As we welcome the new 221 registration plate, let’s first recap on the Irish new car market in 2021!

What were the bestselling cars in Ireland in 2021 and what trends are emerging?

2021 was the year electric vehicles finally moved from the fringes into the mainstream with registrations more than doubling between January and December. A total of 8,646 new electric cars were registered with hybrids rising in popularity also. Expect electric and hybrid to continue to gather pace in the new car market in Ireland in 2022.

The Irish new car market began to recover once again in 2021 after a difficult 2020. 104,932 new cars were registered here up to December 2021. Diesel remains the most popular engine type, but only just, while hatchbacks are the most popular body type. Automatic gearboxes also continue to gain traction in new car purchases, not surprising considering the rise in EVs and hybrids.

There were some winners in 2021, cars that the Irish public just love. Scroll down to view Ireland’s most popular cars last year.

10. Kia Sportage2,101 units
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland in 2022
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland in 2022

Back in the game! The Kia Sportage has been a huge success in Ireland and keeps getting better and better. The Sportage returns in 2022 with an all-new generation of the popular family SUV now with hybrid technology for the very first time and a super new look. It’s available as hybrid, diesel or mild hybrid and is on sale now. This latest version is bound to bolster the car’s fortunes even more into 2022.

9. Ford Focus

2,147 units

The new Ford Focus is selling well in Ireland
The new Ford Focus is selling well in Ireland

A fall in the leaderboard but a hatchback still hanging on while the SUVs stampede for the top! The Ford Focus is a reliable choice of hatchback, one of those perennials that survives on Irish roads. It’s good-looking, fun to drive, good value, with petrol and diesel engines available. ST Line models are the sportiest while the Ford Focus Active adds crossover style to the classic mix. There’s also a high performance Ford Focus ST available.

8. Volkswagen Golf

2,343 units

The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf now on sale in Ireland
The new Volkswagen Golf 

Like the Focus, the Golf has slipped down the sales chart but remains one of the bestselling family hatchbacks in Ireland. The new generation of the iconic German hatchback arrived in Ireland back in 2020 with a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as some new hybrid variants. Performance versions are also available including the Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

7. Skoda Octavia

2,556 units

The new Skoda Octavia range has arrived in Ireland!
The new Skoda Octavia range

The Octavia is another consistent bestseller in Ireland. The latest version arrived in Ireland in 2020 with new styling and technology, as well as plug-in hybrid versions for the very first time. It’s cavernous of course inside. It’s also available as an estate with high performance variants now on sale including a high performance plug-in hybrid.

6. Toyota RAV4

2,564 units

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

A new entry in the top 10. The Toyota RAV4 is a hybrid SUV rising in popularity as buyers seek alternatives to traditional diesel SUVs. This latest generation of the car is the best hybrid to date with improved design, efficiency and refinement. The RAV4 has been around for years and is spacious, comfortable and a reliable presence on Irish roads.

5. Toyota C-HR

2,588 units

The C-HR is now available with a 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain with more power and performance
The Toyota C-HR brings efficient hybrid power to its class

The Toyota C-HR has been a real success story for the brand in Ireland since it launched here back at the end of 2016. In 2020, Toyota Ireland welcomed a new facelifted version of the C-HR, which is now sold exclusively as a petrol hybrid, with two versions available. The new 2.0-litre hybrid offers more performance, but the C-HR remains a very efficient and sophisticated hybrid.

4. Volkswagen Tiguan

2,670 units

The Volkswagen Tiguan is more popular than the Golf in Ireland
The Volkswagen Tiguan is more popular than the Golf in Ireland

The current generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan has been a stellar success in Ireland since it launched here in 2016. In 2021 the popular Volkwagen SUV received a facelift with even more premium looks and features, as well as the the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid version.

3. Toyota Yaris

2,702 units

The 2020 Toyota Yaris!
The new Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris moves up to claim third place! It’s no surprise it’s Ireland’s favourite small car. Already an award winner, the latest Yaris arrived in Ireland in late 2020 with petrol and hybrid engines available. It’s now a much improved small car with a nicer design and interior. There’s also the Yaris Hybrid, which now has more power and is more efficient and responsive than before.

2. Toyota Corolla 

4,361 units

The 2020 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla has been an incredible success in Ireland since launch

The Corolla has another incredible year in Ireland in 2021. Hybrid has changed everything for the Corolla. The new generation model launched in Ireland in 2019 with an exciting new design and transformed driving dynamics and refinement thanks to the new TNGA platform underpinning it. Available as a hatchback, saloon or estate, the Corolla offers buyers a fuel efficient hybrid compact car no matter what body style you go for. In 2020, a new trim level was added, GR Sport, and a more performance oriented 2.0-litre hybrid.

1. Hyundai Tucson

5,467 units

The Hyundai Tucson sold well in November
The new Hyundai Tucson should bolster sales of this SUV in Ireland even more in 2021

The Hyundai Tucson takes the crown as Ireland’s bestselling car in 2021!

The Corolla and Tucson have tussled for the top spot all year but it’s the Tucson that takes it this year. It’s no surprise. An all-new generation of the popular Tucson arrived in Ireland in 2021. The latest model stands apart with a distinctive new look, cool new interior and a myriad of engine options including a new plug-in hybrid.

By Caroline Kidd