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70 million records from the Vehicle Operation and Services Agency (VOSA) were examined to reveal the patterns of failure for cars receiving their first MoT, required three years from the date of first registration.
However, while the best performers have pre-existing reputations for reliability, the bottom of the table reveals some surprises.
The best performing individual models were almost exclusively German or Japanese – only the Land Rover Freelander, the ninth best-performing car, broke the trend.
The model with the best record was the tiny Toyota iQ, with a pass rate of 91.82% based on 2,835 tests. Second was the Honda Jazz at 90.40% and third was the Honda CR-V at 89.83%
Down at the bottom were the Renault Kangoo and Citroen Berlingo, achieving a 63.54% and 67.84% respectively.
Lexus was the best-performing brand overall, with an average of 89.4% of its cars passing their first MoT. Subaru and Honda took second and third places respectively to complete a Japanese podium, with Toyota fourth.
The least likely brand of car to pass its first MoT was Citroen, with its score of 76.18% not helped by woeful performances from the C4 and Berlingo. Volkswagen was a surprise entry to the bottom 10, indicating that the brand might not be entirely deserving of its reputation for build quality. Mini, Volvo and Alfa Romeo also featured in the bottom 10, along with Seat, Fiat, Renault, Peugeot and Chevrolet.
The study excluded supercars and low-volume brands that had been MoT tested less than 2,000 times, so brands like MG, Maserati and Caterham do not feature