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Unreliable Vans

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
Wednesday, 22 June 2022
Unreliable Vans header

The most unreliable vans on the market

A key factor many of us consider when buying a new vehicle, be it a van, car, or anything else, is how reliable what we’re buying will be over time. We often have one car for any number of years, and vans even longer. Being confident your new van will work as expected for as long as you need it will make your purchase more satisfying.

This report outlines some of the more unreliable vehicles that grace UK roads by investigating the MOT pass rates for the 30 most popular vans in the UK, the average consumer rating for the model from both Parkers and Auto Express, and the servicing demand taken as the volume of Google searches for servicing for each model.

The UK’s least reliable vans

Least reliable vans key
Top 3 least reliable vans
Unreliable vans header

The most unreliable vans on the market

A key factor many of us consider when buying a new vehicle, be it a van, car, or anything else, is how reliable what we’re buying will be over time. We often have one car for any number of years, and vans even longer. Being confident your new van will work as expected for as long as you need it will make your purchase more satisfying.

This report outlines some of the more unreliable vehicles that grace UK roads by investigating the MOT pass rates for the 30 most popular vans in the UK, the average consumer rating for the model from both Parkers and Auto Express, and the servicing demand taken as the volume of Google searches for servicing for each model.

The UK’s least reliable vans

Least reliable vans key
1st least reliable van

1. Nissan Primastar

  • Servicing Demand – 220
  • Average Rating – 3
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 46.88%
  • Reliability score /10 – 1.26

The Nissan Primastar receives the lowest reliability score on this list with a shocking 1.26/10. The Primastar has a concerning MOT pass rate of just under 47% and suffers the lowest average consumer rating on our list of 3/5.

2nd least reliable van

2. Nissan NV200

  • Servicing Demand – 290
  • Average Consumer Rating – 3
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 60.59%
  • Reliability score /10 – 1.72

Nissan sees two of its models fall into the top three unreliable vans in the UK with the Nissan NV200 earning a reliability score of 1.72/10. Both Nissan models have average consumer ratings of 3/5, the lowest on this list.

3rd least reliable van

3. Vauxhall Vivaro

  • Servicing Demand – 990
  • Average Rating – 3.9
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 58.02%
  • Reliability score /10 – 2.41

Not far in front of the NV200 is the Vauxhall Vivaro which sees a 2.41/10 reliability score. The Vivaro has a low average consumer rating of below 4 and has seen a high 990 searches for servicing in the UK.

1. Nissan Primastar

  • Servicing Demand – 220
  • Average Rating – 3
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 46.88%
  • Reliability score /10 – 1.26

The Nissan Primastar receives the lowest reliability score on this list with a shocking 1.26/10. The Primastar has a concerning MOT pass rate of just under 47% and suffers the lowest average consumer rating on our list of 3/5.

2. Nissan NV200

  • Servicing Demand – 290
  • Average Consumer Rating – 3
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 60.59%
  • Reliability score /10 – 1.72

Nissan sees two of its models fall into the top three unreliable vans in the UK with the Nissan NV200 earning a reliability score of 1.72/10. Both Nissan models have average consumer ratings of 3/5, the lowest on this list.

3. Vauxhall Vivaro

  • Servicing Demand – 990
  • Average Rating – 3.9
  • First-time MOT pass rate – 58.02%
  • Reliability score /10 – 2.41

Not far in front of the NV200 is the Vauxhall Vivaro which sees a 2.41/10 reliability score. The Vivaro has a low average consumer rating of below 4 and has seen a high 990 searches for servicing in the UK.

Least reliable vans mobile table

Vans with the Lowest MOT First-Time Pass Rate

Least reliable vans table

Vans with the Lowest MOT First-Time Pass Rate

Top 3 lowest MOT pass vans
1st lowest MOT pass van

1. Nissan Primastar – 46.9% First-Time Pass Rate

The Nissan Primastar has the lowest first-time MOT pass rate out of our 30 most popular UK vans. It is also the only van that has an MOT pass rate of below 50%. It’s no wonder that this model is the least reliable overall.

2nd lowest MOT pass van

2. Fiat Scudo – 50.3% First-Time Pass Rate

 The Fiat Scudo barely scrapes a first-time MOT pass rate of more than 50%, seeing a 50.3% success rate in its MOTs. In addition to this low pass rate, the Scudo also saw an average of 3/5 in its consumer ratings.

3rd lowest MOT pass van

3. Citroën Dispatch  – 55.7% First-Time Pass Rate

Despite a respectable 3.95/5 for consumer ratings, the Citroën Dispatch comes in third for the lowest MOT pass rate with just 55.7%.

1. Nissan Primastar – 46.9% First-Time Pass Rate

The Nissan Primastar has the lowest first-time MOT pass rate out of our 30 most popular UK vans. It is also the only van that has an MOT pass rate of below 50%. It’s no wonder that this model is the least reliable overall.

