With 2019 now over, this is the perfect time to review just what UK motorists wanted the most over the past year.
Using data from searches and advert views, Auto Trader had compiled an array of information on the most popular cars and SUVs of the year. A nationally representative survey of 2,000 drivers was also used to gather additional information.
The results cover a range of categories, along with the ten individual models that had the most viewed adverts of all. Get ready to see just how on-trend you were with your own car searches in 2019.
Most desirable new car brands of 2019
Kicking things off is which brands were the most desirable during the year. Auto Trader has accumulated the data for all adverts viewed, with Audi coming out on top.
Audi adverts were viewed more than 4.8 million times, with BMW in second with 4.03 million views. Volkswagen came in third, whilst Mercedes-Benz took fourth place, proving that German marques remain highly desirable.
Ford was in fifth place, with Land Rover, Jaguar, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota completing the top ten.
Most popular hybrid cars of 2019
With environmental concerns dominating the news in 2019, interest in hybrid vehicles has increased on Auto Trader. Topping the list of the most popular hybrid cars was the Toyota Corolla, buoyed by the launch of an all-new model.
Toyota also took both second and third place, with the RAV4 Hybrid and C-HR Hybrid respectively. The Honda CR-V Hybrid could be found in fourth place, with the Kia Niro in fifth.
Most popular electric cars of 2019
With more new electric cars than ever set to hit the market in 2020, we can expect the number of Auto Trader advert views for them to grow exponentially. During 2019 it was adverts for Audi’s E-tron that topped the electric charts.
The Jaguar I-Pace was the second most-viewed electric car, with the Volkswagen e-Golf clinching the final podium place. Established EVs like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf completed the top five, but the new MG ZS EV was more of a surprise in seventh.
Most popular diesel cars of 2019
Dieselgate has reduced the market share of new diesel cars dramatically, with them now accounting for less than a third of new sales. Despite that, diesel is still a relevant option for certain buyers, with the Range Rover Evoque the most viewed diesel-powered vehicle.
BMW’s 3 Series claimed second place, with the full-sized Range Rover still proving popular with diesel fans in third. SUVs accounted for seven of the top ten places, although the Mercedes-Benz V-Class is notable for taking seventh place.
Most popular petrol cars of 2019
Proving just how far the popularity of diesel has fallen, even the Ford Mustang received more searches than the previous Range Rover Evoque. With 449,422 searches, the Mustang slots into fifth place on the list of the most popular petrol-powered cars.
At the very top of the table is a more predictable story. The Volkswagen Golf takes the crown for the petrol car with the most adverts viewed, followed by the Ford Fiesta. The Ford Focus takes third, with the Volkswagen Polo in fourth.
Most popular SUVs of 2019
The popularity of SUVs continues to rise seemingly unabated, and it is Land Rover that will be happiest with the results of Auto Trader’s data. The aristocratic Range Rover sits atop the pile as the SUV with the most viewed adverts in 2019.
Following close behind is the Range Rover Sport, whilst the Range Rover Evoque can be found in third place. The Range Rover Velar was the eighth most-viewed SUV, with the Discovery Sport just behind in ninth.
Although other brands are available, Auto Trader users seemingly only have eyes for Land Rover products.
Most popular estate cars of 2019
With SUVs becoming the default option for many buyers, the humble estate has fallen to being an also-ran when it comes to new cars. Yet choosing a station wagon instead of an SUV still matter to some buyers, with adverts for the Ford Focus estate being viewed the most of all.
Following behind in second place is the Audi A6 Avant, with the Volkswagen Golf Estate completing the top three. The Golf’s platform-sharing brethren of the Seat Leon ST and Skoda Octavia appear in fourth and fifth position.
Most popular coupes of 2019
Sporty two-door coupes saw greater advert views than estate cars, suggesting UK motorists are searching for driving fun rather than practicality. At the top of the tree is BMW’s new flagship 8 Series coupe, which saw the release of an even quicker Competition version in 2019.
With broad appeal, the blue-collar Ford Mustang is the second most-searched for coupe. BMW also takes the final podium position, with the M4 edging ahead of the Audi R8 for third place.
Variety can be found throughout the top ten with the Lotus Exige in seventh, and the Nissan GT-R in tenth.
Most popular saloons of 2019
BMW may produce far more than just saloons now, but the core of its range is seemingly still popular in the UK. Loved by business users and personal buyers, the BMW 3 Series was the four-door model with its adverts viewed the most in 2019.
The high-performance BMW M5 can be found in second, although the 5 Series on which it is based was strangely only in ninth position. Smaller executive saloons were more desirable, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia in third place, followed by the Jaguar XE in fourth.
Most popular hatchbacks of 2019
With broad appeal, hatchbacks continue to be the most popular bodystyle for UK drivers. The best-sellers list is frequently packed with hatchbacks, and this means adverts for them are suitably in favour.
