The top 10 best-selling new cars of 2022 have been confirmed by official industry figures this morning – and it’s a British-made motor that topped the chart for the first time in 24 years.
Nissan’s Qashqai SUV, which is built at the brand’s Sunderland factory in the North East, dethroned Vauxhall’s Corsa to become the nation’s most-bought motor of last year.
It is the first home-produced car to be take the number one sales spot since 1998, when the Ford Fiesta – then built in Dagenham – took the crown.
Here’s a rundown of the 10 most-registered new cars of last year.
The 10 best-selling new cars: These are the models Britons bought in highest numbers in 2022. Here’s our countdown of the year’s most popular models
Official figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders this morning confirmed that sales of new cars hit a 30-year low in 2022.
The 1.61million units sold in the UK last year is down two per cent compared with the 1.65million registered during the previous 12 months and a quarter below pre-coronavirus levels.
Industry bosses said manufacturers were unable to meet demand for new cars due to global supply chain issues such as semiconductor shortages, driven by coronavirus lockdowns in China.
The last time so few new models were bought by Britons was in 1992 with 1.59million registrations that year.
Yet, the 2022 sales figures were enough for the UK to reclaim its position as Europe’s second largest new car market behind Germany – relegating France to the bronze-medal place.
Below, we countdown the ten models that Britons bought most examples of last year – and we’ve also listed the best-selling manufacturers and the most popular electric cars of 2022…
10. Ford Fiesta – 25,070 sold
Price: from £19,330
This is likely the last time we will see the Fiesta nameplate in the list of the top 10 best-selling new cars in Britain after Ford confirmed it will cease production of the popular supermini in June this year
The Ford Fiesta has been a long-running favourite among Britons. In fact, it’s our most popular car of all time, with more than 4.8million examples sold in the UK since it first hit showrooms in 1976, topping Britain’s sales chart 16 times in its history.
It was the most-bought new car for 12 consecutive years from 2009 to 2020 before losing its crown to the Vauxhall Corsa last year, with the Fiesta slipping out of the top 10 entirely as Ford reportedly concentrated on commercial vehicle outputs due to rising pandemic-related demand.
However, in 2022 it returned to the rankings of the best sellers – though only just, with a fraction over 25,000 registrations enough to secure tenth spot overall.
And the Fiesta is unlikely to be seen in the top 10 again, with Ford recently confirming that the immensely-popular model will cease production in June 2023, with the brand set to replace it with a new electrified vehicle with a fresh nameplate.
Ford has already started to restrict Fiesta specifications, which is why the starting price for this small hatchback is surprisingly steep at over £19,000.
9. Ford Kuga – 26,549 sold
Price: from £30,755
The Kuga is the larger of two Ford SUVs to make it into the top 10 best-selling new cars of 2022. Competitively priced and available with petrol or plug-in hybrid power, it is a tempting option for buyers of family-size motors in Britain
Showcasing just how popular SUVs have become in Britain in recent years, the Ford Kuga is the first of six sports utility vehicles and crossovers to feature in the top 10 best sellers of 2022.
The Kuga widely-regarded as one of the best mid-sized SUVs on the market, combining a range of efficient and strong engines, good practicality and comfort, and arguably the best driving experience in its segment.
Petrol versions are competitively priced from a little under £31,000, while the plug-in hybrid options undercut many of its petrol-electric rivals.
Charge the battery of the PHEV version and it will provide up to 35 miles of electric-only driving, which is some 15 miles more than the average daily mileage of UK motorists.
Having failed to push its way into the top 10 sellers in 2021, it managed to nudge its way into ninth spot last year with Ford dealers selling 26,549 examples of the family-friendly SUV – that’s over 1,500 more than its Fiesta.
8. Volkswagen Golf – 26,558 sold
Price: from £25,610
The Golf has slipped two places down the rankings, having been the sixth best-seller in 2021. With Volkswagen increasing its electric vehicle range, its popular family hatchback appears to have taken a hit
Volkswagen has just one model in the list of Britain’s most-bought new cars of 2022 – and it wouldn’t be difficult to guess which one it is!
The Golf hatchback has been a perennial favourite, though its popularity seems to be heading into a decline with 26,558 registrations last year – that’s almost 4,000 fewer than in 2021 (30,240).
VW sold fewer examples than it did last year, and the Golf has now slipped to eighth overall in the rankings. Back in 2020, only the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa was sold in greater numbers.
However, sales of the long-running family hatch were also likely impacted by the semiconductor shortage, which would have seen VW prioritise component availability for its growing range of fully-electric ‘ID’ vehicles.
