Which Vehicles Were Most Popular in 2022, and What Can We Expect in 2023?

New year, new you… new vehicle? As we near the end of 2022, we can look at the types of vehicles, both new and used, that were the most popular across the year, as well as predict what next year may look like in terms of vehicle transactions.

The variety of favoured cars this year appear to appeal to all kinds of drivers; from stay-at-home parents who use their car for school runs and trips to the supermarket, to driving professionals who rely on their vehicle for work purposes.

Jonathan Such, head of sales at car, van, and motorbike finance company First Response Finance, said: “The new year marks a very exciting time for the automotive industry. We’re able to look at vehicle sales from 2022 and predict what we feel may be the most popular vehicles in 2023.

“This is a great opportunity for anybody who’s in the market for a new vehicle, or even just those with an interest in motors and trends.”

Here, Jonathan explains the type of cars most popular this year, and those that are gearing up to make an impact in 2023.

New cars

Although reports show that the UK new car market was down 10.7% with 118,203 fewer cars sold in September 2022 in comparison to 2021, a whopping 1.6 million new car registrations were still predicted to have taken place by the end of the year.

Let’s look at the top five as of November 2022.

Nissan Qashqai – This mid-size SUV grabbed the top spot with 33,562 vehicles sold this year. Smooth and sleek both outside and inside, the Nissan Qashqai is often regarded as a good compact family car, with adequate interior and boot space.

Vauxhall Corsa – Usually in the top spot, the Vauxhall Corsa was sold 32,126 times in 2022, making it the second most popular new car purchased in the UK. This well-equipped vehicle is described as a fantastic all-rounder, making it perfect for fussy families as well as suave solo-drivers.

Ford Puma – Cousin of the highly successful Ford Fiesta, the Ford Puma had 30,898 vehicles sold as of November. Unlike the Fiesta, which has seen a multitude of supply problems, the Puma has continued to climb the ranks, moving from the eighth most popular car in 2021 to the third most popular in 2022.

Kia Sportage – Another vehicle that has proven very popular with British families, the Kia Sportage flaunts the latest on-board technology, plenty of room in the cabin, and a variety of safety systems including Highway Driving Assist (HDA). At fourth place, this SUV sold 26,393 as of November.

MINI – This iconic car has won the hearts of many UK drivers this year, having sold 25,756 vehicles. The expected power, performance, and control continues to delight, and the addition of the all-electric model has played a part in the high sales figures.

Used cars

It has been another fantastic year for the used car market. As of September 2022, there were 5.3 million used cars sold, and it is forecast to double in value over the next five years.

Models most popular as of 2022’s third quarter include the MINI, Volkswagen Golf, and Audi A3. Let’s discuss this year’s top five most popular used car transactions.

Ford Fiesta – In first place is the Ford Fiesta with a total figure of 220,172 cars sold. The vehicle proves extremely popular among drivers because it’s great value for money; cheap to buy used, cheap to run. We’re not surprised it’s come on top every quarter.

Vauxhall Corsa – Second spot for new cars, second spot for used cars; the Vauxhall Corsa has been making waves this year! With 176,847 transactions, the vehicle is particularly popular among parents and first-time drivers.

Volkswagen Golf – As of the third quarter of 2022, there had been 166,642 used Volkswagen Golf cars sold. This could be because it’s one of Britain’s best-known cars, as well as its desirable combination of efficiency, comfort, and practicality.

Ford Focus – Coming in fourth place is the iconic Ford Focus, a vehicle many used car buyers love due to its smart interior, many safety features, and the various styles available. 164,719 transactions were made this year – down from 199,060 in Q3 of 2021, but still a solid figure of purchases.

Vauxhall Astra – Another win for the Vauxhall brand! In fifth place is the Vauxhall Astra, with used cars of this kind racking up a sales figure of 127,125 in 2022. Used car buyers are often looking for something that’s cheap in price but reliable in quality, and this particular vehicle continues to be exactly that, year on year.

Most popular cars secured using finance options

The used car data reflects First Response Finance’s internal data. Jonathan did some digging to discover 2022’s most popular cars secured using their award-winning Hire Purchase (HP) finance option.

The Ford Focus (fourth place in the used cars leaderboard) was their most financed car this year, followed by the Ford Fiesta (first place) and then Vauxhall Astra (fifth place). In addition to these, the Vauxhall Corsa (second place) and Volkswagen Golf (third place) are in their top ten list of most-financed cars of 2022.

So, what can we expect in 2023?

Using the data that we’ve already explored; we expect many of 2022’s new and used car favourites to continue dominating the leaderboards in 2023.

According to SMMT’s data, the Vauxhall Corsa, for example, has remained in the top five of total used car transactions since 2017. A classic, British favourite that offers so many benefits (even previously used); ‘Vauxhall Corsa for sale used’ continues to receive an average of 1,000 Google searches per month, which has increased by 30% in the last three months.

In a similar way, ‘Volkswagen Golf used for sale’ gets 750 hits per month, which has increased by 39% in the last three months, and 108% since November 2021.

We predict the Kia Sportage will continue to climb in the ranks in 2023, receiving an average monthly search volume of 350 for ‘Kia Sportage buy’, which has increased by 86% since last year.

Over the last three months, there has been a drop in searches (19%) for ‘Vauxhall Corsa new’, which could suggest this vehicle may drop down slightly in the new year’s leaderboard.

Bring on the new year!

Jonathan continued: “We also can’t forget about the brand-new cars scheduled for release in 2023. From the Honda Electric SUV to the Aston Martin DBX Coupe, BMW 5 Series to the Fiat Panda… there’s so much to look forward to.

“This is a fantastic time to be in the market for a new car. Plus, if you’re worried about costs, there are car finance options available to help you afford your new wheels.”

While we predict we’ll continue to see some British classics sat on the leaderboard next year, it’ll be exciting to see which other brands may zoom in and become the most popular in 2023.