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New cars in Britain

Britain has newer cars than every European country – apart from one

New cars in Britain

The average age of a car in Great Britain is significantly newer than the vast majority of other European nations. This is according to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

It found that, on average, the vehicle fleet in Britain is eight years old. Only Luxembourg – the fifth-wealthiest country in the world – has a newer fleet (6.4 years old).

Compare and contrast with Lithuania, where the average age is 16.9 years old. Similarly in Estonia, where the figure is 16.7, Romania (16.3) and Greece (15.7).

PCP, PPI and Scrappage

In Britain, new car sales have been boosted by the rise of affordable finance, with Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals putting new cars within reach of more people. In some cases, new cars are cheaper per month than a mobile phone contract, with some deals including zero- or very low-deposit options.

This comes amid a backdrop low interest rates, giving consumers no real incentive to save, along with the lump sums generated as a result of PPI payments. Why maintain an ageing vehicle when you can ‘own’ a vehicle under warranty and for a fixed monthly fee?

Scrappage is another factor. Not only does the promise of a generous part-exchange price increase the chances of another new car hitting the road, it has the double effect of removing an old vehicle from the system. This lowers the average age of Britain’s car fleet.

London scrappage scheme

But while cars are significantly newer in Britain, the reverse is true across the European Union. Figures from the European Environment Agency and IHS show that the average passenger car age in 2000 was around 7.5 years. By 2017, that number had risen to 12 years.

It’s clear that the increase in the number of EU members has played a part. Since 2004, 13 countries have joined the European Union, including many former Eastern Bloc nations. Here, there’s a strong reliance on older, less safe, and heavily polluting vehicles.

New car CO2 down

ACEA sees this as a potential problem for the EU. With manufacturers making huge strides in the fields of emissions and safety, consumers will be unable to see the full potential of these technologies if they hold on to their cars for longer. Average CO2 emissions of new cars have decreased from 172.2g/km in 2000, to 118.5g/km in 2017.

If consumers fail to embrace new cars, they’re not benefiting from the advanced safety systems, while countries and cities will struggle to meet stringent air quality targets.

“The premature phasing-out of removal of customer incentives seriously impacts the market uptake of alternative fuel vehicle vehicles,“ ACEA warns. It wants ‘consistent incentive schemes’ for passenger vehicles, including the revision of the European energy taxation system.

Combined, petrol and diesel account for 95.9 percent of the EU vehicle fleet. Meanwhile, the battery electric sector has secured a tiny 0.2 percent share of the fleet. ACEA says this is due to the high prices and ‘inconvenience’ issues, such as range anxiety.

Average age of the EU vehicle fleet

CountryAverage age of vehicle fleet
1. Luxembourg6.4
2. Great Britain8.0
3. Austria8.2
4. Republic of Ireland8.4
5. Denmark8.5
6. France9.0
= Belgium 9.0
8. Germany9.5 
9. Sweden9.6
10. Slovenia10.1
11. Netherlands11.0
12. Italy12.0
13. Finland12.1
14. Spain12.4
15. Croatia12.6
16. Portugal12.9
17. Poland13.9
= Slovakia13.9
= Latvia13.9
20. Hungary14.2
21. Czech Republic14.8
22. Greece15.7
23. Romania16.3
24. Lithuania16.9

Source: ACEA, Vehicles in use – Europe 2019

Two-thirds of Brits think you drive ON THE LEFT in France and Spain

Two-thirds of Brits think you drive ON THE LEFT in France and Spain

A staggering 62 percent of British motorists surveyed in a study believe you drive ON THE LEFT in France and Spain.

That’s according to a survey of 1,253 drivers carried out by insurance company By Miles, with two-thirds of motorists blissfully unaware that you drive on the right having left the ferry port or Channel Tunnel. Time to stick a Post-it reminder on the dashboard?

Only a fifth (22 percent) realise that drivers in France must carry a breathalyser with them at all times. The breathalyser must be unused, carry the NF certification mark and be in date.

