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Top 25 used car buys based on MOT pass rate

We reveal the best cars aged three to eight years old for passing the MOT test first time - and the models with the highest fail rates...

MOT technician

The top 25 cars for passing the MOT test

=25. Hyundai i20 (2015-2020)

Hyundai i20

Pass rate 89.94%

Average test mileage 26,145

The supermini sector is one of the most crowded and hotly contested in the entire industry, and the i20 is well-placed to compete in it thanks to its longer than average five-year warranty. With an MOT pass rate just shy of 90%, it appears to be a dependable choice. Used prices start below £5000.

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24. Honda Jazz (2015-2020)

Honda Jazz

Pass rate 90.07%

Average test mileage 26,755

The third-generation Honda Jazz picks up where its predecessors left off, bridging the gap between a conventional supermini and mini MPV with a roomy interior and clever double-folding rear seat. It’s the first model in our rundown to break the 90% pass rate barrier, but petrol models are the most dependable when it comes to passing the MOT test – the hybrid version has a lower 87.31% pass rate.

BMW 7 Series

Pass rate 90.13%

Average test mileage 36,323

The sixth-generation BMW 7 Series drives like a much smaller model thanks to its lightweight construction and extensive use of aluminium and carbonfibre. A 2019 facelift brought advanced powertrains and a bigger grille, but early cars start at £25,000.

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22. Subaru XV (2012-2018)

Subaru XV

Pass rate 90.36%

Average test mileage 39,691

Subaru is the fourth best brand overall for passing the MOT test, and the XV is one of the models that helps it do so well. Petrol models are the most likely to pass first time, with an impressive 94.94% pass rate – diesels didn’t fare so well, with a lower rate of 86.21%.

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21. Jaguar F-Pace (2016-present)

Jaguar F-Pace

Pass rate 90.43%

Average test mileage 30,850

The second of four Jaguar models in our top 50, the F-Pace was the British brand’s first SUV when it arrived in 2016 and comes with a wide array of powertrains. Diesel models proliferate and the 178bhp 2.0-litre version gets our vote as the best all-rounder. High mileage examples begin at £16,000. 

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20. BMW i3 (2013-present)

BMW i3

Pass rate 90.46%

Average test mileage 27,717

With two distinct models available, we were interested to see how the fully-electric i3 compared with its hybrid stablemate in our MOT chart. However, there was little to choose between them. The all-electric model registered an impressive pass rate of 91.80% while the hybrid version scored 89.85%.

Mercedes S-Class

Pass rate 90.52%

Average test mileage 48,430

The Mercedes S-Class is the company flagship and is laden with all the latest electronic gadgets. However, it achieved an impressive pass rate of more than 90%. Hybrids were the best performing S-Class models at MOT time (91.25%), with diesel models (90.71%) outperforming petrol-powered examples (88.79%). 

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18. Honda HR-V (2015-present)

Honda HR-V

Pass rate 90.60%

Average test mileage 25,605

The HR-V is the highest-ranked Honda in this list, and it contributes to a strong showing from Honda, which has the fifth-highest overall pass rate of all the brands in the study. The 1.5-litre petrol is our favourite and prices for models with that engine start from around £7500.

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17. Audi TT (2014-present)

Audi TT

Pass rate 90.63%

Average test mileage 27,997

The TT is more than 20 years old and the third generation of Audi’s popular coupe and convertible is every bit as dependable as its predecessors. With a wide choice of engines and gearboxes, a practical design and prices starting from around £11,500, the TT is as sensible as cars in this segment of the market get. 

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16. Audi A8 (2010-2017)

Audi A8 Saloon Sport 50 TDI quattro

Pass rate 90.77%

Average test mileage 53,647

The highest-ranked Audi for passing the MOT test first time is the company’s flagship model, although it's the diesel models that are the highest achievers. Petrol A8s have a pass rate of 85.45% compared with 91.81% for diesels. Both scores are impressive, though, given that the A8's average test mileage is at least 20,000 miles higher than models with higher pass rates.

Mercedes GLC Coupe 2021 RHD right panning

Pass rate 90.78%

Average test mileage 32,446

The GLC Coupé is an SUV based on the same underpinnings as the Mercedes C-Class saloon, but its sporty styling and more raked roofline make it an appealing alternative to conventional family SUVs. The 220d is the sweet spot, delivering decent performance and 48.7mpg (under WLTP conditions).

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14. Jaguar F-Type (2013-present)

Jaguar F-Type

Pass rate 90.83%

Average test mileage 23,014

The F-Type is the highest-placed British-made model on our MOT pass rate chart. Built at Castle Bromwich, the F-Type will be the last Jaguar sports car to be powered by a petrol engine – and it shouldn’t pose many problems when the time comes for its MOT. 

