The MoT Files: Top 10 small cars for passing the MoT
Vehicle repairs and failed MoTs can be the biggest headache of all for any car owner, leaving you without transport and resulting in bills that can reach several hundred pounds.
HonestJohn.co.uk 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 make even more considered decisions when choosing your next car.
Honda Jazz - 93.7% pass rate
No prizes for guessing this one. The Jazz is one of Honda’s most reliable cars, and from a manufacturer more reliable than many, it makes a sound choice for a fuss-free first car. In fact, other than the battery, which is shown to be an MoT failure issue two times worse than the average 2014 car, the Jazz’s failure rate is significantly better than average in all other areas, frequently 50 per cent or more than average.
Peugeot 108 - 90.1% pass rate
Possibly more of a surprise is the Peugeot 108 getting into second place in this list. With 577 failures from 5843 vehicles tested it is a little way behind the Jazz but beats more reputable brands in the process. 2014 was the first registered year of the 108 so the earliest cars had their first MoT in 2017, and the key failure area is overwhelmingly front wheel braking performance - 200 per cent worse than other 2014 cars.
Volkswagen Up - 89.7% pass rate
Fractions of a percentage point behind the 108 is the Up, a popular first-time car and one that does a good job of living up to Volkswagen’s reliable reputation. With 1892 failures from 18,320 vehicles tested - the second-highest number in this list - it is a popular and sensible choice. The key failure areas were steering system components - cited as 16 times worse than other cars registered in 2014.
Vauxhall Agila - 89.4% pass rate
One of the better-performing Vauxhalls of this era, the Agila has not been through as many tests as some cars on this list - chiefly because it never sold particularly well - but of the 3157 that were tested on 334 failed. It has a better than average pass rate as mileage increases, but does have a very specific issue with its indicator tell tales - 110 times worth than other 2014 cars, but one that should be an easy fix.
Suzuki Swift - 89.4% pass rate
A much-loved supermini here at HonestJohn.co.uk and getting into fifth place here doesn’t do it any harm. A significantly better than average pass rate for 2014-era cars suggests the Swift handles bigger mileages well and there are a number of areas where failure rates are 40 per cent or more unlikely than average too. The Swift’s Achilles heel appears to be the headlamp cleaning device - 150 per cent worse than the 2014 average.
Fiat Panda - 89.1% pass rate
You might be as surprised as we are, but the Fiat Panda nestles into sixth place in this list, just half step behind the Swift and proving that the Italian giant still knows how to make a good small car. 757 failures from 6921 vehicles tested is a strong score, and there are a few areas where failure rates are lower than average. Key failure points appear to centre around the suspension, parking brake and body structure, with the passenger doors showing up as 22 times worse than other 2014 cars.
Kia Picanto - 88.7% pass rate
Kia’s reliabilty reputation has improved steadily in line with the quality of its products, which explains the appearance of the diminutive Picanto in seventh place. A score of 1420 failures from a huge 12,531 vehicles tested shows how popular it is, and it performs much better than average in many areas.
Toyota Aygo - 88.5% pass rate
You could argue the Aygo should be higher up this list given Toyota’s reliability reputation, but it is one of the most-tested cars on this list with 16,681 examples examined and likely attracts a broader demographic too. It still performs 19 per cent better overall than the average 2014 car too. The key failure areas are an odd mix; hazard warning, switch and lamp all show up 10 times or more above average, while the vehicle identification number fails 24 times worse than average.
Skoda Citigo - 88.2% pass rate
Not performing quite as well as the mechanically-identical Volkswagen Up! Suggests the Citigo’s performance here is partially affected by the owners, it nonetheless scores a highly credible 963 failures from 8144 tested vehicles and mileage appears to have almost no effect on failure rate too. The key failure point seems to be the fuel system and fuel cap, which achieve seven times and nine times worse failure rates than the 2014 average.
Nissan Note - 88.1% pass rate
The most-tested vehicle on this list with 19,518 MoTs performed, it is therefore no small feat that of those only 2327 were failures. Although performing far better than average in some areas, suspension appears to be a common failure point, with wheel bearings being cited seven and 12 times more frequently than the average and drive shafts six times above the average for the year.