Meanwhile, 91 percent of drivers are unaware that Spanish authorities can fine you €200 (£180) for driving without a shirt on. Driving with your arm hanging out of the window or with excessively high music could also lead to a chat with the authorities, along with wearing flip flops.

‘Swot up on local driving laws’

Woman driving in flip flops

You might think that driving on the right is obvious, but other country-specific laws might be less apparent. Be sure to research the rules and regulations of each country you’re visiting this summer.

James Blackham, the co-founder of By Miles, said, “Holidaymakers planning on driving to Europe this summer must take the time to swot up on local driving laws or risk facing fines. Little-known rules can often catch drivers out.

“For example, in France, you must carry a breathalyser with you at all times, and in Spain, if caught driving without a top on you can be fined €200!

“However, every road-tripper can protect themselves by following a few simple steps before setting off. Don’t presume your insurer automatically gives you the same full cover you have at home when you’re driving in Europe. Give them a ring to make sure you have the same level of cover – some drop to third party cover only once outside the UK.

“While you’re on the phone, check your annual mileage cap too. While Europe doesn’t seem all that far away, an unusually long road trip means some risk clocking up too many miles on the journey and invalidating their insurance policies as a result.”

Advice for driving abroad this summer

Driving in Spain

By Miles has the following advice for motorists driving abroad this summer:

  • Carry a breathalyser: you must carry a breathalyser, warning triangle and high-visibility vest in France.
  • Keep your shirt on: drivers should avoid taking their shirt off or wearing flip flops behind the wheel in Spain
  • Check your vehicle is covered: make sure you have European insurance cover when travelling abroad.
  • Monitor your mileage: check that you won’t exceed your mileage limit when abroad.
  • Drink-driving: check the country-specific drink-driving laws before consuming any alcohol.

London is the second worst city to drive in as a tourist

London is the worst city for tourists

London has been named the second worst European city to drive in as a tourist, in a study of 24 major locations across the EU.

Insurance comparison site Compare The Market factored in the cost of parking, price of fuel, road safety, road quality, car density and congestion to come to this conclusion.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has braved the streets of the UK capital.

Neither will the fact that Rome is ranked as the worst city for tourist drivers. From crazy scooter riders to madmen in Fiat Pandas, driving in the Italian capital can be a nerve-racking experience.

Moscow, Milan and Dublin were the other cities to find themselves at the foot of the table, while Paris just managed to avoid a bottom five slot.

With a road fatality rate of 140.69 per million residents, Moscow and St Petersburg are the cities to avoid if you value your life.

Nice is good, Frankfurt is nicer

Cars in Frankfurt

At the opposite end of the table, Frankfurt is the city to head to if you fancy a stress-free driving experience, with the German financial capital finishing top for congestion and second for the cost of parking.

Nice, Vienna, Madrid and Lisbon were the other European cities to finish in the top five.

Given the results of the Compare The Market study, tourists might want to consider using public transport when travelling to London. It costs £12 to park for two hours, while a gallon of fuel costs £5.43.

The results in full

CityParking (2 hours)Fuel (per gallon)Road fatalities

(per million residents)

Road quality ratingPassenger cars (per 1,000 residents)Hours of congestion
1. Frankfurt£1.70£5.2838.785.5/7562107
2. Nice£3.70£5.8051.986/7477130
3. Vienna£6.80£4.6749.396/7552109
4. Madrid£5.30£4.9438.975.5/7505129
5. Lisbon£2.10£5.6957.256/7470162
6. Budapest£2.70£4.2961.834.1/7355162
7. Krakow£1.80£4.4579.744.1/7586125
8. Stockholm£5.80£5.7827.265.5/7480135
9. Prague£3.10£4.7457.854/7523143
10. Munich£6.10£5.2838.785.5/7562140
11. Barcelona£6.80£4.9438.975.5/7505147
12. Warsaw£1.30£4.4579.744.1/7586173
13. Berlin£7.00£5.2838.785.5/7562154
14. Amsterdam£7.50£6.3136.666.1/7489164
15. St Petersburg£2.90£2.42140.692.9/7302200
16. Copenhagen£11.00£5.9836.825.5/7430137
17. Brussels£4.90£5.3156.134.5/7510195
18. Florence£4.40£6.0254.174.5/7625195
19. Paris£6.50£5.8051.986/7477237
20. Dublin£5.20£5.4438.974.6/7446246
21. Milan£5.20£6.0254.174.5/7625226
22. Moscow£9.60£2.42140.692.9/7302210
23. London£12.00£5.4327.75.1/7472227
24. Rome£7.00£6.0254.174.5/7625254

Figures in bold and italics represent the best in each category. Figures underlined are the worst.

