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Britain’s best-selling cars of 2024

The race for the UK's best-selling car is under way once again, with the Kia Sportage leading the way in January. Last year's top dog, the Ford Puma, is not far behind.

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The race for the UK’s best-selling car is under way once again, with the Kia Sportage leading the way in January. Last year’s top dog, the Ford Puma, is not far behind.

According to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) this week, the overall new car market grew by 8% last month compared to January last year. However, this was driven purely by strong growth in the fleet sector, which was up by 30%. Private registrations fell by a whopping 16% year-on-year, which was the worst January result for the private new car market since the early days of the great financial crisis in 2009.

After winning the 2023 sales race, the Ford Puma small SUV made a solid start to 2024. But it just missed out on January’s top spot, losing to the Kia Sportage family SUV. Another of 2023’s consistent top-ten performers, the Sportage snatched January bragging rights by just 38 units.

The top ten features many familiar names, including the popular Nissan Qashqai and soon-to-be-replaced Mini hatch. But there are some notable omissions, including the Vauxhall Corsa supermini – last year’s best-selling small car – and the Tesla Model Y, which was the world’s most popular car (of any kind, not just the world’s most popular EV) in 2023.

Read our monthly sales report: Worst private new car sales results for January since 2009

Top ten best-sellers chart, January 2024

RankBrandRegistrations
1Kia Sportage4,239
2Ford Puma4,201
3Nissan Qashqai4,008
4MG HS3,413
5BMW 1 Series3,204
6Mini hatch3,079
7Audi A32,648
8Volkswagen Golf2,456
9Nissan Juke2,421
10Hyundai Tucson2,353
Source: SMMT
Kia Sportage 2022 – front
Kia Sportage

Britain’s best-selling cars of 2024


1. Kia Sportage

Best-selling new cars of 2022 – Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage really picked up sales pace in the second half of 2023, and has continued this sales form into the new year. The SUV sits in the top spot with the narrowest of margins, but for how long? By comparison, its closest competitor the Hyundai Tucson currently sits in tenth.

The new Kia Sportage currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 72% on our award-winning Expert Rating Index.

2. Ford Puma

Best selling cars of 2022 – Ford Puma

The Ford Puma outsold cars of all shapes and sizes and was crowned Britain’s best-selling new car in 2023. Currently Ford’s most popular offering by a country mile, the Puma has become the model to beat, and its second-place finish in January indicates that the crossover’s strong sales form is set to continue.

The Puma has received plenty of praise from the UK motoring media, and currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 71% on our unique Expert Rating Index.

3. Nissan Qashqai

Britain’s best-selling new model back in 2022, the Nissan Qashqai remains one of the nation’s most popular cars, and recorded strong sales numbers last month.

The Qashqai is the current jewel in the crown of the British car manufacturing industry – designed in London, developed in the Midlands and built in Sunderland. It’s also the UK’s best-selling British-built car.

On sale since Autumn 2021, the Qashqai holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 75%.

4. MG HS

Like last year, MG has started 2024 in fine sales form, as its large HS SUV sits in fourth after January. The HS recorded a similar registrations result in January 2023 – MG will be hoping that the budget SUV’s sales can now consistently meet this benchmark, instead of tailing off like last year.

First launched in 2019, the MG HS currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of C, with a score of 62% in our revitalised Expert Rating Index.

5. BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series has made sporadic appearances in the monthly top ten charts over the last few years, but the hatchback’s sales haven’t been consistent enough to remain on the annual leaderboard. With supply chain issues easing, could it be a top ten contender in 2024? It currently holds on to fifth position.

The BMW 1 Series currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 70%. This is a commendable score, but doesn’t place it at the top of its class.

6. Mini hatch

Best-selling cars of 2022 – Mini hatch

On sale since 2014, the Mini hatch has been one of the most consistent best-sellers in the last decade. The hatchback finished 2023 in great sales form, and a sixth place finish in January for a ten-year-old car is commendable.

This model is now facing retirement though, as the next-generation Mini Cooper is now available to order.

The Mini hatch currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of D, with a score of 58%.

7. Audi A3

A latecomer to the 2023 best-seller shortlist, the Audi A3 snatched ninth in last year’s top ten by a narrow margin as the race approached the finish line. The Audi is another model to carry its sales form into January, recording a seventh place finish.

The Audi A3 currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 70%.

8. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen was the UK’s most popular car manufacturer last year. The fact that none of the brand’s various models were regular top ten contenders shows the enormous breadth and depth of the Volkswagen range.

Alongside the Polo and T-Roc models, the Golf made a few appearances at the top of the 2023 sales leaderboard, and has made a good start to 2024.

The Volkswagen Golf currently holds an excellent New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 80%.

9. Nissan Juke

On sale since 2019, the UK-built Nissan Juke has established itself as a popular choice of British motorists in the last year, as a cheaper and more compact alternative to the bigger Qashqai.

Directly competing with the Qashqai sales figures at the start of last year, the Juke currently sits in ninth on the annual chart, six places behind its larger sibling.

The Juke currently holds a New Car Expert Rating of B, with a score of 68%. That puts it squarely in the middle of a crowded compact SUV class.

10. Hyundai Tucson

Best-selling cars of 2022 – Hyundai Tucson

The current Hyundai Tucson has been a sales success since it was launched in 2021. The SUV sat in the middle of the best-sellers pack throughout 2023, but was missing from the top ten in both November and December. It re-appeared in January, but in tenth, while the similar Kia Sportage finished top.

The Tucson currently holds a solid New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 75% in our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.

That sums up the January top ten – February’s registration results will be announced in the first week of March. Check back soon!

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.