MOT pass rates are rising and these are the cars most likely to pass, as well as those most likely to fail

Latest DfT figures show Japanese brands continue to perform best while European brands lag behind

MOT pass rates have crept up according to the latest figures, but there remain large differences between the best and worst performing makes and models.

New analysis of 24.4 million MOT records from 2020 - the latest full-year figures - show that Japanese brands and models continue to lead the way and hard-working vans are the least likely to score a pass.

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Across all class 4 tests the pass rate rose from 74.9% in 2019 to 76.2% in 2020.

To get make and model figures, the analysis focused on relatively new models - those aged three to five years - to reveal that premium brand Lexus had the best overall pass rate, with 94.1% of its models making it through the test first time.

Lexus was the best performing brand at MOT time

Fellow Japanese brand Honda was a close second, with a 93.9% pass rate, just ahead of Porsche - the only non-Japanese brand in the top five - which has an impressive 93.6% pass rate.

While it was second in the brand top five, two models from Honda topped the model-specific list, with the Jazz supermini and CR-V SUV recording pass rates of 95.3% and 94.5% respectively in the data obtained from the DVSA by insurer By Miles.

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At the opposite end of the table, the Vauxhall Vivaro van was one of four light commercial vehicles to record the lowest pass rate. Its 79.7% success rate was the lowest of any “class 4” MOT, which includes cars and vans. The Renault Trafic (80.1%) and Citroen Berlingo (81%) were next on the list, just ahead of the Vauxhall Insignia - the only car in the bottom five. The Volkswagen Caddy rounded out the bottom five with a pass rate of 83%.

Vauxhall also appeared near the bottom at a brand level, with the fourth lowest pass rate of 86.5%. Renault (85.4%) and DS (85.3%) performed even worse but it was Citroen, with a pass rate of 84.7% that had the worst pass rate of any brand in 2020.

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The analysis also revealed, unsurprisingly, that average mileages fell sharply in 2020. According to the MOT certificates, the average driver covered 557 miles fewer per year than before the pandemic - 6,533 miles compared with 7,090 in 2019.

James Blackham, CEO at By Miles, said: “While Japanese cars generally continue to impress the testers, unfortunately our European cousins are lagging behind on the MOT front, and prop up the table for another year.

“The other thing that was crystal clear from the data is that as a nation we’re driving much less than before the pandemic. The average UK driver is now covering the equivalent of London to Aberdeen less than they were in pre-pandemic times, and we expect this decade-long trend to continue.”

The latest figures reflect findings from numerous reliability studies, which are regularly dominated by Japanese brands.

Previous analysis of MOT figures found that across all ages of car, small French hatchbacks had the worst pass rates while pampered luxury and sports cars were most likely to secure a pass.