Britain’s best-selling cars – May 2019

The overall market was down, but these ten cars were still popular among British car buyers

- Advertisement -

New car registration numbers published last week show that the market was down 5% in May 2019 compared to the same month last year.

May was a good month for Bentley, JeepLexus, LotusMazdaMitsubishiMG and Volvo, who all saw growth of at least 10% compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, things were not so rosy for AbarthAlfa RomeoDS Automobiles, Honda, Infiniti, McLaren, Mini, Nissan, PorscheRenaultSmartSsangYongSubaru and Volkswagen, who all saw double-digit declines compared to the same month last year.

Check out our report on the registration numbers: Car sales continue to slide in May

Despite the overall results being disappointing, there are still plenty of popular cars flying out of new car showrooms. Here are the ten best-selling cars for May 2019.

Ten best-selling cars – May 2019

1. Ford Fiesta

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

Seasons change, governments rise and fall, Game of Thrones has finally finished and still the Ford Fiesta reigns supreme at the top of the UK new car sales charts.

The Fiesta currently holds an Expert Rating of 84% 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, so it seems that motoring journalists and the buying public are in agreement on the Fiesta’s qualities.

2. Ford Focus

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

It was another good month for the Ford Focus, maintaining second place in the best-sellers list for a second consecutive month. It also meant that the Focus has overhauled the Volkswagen Golf for second place in the year-to-date registration tables as well.

The Focus currently holds an Expert Rating of 82% in our New Car Ratings database, and was also listed by safety gurus Thatcham Research as one of the ten safest cars for 2019.

3. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf 2017 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The current generation of Golf may be reaching the end of its life, having been launched back in 2012, but it remains popular among UK buyers. The Golf is the country’s third most popular new car after the first five months of 2019, although it has now slipped slightly behind the Ford Focus.

The Volkswagen Golf holds an Expert rating of 85% in The Car Expert’s New Car Ratings database, so it’s popular with journos as well as buyers.

4. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa 2017 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The Vauxhall Corsa appears to be yo-yoing its way through 2019. Fourth place this month followed ninth in April and second in March. Year-to-date it still holds fourth place, although only by a few hundred units over the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

The Vauxhall Corsa holds an Expert Rating of 63%, which is one of the lowest scores among the Top Ten cars in The Car Expert’s New Car Rating database. The current model is due for replacement this year, and Vauxhall dealers will be eager for the new Corsa to take the fight to the ever-dominant Ford Fiesta.

5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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

If you need proof that Mercedes-Benz is now a volume brand, the A-Class hatchback is it. The new model has been firmly entrenched in the best-sellers list since it was launched last summer, and its popularity will presumably increase when the saloon version arrives later this year. Another solid month in May has seen it edge further ahead of the Nissan Qashqai, although there’s less than 100 sales between them.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has an Expert rating of 78% in The Car Expert’s super-cool 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.

6. Nissan Qashqai

2019 Nissan Qashqai wallpaper | The Car Expert

The Qashqai remains the most popular British-built new car in Britain, although it wasn’t that far ahead of its little brother – the Nissan Juke – in May. A decade ago, the original Qashqai almost had the compact SUV/crossover market all to itself. Today, it’s the hottest segment in the new car market. Despite this, the current Qashqai continues to see of every new challenger – despite being one of the oldest models in the sector, having being launched in 2014.

The Nissan Qashqai currently holds an Expert Rating of 74% in our New Car Ratings database, which is midfield for the compact crossover segment and in the bottom half of scores for a Top Ten-selling car.

7. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2018) ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The recently-facelifted Mercedes-Benz C-Class popped back into the Top Ten for the first time since January, and judging by the amount of TV advertising being devoted to it, we may well see it here again in June.

The C-Class holds an Expert rating of 79% on our New Car Ratings aggregator, which is in the top half of scores for a Top Ten car. It’s also the most expensive model range in the Top Ten, for what it’s worth.

8. Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke (2010 - 2019) new car ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Making its first appearance in the Top Ten this year is the Nissan Juke. The ageing baby Nissan crossover is built in Sunderland, so this month’s results are good news for the Nissan workforce up north.

The Juke is the oldest car in the Top Ten, being first launched way back in 2010. It currently holds an Expert Rating of 59% in our New Car Ratings aggregator, which is the lowest score in the Top Ten.

9. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo (2018) - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

The Volkswagen Polo fell to ninth in May, although it still holds seventh position in year-to-date registrations.

The Polo holds an Expert Rating of 79% in The Car Expert’s New Car Ratings calculator, which is good but a fair way behind the class-leading Ford Fiesta.

10. Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 - ratings and reviews | The Car Expert

Bringing up the bottom of the Top Ten in May 2019 is the Volkswagen Tiguan mid-size crossover. Despite featuring in three of the five monthly reports this year, it hasn’t quite cracked the Top Ten in year-to-date sales.

The Volkswagen Tiguan has an Expert Rating of 79% in our New Car Ratings database, which is quite good although a few points behind the Peugeot 3008.

- Advertisement -
Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
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.

Latest Expert Advice

Car finance: How do I settle a PCP early?

Changing circumstances mean you need to settle your PCP car finance agreement now rather than wait until it ends. What are your options?

Car dealers to re-open, but should you buy a car right now?

Car showrooms can re-open from 1 June, but should you be rushing in to buy a new car right now or should you wait for a better deal?

Latest Expert Ratings

Skoda Kamiq

The Skoda Kamiq has received universally positive media reviews, with praise for its comfort, practicality and value for money.

Nissan X-Trail

Comfortable and practical, but off the pace of the class leaders.

Mini Countryman gets updated styling and cleaner engines

Mini has revealed the new Countryman, which sports an updated exterior, upgraded technology and cleaner, more efficient engines. The...

Mercedes-Benz updates E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz has given its E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet a mid-life refresh, sharpening their looks while adding more efficient powertrains.

Euro NCAP announces big changes to safety testing

Car crash test procedures are getting their biggest overhaul in a decade to improve occupant safety and improve post-crash protection.

Car insurance providers told to allow delayed payments

Car insurers have been told to waive fees and allow for delayed payments to help customers in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus.

More from The Car Expert

Expert Advice

Award-winning, independent and impartial advice on buying, financing, owning and running a car

Expert Ratings

We analyse and aggregate dozens of media reviews for each new car into an overall Expert Rating

Expert News

All the most important new car launches, model updates, car reviews and industry news

Expert Partners

Our new space for commercial partners to bring you special offers on their products and services


What are your thoughts? Let us know below.