No Deal: European cars we can’t buy in the UK

European cars you can’t buy

From compact city cars to luxury SUVs: there’s a new car for everyone. But that doesn’t stop us peering across the English Channel to gaze longingly at some of the European cars that we’re denied access to in the UK. Here’s a selection of Euro motors we wish were sold on these shores.

Renault Megane Grand Coupe

European cars you can’t buy

When is a compact saloon not a compact saloon? When it’s a Grand Coupe. The name makes no sense, but there’s no denying the Renault Megane Grand Coupe is a good looking saloon. It actually boasts a larger boot than its hatchback counterpart, but while it will be sold in 20 countries worldwide, UK buyers will be denied the privilege of driving the attractive Renault.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio manual

European cars you can’t buy

We still have to pinch ourselves about this one. A genuinely handsome, rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo with a top speed that puts it at the top table of the supercar elite. Thanks to the small matter of 510 raging horses, the Giulia Quadrifoglio will hit 191mph, all for a shade over £60,000. Yes, you can buy it in the UK, but the cost of converting to right-hand drive means we don’t get the manual transmission. Shame.

Citroen E-Mehari

European cars you can’t buy

The original Mehari is a bit of cult vehicle within Citroen circles, so this beach buggy for the new millennium has a lot to live up to. The signs are good: a potential range of 125 miles, 70mph top speed and a maintenance-free body are amongst the highlights. It’s already on sale in France, but a UK-launch is unlikely. On the plus side, it’ll be the coolest car at the holiday rental compound.

Renault Talisman

European cars you can’t buy

The Citroen C6, Renault 25, Peugeot 605, Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607, to name but a few – lessons from history warning French carmakers that shifting big cars is a big ask in the UK. Which helps to explain why the Renault Talisman isn’t available here. Nobody would buy it and it would depreciate faster than you could say ‘financial ruin’, but that doesn’t stop us wanting one.

Citroen C-Elysée

European cars you can’t buy

We’re not fans of small saloons in the UK, preferring the practicality of a hatchback. Thus the C-Elysée – a staple of the French taxi trade – has never made it to these shores. On the one hand, that’s a positive; Jalopnik journalist Doug DeMuro described it as the worst car he’s even driven. On the other, the championship-winning WTCC racer looks pretty cool.

Fiat Freemont

European cars you can’t buy

Spend some time across the Channel and it won’t be long before you stumble across a Fiat Freemont, especially in its native Italy. Actually, that’s a bit of a moot point, because the Freemont is based on the all-american Dodge Journey. It was unveiled back in 2007, so it’s hardly a spring chicken and is currently being phased-out. If we’re honest, that’s probably a good thing.

Dacia Lodgy Stepway

European cars you can’t buy

The Dacia Lodgy offers space for up to seven people and traditional Dacia value for money. OK, so the Stepway version does inflate the price, but it looks a million Euros. Practical, wipe-clean motoring for a bargain price. Where do we sign? Oh, we can’t. Shame.

Renault Espace

European cars you can’t buy

The Renault Espace helped to establish the people carrier segment in the early 1980s and it soon became part of the UK furniture. The fourth generation Espace offers styling that doesn’t say to the world you’ve given up on life and are well past your prime. In fact, it looks more appealing than the majority of crossovers. Being denied access to the Espace just isn’t playing fair.

Opel Ampera-e

European cars you can’t buy

The original Vauxhall (and Opel) Ampera was one of the first production plug-in hybrids. Sadly, it was too far ahead of its time and sold in tiny numbers. This second-generation car – renamed Ampera-e and only available in left-hand drive – looks more conventional and is now fully electric. Opel claims a range of 236 miles using the latest WLTP test cycle.

