Most people with an interest in cars will be aware of the astonishing success of SUVs in the early part of the 21st century, even if they don’t necessarily approve of it. In 2018, three of the ten most popular vehicles in the UK were SUVs.
The next question is: which are the most popular SUVs? Once you’ve got the three mentioned above out of the way this is more difficult to answer than you might think, but with the help of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders we’ve been able to compile what feels like a convincing top 12.
The figures we’ll be showing are not sales, since these are almost impossible to determine. Instead, they refer to registrations, which are not the same thing. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best available.
12: Range Rover Evoque, 17,734
The Evoque is the most popular car with a Range Rover badge. Thanks partly to an early association with Victoria Beckham, it was a hit from the moment it went on sale in 2011.
The second-generation model has just been launched, and will no doubt lead to an increase in Evoque sales this year.
11: Land Rover Discovery Sport, 19,941
Within two years of its introduction, the Sport became Land Rover’s most successful model worldwide when it replaced the Freelander in 2016.
10: Renault Captur, 21,833
The Captur has been around since 2014 and was given a mid-life update three years later.
A similar-looking but larger and technically different SUV called the Kaptur has been manufactured in Russia, India and Brazil. It is not sold here.
9: Mercedes GLC-Class, 22,273
Easily the most popular Mercedes SUV in this country, the GLC-Class was introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the much boxier GLK-Class.
A new variant called the AMG Night Edition was announced in November 2018 and will be available from dealers in February.
8: Ford EcoSport, 23,037
The EcoSport was heavily criticised in the media when it arrived in 2014 for being not nearly as good as journalists thought a Ford SUV should be.
It was quickly revised, and now has a solid place in the list of the UK’s most popular SUVs.
7: Nissan Juke, 24,530
Opinions about the Juke vary widely, but there is no doubt that it has been a success.
Only mildly altered since it was launched way back in 2010, it would be Nissan’s most popular SUV but for another model from the same company which we’ll be talking about shortly.
6: Hyundai Tucson, 27,634
Named after a city in Arizona, the Tucson was launched in 2004 and is now in its third generation. The current model dates from 2015 and was revised in July 2018.
5: Volkswagen Tiguan, 29,538
The original Tiguan went on sale in the UK in January 2008 and remained on the market for eight years.
Its successor is one of many cars based on the VW Group’s MQB platform, and was the most popular German-branded SUV in the UK last year.
4: Vauxhall Mokka X, 32,266
When it was revised in 2016, the Mokka became the first Vauxhall to have a standalone X in its name, denoting that it was an SUV. This has since been applied to the first the Crossland X and then the Grandland X, closely related to the Peugeot 2008 and 3008 respectively.
The Mokka X is the most popular of the three, and also the only one available with four-wheel drive, though customers tend to choose the front-wheel drive versions.
3: Kia Sportage, 35,567
Kia has marketed four generations of Sportage, each of them significantly better than the last, since the early 1990s.
According to the SMMT figures, the current model was the UK’s tenth most popular car of any type in 2018, and the most popular from a Korean brand.
2: Ford Kuga, 40,398
As it has been for years, the Ford Fiesta was overwhelmingly the most-registered car in 2018, four places ahead of the same company’s Focus.
The third most popular Ford, and its top SUV, was the Kuga, which came ninth overall. It has been on the market since 2012, and is sold in the US as the Ford Escape.
1: Nissan Qashqai, 50,546
The Qashqai is the dominant SUV in this country, with 2018 registrations 25% higher than those of the Kuga. According to the SMMT it was the UK’s fourth most popular car last year, behind the Vauxhall Corsa and just ahead of the Ford Focus.
Named after a group of Iranian tribes, the Qashqai is built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in Tyne and Wear.