Whether you’re driving the A1 between London and Edinburgh or cruising along a country backroad, you’ll quickly notice some makes and models are far more popular than others. Thinking of investing in a new car this year? Don’t miss our roundup of the top 10 most popular cars on British roads. They’re bestsellers for a reason which means you really can’t go wrong when you get behind the wheel of one of these models.

The roundup is based on the latest vehicle registration data from Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Results reveal the most popular cars 2023 registered in the first half of the year.

1. Ford Puma – 22,765

With a huge 22,765 models sold in the first half of 2023, the Ford Puma is one of the most popular cars on British roads. The crossover SUV builds on the success of the Fiesta and won over drivers with a spacious interior and enormous boot. It’s so grand Top Gear legend Jeremy Clarkson called it a “megabox” in a recent review and was seriously impressed with the washable cover. Anyone loading wet dogs, muddy sports gear or dusty camping equipment into their boots will love this feature.

Connectivity is top-notch thanks to the integrated SYNC 3 technology that enables voice-activated phone, communication and navigation features. Whether you need to search for directions or lineup your favourite tunes, the Ford Puma allows you to customise your driving experience without taking your eyes off the road.

2. Vauxhall Corsa – 21,208

With just over 21,000 sales in the first half of 2023, the Vauxhall Corsa is hot on the heels of the Ford Puma. No surprises here seeing as the Corsa was crowned one of the most popular cars of 2022. The compact hatchback is classed as a supermini and is adored by urban drivers. Whether you’re manoeuvring into a parallel parking spot or pulling off a tight turn, the Vauxhall Corsa makes city driving a cinch. There’s even an updated all-electric version with an impressive range of 222 miles per charge.

3. Nissan Qashqai – 19,983

Like the Vauxhall Corsa, the Nissan Qashqai was one of the most popular cars of 2022 and continued its reign in the first half of 2023. The compact SUV offers all the space, power and practicality of a large vehicle, without excess bulk. When it comes to crossovers, you can’t go wrong with this bestselling model. The first-generation Qashqai hit roads in 2006 which means there’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market. Even better, the model is built right here in the UK. Sunderland to be precise. This makes it an excellent choice for patriotic motorists. 

4. Tesla Model Y – 19,551

When it comes to the all-electric market the Tesla Model Y dominates British roads. Almost 20,000 were registered in the first half of 2023 and numbers are only expected to grow over the coming months. The model builds on the success of the Model 3 with a spacious interior and hatchback SUV design. Then there’s Tesla’s impressive Supercharger network, which features more than 1,000 stations across the UK.

5. Hyundai Tucson – 18,678

Comparable to the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai, the Hyundai Tucson is one of the most popular cars 2023 for families. The latest model raises the bar with a sleek exterior, luxurious cabin and loads of technology, including a sharp digital instrument display and interactive touchscreen controls. A variety of engine choices, including petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid, helped secure the Hyundai Tucson a spot as one of the most popular cars in the UK.

6. Nissan Juke – 18,380

Following in the tracks of the Qashqai, the smaller and zippier Juke is the second Nissan model to make the roundup of the most popular cars 2023. Now in its second generation, the compact crossover is popular with motorists in search of value for money and excellent fuel economy. Like the Qashqai, the Juke is built at the Nissan factory in Sunderland which gives it a British edge.

7. Kia Sportage – 18,057

Completely revamped in 2022, the Kia Sportage stormed into 2023 with gusto. Contemporary styling, luxurious interior materials and lots of cutting-edge technology earned the affordable family SUV a place on the most popular cars roundup. As well as combustion engines, the Sportage is offered as a plug-in hybrid with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and 13.8kWh battery. This option has been a hit with motorists looking to save at the forecourt and reduce their environmental footprints.

8. Mini Hatch – 15,892

Brits have loved Minis since the 1950s and nothing has changed. More than 15,800 Mini Hatch models were registered in the first half of 2023, all built right here in the UK. Motorists are sitting tight for the updated version set to launch in 2024, which will likely continue to boost sales of the bestselling model.

9. Ford Fiesta – 15,359

While production of the Ford Fiesta has now stopped, it didn’t stop the model from stepping up as one of the most popular cars 2023. The most recent seventh generation model was one of the best ever with intuitive handling, great fuel economy and loads of tech features.

10. Vauxhall Mokka – 14,996

Sporty and modern, the Vauxhall Mokka sold almost 15,000 units in the first half of 2023. Comparable to the Nissan Juke and Ford Puma, the compact SUV won over buyers with a wide range of engine types, trim levels and optional extras.

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