Variety is the spice of life, that’s what they say. But it doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to car buying. The top ten best selling cars of 2020 list has been revealed and it makes for some very familiar reading: same brands, same models. The only new arrivals come in the form of the Ford Puma (although its sister car the Ford Kuga was in 2019’s list) and the Volvo XC40.
Obviously in most cases the cars merit their status as one of the UK’s favourite vehicles - they’re popular because they’re good - but it doesn’t mean they are the only solid cars in their class. That’s why we’ve come up with an alternative car for each model in the UK’s best seller list, which you might want to consider if you don’t want to be seen in the same wheels as everyone else. First, here’s a look at the most popular cars in Britain in 2020.
1.Ford Fiesta (non-mover)
2.Vauxhall Corsa (number 4 in 2019)
3.Volkswagen Golf (number 2 in 2019)
4.Ford Focus (number 3 in 2019)
5.Mercedes-Benz A-Class (non-mover)
6.Nissan Qashqai (non-mover)
7.Mini (number 8 in 2019)
8.Volkswagen Polo (number 9 in 2019)
9.Ford Puma (new entry)
10.Volvo XC40 (new entry)
The Mk5 Clio represents a superb return to form for Renault’s supermini. The interior is a thing of beauty and there is a generous range of engines to choose from, including three petrols and a diesel. It’s a refined and fun drive and offers something refreshingly different from the ubiquitous Ford Fiesta.
Still in supermini territory here, the new Corsa is a good car but the Seat Ibiza is at least as good to drive and arguably looks better. It’s also available with plenty of luxury tech, such as wireless charging, and actually offers 355 litres of space in the boot compared to the Corsa’s 309 litres.
The Seat Leon is the sister car to the Golf, they are built on the same platform and share much of the same tech. In fact, this latest fourth generation Leon is closer to its sibling than ever before and it uses the same engine line up. It’s slightly more fun and sportier to drive than the Golf, which has long been the deliberate strategy of VW Group, and it costs around £2,000 less to buy.
The Skoda Octavia is one of our favourite hatchbacks here at YesAuto, not least because its longer body means it can offer more space than most of its rivals, even though it shares a platform with the smaller VW Golf and Seat Leon. A sensible but well-appointed interior lifts it above the Ford Focus for those who value practicality over driving dynamics.
While the A-Class is the UK’s favourite premium hatchback, the Audi A3 offers just as much in terms of prestige and driving refinement. The A-Class’s interior is beautifully designed but the recently updated A3 is almost as good and places a driver-focussed cabin over the more design-centric approach of the Mercedes.
In terms of offering a break from the norm it doesn’t get much better than the Toyota CH-R. Not only does the CH-R offer head turning looks, it’s more efficient than most of its rivals thanks to its hybrid powertrains. Useful features like cruise control, lane departure warning and road sign assist are standard across the range.
This is a bit of a tricky one because the Mini is such an infectious car to drive it’s almost unrivalled in its class. The car which comes closest is the Suzuki Swift Sport, which offers similar point-and-squirt driving dynamics and plenty of standard kit. A mild hybrid engine helps to reduce running costs too.
Being closely related to the Polo, the Fabia is almost as good but costs around £2,500 less than the VW. Granted the Polo has a slightly more refined cabin, but the Fabia’s build quality is excellent, and it is as roomy as it is comfortable. Solid engines and equally good handling capabilities make the Fabia one of the best cars in its class.
The Peugeot 2008 is a smidge cheaper than the Ford Puma and offers equally sleek styling. While it doesn’t drive as sportily as the Puma, if a soft and comfortable ride is more important to you then the 2008 is your better option. Build quality on the latest generation is leaps and bounds better than the last.
The X1 offers everything a premium crossover should: outstanding build quality, a sleek and slick infotainment system and plenty of space throughout. In fact its boot is around 50-litres bigger than the Volvo XC40’s. Unlike a lot of crossovers, the X1 is actually quite fun to drive and comes with the badge to make your neighbours envious.