As we enter the Summer months, the previously turbulent annual best-sellers chart is starting to settle somewhat, with the Vauxhall Corsa taking a rather commanding lead, while Ford models complete the current podium.
With cost of living concerns hindering new car sales, the new car market contracted by 10% in May compared to the same month last year, according to the latest data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
While registrations were down overall in the last month, the Vauxhall Corsa, which was the annual best-seller in 2021, surged back up the sales charts to be the best-selling new model in May.
While Ford struggled to meet production demands for its Fiesta supermini, the American manufacturer dominated the SUV market thanks to its compact Puma and mid-sized Kuga SUVs being popular with UK buyers in May. Last month also saw a resurgence for Volkswagen, with its Polo supermini and Golf hatchback entering the monthly top ten.
Sales results for each car manufacturer (and even for each model range) have been heavily influenced by supply factors, as car companies battle component shortages – another hangover of the Covid situation from the last two years. Add the impending production stoppages that are now taking place as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and you could argue that the rest of 2022 is going to be a production nightmare for car companies.
This year, instead of producing a separate article that looks at the top ten new car registrations for each month, we will simply keep updating this article with the year-to-date results for the best-selling cars of 2022 throughout the year.
Top ten best sellers, May 2022
Britain’s best-selling cars of 2022 (as of May)
1. Vauxhall Corsa
The Vauxhall Corsa has continued to hold the top spot in the UK best-sellers list with May now in the rear-view mirror. The Corsa is continuing to sell in impressive numbers as 2022 progresses – as rivals like Ford and Volkswagen struggle to overcome supply shortages.
Despite its sales success, the Corsa has received distinctly average reviews from the motoring media, with an Expert Rating of just 64% on our Expert Rating Index – for both the combustion and electric versions.
2. Ford Puma
Much like last year, the Ford Puma has recorded a strong start to 2022 – consistent sales figures for five consecutive months means that the Puma finds itself in second place after May. Ford will be hoping to avoid a repeat of 2021, when the Puma’s impressive start to the year was crippled by supply shortages.
The Puma has received plenty of praise from the UK motoring media, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 77% on our unique Expert Rating Index. That puts it top of the charts for supermini-based SUVs.
3. Nissan Qashqai
The best-selling SUV model in March, the Nissan Qashqai took the title of the UK’s best-selling new car in April. Consistently battling the popular Mini hatch for the title of best-selling British-built model, Nissan’s flagship SUV holds on to third after slipping down the sales charts in May.
On sale since Autumn last year, the current-generation Nissan Qashqai holds an Expert Rating of 71%, which is reasonable for a medium SUV but nothing to really shout about.
4. Mini hatch
Hot on the heels of the Nissan Qashqai, the twice-facelifted Mini hatch has been selling up a storm over the last few months. The best-selling British-built model for May, it rises to fourth in the annual rankings.
The Mini has received positive reviews, with an Expert Rating of 76% on our Expert Rating Index. The electric model doesn’t do so well, with a score of just 63%.
5. Kia Sportage
Another consistent month of sales sees the Kia Sportage slip to fifth after May, after occupying second position just two months ago. Finishing in seventh in the monthly sales charts, it was just one sale behind the Nissan Qashqai.
The new Kia Sportage hasn’t received that many reviews yet, and currently holds an Expert Rating of 71% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index. This could shift as more reviews are published in coming months.
6. Hyundai Tucson
Another SUV starting to slide down the sales charts as Ford’s registration numbers improved, the Hyundai Tucson finished tenth in the May best-sellers list. For now, the Tucson holds on to sixth in the annual sales list, but the Ford Kuga is not too far behind.
The new Tucson has received positive reviews from the motoring media, with a solid Expert Rating of 76% on our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.
7. Ford Kuga
An impressive month of sales sees the Ford Kuga rise from ninth to seventh in the annual sales charts, though it was outsold by the smaller Puma SUV which is not yet in the top ten.
Its Expert Rating of 73% places it firmly in the middle of a very competitive family SUV market.
8. Kia Niro
In the twilight of its production life, the soon-to-be-replaced Kia Niro sold in decent numbers again in May, suggesting that the Korean manufacturer is doing better than most in securing a supply of semiconductor chips. Surpassed by Kuga, the Niro occupies eighth in the annual best-seller rankings.
The Kia Niro has received fairly mixed reviews, with the hybrid version holding an Expert Rating of 62% on our Expert Rating Index. The electric model does better, with a score of 84%.
9. Volkswagen Golf
After several months outside the top ten best-sellers, the Volkwagen Golf shot up the monthly best-sellers list in May to claim fourth place. Possibly a sign of things to come, the Golf now holds ninth place in the annual best-sellers chart.
On sale since 2020, the Golf currently holds an Expert Rating of 76%, with good scores from most UK media sources.
10. Vauxhall Mokka
Dropping two places to tenth, the Vauxhall Mokka represents – literally – the new face of Vauxhall. The company’s new ‘Vizor’ styling will roll out across the range over the next few years. The Mokka is available as both a regular petrol/diesel model as well as an all-electric Mokka-e, which snared our Best New Small SUV title in The Car Expert Car of the Year Awards for 2021.
The new Mokka has received generally good media reviews, with an Expert Rating of 73% for the Mokka-e and 68% for the regular Mokka.
The next update (June results) will be due in the first week of July 2022.
Additional reporting by Sean Rees
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