Mercedes-Benz G500

European cars you can’t buy

If you want a new G-Wagen in the UK (and we do), your only option is the blood-and-thunder 585hp AMG G63. However, many consider the detuned 422hp G500 a better all-rounder. It’s quieter, smoother and more efficient – and considerably cheaper to buy, too. But only if you live on the continent…

Volvo S60 Polestar

European cars you can’t buy

We’re fortunate enough to be offered the Volvo V60 Polestar, but the S60 is strictly off limits. This is due in part to the fact that we prefer wagons to saloons, but there’s something delightfully old-school about the S60 Polestar. Avoid the Rebel Blue paint job and it’s one of the world’s ultimate sleepers.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback ScoutLine

European cars you can’t buy

On character count alone, this is one of the biggest names in Europe. The Skoda Rapid Spaceback Scoutline could be the Rapid you always dreamed of. Don’t let the looks deceive you, because this particular Skoda has about as much off-road ability as a Mini Moke, but it looks wonderfully cool in Pistachio Green.

Toyota Camry

European cars you can’t buy

The Camry made its UK debut in 1984, soon establishing itself as the flagship of the Toyota range. It majored on equipment and refinement, but there was a Sport model, complete with 2.2-litre 16v engine. The Camry lived on until 2004, but hasn’t been seen in the UK since. However, it will make a comeback later this year…

Lada Granta Sport

European cars you can’t buy

Who doesn’t want a budget-priced compact saloon with sporting credentials? The Lada Granta Sport is powered by a distinctly old-school 1.6-litre 16v engine, delivering a distinctly old school 0-62 mph time of 9.5 seconds. For some reason we’re really keen to drive it. We have visions of being transported back to the 1990s. And that’s a good thing.

Renault Clio Estate

European cars you can’t buy

Small estate cars aren’t hugely popular in the UK, with the Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza representing the best of a rather niche breed. But we feel we’re missing out by not having the Renault Clio Estate on sale in the UK. One for Nicole’s more practical sister, perhaps?

Toyota Highlander

European cars you can’t buy

The Toyota Highlander is a seven-seat SUV built at Toyota’s plant in Indiana, along with its assembly plant in China. It’s not widely available in Europe, but customers in Moldova and Ukraine are able to get their hands on Toyota’s “sophisticated” SUV. We’d like a single Highlander to be sold in the UK, just to enable us to use the ‘there can be only one’ gag.

Lada 4×4 Urban

European cars you can’t buy

The word ‘urban’ is often synonymous with cutting-edge cool. Not here. Lada’s 4×4 Urban is essentially a reworked version of the ancient Niva, with a 1.7-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and (slightly) more modern dashboard. Like the Land Rover Defender or Suzuki Jimny, though, it has a certain back-to-basics appeal.

Fiat Tipo saloon

European cars you can’t buy

While UK buyers will be able to buy to the Fiat Tipo as a hatchback or estate car, we’re being denied the compact saloon. Taking into account the fact that small estates are a hard sell in the UK, we think the Tipo saloon looks rather stylish. A budget alternative to the Audi A3 saloon and Mercedes-Benz CLA?

Renault Kwid

European cars you can’t buy

The Indian-market Renault Kwid is set to enter Europe and there’s every chance it could arrive in the UK as a Dacia. Remarkably, prices in India start at the equivalent of £2,945, so it could present astonishing value for money in the UK. A decent addition to the Dacia range? We think so.

Europe driving

The essentials you didn’t know you needed for driving to Europe

Europe driving

Planning a motorised jaunt across the channel? Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it, but even the glamour of a pan-European dash comes with its rigours. The DVLA has issued a statement with reference to what paperwork you may need to acquire before you buy your ferry ticket.

The focus is on proof of ownership. It’s always been necessary to carry your V5C, but with the exponential increase in vehicles purchased on a personal lease, further documentation is required.

