Van and pickup MoT pass rates - the best and worst

  • Top and bottom five vans and pickups at MoT time
  • Official government data, based on first test
  • Top five reasons for MoT failure also listed

Want to know which vans and pickups have the best and worst MoT pass rates? Motoring agony aunt website Honest John has used a Freedom of Information request to get the data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and come up with the following results.

Concentrating on first-time MoTs – which are currently due three years after first registration, meaning all the data below relates to models from 2013 – we now have a list of the top five light commercial vehicles (LCVs) for pass and failure, plus the top five reasons for failure, too.

The winners and losers here may surprise you.

Top five vans for passing the first MoT

In reverse order, these are your top five light commercial vehicles when it comes to passing the first MoT.

We use the term LCV deliberately, as four out of the five are actually pickups – though the top spot is taken by a van, and one we expect will come as a bit of a shock for many as it’s not a brand you would typically associate with exceptional reliability.

Some might argue that the MoT doesn’t test for reliability anyway, but at the very least these figures offer some guidance about how the owners of these vehicles treat them, which is useful especially if you’re looking to buy used.

See also:

The most reliable vans according to the FN50 van reliability survey

5) Nissan Navara – 79% MoT pass rate

Nissan Navara in top five vans and pickups for MoT pass

The current Nissan NP300 Navara – winner of Best Pickup in the Parkers New Car Awards 2018 – was only introduced in 2016, so this impressive 79% pass rate is achieved by the previous model, on sale from 2005.

Worth remembering as a counterpoint to the snapped chassis tales commonly associated with this era of Navara.

Read the full Nissan Navara (2005-2016) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Nissan Navara for sale near you on Parkers Vans

4) Isuzu D-Max – 80% MoT pass rate

Isuzu D-Max in the top five vans and pickups for MoT pass

The D-Max has a reputation for being a tough working truck, often tasked arduous towing duties on and off road. But this treatment doesn’t seem to have damaged its first-time MoT pass capability, which at 80% suggest four out of five get their inaugural ticket without issue.

The new 1.9-litre engine was only introduced in 2017, so these figures are for the old 2.5-litre motor – another reason operators will be sorry to see it go.

Read the full Isuzu D-Max (2012 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Isuzu D-Max for sale near you on Parkers Vans

3) Toyota Hilux – 80% MoT pass rate

Toyota Hilux MoT pass rate

The Hilux apparently offers the same 80% pass rate as the D-Max, but the Toyota comes in ahead of the Isuzu in third. To be fair, it does have an awesome reputation for reliability historically.

Again, with the current model only introduced in 2016, this MoT performance relates the previous model, on sale from 2005.

Read the full Toyota Hilux (2005-2016) on Parkers Vans

Find a used Toyota Hilux for sale near you on Parkers Vans

2) Ford Ranger – 81% MoT pass rate

Ford Ranger MoT pass rate

The current Ford Ranger is – generally speaking – the UK’s best-selling pickup, and appeals to a wide range of buyers, including a lot of lifestyle customers. Placing second among all LCVs for first-time MoT performance suggests all those owners are getting a good deal.

Its large dimensions, wide selection of trim levels and options, and powerful engine range make this a great all-round truck.

Read the full Ford Ranger (2011 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Ford Ranger for sale near you on Parkers Vans

1) Fiat Doblo – 84% MoT pass rate

Fiat Doblo Cargo MoT pass rate

Well now. Fiat is not a manufacturer we typically associate with reliability, but the 2010-onwards Doblo small van is the best light commercial when judged in terms of first time pass rate – and the only van in the entire top five.

This is presumably also good news for the Vauxhall Combo, which is currently the same van in disguise. Packed with practical features, the Doblo deserves better sales success than it’s had, too.

Read the full Fiat Doblo Cargo review (2001 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Fiat Doblo Cargo for sale near you on Parkers Vans

Bottom five vans for passing the first MoT

According to the full figures, on average ‘almost 30% of vans’ will fail their first MoT – all of the bottom five listed here have failure rates well below this 70% pass watermark.