The Volkswagen Golf, with a range that stretches from humble models to 300 hp performance machines, was the hatchback with the most viewed adverts. In second place is the Ford Fiesta supermini, with the Blue Oval also in third with the Focus.
Most important new car features of 2019
Modern cars are packed with more technology and features than ever before, as buyers expect a high level of specification. Auto Trader researched exactly which features buyers stated were most important to them when buying a new car.
Air conditioning was the most important feature for 52% of buyers, with electric windows desirable to just under half of those asked. A spacious boot and satellite navigation were tied in third place on 41%, with parking sensors desirable to 40% of buyers.
Most desirable new car colours of 2019
Choosing a colour is one of the most exciting parts of the new car buying experience for many. The past decade has been dominated by monochromatic colours, as buyers opt for conservative hues. It should therefore be no surprise that black was the most popular colour, with 21% making it their most desired option.
Closely behind in second place was blue, with 19% of buyers favouring it. Silver remains desirable to 16%, followed by red which is the top preference for 11% of buyers.
White may have started the decade as one of the most popular colours, but now it is only desirable to 10% of people.
Top 10 most popular car searches of 2019
10: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Now we move into the top ten most popular cars searched for in 2019, beginning with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. UK motorists have been drawn towards premium brands throughout the past decade, so its inclusion should not be a shock.
With 460,924 advert views during 2019, the C-Class is solidly in tenth place. The compact executive model comes in saloon, estate, coupe, and cabriolet formats, offering a model for every taste. A broad range of engines, including hybrid options, covers all the bases.
9: Volkswagen Polo
Based on the most recent sales figures, the Volkswagen Polo was the ninth best-selling car during 2019. It should therefore be no surprise that, with 463,548 advert views, the Polo was also the ninth most popular car on Auto Trader.
Volkswagen’s supermini manages to hold universal appeal, with the upmarket badge being a key part of the appeal. As we will see, it manages to be upstaged on this list by another Volkswagen.
8: Range Rover Evoque
Launched at the end of 2018, the latest Range Rover Evoque continues with the successful theme of its predecessor. Amassing 525,550 advert views during 2019, the smallest member of the Range Rover family is the first of three models from the brand to feature in the top ten.
Along with being the most desirable diesel-powered model of 2019, eighth place is impressive for such a boxfresh model. It clearly demonstrates the desirability of the compact premium SUV.
7: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The UK’s love for all things premium continues, with the smallest Mercedes-Benz model accounting for 541,700 Auto Trader advert views during 2019. The A-Class has been a popular seller throughout the year, meaning seventh place here is to be expected.
Along with the Mercedes-Benz badge, the A-Class features an upmarket interior with technology that would shame cars from several classes above.
6: BMW 3 Series
Sixth place on the most-viewed Auto Trader adverts of 2019 goes to the BMW 3 Series. A total of 562,623 views covers both the saloon and estate versions of the 3 Series.
The latest seventh-generation of the 3 Series saloon went on sale in March 2019, followed by the Touring estate in June. More cabin space, greater technology, and new engines will have helped generate interest.
5: Range Rover Sport
It may have been on sale since 2013, but the Range Rover Sport seems to show no sign of diminishing interest. With 591,323 views of Auto Trader adverts during 2019, it was the fifth most-popular new vehicle for the year.
Engine options for the Range Rover Sport span four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, through to the impressive 575 hp supercharged V8 unit in the SVR model.
4: Range Rover
Even more desirable than the Range Rover Sport is the top-of-the-line version in the Land Rover hierarchy. The full-size luxury model received 617,085 advert views during 2019, placing it fourth in the overall list.
Auto Trader does not state how many of those views translated into sales. So this may be buyers genuinely interested in a Range Rover, or simply the idle dreaming of those wondering how to spend a hypothetical win on the National Lottery.
3: Ford Fiesta
Less likely to be the result of fantasy daydreams, the Ford Fiesta was the clear best-selling model in the UK during 2019. With 721,306 advert views, it finishes third on the Auto Trader list.
Affordable, practical, and enjoyable to drive should make the Fiesta’s inclusion here no major surprise. The limited edition Performance version of the Fiesta ST hot hatch is also likely to have driven even more interest during 2019.
2: Ford Focus
With both second and third places on the list, Ford must be fairly pleased with the results of the Auto Trader data. The larger Focus hatchback outperformed the Fiesta by a substantial amount, with an impressive 846,212 advert views in 2019.
The family hatchback was certainly popular, but what did it lose out to?
1: Volkswagen Golf
For the second year in a row, the Volkswagen Golf takes the top spot as the UK’s most popular model of new car. Of the more than 38 million Auto Trader adverts viewed during 2019, the Golf accounted for 1,307,303 of them alone.
Given the huge variety of new car models for sale in the UK, seeing the Golf account for so many advert views is a considerable demonstration of its popularity. This is more remarkable, taking into account the replacement eight-generation Golf was launched during the year.
The big question will be whether the new Golf can make it a hat trick in 2020.