On paper, 2021 was a challenging year for automakers with the global chip shortage reducing production across the globe. This led to extended waiting times for popular models such as the Toyota RAV4 and reduced dealer stocks, limiting opportunities for discounts.
Despite this, new vehicle sales in Australia last year were up 14.5 per cent compared to the year before. Data from the FCA shows that a total of 1,049,831 new vehicles were sold, up from 916,968 in 2020.
So what were the top 10 best-selling cars in Australia in 2021?
1. Toyota Hilux
Total sales: 52,801
Price from: $23,590 plus on-road costs
It will come as no surprise to learn that the indestructible Toyota HiLux topped the sales chart. A position it has held for a record 6-years in a row. Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability, along with an extensive dealer network, are the reasons for Australia's love affair with the vehicle.
For 2021, the range-topping 4x4 models came with a more powerful 2.8-litre diesel engine, while the standard 4x2 models use the old 2.8-litre petrol engine and a four-cylinder 2.4-litre diesel. Rugged-X and Rogue trim levels were also introduced, which proved popular with buyers.
2. Ford Ranger
Total sales: 50,279
Price from: $29,190 plus on-road costs
The trusty Ford Ranger came in at number two for the fourth year running. But the gap between it and the HiLux is closing fast. Toyota sold 2522 more HiLux’s last year and with a new version of the Ford Ranger launching this year, next year's list could see Ford take the top spot.
It’s not hard to see why the Ranger is so popular. Spec for spec, it’s cheaper than the Toyota and has a much more refined drive train. The Ranger also handles off-road tracks with ease and it comes with premium interior features that make it feel more like a car than a ute. The new model is set to spice things up even more.
3. Toyota RAV4
Total sales: 35,751
Price from: $34,300 plus on-road costs
The RAV4 comes third, despite delays in production pushing delivery to six months or more. While sales lag behind its ute rivals, the RAV4 remains Australia’s best selling compact SUV. With a wide choice of fuel-efficient engines including Hybrids it's not hard to see why.
The RAV4 offers excellent value for money and comes with a range of luxury features as standard. Inside there is plenty of leg and headroom front and back. Families will also love the spacious boot, which has enough space for shopping, camping, bicycles and even the family dog.
Total sales: 28,768
Price from: $25,395 plus on-road costs
The Toyota Corolla arrived on Australian shores back in 1967. Since then, it has appeared on every top 10 best sellers list. The Corolla’s popularity is down to the array of configuration options available. There is a Corolla for everyone regardless of if you want a sedan, hatchback, petrol, diesel or hybrid.
The Corolla is a sensible small car that ticks a lot of boxes. It’s well built, reliable, well equipped and has great fuel economy. The Corolla is also available as a hybrid for not much more money than the petrol and diesel models, so no wonder it remains one of Australia's most popular cars.
5. Hyundai i30
Total sales: 25,575
Price from: $20,950 plus on-road costs
When Hyundai launched the i30 in 2007, it represented a step up in dynamics and build quality for the brand. It was clear the company had the Toyota Corolla in its sights. As a result, it offers great value but is also nice to drive and well built.
The current generation i30 launched in 2017 and received a facelift in 2020. This gave it a sharp new look and improved standard specification. All engines were also fitted with mild-hybrid technology to improve fuel consumption. The result is a great allrounder that more than gives the mighty Corolla a run for its money.
6. Isuzu D-Max
Total sales: 25,117
Price from: $29,990 plus on-road costs
The Isuzu D-Max was always seen as a budget option when it came to utes. It was cheaper than the Ranger and HiLux. But it couldn’t compete against them when it came to dynamics and off-road ability. But all that changed with the launch of the new model D-Max in 2020.
But, Isuzu has hit the sweet spot with the new model. Which, despite increasing in price by several thousand dollars. Has increased sales significantly in the past 12-months. As a result, the D-Max now outsells the Mitsubishi Triton. Becoming the third best-selling ute in Australia.
7. Mazda CX-5
Total sales: 24,968
Price from: $31,999 plus on-road costs
The Mazda CX-5 caused a bit of a stir when it launched in 2013. The sleek sporty styling was a revelation in the SUV market and one that most rivals have now copied. But the CX-5 is not only about looks. It handles well, comes well equipped and feels more luxurious than its price tag suggests.
While it may not have the wow factor it once had, the CX-5 can still hold its own in a very competitive market. All models are well equipped with the latest safety features. The only downside is that a hybrid model is not available in the range, but that should change shortly.
8. Toyota Prado
Total sales: 21,299
Price from: $60,830 plus on-road costs
The Toyota Prado replaced the Hilux-based 4Runner when it launched in 1996. But with each successive model release, the Prado has become more luxurious, so the latest model is more of a luxury SUV than a 4x4 workhorse.
The Prado is now a cheaper and smaller alternative to the Toyota Land Cruiser. As a result, it offers plenty of space inside for up to seven passengers. And it comes well equipped with a range of safety features. Options include lane assist and day-night cyclist, pedestrian detection. So it's no wonder the Prado remains a popular choice for the school run.
Total sales: 19,232
Price from: $25,990 plus on-road costs
Despite a rise in price in 2021, the Triton still offers great value for money. So it's no surprise that it remains one of Australia’s top 10 best selling vehicles. But value isn’t the only trick up the Triton’s sleeve. It’s also pretty manoeuvrable thanks to an 11.8-metre turning circle, which makes it equally at home in supermarket car parks as on bush tracks.
On the road, the Triton does not feel as luxurious as the Ford Ranger or Toyota HiLux, but it is quiet and comfortable to drive and comes with a 900 kg payload. This makes it the ideal multipurpose vehicle. It can take the kids to school in the morning and then spend the rest of the day lugging timber to the building site.
10. MG ZS
Total sales: 18,423
Price from: $23,990 plus on-road costs
The name MG conjures up visions of open-topped motoring down country lanes with the wind in your hair, but the company has come a long way since then. MG is now Chinese-owned and has benefited from billions of dollars of investment. The ZS is the first product of the new company.
The ZS is a good-looking compact SUV that drives well and offers great value for money. Despite its compact size, it has plenty of interior space and a good choice of engines. There is also a full-electric version available for eco-friendly motoring. This is the first time an MG has appeared in the top 10, and if the ZS is anything to go by, it won’t be the last.
This year's list has not thrown up too many revelations. The biggest surprise was how well the industry performed, especially considering the difficulties it faced. Other surprises include the arrival of MG as an automotive force and the success of the Isuzu D-Max, but with several new models in the works, next year's list could be interesting.
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