During the last six months of 2013, 474,418 used cars were sold in Ireland, an increase of 16% on the same period in 2012.

The figures are contained in the third Carzone.ie Motoring Report, a bi-annual index that tracks trends in both the new and used car markets in Ireland.

Data has been compiled using the 60m searches carried out on Carzone.ie during the last six months of the year, vehicle transactions listed on Cartell.ie and an in-depth survey of 2,187 motorists nationwide.

The results reveal that German car marques remain most popular among Irish car buyers, with the Volkswagen Golf topping the list as most-searched-for used car model on the market.

The BMW 3 Series ranks in second place, followed by the BMW 5 Series, the Audi A4 and the Ford Focus.

Overall, BMW is the most-searched-for marque, ahead of Volkswagen and Audi. 

In line with previous reports, the top two financial concerns for motorists are fuel costs and the price of road tax.

Eighty per cent of Irish motorists continue to opt for diesel models, indicating a desire for better fuel economy.

Although almost 70% of those surveyed commute less than 100 kilometres per working day, only 1% would consider purchasing a hybrid or electric power model for their next car.

The report shows that women tend to choose older cars than men, while also opting for lower mileages and spending less on the purchase price.

A quarter of women surveyed purchased their last car based on reliability, while the majority of men (37%) admitted to just wanting a change. 

When searching for a car, a quarter of buyers choose black as their colour preference, followed by silver and grey.

Meanwhile, over half of those surveyed have already bought or would buy a car based on the inclusion of gadgets and in-car technology.

Tuesday continues to be the most popular day of the week on which to close a deal, while the busiest day of the year for used car sales fell on October 1 2013, perhaps due in part to the advent of new rules regarding unused vehicles.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Warren Cray, General Manager at Carzone.ie, said: "It is clear from the results that there is cautious optimism in the market as used car transactions continue to rise.

"More than 60m searches were carried out on Carzone.ie in the second half of last year alone, and we are on track to continue that trend in 2014.

"Indeed, over half of respondents to our survey plan to buy a car in the next six months so the market shows no sign of slowing down any time soon."