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13. Mercedes GLA (2014-2020)

Mercedes GLA

Pass rate 90.93%

Average test mileage 33,093

The Mercedes GLA and BMW X1 were showroom rivals as new cars and they’re separated by only a couple of percentage points here. Essentially a taller-riding version of the original Mercedes A-Class, the beefy-looking GLA does better than its compact hatchback sibling, which doesn’t even make the top 50.

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12. BMW X1 (2015-present)

BMW X1

Pass rate 90.95%

Average test mileage 29,753

The second-generation BMW X1 is available with front-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive and provides sharp driving dynamics in a practical small SUV package. The most dependable X1 models are the petrol derivatives – they have a pass rate of 93.83%, compared with 90.63% for diesel versions.

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11. Mercedes SL (2012-2021)

Mercedes SL

Pass rate 91.67%

Average test mileage 25,832

The Mercedes SL is a mainstay of the German brand’s range and its flagship two-seat convertible. Although SL means 'sports lightweight', it’s actually a luxurious roadster that weighs nearly two tonnes. Despite having many complex features and a stack of standard equipment, it’s reassuring to know it has such a strong MOT pass rate.

Read our full review of the Mercedes SL

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10. Mazda CX-3 (2015-present)

Mazda CX-3

Pass rate 91.91%

Average test mileage 25,652

You don’t have to buy a luxury SUV with a prestige badge to enjoy enduring MOT success. The Mazda CX-3 is a smart-looking small SUV that is engaging to drive and has a superb MOT pass rate. Our top choice is the 2.0-litre petrol, which was more likely to pass than the 1.8-litre diesel. 

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9. Lexus RX (2016-present)

Lexus RX

Pass rate 91.95%

Average test mileage 27,721

The Lexus RX 450h combines a 3.5-litre V6 petrol with two electric motors to produce 308bhp and official average fuel consumption of 47.9mpg. As luxury SUVs go, it’s a sensible choice, especially when you factor in its MOT pass rate – although models registered before 1 April 2017 are cheaper to tax than later examples. 

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8. Mazda MX-5 (2016-present)

Mazda MX-5

Pass rate 92.62%

Average test mileage 16,399

The latest MX-5 has a better MOT pass rate than the previous model, and you can find early examples for as little as £11,000. It comes as a soft-top or a versatile RF, which stands for retractable fastback. The low average test mileage of this model suggests that many cars are cosseted examples used only at weekends rather than for the daily commute, but that doesn't detract from its strong performance.

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7. Porsche Macan (2014-present)

Porsche Macan

Pass rate 92.91%

Average test mileage 32,289

Porsche made its name producing sports cars, but its compact SUV brings the trademark Porsche qualities of superb handling and thrilling performance to a new sector of the market. The Macan also has a brilliant MOT pass rate – petrol versions proved the best in that respect at 93.72%.

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6. Porsche Cayman (2013-2016)

Porsche Cayman

Pass rate 92.94%

Average test mileage 23,224

The Cayman isn't just a hugely capable sports car, it's also highly proficient at passing the MOT test. Mileage does appear to be a factor here though: on average, Caymans that failed their MOT had typically covered nearly 8000 miles more than those that passed.

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5. Porsche 911 (2012-2019)

Porsche 911 Cabriolet front three quarters

Pass rate 93.72%

Average test mileage 20,484

The Porsche 911 is a performance icon and can also be relied upon to give MOT testers minimal cause for concern. As ever, this generation (the 991 series) comes with a comprehensive choice of engines and body styles, all united by the same pin-sharp driving dynamics and an MOT pass rate good enough for a top five finish here.

Lexus NX

Pass rate 93.82%

Average test mileage 32,413  

Lexus models are always near the top end of any customer satisfaction or reliability survey so it’s no surprise to see the latest NX here. The petrol-only version of the premium SUV was phased out in 2016, so the petrol-electric NX300h hybrid accounts for the lion’s share of vehicles in our data. You can pick up used examples from £15,500.

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3. Porsche Boxster (2012-2016)

Porsche Boxster

Pass rate 94.10%

Average test mileage 22,243  

The third-generation Boxster fills the last podium place in our chart and is one of four Porsches to feature in the top 10. Porsche topped the manufacturer standings as the only brand with an overall pass rate above 90.00% so it clearly knows how to engineer vehicles that last – and its entry-point model is no exception. 

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2. BMW i8 (2014-2020)

BMW i8

Pass rate 95.97%

Average test mileage 21,738  

The BMW i8 is is one of only two vehicles to register an MOT pass rate of more than 95%. With its butterfly doors and efficient powertrain, the i8 combines head-turning looks with an official average fuel consumption of 128.4mpg.

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1. Hyundai Ioniq (2017-present)  

Hyundai Ioniq

Pass rate 96.18%

Average test mileage 22,710  

Top place in the MOT pass rate chart goes to the Hyundai Ioniq, proving that efficiency and dependability can go together. The majority of vehicles in our analysis were the hybrid rather than the pure-electric model, but whichever Ioniq you choose you can be certain it won’t give MOT testers much to worry about.

Read our full review of the Huyndai Ioniq

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