Having only hit the market in two years ago, the latest Mk8 Golf remains one of the best family hatchbacks you can buy in showrooms today, and has outperformed the likes of the Ford Focus, Mercedes A-class and Vauxhall Astra – none of which have made it into last year’s top 10.
7. Hyundai Tucson – 27,839 sold
Price: from £30,140
The Tucson’s looks might not be to all tastes, but the styling seems to be sitting well with Britons, who have bought enough examples of the Hyundai SUV for it to take seventh place overall in the popularity standings for 2022
The latest-generation Hyundai Tucson is a quality mid-size SUV. It’s the sister car to the Kia Sportage (which we will get to very shortly) and epitomises the rise of these Korean brands in recent years through the release of competitively-priced – and quality – vehicles.
This Mk4 example was unveiled in 2020 and last year was its first full-year on sale in the UK.
It comes with a unique look that might not be to all tastes, especially the face of the car with its enormous grille that incorporates the headlight clusters.
But Britons appear to like the Marmite styling, with the Tucson accruing enough sales to be the seventh most-registered model last year.
Sold with a choice of hybrid – and plug-in hybrid – engines, lots of specification as standard and a tech-rammed interior, we’re not surprised to see it in this list with 27,839 registrations last year.
6. Kia Sportage – 29,655 sold
Price: from £27,800
The Kia Sportage SUV has moved three places higher in the sales chart than last year, and that’s despite the fifth-generation car only appearing in UK showrooms from the middle of February 2022
Like its Hyundai Tucson sister car, the Sportage has sold in big numbers in 2022. However, unlike its Korean sibling, this has been the case for the Kia SUV for some time, with the Sportage often appearing in and around the 10 best sellers in recent years.
This latest fifth-generation example only hit showrooms from February, meaning its appearance at number six in this list with 29,655 registrations has mostly been achieved in less than 11 months.
Since its first arrival in Britain in 1995, more than 350,000 have been sold, with the outgoing Mk4 model launched in 2016 accounting for nearly 200,000 of the total.
Like the Tucson, it has distinctive styling – especially those boomerang-shaped headlights.
It’s also very well equipped, supremely comfortable and offers up to eight different engine options, all of which are extremely refined.
5. Mini Hatch – 32,387 sold
2021 registrations: 31,792
2021 ranking: 3rd (down 2 places)
The Mini Hatch remains among the most popular new cars in Britain. In 2023, the BMW-owned brand will launch a fourth-generation version
Mini not only offers the hatchback as a three and five-door example, the battery-powered Mini Electric is also included in total sales for the hatch – and being the sixth most-bought EV, it would have contributed a few numbers to the car’s overall tally.
It continues to be popular among Britons, despite the fact the Mini’s British roots are now in the hands of BMW ownership.
While it was the third most-bought new car of 2021, the third-generation ‘BMW Mini’ has slipped down the pecking order two places to fifth with 32,387 registrations in 2022 – though that’s more than dealer sold last year (31,792).
It shows that demand for most of the models in the list in front of it was greater than 12 months ago, but Mini could reestablish its position soon as the brand prepares to launch the next-generation car later this year.
It will see production of the Mini Electric shift away from Plant Oxford to a factory in China, though the UK manufacturing site will soon start making Mini Convertibles.
4. Ford Puma – 35,088 sold
Price: from £24,920
The Puma is – for the third consecutive year – the best-selling compact crossover in Britain. It’s also Ford’s best-selling model for a second year running
Ford’s smallest crossover, the Puma, has picked up plenty of accolades since it first hit UK showrooms in 2020, and is now the volume-selling model in the manufacturer’s ranks, picking up from where the Fiesta will leave off.
The Puma was officially the best-selling compact SUV in 2022 with 35,088 registrations, extending its reign as the class leader for a third consecutive year. Ford dealers sold some 6,391 more examples than they did last year (28,697).
It means the Puma continues to consistently outsell other popular cars in the segment, which includes the Nissan Juke, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross.
Customers appear to be drawn to the stylish looks, the promise of an engaging ride and a boost in practicality and driving position over a conventional hatchback.
It is sold with a choice of 1.0-litre petrol engines and hybrid tech. And it is also available as a potent 200 horsepower ST ‘hot’ version, which only widens its appeal.
3. Tesla Model Y – 35,551 sold
Price: from £51,990
The Tesla Model Y SUV rose to third overall in the 2022 sales chart, which was primarily due to a huge shipment of 10,664 examples arriving in December
The Tesla Model 3 was the big surprise of 2021, with the US firm’s electric saloon taking second place overall in the new car sales chart.