Specifically, a VE103 ‘on hire’ certificate that can be acquired from your rental or lease provider. While the V5C would be proof of ownership, the VE103 is proof of stewardship – while rented or leased, this car is in your care. Either, as per their relevance, are legally required to be in your possession when driving in Europe.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) director of member services, Nora Leggett, spoke about the importance of correct documentation: “We believe thousands of motorists could inadvertently flout European legislation when driving across the Channel this year by travelling without the correct documentation.

“We ask that drivers who lease or rent their car notify their rental or leasing company now before the summer holiday peak so that the VE103 certificate can be processed and sent in plenty of time to avoid the prospect of stiff financial penalties, delay and upset to holiday plans”.

Driving Abroad

Other requirements when driving in Europe:

  • Insurance: make sure you’re insured to drive in Europe. Contact your insurance provider for more information on your coverage.

 

  • Breakdown cover: nobody wants to be left stranded by the side of the road in Europe. Breakdown cover with Europe-wide jurisdiction is essential when driving on the continent.

 

  • Water: important for long trips to Europe and elsewhere. In the event that you’re lost or stuck by the side of the road, water is essential, especially when you’re away from home.

 

  • Passport: the obvious one, but easy to forget!

 

  • A healthy car: prevention is better than cure. A health check for your car is always a good idea before taking any long or arduous journeys.

Read more:

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

Revealed: Europe’s most popular compact SUVs

In September 2016, registrations from the so-called C-SUV segment totalled 13,798 units in Europe’s ‘Big 5’ markets. That’s according to JATO Dynamics, which said this growth is explained by the “booming SUV segment”, and in particular the ever-popular compact SUVs. Read on to find out which compact SUVs you are buying, as we present the results in reverse order.

26. Hyundai ix35: 8 registrations

The Hyundai ix35 was killed off in 2015, replaced by the really-rather-good Hyundai Tucson. The fact that eight ix35s were registered in September 2016 is probably explained by old dealer stock. We just hope the buyers got a tremendous deal.

25. Peugeot 4008: 82 registrations

The Peugeot 4008 was developed in conjunction with Mitsubishi and shares its platform with the Mitsubishi ASX and Citroen C4 AirCross. The 4008 was never sold in the UK, but remains popular in Australia and New Zealand. As for the rest of Europe: a total of 82 registrations tells you all you need to know.

24. Infiniti QX30: 93 registrations

24. Infiniti QX30: 93 registrations

The Infiniti QX30 shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, but while its German sibling managed to shift over 6,000 units in September, the posh Nissan could only manage a paltry 93. In fairness, the QX30 is new to the market, but Infiniti will be hoping for more solid figures over the coming months.

23. Jeep Compass: 95 registrations

Remember the Jeep Compass? No, neither does the rest of Europe, but Jeep has recently announced a new Compass is on its way. The second generation model (pictured) is set to be formally unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. It’s scheduled to arrive in Europe in 2017 and will go head-to-head with the Nissan Qashqai.

22. Vauxhall/Opel Antara: 107 registrations

Another compact crossover you may have forgotten: this is the Vauxhall Antara. It is, of course, marketed as the Opel Antara in Europe, but it also shared its platform with the Chevrolet Captiva. Head to the Vauxhall website and you’ll find the Antara on sale from £22,155, but there are far better options than this decade-old crossover.

21. MG GS: 230 registrations

21. MG GS: 230 registrations

The MG GS is the new kid on the crossover block, with registrations totalling 230 in September. Prices start from £14,995 for the GS Explore, rising to £19,495 for the Exclusive. MG’s first SUV isn’t about to shake up the establishment, but it’s certainly worth a look.

20. SsangYong Korando: 404 registrations

The current, third generation SsangYong Korando was launched back in 2010, and as such it dates back to the days before the Korean firm really got its act together. So while the Tivoli and Tivoli XLV are genuinely good cars in their own right, you have to make excuses in order to justify the Korando. On the plus side, prices start from £16,250 and it does offer a five-year warranty.