2. Fiat Scudo – 50.3% First-Time Pass Rate

 The Fiat Scudo barely scrapes a first-time MOT pass rate of more than 50%, seeing a 50.3% success rate in its MOTs. In addition to this low pass rate, the Scudo also saw an average of 3/5 in its consumer ratings.

3. Citroën Dispatch  – 55.7% First-Time Pass Rate

Despite a respectable 3.95/5 for consumer ratings, the Citroën Dispatch comes in third for the lowest MOT pass rate with just 55.7%.

Lowest MOT pass vans table

Most Common Reasons Vans Fail their MOT

Top reasons for van MOT failure

In a 2019 study, Honest Johns uncovered the most common reasons for MOT failures in vans. There are a variety of reasons any vehicle will fail its MOTs, so be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of the most common faults in your vehicle to avoid being hit with an MOT failure.

1. Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment – 653,352 Failures in 2019

The most common reason that vans fail their MOT is problems with electrical equipment, including lamps and reflectors. A seriously defective or missing lamp will cause a major in your MOT test. More than one in ten vans fail due to their headlight aim being dangerously adjusted.

2. Suspension – 406,488 Failures in 2019

Suspension is the second most common cause of MOT failures in vans. Modern vans drive fast, and those van drivers that do give their van a bumpy ride often will see serious problems arise with their suspension. Even if it is just general wear and tear to the springs, anti-roll bars or suspension arms, these problems can cause an MOT failure.

3. Brakes – 369,863 Failures in 2019

More often than not, vans carry heavy loads, which adds strain to the vehicle’s brakes. A spongy pedal or braking vibrations are often indications that something is wrong with your van’s brakes, and brake issues are the third most common reason vans will fail their MOTs.

Reasons for van MOT failure table

Vans with the Lowest Consumer Ratings

Top 3 lowest consumer rated vans
  • Nissan Primastar – 3/5
  • Fiat Scudo – 3/5
  • Nissan NV200 – 3/5

There are three vans which share the title for lowest reviews out of our 30 most popular vans in the UK. These models all have the lowest rating on our two consumer review sites Auto Express and Parkers, a 3/5. The Fiat Scudo received the lowest independent rating, receiving a low 2/5 from Auto Express. This was only averaged to a 3 after receiving a 4/5 on Parkers.

Lowest consumer rated vans table

Vans with the Most Demand for Servicing

Top 3 serviced vans

The volume of searches for particular van services has also been analysed to reveal the most popular vans that are searched the most by drivers, suggesting these vans are in more regular need of servicing. Searches were recorded as “Vehicle x servicing” and recorded over the last 24 months.

1. Ford Transit  – 3,870 searches over the last two years

The Ford Transit has seen the largest number of servicing searches than any other model, over double that of the runner-up in this category. There have been 3,870 searches for Ford Transit Servicing in the UK in the past 24 months.

2. Fiat Ducato – 1,510 searches over the last two years

The Fiat Ducato saw the second-highest volume of consumer searches for its servicing, seeing 1,510 over the last two years.

3. Vauxhall Vivaro – 990 searches over the last two years

With 990 searches for servicing in the UK, Vauxhall’s Vivaro has seen the third-highest volume of searches for servicing out of our 30 most popular models.

Most serviced vans table

How Reliable are the UK’s Most Popular Cars?

Most popular vans key
Top 3 most popular cars

The top best-selling cars in the UK have also been investigated for how reliable they are. These are the most unreliable cars that are currently best-sellers in the UK.

1. Ford Puma

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,318
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 53.64%

The Ford Puma, despite currently being the UK’s second most popular car with 3,318 registrations this April, is the most unreliable of the UK’s current popular cars. The Puma suffers from a poor MOT pass rate of 53.64%.

2. Vauxhall Corsa

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,002
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 62.74%

In second place for the most unreliable but popular car is the Vauxhall Corsa. With just over 3,000 registrations this April, the Corsa is the fourth most popular car in the UK but has an MOT pass rate of just 62.74%.

3. Mini Hatch

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,088
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 63.81%

Rounding off our top three most unreliable but popular cars in the UK is Mini’s Hatch. The third most popular car in the UK as of April 2022, the Hatch has a relatively low MOT pass rate of 63.81%.

Most popular cars table

Methodology

The average rating was taken as an average rating of reviews from both Auto Express and Parkers. Servicing sources were taken as “vehicle x servicingfrom Google Keywords as the total number of searches for these terms in the UK over the last 24 months.

MOT pass rates were retrieved via a Freedom of Information request to the DVSA. The total MOT pass percentage was calculated by summing up all successful MOT tests for each vehicle model and dividing this number by the total number of MOT tests recorded.

Most common reasons for van MOT failures were taken from HonestJohn as 2019 data.