Vans do also travel an average of twice the distance each year compared to cars, so a greater amount of wear and tear, particular among the most-popular models, is to be expected.

Note, however, that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – which is a big favourite of mega-mileage courier companies and another big seller – does not appear among the bottom five below.

5) Nissan NV200 – 68% MoT pass rate

NIssan NV200 MoT pass rate

Nissan’s small van offers a large load volume but a limited choice of models and very modest payload – so perhaps over-loading has a part to play here.

According to the detailed data, it is harder than most vans on its tyres, for example. Though it’s also prone to windscreen issues and as is fairly typical often fails due to problems with the lights.

Read the full Nissan NV200 (2009 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Nissan NV200 for sale near you on Parkers Vans

4) Citroen Relay – 67% MoT pass rate

Citroen Relay MoT pass rate

Citroen’s large van – alongside its Peugeot Boxer close-relation – is one of the oldest on the market. It’s also one of the cheapest, so you might draw some conclusions about its appeal to operators on a budget, who might also be tight on maintenance costs, and not doing terribly well at the first MoT.

Lighting issues are common – but so are problems with the brakes. On a big van, that’s rather worrying.

Read the full Citroen Relay (2006 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Citroen Relay for sale near you on Parkers Vans

3) Vauxhall Movano – 67% MoT pass rate

Vauxhall Movano MoT pass rate

Matching the 67% pass rate of the Relay but ranked worse in third place by Honest John is the Vauxhall Movano. Another large van, you’ll notice – one of three in this bottom five – it too likely suffers a hard life with minimal maintenance.

The equivalent Renault Master does better come first MoT time, perhaps worth considering if you’re buying one or the other used.

Read the full Vauxhall Movano (2010 onwards) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Vauxhall Movano for sale near you on Parkers Vans

2) Citroen Dispatch – 66% MoT pass rate

Citroen Dispatch MoT pass rate

Citroen’s medium van doubles-up the French marque’s contribution to this worst first-time MoT pass list – though this is the previous model, rather than the all-new one introduced in 2016.

Again, we would guestimate that costs and careless maintenance come into this – over a quarter of those tested failed on lighting issues.

Read the full Citroen Dispatch (2007-2016) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Citroen Dispatch for sale near you on Parkers Vans

1) Ford Transit – 64% MoT pass rate

Ford Transit MoT pass rate

Typically the UK’s best-selling van, there are a lot of these and they are used very hard. The largest percentage of failures is related to lighting again, but it’s still a useful reminder that you should check the service history of any used van very carefully before committing to a purchase.

Honest John has not separated the new mid-size Transit Custom (introduced in 2012) from the previous multi-size Transit range (2006-2013) here because there was apparently too little Transit Custom data to work with. Regardless, these figures don’t apply to the current full-size Transit (2014 onwards).

Read the full Ford Transit (2006-2013) review on Parkers Vans

Find a used Ford Transit for sale near you on Parkers Vans

Top five causes of failure during a van’s first MoT at three years

Finally, we also have a list of the top five reasons for MoT failures on LCVs, based on the number recorded:

  1. 5) Suspension – 7,000 failures
  2. 4) Tyres – 9,000 failures
  3. 3) Brakes – 12,000 failures
  4. 2) Driver’s view of the road – 14,000 failures
  5. 1) Lighting – 39,000 failures

While the suspension, tyres and brakes are the most immediately concerning safety issues, poor lighting – whether that be a broken bulb or something more serious – can still represent a significant hazard.

And it is rather depressing that van owners and operators don’t bother to check the state of their lights often enough to avoid it being by far the most common cause of MoT failure.

Regardless of the cause, with 30% of LCVs already failing their first MoT, the idea that the timing of the first test could be extended from three years to four years – depending on the result of the government’s latest consultation – is really rather alarming…

Also read

The UK’s most popular vans and pickups

The most reliable vans according to the FN50 van reliability survey

Van and pickup reviews on Parkers Vans 

Best and worst MoT pass rates for vans and pickups