31 January 2022

The figures are in: these are the top 10 cars Canberrans bought in 2021

| James Coleman
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Petrol powers most of the cars sold in the ACT last year. Photo: James Coleman.

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.

READ ALSO Naming a Car of the Year is harder than it looks, but here goes …

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.

READ ALSO Here’s why used car prices have exploded (and new cars are rare as hen’s teeth)

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 …

Subaru Outback

Turns out the new Outback is nearly as long as the Mandalay bus in Braddon. Photo: James Coleman.

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.

Subaru Forester

The Forester was also mildly updated towards the end of last year. Photo: Subaru Australia.

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.


The Mazda3 comes in both hatchback and sedan forms. Photo: Newspress Australia.

8. Mazda3

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.

Mazda CX-30

The handsome Mazda CX-30 at Old Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Curin.

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.

Toyota Corolla

You can’t go wrong buying a Corolla. Photo: James Coleman.

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.

Hyundai i30

The 2021 Hyundai i30 Elite. Photo: Newspress Australia.

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.

Mazda CX-5

Yet another Mazda on the top 10 list. This time the Mazda CX-5. Photo: Newspress Australia.

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.

Toyota Hi-Lux

The Hi-Lux, the ute that keeps on keeping on. Photo: Toyota Australia.

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.

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger in very orange Wildtrak X form. Photo: Newspress Australia.

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.


What the South Coast looks like whenever Canberra comes to visit. Photo: Toyota.

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.

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A Nonny Mouse5:23 pm 20 Jan 22

In round numbers, total battery electric vehicle registrations in the ACT were 400 by the end of 2019, 800 by the end of 2020 and 1600 by the end of 2021. About half of those (678) are Teslas, mostly model 3s (541). Next most popular EV is the Hyundai Kona electric (101).
Accurate statistics are here: https://aeva.asn.au/act-ev-statistics/
These data have been cleaned up by the AEVA-ACT after finding that some non-plug-in hybrids had been incorrectly listed as battery electric and vice-versa.

A Nonny Mouse5:29 pm 20 Jan 22

Oops. The number is 634 Teslas, mostly model 3s.

Perspective. The outback beside the bus can be made to appear almost any length, by the perspective chosen, as that misleading photograph proves.

Matthew Driver9:15 am 16 Jan 22

The figures are in but they don’t tell the real picture. The FCAI is a private organisation that only collects sales data from car companies that pay them membership fees.
Tesla is not a member and is not represented in these stats. The Tesla model 3 is currently selling into Australia around 70% of all battery electric vehicles (BEV). The ACT has the highest take up rate of Tesla’s in Australia. (The Tesla capital)
When stats are provided from ACT vehicle registrations data I believe you will find the model 3 sits around the top 5 position in your list.
If you doubt this, just think about how many Tesla’s you are seeing on Canberra’s roads these days.

Capital Retro11:36 am 16 Jan 22

Q: How do you know if there is a Tesla owner at your party?
A: They will tell you.

Yes, there are more on the road than last year and every time I get overtaken on the open road I ask myself how did they get road approval because the speed they go at indicates they don’t have a speedometer. Either that or the drivers think they are “closer to God than thou”.

boring, boring, boring all of them.

glad I’m not in the market for a new car.

Capital Retro8:14 pm 15 Jan 22

How many of the EVs were sold/leased to the virtue-signaling ACT government?

There are five local members available in any ACT electorate. If Google has failed your question then write to one of them to ask.

Or are you expressing the incurious mind?

The world according to phydeaux. You must answer him or else

Capital Retro1:54 pm 16 Jan 22

And when you do the moderators intercede in his favour.

or else what?

I am somewhat flummoxed to imagine what dastardly punishment I may inflict upon recalcitrants. I might bite your pet galah?

My quirk is that I prefer people to pause for thought and to have some considered basis for their comments, a basis they can clarify if needed. About that, I believe I am far from alone.

Isn’t that an indictment against the Liberals, failing to provide neither incentives, nor a regulatory environment requiring fleet fuel efficiency averages, unlike other governments. But never-the-less, new models will be available this year, from new and existing car makers, and more will take them up.

Tell us all about these governments are that, unlike the Liberals, have provided incentives and enforce regulatory environmental requirements.

Are they countries with small population bases and vast land areas like Australia or are they high population countries that are geographically small?

The problem with political bias is that often that’s all it is. Do you know that the other side of Australian politics would have matched those governments you speak of?

Just one vehicle is a sedan, the rest SUV or a very large huge ute.

No wonder I find myself muttering more and more when I am going to back out of a parking space, and canna see because of a SUV / ute next to me blocking my sight.

It would appear that sedans are a dying breed.

There are a few hatchbacks in there that aren’t SUV or utes.

Capital Retro6:23 am 16 Jan 22

Looks like Tesla sedans will become orphan cars then.

MERC600: “It would appear that sedans are a dying breed.”

Most sedans ground clearance is lacking. They don’t have the ground clearance necessary when driving out in the countryside along dirt tracks, or across country. Even my Subaru XV can go places that many sedans can’t. That’s why I bought it. The AWD helps too. For instance, my last holiday outback, if my car hadn’t had clearance, and AWD in particular, I doubt I would have reached my destination on one of the days, without a long detour. The road I took to Menindee had a serious mud patch. (The local council was there building a bypass road, so should be better now.)
As for the comment about the Subaru Outback “Will any of them ever actually go off-road? Probably not,”
That’s very untrue among my friends. Their Outbacks go off road.

If you are having trouble being able get a clear view, you could buy an SUV.

It can go offroad, but the vast majority of them never will just like the vast majority of other 4WD or SUV’s.

14,102 ICE vehicles and just 213 EVs, yet EV fan boy articles try to convince you that EVs are outselling ICE by 2-1.

They claim that? Where? What publication and author?

Given that the most casual search effort on your part would have shown such a claim to be absurd, in any country, why do you worry your head about it? What has it to do with the transition anyway, except to note how far Australia is behind?

For the record, Norway exceeded 50% EV sales last year so heading for 67% (2:1). No other country is there yet, so far as I know

Matthew Driver9:19 am 16 Jan 22

Tesla sales stats have been excluded so the claim of 213 EV’s is in error.

Capital Retro1:57 pm 16 Jan 22

Cherry picking again, phydeaux?

What cherry do you imagine I picked, CR?

I asked Futureproof for their source for the claim about EVs outselling ICE 2:1. Silence.
I made clear the best case for EV was Norway where it still was not 2:1. This is the opposite of cherry-picking.

Have you some comment on how far Australia is behind a now unavoidable change, other than that you don’t like it?

A Nonny Mouse5:28 pm 20 Jan 22

Yes. Battery EVs went from about 800 to 1600 in 2021. Total Tesla registrations are 634, mostly model 3s. https://aeva.asn.au/act-ev-statistics/

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