19. Citroen C4 AirCross: 566 registrations

You may not have heard of the Citroen C4 AirCross, because it isn’t available in the UK. Like the aforementioned Peugeot 4008, it was developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi and was launched at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Last month, a mere 566 C4 AirCross models were registered in Europe: a fall of 28.9% compared to the same period last year.

18. Subaru Forester: 804 registrations

18. Subaru Forester: 804 registrations

The Subaru Forester is more SUV than crossover, and it’s all the better for it. Thanks to its five-year warranty, excellent off-road manners and reputation for reliability, it probably deserves to sell more than the 804 units registered last month. Amazingly, that’s down 3.6% compared to the same period last year.

17. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: 1,255 registrations

Another crossover-SUV on the decline is the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, which saw a 21.3% drop in registrations compared to the same period in 2016. Suzuki will be hoping a range of enhancements – including a new ‘Vanden Plas’ grille – will halt the decline. The problem is: the Suzuki Vitara is a better car.

16. Kia Niro: 1,263 registrations

Straight in at number 16 is the new Kia Niro: the company’s first hybrid crossover. Thanks to the combination of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, the Niro is able to offer up to 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 88g/km. Bank on the Kia storming up the sales chart over the coming months.

15. Mitsubishi ASX: 1,742 registrations

15. Mitsubishi ASX: 1,742 registrations

At the recent Paris Motor Show, Mitsubishi announced a series of enhancements for the ASX as it bids to halt the decline in registrations. Last month, registrations were down 36.3% compared to the same period in 2015.

14. SEAT Ateca: 2,847 registrations

The SEAT Ateca is the current darling of the SUV world and is the Spanish firm’s first foray into this lucrative segment. Prices start from £17,990 and it offers a huge 510 litres of boot space. We suspect the 2,847 registrations in September is just the beginning for the Ateca.

13. Honda CR-V: 3,721 registrations

Given all the talk about the new Civic at the Paris Motor Show, you’d be forgiven had you forgotten the fact that Honda offers a range of other vehicles. The CR-V has been on sale a while, but still managed to record a 9.2% increase in registrations compared to the same period last year.

12. Mazda CX-5: 4,283 registrations

12. Mazda CX-5: 4,283 registrations

There are many reasons to like the Mazda CX-5: it looks great, is good to drive and is blessed with a tech-laden interior. Little surprise, then, to discover registrations are up 3.0% compared to September 2015.

11. Toyota RAV4: 5,416 registrations

A rise 3.0% rise? Pah, the Toyota RAV4 laughs in the face of such a pitiful performance. The RAV4 recorded a 114.9% increase in registrations compared to the same period last year, although this might suggest it didn’t enjoy a great summer in 2015. It’s no longer the innovative crossover-SUV it once was, but the hybrid version gives it added appeal.

10. BMW X1: 6,155 registrations

Second generation syndrome just kicked in, yo. The 897.6% increase in registrations is impressive, but you can put this down to the fact that the second generation BMW X1 arrived last summer.

9. Mercedes-Benz GLA: 6,225 registrations

9. Mercedes-Benz GLA: 6,225 registrations

Proof that you don’t need good looks in order to succeed: Mercedes-Benz managed to shift 6,225 GLAs in September 2016, an increase of 9.6% compared to this time last year. Prices start from £25,260.

8. Audi Q3: 6,444 registrations

Little surprise to see a 1.1% fall in Audi Q3 registrations, with the majority of customers waiting for the arrival of the refreshed model (pictured). An increase in overall prices is offset by an improved specification and a new Black Edition at the top of the range.

7. Range Rover Evoque: 7,078 registrations

The Range Rover Evoque remains as popular as ever, with registrations up 146.3% compared to September 2015. It’s now the best-selling premium compact SUV, taking over from the soon-to-be-enhanced Audi Q3. A new Evoque Convertible is available for those who like a little less roof.

6. Renault Kadjar: 10,047 registrations

6. Renault Kadjar: 10,047 registrations

The first car on our list to break the 10,000 mark is the Renault Kadjar, which is incredibly popular in France. Underneath the Renault exterior you’ll find the platform from a Nissan Qashqai, so it’s little surprise to see it performing so well.

