News : The Brits come out on top in latest MoT data

Freelander (1)

An analysis of 24.5 million MoT records obtained by AROnline‘s sister website,, reveals that British-built cars have the highest first time MoT pass rates. Land Rover and Jaguar, together with UK-made Toyota and Honda models, dominate the top 10 manufacturers league table of cars with the highest first time MoT pass rates.

Honda is the top manufacturer with 87 per cent of its cars passing their first MoT – the highest in the country. The Honda Jazz and British-built CR-V are the best performing models, both reporting an above average pass rate of 90 per cent. Land Rover, the fourth best manufacturer with an 85 per cent pass rate, reports a 89 per cent pass rate for the Freelander (above).

More than half of cars (53 per cent) failed on lighting, with headlamp aim being the most common fail point (17 per cent). Suspension was the second most common fail criteria, followed by brakes (21 per cent), driver’s view of the road (20 per cent) and Tyre tread depth (14 per cent).

French and German cars dominate the bottom 10 list. Citroen is bottom of the league table with a 75 per cent pass rate and the worst performing car in the country. Its Grand C4 Picasso has the lowest first MoT pass rate at 63 per cent and its C3 Picasso was also in the bottom ten with a 77 per cent pass rate. Chevrolet and Fiat were the second worst manufacturers at 77 per cent, followed closely by Renault at 78 per cent.

Volkswagen has three entries in the bottom ten, with its Touran and Passat reporting a 76 per cent pass rate, and the Polo, one of the best selling cars in 2010, only achieving a 78 per cent pass rate. Other models in the bottom ten list include the Ford Galaxy, SEAT Ibiza, Renault Megane and the Peugeot 308 – all reporting a 77 percent pass rate.

Keith Adams said: ‘The fact that British-built cars have scored so well in the MoT test results should come as no surprise whatsoever, even if it is great news. Thanks to a combination of some of the most advanced, productive and well-run factories in the world, the cars now being built here world-leading in terms of build quality and reliability.’

Top 10 first time pass rates by manufacturer Top 10 first time pass rates by model
1. Honda 87% 1.Honda Jazz 90%
2. Toyota 86% 2. Honda CR-V 90%
3. Audi 85% 3. Toyota Yaris 90%
4. Land Rover 85% 4. Land Rover Freelander 89%
5. Suzuki 84% 5. Mazda 3 88%
6. Hyundai 84% 6. Toyota Auris 87%
7. Mazda 84% 7. Mercedes-Benz E-Class 87%
8. BMW 84% 8. Hyundai i20 86%
9. Skoda 83% 9. Kia Rio 86%
10. Jaguar 82% 10. Renault Scenic 86%
Keith Adams


  1. I sometimes wonder if the “1st-time pass rate” has more to do with the types of owners who own the cars, rather than how it was built to begin with?

  2. The pass rate itself is a rather bad measure – it comes down to the points of failuers. E.g. on many french cars TÜV reports here in Germany quoted them as having excessive failures, but when reading the reports in detail it became apparent, that a significant amount of these failures could possibly be maintenance failures or nglect (i.e. blown light bulbs or leaking exhausts – see in the article above!). These reports do give an indication about the average condition of a particular type of car, but in a simplified view as above, there is no indication about the quality of the car as a product.

  3. The MOT test is mostly a test of maintenance.

    So a Honda Jazz is likely to have better tyre, brake, headlight condition than an 80k/year Passat taxi/repmobile.

  4. @3 Absolutely – about as meaningful as a JD Power survey. Cars that do badly are brands that will be ragged within an inch of their lives by company car drivers day in day out. Cars that do well live pampered lives, dried off and Garaged every evening, polished more than driven and owned by the sort of people who change into slippers every time they get in. I really did know a Honda Civic owner who did just that!

  5. Some of the top 10 can be explained as being expensive cars, Audi, BMW etc, their owners are unlikely to skimp on maintenance and servicing at the dealers, but how do you explain Suzuki?

