There was the hope that 2021 would see a return to normality, not least in the automotive segment, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
However, growth has been severely limited by parts shortages as a result of covid, specifically semiconductors, which have a wide range of uses in cars, from parking sensors, through to digital dials and safety systems.
So despite just shy of 1.65m new cars being registered, this was only a one per cent increase on 2020’s figures, and nearly 30 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as electric cars continued to rise in popularity, with sales increasing by 76 per cent in 2021, with more than one-in-10 new cars registered last year being all-electric models. But what were the cars that were the most in-demand with customers? Here’s a look at Britain’s best-selling cars in 2021.
1. Vauxhall Corsa, 40,914 registered
The Vauxhall Corsa has been vying for the top spot for many years, and in 2021, its time came, with this stylish and affordable supermini out-selling every car. It’s the first time the Corsa has ever topped the annual charts, and the first time that a Ford hasn’t been in this position for 50 years.
With a smart interior design, generous standard equipment levels and broad range of powertrains – including the Corsa-e – it’s easy to see why so many have chosen this Vauxhall.Enquire on a new Vauxhall Corsa
Tesla Model 3, 34,783
We’ve seen Tesla’s Model 3 top the list on a monthly basis, but this is the first time this EV has ever been in the annual top 10 – a testament to just how popular this electric car has become. Selling almost triple the number of units of any other EV in 2021, the Model 3 is now far more popular than regular executive models.
With the Model 3’s superb performance, electric range of up to 360 miles and tech-laden interior, it’s easy to see why so many are choosing the Model 3. Buyers also have access to the firm’s superb Supercharger network to top-up the car’s batteries on the move.Enquire on a new Tesla Model 3
It’s been a fantastic year for the Mini, with this British-built hatchback continuing to build its sales and climb up the charts in 2021, and with nearly 32,000 examples registered, it’s the third best-selling car overall for the year.
Benefitting from a facelift earlier in 2021, the Mini remains as stylish, well-built and fun to drive as ever. These days there’s also an all-electric model for customers to choose, with this accounting for around a fifth of this hatchback’s overall sales.Enquire on a new Mini
4. Mercedes A-Class, 30,710
The Mercedes A-Class has dominated the premium hatchback market in the last couple of years, and that shows absolutely no signs of slowing, with this model out-selling even more mainstream options like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
With its upmarket, tech-laden interior and classy design, buyers love the premium image the A-Class conveys. There’s also the option of a saloon version, while a broad range of powertrains really adds to the appeal.Enquire on a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
5. Volkswagen Polo, 30,634
Volkswagen’s Polo has had a great year, and is one of few models in the top 10 that have actually climbed up the charts and increased sales – the Polo even outsold the typically more popular Golf.
Thanks to a recent update, this Volkswagen remains one of the finest superminis on the market, with impressive refinement and comfort, combined with a smart interior and generous equipment levels.Enquire on a new Volkswagen Polo
6. Volkswagen Golf, 30,240
Volkswagen’s Golf dropped from third place in 2020 to sixth in 2021, though with more than 30,000 examples sold, it’s still a commendable effort considering the market’s volatility. The eighth-generation Golf remains as great to drive as ever, while getting more technology than ever.
The other huge draw to it is the sheer number of options available – varying from entry-level petrol through to hot hatches with more than 300bhp. With a choice of plug-in hybrids on offer, there’s plenty of reasons to choose a Golf.Enquire on a new Volkswagen Golf
7. Nissan Qashqai, 29,922
There was a lot riding on the third-generation Nissan Qashqai when it was launched in 2021, but the Sunderland-built crossover has lived up to expectation, and is continuing to prove as popular as its predecessor.
It managed to retain its title as the UK’s best-selling SUV, with just shy of 30,000 registered. Now being roomier and more efficient than ever, the Qashqai continues to be a superb family crossover.Enquire on a new Nissan Qashqai
8. Ford Puma, 28,697
Ford has had a pretty tough year when it comes to new car registrations, with the semiconductor shortage really impacting its production, as evidenced with both the Fiesta and Focus absent from this list.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with the brand’s Puma crossover earning an eighth place position, and actually increasing its sales compared to 2020. With a stylish design, roomy interior and fun driving experience, the Puma remains one of the best cars in this segment.Enquire on a new Ford Puma
9. Kia Sportage, 27,611
Kia had an especially strong year in 2021, with the South Korean manufacturer’s sales outgrowing the market average. And it was the mid-size Sportage SUV that buyers are flocking to, with its combination of space, value for money and generous equipment really appealing to customers.
There’s the imminent arrival of the next-generation Sportage too, which aims to bring a significant uplift in quality, technology and electrification, and should help Kia to grow its sales further.Enquire on a new Kia Sportage
10. Toyota Yaris, 27,415
Last but most certainly not least is the Toyota Yaris, which is a new entry to the top 10 list. This latest supermini is more stylish than ever, as well as better to drive and also comes powered by an efficient hybrid powertrain that’s ideal for urban motorists.
With especially generous equipment levels – particularly for safety kit – the Yaris is one of the best cars in its class. This year also sees the introduction of a GR Sport model, which is influenced by the superb GR Yaris hot hatchback.Enquire on a new Toyota Yaris