This year, it’s the turn of the Model Y SUV to mix it among the mainstream auto brands with 35,551 registrations in total in 2022.
Its rise to third overall in the standings is the result of a massive shipment of 10,664 cars arriving in December. This single shipment alone accounts for almost a third (30 per cent) of the full-year registrations, lifting the Model Y from ninth spot in the sales standings at the end of November to third overall for 2022.
Many of the vehicles arriving on British soil last month are likely to have been pre-registered in a bid to boost sales figures for the battery SUV offering a range of 267 to 331 miles on a full charge, depending on which specification you go for.
The Model Y, unsurprisingly, is also the best-selling fully-electric car of the year, ahead of the Model 3 and the Kia e-Niro.
2. Vauxhall Corsa – 35,910 sold
Price: from £18,065
Vauxhall topped Britain’s new car sales chart last year with the Corsa, but the plucky supermini has been knocked down one place to the runner’s-up spot in 2022
Vauxhall – rightfully so – made a huge song and dance about topping the overall new car sales chart in 2021.
Ending Ford’s 50-year reign as the brand with the most popular new car in Britain – and the Fiesta’s 12-year run at the top of the chart – was hailed a hue scalp for the manufacturer, but it was unable to hold onto the crown in 2022.
It was unable to match the near-41,000 registrations recorded in the 12 months before, though remains by far Vauxhall’s biggest volume seller with 35,910 being bought by drivers in Britain in 2022.
The Corsa slipped to second overall in the order, despite the electric Corsa-e boosting sales of petrol models.
Fleet demand has also helped to keep it near the top of the table and it is by far the most-bought supermini model in Britain.
1. Nissan Qashqai – 42,704 sold
Price: from £ 26,045
The Nissan Qashqai is officially the most-bought new car of 2022. The Sunderland-made SUV is the first British-built model to top the sales chart in 24 years
The Nissan Qashqai is officially Britain’s most-purchased new car of 2022.
Not only is it the first time the Japanese brand has had a model at the top of the UK sales list, the Qashqai has also become the first UK-built model to top the chart for 24 years.
The last time a UK-built car hit the number one sales spot was the Mk4 Ford Fiesta back in 1998 – the final year that the supermini was produced at the Dagenham plant before assembly shifted to Germany and Spain.
The home-grown Qashqai – which was designed in Paddington, engineered in Cranfield and is built in Sunderland – was the nation’s best-selling car of the last 12 months with 42,704 examples driven off dealership forecourts across the UK in 2022.
That’s 12,700 more Qashqais than the brand sold in the UK last year, with customers seemingly falling for the third-generation car, which has only been in showrooms since 2021.
To celebrate the Qashqai becoming the nation’s most popular new car in 2022, Nissan has created this one-off gold-wrapped special vehicle
To celebrate the achievement, Nissan has even created an exclusive gold-wrapped Qashqai, built in honour of the 7,000 UK employees who have contributed to its success.
Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: ‘This is a landmark moment for a landmark car and it’s great to see how the latest generation Qashqai has struck a chord with car buyers here in the UK.
‘We’re absolutely thrilled to see this car’s increasing success over the last 16 years, and it’s a fitting tribute to the skills and talents of Nissan’s excellent design, engineering, production and sales teams all around the UK.’
NISSAN QASHQAI WASN’T THE BEST-SELLING ‘VEHICLE’ IN 2022
Ford Transit Custom – 42,762 sold
Price: from £28,145 (excl VAT)
Ford sold more Transit Customs than Nissan did Qashqais, technically making a van the best-selling ‘vehicle’ in Britain last year
While the Qashqai amassed 42,704 sales last year, another vehicle was sold in greater numbers.
Ford’s Transit Custom van pipped the Nissan with a total of 42,762 registrations in 2022, as demand for the commercial vehicle held strong throughout the previous 12 months.
It was a similar story to 2021, when the Ford van outsold the most-bought passenger car that year (Vauxhall’s Corsa).
There has been a huge surge in demand for new vans due to the increased reliance on deliveries following the Covid-19 pandemic, which – in some manufacturer cases – has seen production of these vehicles prioritised over passenger cars.
For those manufacturers that build them, vans also offer stronger profit margins than conventional cars because they are less expensive to produce.
It also explains why the two-tonne Transit also sold in massive numbers last year with 33,203 registrations – enough to place ahead of the Mini Hatchback in the top 10 list above.
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