Last year was chaos. From hundreds of millipedes invading homes across the south-east of Australia to the news that The Matrix was returning for a fourth instalment – not to mention the devastating shortage of meat lately – we all stumbled across the finish line on New Year’s Eve, fingers and toes crossed for a better 2022.
Nothing was too sacred, it seemed, including cars.
Not only did the automotive industry have the constant toing and froing of COVID-19 restrictions to contend with, but a global semi-conductor shortage has literally thrown a spanner in the works.
It turns out the tiny computer chip is nearly as important as wheels, seats and an engine in the modern car. Unfathomable numbers of chips work together in everything from the infotainment system to the myriad safety systems, moving you to where you want to be.
Car manufacturers around the world have had to curtail production, blowing out wait times for new cars to up to two years in the process.
As a flow-on effect, buyers are turning to the second-hand market. Predictably, this is pushing the prices of used cars through the roof, with many fetching more than they did when they were just out of the dealership.
For instance, it’s common knowledge now that an old Toyota LandCruiser could cost you more than a new one, despite the kilometres and red dust in the air-conditioning vents.
All up, 16,002 new cars were sold last year in the ACT, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), markedly down from 19,693 in 2020.
Of these, petrol is still leading the race with 10,074 units, followed by diesel (4028) and hybrid (1375). The take-up of electric cars is double what it was in 2020 with 213 new examples on ACT roads. Trailing the pack were heavy vehicles (176) and plug-in hybrid electrics (136).
The brand with the largest market share was Toyota at 17.7 per cent, followed by Mazda (12 per cent) and Hyundai (8.7 per cent).
The best-selling car of 2020 in the ACT might have been the trusty Toyota Corolla, but you’ll never guess what it was for 2021 …
10. Subaru Outback
Last year, Subaru’s ever-popular rugged wagon was treated to a facelift. It is rumoured that buyers noticed the lime-green stitching inside and, at that precise moment, all hesitation went out the window and 277 were sold.
Will any of them ever actually go off-road? Probably not, but the sheer number of speed humps and potholes on our roads won’t leave them devoid of a regular workout.
Pricing starts from $39,990.
9. Subaru Forester
Like an Outback but slightly bigger or smaller – nobody is quite sure. Either way, Subaru managed to shift 306 in the ACT last year.
Pricing starts from $35,990.
No, that is not a typo. There is no space between ‘Mazda’ and ‘3’, which begs the question of whether it is actually called the Mazda Mazda3. Whatever, it looks terrific – especially in ‘Soul Red’ – which is possibly why 347 were sold.
Pricing starts at $26,340.
7. Mazda CX-30
Styling plays a bigger part in the choice of SUV than most like to admit. This probably had something to do with why 352 of these were sold in the ACT last year. Just look at those lines.
Pricing starts at $29,390.
6. Toyota Corolla
The ACT had 450 people who chose to play it safe last year. They bought a car that moves, can have Classic FM on the radio and never breaks down even if you forget to service it for half a decade (probably … but it will void your warranty). That car is the Toyota Corolla.
Pricing starts at $25,395.
5. Hyundai i30
Hyundai’s mainstream hatchback lured in 460 buyers last year on the back of good value, a growing reputation for reliability and handsome design. Pity the designers didn’t quite know what to do with the face on the updated 2021 model.
Pricing starts from $23,420.
4. Mazda CX-5
It’s easy to lose count of the number of SUVs in Mazda’s product portfolio, but the CX-5 has been their strongest breadwinner for years. It seems it still is, with 464 sold last year in the ACT.
Pricing starts at $32,190.
3. Toyota Hi-Lux
A ute is either two cars for the price of one, or a mere starter pack for which you then have to fork out extra for parts, such as a cover for the boot, widely regarded elsewhere as a ‘back window’. The Toyota Hi-Lux has been at or near the top of the sales charts for yonks – even before it was cool – and 537 were sold last year.
Pricing starts from $23,590.
2. Ford Ranger
A step ahead of the Hi-Lux was Ford’s big and brash ute – the Ford Ranger. A total of 580 were sold and will take up two spaces in car parks across the city.
Pricing starts from $29,190.
1. Toyota RAV4
Don’t bother with the drumroll. We all knew it was coming. The new car that most Canberrans took home in 2021 was none other than the Toyota RAV4. A total of 612 of the five-seat SUVs were sold, most of them hybrids.
Pricing starts at $31,695.