The new car market continued to decline in 2011, but some models bucked the trend and achieved impressive sales figures.
Data provided by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows Ford’s domination of the UK market, with five different model specifications in the top 10 cars of the past 6 months.
Other manufacturers who make the list include Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Fiat. The majority of these cars fall into the supermini class – somewhat unsurprising as over 48% of all cars privately registered in this period were superminis.
1. Ford Fiesta Zetec – 17,933 registrations
Of the three Fiesta model variants in the top 10, the Zetec is by far the biggest seller. With prices starting from £12,345, it certainly isn’t the cheapest in the range, but the extra equipment, including alloy wheels and chrome finishing touches, gives the Zetec a sportier look and feel. The five-door, 1.25 litre engine is the most popular, with over 7,400 registrations in the second half of 2011.
2. Ford Focus Zetec – 13,340 registrations
Following in the footsteps of its little brother, the Focus Zetec is next on the list. The 1.6-litre hatchback accounts for 85% of these sales. Standard features include the a DAB radio and Bluetooth hands-free kit with voice control and USB/iPod ports. The latest Focus has recently been crash-tested by Euro NCAP and scored five stars, with an impressive 92% rating for adult protection.
3. Volkswagen Polo Match – 8,944 registrations
Although the Mk 6 Golf is the bestselling car from VW, it is the Polo Match that has proved to be the most popular individual model. It chalked up 8,944 registrations since July last year. Stability control and brake assist come as standard, and these features stood out in our avoidance test; the Polo offered effective control and remained composed when cornering.
4. Vauxhall Corsa SXI AC – 6,020 registrations
Continuing the supermini theme, the Corsa comes in fourth, with just over 6,000 registrations. The SXI AC comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and air conditioning. We found the Corsa good to drive with decent handling. However, the sporty chassis offers a harsh ride, so it’s worth test-driving before buying. The Vauxhall is also larger than most superminis, so it’s well suited to tall adults looking for a small car.
5. Volkswagen Golf Match TDI Bluemotion – 5,816 registrations
The Golf Match TDI Bluemotion is the bestselling diesel, thanks to a little over 100 more registrations than the Ford Focus Zetec TDCi. The 1.6 litre is the bestselling engine, and our tests show this is the most efficient model, achieving an impressive average fuel economy of 68.9 mpg.
6. Ford Focus Zetec TDCi – 5,680 registrations
Launched in 2011, the Mk 3 Focus had big boots to fill – its predecessors were Britain’s bestselling cars for many years. Although not quite as popular as the petrol Focus Zetec, the diesel will offer better fuel efficiency. The diesel 2.0 TDCi we tested managed 58.9 mpg fuel economy and the smaller 1.6 engine is likely to fare even better.
7. Fiat 500 Lounge – 5,495 registrations
One of the more fashionable city cars on the road, the Fiat 500 Lounge offers more kit than the Pop version. With chrome brightwork, a glass roof, air-con and 15-inch alloys as standard, this is the only option to go for if you want your 500 to look the part. In fact, the 1.2 Lounge is our top choice of the 500 range.
8. Ford Fiesta Titanium – 5,494 registrations
The Fiesta Titanium doesn’t quite reach the same heights of popularity as the Zetec, but it does offer some handy extra features if you are prepared to pay the £14,145 starting price. Automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights and cruise control are all standard, as is a Sony-branded stereo system, including Bluetooth and a USB connection.
9. Ford Fiesta Edge – 5,472 registrations
If the extra gadgetry doesn’t bother you, you could opt to join the 5,472 people who bought the Fiesta in Edge specification during the last 6 months. At closer to the £10,000 mark, the Fiesta Edge will offer the same level of safety as others in the range and is still a lot of fun to drive.
10. Vauxhall Corsa Excite AC – 5,467 registrations
The Corsa Excite AC completes the top 10, fighting off the Hyundai i10 by just 25 registrations. The three-door with a 1.2-litre engine is the bestselling derivative, but we would opt for the 1.4-litre engine as it provides a bit more power and refinement. It also returned a respectable 44.1 mpg when we tested it.