The MoT Files: The 10 worst small hatchbacks for passing the MoT
Careful analysis of the MoT Files has revealed the worst small cars for passing their first MoT at three years old.
Vehicle repairs and failed MoTs can be the biggest headache of all for any car owner, potentially putting your car off the road and costing you a small fortune. Honest John has analysed millions of records created by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and looked at which makes and models have the best and worst MoT failure rates, helping you to be as informed as possible when choosing your next car.
Fiat Punto - 78.2% pass rate
Nudging perilously close to a one in four failure rate, the performance of 2014-registered Puntos is 53 per cent worse than similarly-aged cars, and its pass rate drops further below the average of all cars as mileage increases too, all from a modest test sample of 3328. In its defence there are no specific areas where it is exceptionally poor, but it is the case that there are 19 areas where its failure rate is at least twice as bad as the average 2014 car.
Dacia Sandero - 79.2% pass rate
Fairing a little better than the Punto, the Sandero is still near the bottom of the pile with 2394 failures from 11,490 tests, 46 per cent worse than other cars of the same age. The Sandero manages to beat the average failure rate as mileage increases which suggests underlying hardiness, but there are significant failure areas; in particular power steering, associated pipes and hosing and other related components are cited as 10, 38 and 19 times worse than other 2014 cars respectively.
Vauxhall Corsa - 79.7% pass rate
The first big hitter on this list, the Corsa racked up a huge 13,893 failures in 2014 but that was from 68,299 tests; this is still one of the most popular cars on the road and hence gets maintained - and inadequately maintained - by a huge cross-section of the driving public. Still, its score is 43 per cent worse than the 2014 average and there are a few areas with significantly increased failure rates - in particular the front struts and their condition, both 10 times worse than average.
Suzuki Alto - 81.9% pass rate
Another manufacturer with a car in the top ten and the bottom ten, the Alto is one of Suzuki’s older models and its 2052 failures from 11,351 tests makes it 27 per cent worse than other 2014 cars. There are several areas where the Alto has a higher failure rate than average, but the most notable is doors and the driver’s door, cited as four times and 14 times worse than the 2014 average.
Vauxhall Adam - 83.0% pass rate
Now well into the 80 percent and above, the Adam is six per cent down on its Agila sibling, with 1937 failures from 11,427 vehicles tested. That’s not a terrible result - 19 per cent worse than the 2014 average - and the Adam is about on par with the average for how mileage affects the pass rate. Even the most common failure point, which is the MacPherson strut and its condition, is nine times worse than the 2014 average - and an issue shared with the Corsa.
Renault Clio - 83.3% pass rate
The third-most-popular car on this list, the Clio recorded 23,661 MoT tests with 3959 failures, which is 17 per cent worse than the 2014 average. There are several areas with an above average failure rate - in fact there are only six points where it is better than average - with vehicle structure and chassis being the area cited most often at 10 times worse than the average.
SEAT Ibiza - 84.2% pass rate
Almost a whole percentage point better than the Clio, the SEAT Ibiza recorded 2832 failures from 17,954 tests carried out, 11 per cent worse than the average 2014 car. The Ibiza also varies significantly with mileage; low miles cars are way above the average pass rate but high mileage cars fall below it, which could point to a lack of maintenance causing problems. Amongst a handful of cited issues, one sticks out more than the others with the steering arm suffering a failure rate 11 times worse than average.
Skoda Fabia - 84.5% pass rate
Who’d have guessed it? The mechanically-similar Fabia gets a very similar result to the Ibiza, with 2055 failures from 13,253 tests conducted, just 8.8% worse than average. The Fabia also shares the Ibiza’s mileage-sensitive pass rate. The Fabia is split roughly in half in terms of points that are better or worse than the 2014 average, but the headlamp switch attracted a failure rate 11 times worse than cars of the same age.
Kia Venga - 84.5% pass rate
Matching the Fabia’s pass rate is the Kia Venga, although with a much smaller sample size of 4857 tests resulting in just 752 failures. The Venga is another car that demonstrates a significant change in pass rate depending on mileage, with 10k cars nudging a 90 per cent pass rate while 60,000 milers just scraping 60 per cent. The Venga also shows just a few areas with a higher failure rate than average, with shock absorbers and shocker condition being cited 10 times more frequently.
Ford Fiesta - 84.6% pass rate
Sliding into tenth spot is the daddy first car; 111,087 2014-registered Fiestas were tested in 2017 and 17,141 failed - not bad for a car that was the best-seller that year and most of the decade. Its failure rate is just 6.3 per cent worse than average and the most-cited failure points are not much worse than average either; stop lamps, rear reflectors, coil springs and track-rod ends appeared two or three times more frequently than average.