Which vehicles were most popular in 2023 and what can we expect in 2024?

Check out this blog to find out which vehicles dominated the used and new car sales markets in 2023. Plus, discover which makes and models are expected to be popular in 2024.

Which vehicles were most popular in 2023 and what can we expect in 2024?

With 24% of UK drivers admitting they wanted to purchase a new car in 2023, it's fair to say that many motorists around the country have been browsing a wide range of vehicle options this year.

From family-friendly SUVs to cars with high-tech infotainment or comfortable interiors, there are plenty of models up for grabs, each of them suiting of a specific type of driver.

Jonathan Such, Head of Sales at car finance company First Response Finance, said: "It's finally that time of the year where we can analyse car sales data from 2023 and find out what the most popular models have been in the past twelve months or so.

"Some vehicles, such as the Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Corsa, never fail to take the fancy of thousands of motorists in the UK.

"But other models like the Hyundai Tucson have been making a real statement this year, booking a spot in the top-five table of most loved cars of 2023."

So, what have been the most popular new and used models of the year? And what cars are gearing up to make an impact in 2024?

Used cars

In recent times, used vehicles have been tickling the interest of millions of drivers across the country.

With cheaper price tags due to the ongoing chip shortage that is delaying the production of new cars, used motors have recorded another strong year. As of November 2023, an incredible 5,563,576 used vehicles have been sold, meaning there's been a 4.6% rise in sales compared to 2022.

But which used models have been chosen the most by drivers in the UK? These are the numbers from Q3 2023:

Ford Fiesta – a perennial favourite, Ford tops the 'most popular used car of 2023' chart. The much-loved Fiesta comfortably leads the way with 79,756 buyer transactions made between July and September 2023. The Ford Fiesta was the most purchased used vehicle in 2022 as well, meaning its sober design and drivability have maintained their appeal.

Vauxhall Corsa – new or used, the Vauxhall Corsa knows exactly how to suit a motorist's needs. In its used version, the Corsa sits in second place just like last year. The beauty of this evergreen model is that it comes with many different trims and specs, so there's bound to be one for everyone. In Q3 2023, the used Vauxhall Corsa was sold 61,290 times.

Volkswagen Golf – another well-loved used model is the Volkswagen Golf, which has been purchased 58,928 times between July and September 2023. The Golf is known for being an all-rounder, offering you efficiency and comfort in town or on the motorway.

Ford Focus – for drivers wanting to unite enjoyment and practicality, the Ford Focus is a sensible choice. Whether you're a sole passenger or have a family to drive around, the Focus can do it all. In fact, with a total of 58,431 transactions, it just about misses out on a spot on the podium.

Vauxhall Astra – parked in fifth position, the Vauxhall Astra has been sold 41,898 times in the third quarter of 2023. With plenty of room inside the cabin and a strong engine, the Astra is deservedly a must-have for thousands of motorists across the country and reaffirms Vauxhall's popularity among used-car buyers.

New cars

With a whopping 1,761,962 new cars sold as of November 2023, the automotive industry in the UK has seen a 18.6% year-on-year increase in sales compared to 2022. Specifically, motorists across the country have shown a soft spot for new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, with sales going up by 38.8%.

Out of all the brand-new vehicles hitting the roads of Britain this year, which car models have topped drivers' wish-lists the most? Here are the five most popular new cars in 2023.

Ford Puma – boasting good fuel economy, a high driving position, and a no-nonsense design, the Ford Puma is the most popular new car of 2023 with 46,434 registrations, climbing from fourth to first position. The small SUV is both practical and comfortable to drive, with a generous boot to fit suitcases and shopping bags and is clearly a favourite among drivers across the nation.

Nissan Qashqai – it may have just lost its crown of most-wanted car, but the Nissan Qashqai is still an appealing option for drivers of all abilities. Perfect for families, the Qashqai has a spacious interior and an affordable price tag – no wonder it was sold 39,068 times in 2023!

Vauxhall Corsa – with a total of 37,826 registrations this year alone, the Vauxhall Corsa clinches the third and last spot on the podium. Available as a petrol or fully electric model, the Corsa continues to be a well-loved car thanks to its comfortable interior and unpretentious silhouette.

Kia Sportage – rising from sixth to fourth place in one year, the Kia Sportage has been purchased 34,620 times since January 2023. Blending stylish looks and a roomy cabin, this South Korean car model is backed by an attractive seven-year warranty.

Hyundai Tucson – acting as a reliable family SUV, the Hyundai Tucson is unsurprisingly one of the five most popular cars in the UK this year. The Tucson guarantees a soft, gentle ride, which has helped it cruise to fifth position with 32,201 registrations in 2023 alone.

What to expect in 2024

As we near the start of the new year, many car enthusiasts will be looking for a new drive in 2024.

A burgeoning used car market offers plenty value here amid cost-of-living concerns, with various finance options available to you.

All of our top five entries offer good places to start and its always worth scouring the second-hand market to secure yourself a bargain.

Elsewhere, if you're looking to bag yourself a budget-friendly electric car, keep in mind that one of Europe's most affordable EVs is making its way to the UK next year. The Dacia Spring is a sub-£20k electric model that features a bold look, a spacious boot, and a good range lasting up to 143 miles.

What's more, following the announcement that the VW Group is parking the production of SEAT models in favour of performance focused Cupra cars, we can certainly expect this brand to truly warm up its engines in 2024. For example, the Cupra Tavascan – a coupe-SUV that will go head-to-head with vehicles like Kia EV6 and Nissan Ariya – will go on sale next year.

As for the models that have made the 'most popular' lists, it's fair to predict that they will perform well in 2024, too.

The Vauxhall Corsa, for example, has been in the top five of total used car transactions for six consecutive years, and is likely to maintain its spot in this elite group in both new and used categories.

Are you surprised by the 2023 results? If you're looking to buy your own vehicle in the new year, you could take a leaf out of fellow drivers' book and treat yourself to one of Britain's trendiest models.

Alternatively, with several cars making their debut on the UK market in 2024, keep your eyes peeled for all the new options cruising our roads in the coming months.

Press releases | 21.12.23

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