Press Release: Irish Choose Larger Engines



Diesel most popular choice

Vehicle Car History Check expert report today (25 March 2013) that the 1.6 litre engine is now the most popular engine size in the Irish private fleet.* The 1.6 litre engine is now undeniably Ireland’s choice of engine size representing 28% of registrations in 2012 – almost 6,000 units ahead of its nearest rival. In 2007 the 1.4 litre engine was the most popular choice with 23% share of registrations.

While Ireland has entered recession, and downsizing has become a popular colloquial concept, it’s clear the average Irish car buyer is buying an engine larger than before the recession started. The overall picture shows that the 1.6 and 2.0 engine sizes are now powering ahead of the rest constituting nearly 37,000 units (47%) of all vehicles registered last year.

The change towards larger engines is due in part to environmental restrictions. To reduce carbon emissions, the Irish tax system changed from a CC based system to one of CO2 in 2008. The manufacturers had to reduce CO2 at a European level and this was done by switching to diesel.  However, as diesel is not as potent as petrol, manufacturers had to increase the size of the diesel engine (in combination with turbos) to provide comparable power to the petrol versions. The fuel mix shows that 92% of the top 5 engine sizes registered in 2012 were diesels compared to only 31% in 2007.

Jeff Aherne, Director of says: “These are interesting results: while the overall picture shows fewer people are buying newer cars, it’s interesting that those that are entering the market are opting for a larger engine size. These larger diesel engines are more fuel efficient and produce less CO2 and are therefore cheaper to tax than the majority of petrol vehicles.

Meanwhile the number of 2012 hybrid and electric vehicles has risen to 764 up 23% from 2011.

Most Popular Engine Size in Irish Private Fleet 2012 v 2007 (source:*

Engine  Size % of Fleet 2012 


% of Fleet 2007 


1.6 Litre 28 20
2.0 Litre 20 12
1.4 Litre 8 23

* Private Fleet includes Taxi and Hackney.


About was set up in 2006 to help buyers make an informed choice when buying a used vehicle – including imported vehicles – by providing a user-friendly and cost-effective vehicle data checking service. is a totally independent company and fully Irish owned.

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