in the top ten. The Tiguan range comprises the regular model and the longer seven-seat Tiguan Allspace.

The Volkswagen Tiguan holds a strong Expert Rating of 79% in our New Car Ratings aggregator, which is not quite the best in class but certainly among the leaders.

9. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa 2017 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The Vauxhall Corsa continues to yo-yo its way up and down the sales charts, falling to ninth in August but holding onto fourth in the year-to-date rankings. September is traditionally a good month for Corsa so, assuming dealers still have enough stock of the current model, the next few weeks could be the last hurrah before its replacement arrives.

The Vauxhall Corsa holds an Expert Rating of 64%, which is the second-lowest score among this month’s top ten cars according to our Expert Rating aggregator. Vauxhall dealers will be eager for the new Corsa to take the fight to the ever-dominant Ford Fiesta.

10. Ford EcoSport

Ford EcoSport 2018 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Making its first appearance in the top ten for months, albeit at the bottom of the ladder, was the Ford EcoSport. Another model in the late stages of its life, the EcoSport has popped up in the top ten on a few occasions this year.

The Sportage currently holds an Expert Rating of 58% in our aggregated New Car Ratings database, which is the lowest of any cars in the top ten and also one of the lowest of any of the 120 cars we have analysed to date.

The latest from The Car Expert

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.