5. Kia Sportage: 10,773 registrations

Staying ahead of the Kadjar, but only just, is the Kia Sportage. The fourth generation Sportage was unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and – thanks to its seven-year warranty – it remains one of the most popular compact SUVs in Europe. Can it hold off the challenge of the Kadjar for another month?

4. Hyundai Tucson: 11,484 registrations

Sitting just outside the top three is the Hyundai Tucson, with registrations up 132.0% compared to September 2015. It deserves all the success it gets, because the Tucson is a highly convincing SUV, especially in Premium and Premium SE trim levels.

3. Ford Kuga: 13,102 registrations

3. Ford Kuga: 13,102 registrations

Ford sees a real future in crossovers and SUVs, launching a three-pronged attack in the form of the EcoSport, Kuga and Edge. The Kuga is leading the way with a remarkable 13,102 registrations in September 2016, an increase of 55.8% compared to the same period in 2015.

2. Volkswagen Tiguan: 16,944 registrations

What a difference a new model can make. The previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan had been on sale for close to a decade, so a new version was long overdue. The new version has hit the ground running, with registrations approaching 17,000. That’s a 33.1% increase compared to the same time last year.

1. Nissan Qashqai: 19,628 registrations

All of which leaves the Nissan Qashqai to retain its crown as the king of the compact SUVs. It couldn’t quite break the 20,000 mark, while a 2.9% increase in registrations is way behind its rivals in the top seven. Are the Qashqai’s peak years behind it? A 4.59% fall in segment share suggest they could be.

Revealed: Europe’s best-selling cars

Revealed: Europe’s best-selling cars

Revealed: Europe’s best-selling cars

Registrations in Europe’s ‘Big 5’ markets are up by 6.2% compared to the same period last year, with the overall figure totalling 1,171,795 units. That’s according to JATO Dynamics, which has released combined figures for the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. We run through the top 20 best-selling cars in reverse order.

20. Audi A4/S4/RS4: 13,599 registrations

Word is getting out: the Audi A4 is a seriously good compact executive car. So while you won’t find the BMW 3 Series in Europe’s top 20, the A4 sneaks into 20th spot, with a 26.7% increase in registrations compared to the same period in 2015. Total registrations for September 2016: 13,599.

19. Peugeot 2008: 13,708 registrations

Also on the rise is the Peugeot 2008, the compact crossover which is still fresh from a midlife facelift. It sells in big numbers because it’s based on the equally popular Peugeot 208 supermini and it’s rather cheap to run. Registrations are up 18.2% compared to September 2015.

18. Mercedes Benz A-Class: 13,834 registrations

18. Mercedes Benz A-Class: 13,834 registrations

With one notable exception, the German marques enjoyed a buoyant September, with signs that premium brands remain in strong demand. Take the Mercedes-Benz A-Class: registrations up 28.9% compared to September 2015. It would appear that Europeans are prepared to pay more for the right badge.

17. Toyota Yaris: 14,405 registrations

It’s easy to overlook the Toyota Yaris in the fiercely competitive supermini segment. It’s not the sharpest to drive, it’s not especially interesting and it’s not blessed with the nicest interior. That said, it majors on practicality and dependability, while the hybrid version does give it a USP. Registrations are down 3.4% compared to the same period in 2015.

16. Fiat Panda: 14,528 registrations

Nearly 15,000 Fiat Pandas were registered in September 2016 – a 13.6% drop compared with September 2015. Still a healthy number, mind. Head to Rome, Turin or Milan during the rush hour and you might think all 14,528 Pandas are queuing with you.

15. MINI: 15,194 registrations

15. MINI: 15,194 registrations

The MINI remains in demand, with sales bolstered by the introduction of a five-door model. It’s currently the 15th best-selling car in Europe, with registrations climbing 2.1% compared to the same period last year.

14. Ford Focus: 16,759 registrations

Is Europe falling out of love with the Ford Focus? It might be one the UK’s best-selling cars, but across Europe its popularity appears to be on the decline. Registrations are down 19.6% compared to September 2015, although it remains the 14th most popular car. The current Focus was unveiled in 2010, with a facelift revealed in 2014.

