The MoT Files: Top 10 worst used SUVs and crossovers for passing the test
According to the MoT Files, these are the least reliable SUVs and crossovers (registered in 2012) for passing the annual test.
The data reveals how each individual model fares as its mileage increases and also in comparison with other cars registered in the same year. It also shows which elements of the car perform better or worse than vehicles of a similar age, which is particularly useful so you know which areas are potential failure points when it comes to vehicle maintenance or specific design weaknesses.
Vauxhall Antara - 71.6% pass rate
Not a good showing from the Antara here, with 1745 failures from 6151 completed tests - almost four percent worse than the next car in this list and 35 per cent worse than the average. The stats do not get any better either, with the Antara performing below the curve for pass rate by age and dropping below the average once past 40,000 miles too. As you might expect there are numerous failure points above the average too, with the lowlights being the towbar at 34 times worse than average and gradient hand brake at 44 times worse.
Land Rover Defender - 74.5% pass rate
Perhaps less of a surprise is the Land Rover Defender, which if you’re being generous is based on a car from 1983. 868 failures from 3398 vehicles tested gives it a pass rate 22 per cent worse than the average, and for the most part it is below the curve for the pass rate as mileage increases. The failure point data makes for grim reading; the Defender is above average on five checks, but worse than average on 61, with the steering being the major culprit. The steering damper was cited 271 times worse than average and the steering box 362 times, although few cars these days use anything other than rack and pinion.
Nissan Qashqai - 76.0% pass rate
Hundreds of thousands of Qashqai owners may recoil in horror at it reaching third place in this list, but that is likely to be part of the problem. 34,908 MoT tests were carried out on 2012-registered Qashqais in 2017, far more than any other SUV or crossover, so 8389 failures is less of a surprise and is 15 per cent worse than average. Several failure points show up more frequently than average, with parking brake fitment the worst culprit at 21 times worse than average.
Kia Sportage - 77.5% pass rate
Generally thought of as one of the more reliable brands, the Sportage is fourth in this list with 2643 failures from 11,749 vehicles tested, 7.4 per cent worse than the 2012 average. Interestingly the pass rate by mileage for 2012 examples is largely above average up to 100,000 miles and the list of failure points that are above average is relatively short in comparison. Front wheel bearings show up as seven times worse than average, while towbars are cited as 17 times worse.
Hyundai ix35 - 78.0% pass rate
Sharing some of its heritage with the Kia Sportage of the same vintage, it is little surprise that the Hyundai ix35 produces a similar score with 1756 failures from 7972 tests carried out. The pass rate by mileage shows that the ix35 performs better than average as mileage increases, which could suggest ultimate reliability is not the main problem. Most of the key failure areas are also only a few times worse than average, with the worst culprit being steering locking devices at seven times worse than other 2012 cars.
Ford Kuga - 78.9% pass rate
The only Ford to appear in either the top or bottom 10, the Kuga comes in sixth place with 1827 failures from 8662 conducted tests. Pass rate by mileage is above average across the board, but pass rate by age dips below average between 2009 and 2012. Overall the Kuga performs relatively well, with just a few areas showing as failing above the average. The worst point is trailing arms condition however, cited as 26 times worse than the 2012 average.
Volvo XC60 - 79.1% pass rate
For XC60s of all ages the pass rate is a decent 80 per cent, so the fact that 2012 examples dip below this figure is hard to explain, particularly as the pass rate by mileage is better than average as mileage increases. What lets the XC60 down are a couple of key areas; trailing arms are cited 10 times worse than average and trailing arms attachment 21 times, while power steering pipes and hoses crop up 11 times worse than other 2012 cars.
Land Rover Discovery 4 - 79.2% pass rate
Another Land Rover makes the top 10 (and not the last), the Discovery’s overall score of 1422 failures from 6841 tests conducted is better than some, but there are some failure points that drag the overall rating down. Amongst the grim reading are hydraulic systems (10 times), hydraulic components (15 times), pipes (28 times), air suspension (nine times) and air suspension operation (74 times) worse than average, but the detachable tow ball at 149 times worse than other 2012 cars tells its own story.
Land Rover Range Rover - 80.1% pass rate
Luxury cars do have more to go wrong, so the fact that Land Rover’s most luxurious product appears in ninth place may not come as a shock. There are several failure points that are significantly above average, with headlamps, hydraulics and air suspension all being cited two or more times above average. Torque/reaction arms and pins/bushes/ball joints are the worst offender however, showing up as 16 times and 19 times worse than average respectively.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - 81.4% pass rate
Rounding out the top 10 is the Range Rover Evoque, which does at least indicate that its newer products perform better than older ones. 2249 failures from 12,115 completed tests gives a pass rate of 81.4 per cent which is actually 11 per cent better than the 2012 average and only 1.1 per cent short of making it on to the end of the top 10 performers. Many test areas perform better than average and of those that don’t, the worst offender is the passenger rear door at five times worse than the 2012 average.