Please note that not all models have been tested the same number of times. Percentages were calculated using data from tests for specific models, and not variations or updates on these models. The UK’s top-selling vans and cars for April 2022 were taken from Parkers.

Lowest MOT pass vans mobile table

Most Common Reasons Vans Fail their MOT

2nd most common MOT reason
3rd most common MOT reason

In a 2019 study, Honest Johns uncovered the most common reasons for MOT failures in vans. There are a variety of reasons any vehicle will fail its MOTs, so be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of the most common faults in your vehicle to avoid being hit with an MOT failure.

1. Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment – 653,352 Failures in 2019

The most common reason that vans fail their MOT is problems with electrical equipment, including lamps and reflectors. A seriously defective or missing lamp will cause a major in your MOT test. More than one in ten vans fail due to their headlight aim being dangerously adjusted.

2. Suspension – 406,488 Failures in 2019

Suspension is the second most common cause of MOT failures in vans. Modern vans drive fast, and those van drivers that do give their van a bumpy ride often will see serious problems arise with their suspension. Even if it is just general wear and tear to the springs, anti-roll bars or suspension arms, these problems can cause an MOT failure.

3. Brakes – 369,863 Failures in 2019

More often than not, vans carry heavy loads, which adds strain to the vehicle’s brakes. A spongy pedal or braking vibrations are often indications that something is wrong with your van’s brakes, and brake issues are the third most common reason vans will fail their MOTs.

Reasons for van MOT failure table

Vans with the Lowest Consumer Ratings

1st lowest consumer rated van
2nd lowest consumer rated van
3rd lowest consumer rated van
  • Nissan Primastar – 3/5
  • Fiat Scudo – 3/5
  • Nissan NV200 – 3/5

There are three vans which share the title for lowest reviews out of our 30 most popular vans in the UK. These models all have the lowest rating on our two consumer review sites Auto Express and Parkers, a 3/5. The Fiat Scudo received the lowest independent rating, receiving a low 2/5 from Auto Express. This was only averaged to a 3 after receiving a 4/5 on Parkers.

Lowest consumer rated vans table

Vans with the Most Demand for Servicing

1st most serviced van
2nd most serviced van
3rd most serviced van

The volume of searches for particular van services has also been analysed to reveal the most popular vans that are searched the most by drivers, suggesting these vans are in more regular need of servicing. Searches were recorded as “Vehicle x servicing” and recorded over the last 24 months.

1. Ford Transit  – 3,870 searches over the last two years

The Ford Transit has seen the largest number of servicing searches than any other model, over double that of the runner-up in this category. There have been 3,870 searches for Ford Transit Servicing in the UK in the past 24 months.

2. Fiat Ducato – 1,510 searches over the last two years

The Fiat Ducato saw the second-highest volume of consumer searches for its servicing, seeing 1,510 over the last two years.

3. Vauxhall Vivaro – 990 searches over the last two years

With 990 searches for servicing in the UK, Vauxhall’s Vivaro has seen the third-highest volume of searches for servicing out of our 30 most popular models.

How Reliable are the UK’s Most Popular Cars?

Most popular vans key
1st most popular car
2nd most popular car
3rd most popular car

The top best-selling cars in the UK have also been investigated for how reliable they are. These are the most unreliable cars that are currently best-sellers in the UK.

1. Ford Puma

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,318
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 53.64%

The Ford Puma, despite currently being the UK’s second most popular car with 3,318 registrations this April, is the most unreliable of the UK’s current popular cars. The Puma suffers from a poor MOT pass rate of 53.64%.

2. Vauxhall Corsa

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,002
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 62.74%

In second place for the most unreliable but popular car is the Vauxhall Corsa. With just over 3,000 registrations this April, the Corsa is the fourth most popular car in the UK but has an MOT pass rate of just 62.74%.

3. Mini Hatch

  • Units Sold (April 2022) – 3,088
  • MOT First-Time Pass Percentage – 63.81%

Rounding off our top three most unreliable but popular cars in the UK is Mini’s Hatch. The third most popular car in the UK as of April 2022, the Hatch has a relatively low MOT pass rate of 63.81%.

Methodology

The average rating was taken as an average rating of reviews from both Auto Express and Parkers. Servicing sources were taken as “vehicle x servicingfrom Google Keywords as the total number of searches for these terms in the UK over the last 24 months.

MOT pass rates were retrieved via a Freedom of Information request to the DVSA. The total MOT pass percentage was calculated by summing up all successful MOT tests for each vehicle model and dividing this number by the total number of MOT tests recorded.

Most common reasons for van MOT failures were taken from HonestJohn as 2019 data.

Please note that not all models have been tested the same number of times. Percentages were calculated using data from tests for specific models, and not variations or updates on these models. The UK’s top-selling vans and cars for April 2022 were taken from Parkers.

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
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