13. Volkswagen Tiguan: 16,944 registrations

What a difference a new model can make. The previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan had been on sale for close to a decade and was in desperate need of a revamp. Step forward the new second generation Tiguan, which has seen a 33.1% increase in registrations in September 2016. A solid start, but can it build momentum over the coming months?

12. Audi A3/S3/RS3: 17,029 registrations

12. Audi A3/S3/RS3: 17,029 registrations

The Tiguan has closed the gap on the cars above it, but it was never going to catch the all-conquering Audi A3, which remains the best-selling premium hatchback in Europe. Registrations are up 19.6% compared to the same period in 2015. A top 10 position must be on the cards…

11. Renault Captur: 17,052 registrations

The Renault Captur just about manages to stay ahead of the A3, but the 8.3% increase in registrations is smaller than that of the Audi. The Clio-based Captur crossover is an easy car to like, if a little hard to love. Still, there’s no sign of the cheeky Citroen C4 Cactus in the top 20.

10. Fiat 500: 17,086 registrations

A revamp was long overdue for the Fiat 500, and while it was the subtlest of facelifts, it appears to be the shot in the arm the city car required. Registrations are up 10.1% compared to September 2015. Fiat will celebrate with yet another 500 special edition. Probably.

9. Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 17,676 registrations

9. Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 17,676 registrations

The Audi A4 might be closing the gap, but the Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains top dog when it comes to compact executive cars. Crossovers might be king, but the C-Class proves there’s life in the saloon car yet. Of course, estate and coupe versions help, too.

8. Vauxhall/Opel Astra: 18,320 registrations

It’s good to see the Vauxhall Astra performing so well, because the current generation model is a class act. Registrations are up 17.7% compared to September 2015, as the Astra closes in on all of the cars above it. Finally, the Astra has become a rental car you won’t mind driving on holiday.

7. Peugeot 208: 19,007 registrations

The Peugeot 208 was treated to a facelift in the summer of 2015, which would have had an impact on sales last year. Twelve months later, the fresh lick of paint is beginning to fade, with registrations down 1.7% to 19,007.

6. Nissan Qashqai: 19,628 registrations

6. Nissan Qashqai: 19,628 registrations

The UK’s most popular crossover is also the best-selling crossover across the ‘Big 5’ nations of Europe. Amazingly, registrations continue to climb, with the Qashqai up 2.9% compared to September 2015. Note: the Nissan Juke is absent from the top 20.

5. Renault Clio: 21,434 registrations

The current Renault Clio has been on sale since 2012, but its age hasn’t stopped registrations climbing 9.7% in September 2016. It’s not the best supermini in its class, although a series of minor tweaks have given it a new lease of life.

4. Volkswagen Polo: 25,349 registrations

Finishing just outside the top three is the Volkswagen Polo, which is the final car on the list to record an increase in registrations. Indeed, a 7.5% increase almost saw it creeping up a place in September 2016…

3. Vauxhall/Opel Corsa: 25,495 registrations

3. Vauxhall/Opel Corsa: 25,495 registrations

As it happens, the Vauxhall Corsa just manages to keep the Polo at bay, although registrations are down 3.8% compared to the same period last year. Prediction for October: the Polo to finish above the Corsa. Place your bets now.

2. Ford Fiesta: 30,395 registrations

It might be the UK’s most popular car, but in Europe it has to be content with second place. It’s been a remarkable innings for the evergreen supermini, but even the most ardent of Fiesta fans will acknowledge it’s in need of a refresh. We won’t have long to wait: the next generation Fiesta is on its way.

1. Volkswagen Golf: 35,954

As expected, the Volkswagen Golf remains the most popular car in Europe, but a 15.0% drop in registrations means the gap between it and the other cars has narrowed. JATO Dynamics said: “The close race at the top of the model ranking is hugely significant as it shows that the Volkswagen Golf is being challenged despite it hanging on to the top spot. Despite its historic dominance, the market leader will face significant challenges towards the end of the year as its rivals close in.”