  6. Some very good points in 1 -5 above. It is, however, more good news for the British car industry.

  7. @5 As an owner of 2 Suzuki cars I think it depends on the model – some developed with GM are very good but others developed with Fiat aren’t so brilliant. Most are their own effort and some in production for a long time – generally Japanese cars are built to tight tolerances and use suppliers proven to supply consistent quality. Suzuki are also similar to Honda in principally being high performance bike manufacturers and this shows in their vehicle range.

  8. Well done to JLR in this survey, but no surprises that Renault do so badly. Nearly everyone I’ve known who’s owned a Renault Megane or Scenic has complained of endless faults, huge repair costs and terrible resale. When you have to take a wheel off to change a lightbulb, something is wrong.

  9. The MOT represents one thing on whatever car is presented- it does/does not meet the minimum standard. Coupled with the VT’s interpretation of a testable item, for example brakes cannot be failed if discs are heavily scored or pitted, they are tested on efficiency alone.

    Some cars have simple suspension set ups and others multi-link with wear and tear parts.

    I can tell you now Hondas seem to fail on rotten exhaust back boxes and its any wonder the Merc E class fails with its multi link suspension up front.

  10. @9

    My old Honda seemed to need a brake caliper when checking every time the MOT came round.

  11. @MattH

    The very one.

    A peek through the alloys would give away the (recent!) brake pads with less meat than a frozen value brand Lasagne.

  12. Doesn’t mean a lot to me really, except the suspension issue, which may say something about the state of our roads.

  13. There are lies ,damn lies and statistics, but 24 million MOTs is a massive sample, of those top ten, probably 5 are entirely valid, and will reappear in the top ten year after year, representing the true quality of the marque, of the remainder a couple will be flukes and three will be half-in/half-out year by year.

    #7, I am considering buying a current Suzuki Splash/Vauxhall Agila ( same car rebadged) do you have any knowledge of them?

  14. Some years ago when I had a Rover 800 put it in for an MOT (it passed) and the tester (a very nice bloke) commented ‘I had one of these in yesterday for its first MOT, had 99,000 miles on it and I could not find a thing wrong with it’.

    As has been said, all down to maintenance.

  15. @10,We have a ’93 Civic at work (its complicated!) and funnily enough it failed on the said caliper a few weeks ago, the year before it was handbrake cables.

  16. @8. On the Renault Modus the whole front bumper has to be removed in order to change a headlight bulb. Designed by monkeys!

  17. Luckily I can say none of my recent cars (R45, ZS and two Focus’s) have failed their first MOT’s. Having said that I do keep on top of servicing schedules and look after the car.

  18. Inconsistant testing most influences fail rates.

    Some garages fail vehicles on items which would be an advisory at others.

    If most of the three year old vehicles are tested at franchise dealers- the networks are missing a trick here.
    By failing cars the statistics will show the cars they sell are not durable and could future influence sales?

  19. I think franchise dealers will have the taint of upsell at an MOT, and a lot of dealers still farm out their MOT work to other garages even though they have a test lane.

  20. Years ago I saw the German statistics for TUV pass rates, the Japanese did well initially with their fine production tolerances but by 15 years old the bomb proof construction (and comparatively high maintained value) of Merc W126s and Porsche 944s gave them the best pass rates.
    Unfortunately I think the Germans have been living on their reputation since the 90s. Good to see the E-class back in contention though, Mercedes seem to have finally got past their dark era. The problem is the last W124s are now 18 years old and W212s are only 4 at the oldest. Looks like I’ll be forced to fly the flag and go Jaguar for the next decade, oh well worse things have happened…..

  21. Failing on lights or indicators is just stupid. Takes 5 minutes to check, even if some modern cars are stupidly designed so that you have to remove the entire front bumper to change a bulb (Suzuki Vitara, VW Caravelle & Transporter to name but two).

    The only thing my old Honda FRV needed in 85,000 miles was two drop links – done before the MOT. My LandRover Discovery (2001, 108,000 miles) was serviced before the MOT and treated to some new wiper blades – passed first time.

    Look after your car and it will look after you.

  22. Keep your car regularly serviced and maintained and mostly it will look after you. The days when cars started to rust badly at 3 years old are mercifully gone and for all some cars are full of electronics now, you can probably live without a Bluetooth connection.
    However, I’m still rather wary around French cars, which are way over complicated, and still fare badly in surveys.

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