How different makes of car rate in the NCT - and the model that performs the worst every year

There's a quick and easy way to find out how different makes of car rate in the NCT, writes Campbell Spray


TOP PERFORMER: The Nissan Juke had a first-time NCT pass rate of 88pcyour

thumbnail: NCT
thumbnail: TOP PERFORMER: The Nissan Juke had a first-time NCT pass rate of 88pcyour

At last there is a very quick way to see how your car rates in the NCT. Irish tech firm Idiro Analytics has completed an analysis of the 2016 NCT results, with some interesting insights being revealed.

If you own a car, you'll know only too well the trials and tribulations involved in passing the NCT. Whether it's your front suspension that causes you to fail, a bulb not working properly or an improper tread count, the NCT is not only time-consuming but can be costly too.

As we're all aware, the aim is to pass the test first time around, however, whether you're a proud car owner who would love to bubble-wrap your car, or you enjoy doing 360-donuts at the weekends, you might be in for a surprise to find that your car could be statistically more likely to fail the NCT than to pass it.

Understandably, the Volkswagen Golf, the best-selling car in Europe, and the best-selling Volkswagen worldwide and in Ireland, was the third most tested car at the NCT in 2016. Interestingly however, it achieved a first-time pass rate of only 51pc in 2016, compared to the Toyota Yaris which achieved a first-time pass rate of 59pc and the Hyundai i30 which had a first-time pass rate of 72pc.

Furthermore, the Volkswagen Golf was listed 59th in "Pass rate by model" compared to the Peugeot 508, the Opel Insignia and the Toyota Corolla, which were listed fifth, eighth and 53rd respectively. A low overall pass rate might not be a bad thing if it shows a car model that people are still driving 30 years after it hit the road!

It's worth keeping in mind that, unsurprisingly, older cars tend to fare worse in the NCT because understandably, they are, well, older.

Hence, discontinued models of car will look worse until you compare the test results for a specific year. For example, for cars dated 2007, Toyota holds five of the top six slots for highest NCT passes, whereas for 2012 cars, Toyota doesn't make it into the top eight!

The Idiro dashboard, which is interactive and which you can explore yourself, available at, uses the 2016 NCT results made available by the RSA. To make the dashboard practically usable, it is limited to the 20 most popular brands of cars, and only models of those brands where more than 1,000 cars were tested - that's 1.1m tests out of 1.4m in total. Bear in mind, these results do not take into account factors such as mileage, maintenance or service history, and therefore may not directly evaluate car quality.

Some additional insights discovered were as follows:

  • The Nissan Juke was the best performing car model overall in the 2016 NCTs, with a first-time pass rate of 88pc, while the worst performing car was the Hyundai Trajet, at 23pc.
  • The make with the best first-time pass rate was Mercedes, at 56pc. However, within each make there is considerable variability. For example, although the Hyundai Trajet is ranked lowest, with a first-time pass rate of 23pc, the Hyundai IX35 comes in third best with a first-time pass rate of 80pc. This raises the question: is brand loyalty of Irish motorists misplaced?
  • As expected, first-time failure rates increase significantly with a car's age. Cars with a 2000 dated registration plate had a 68pc failure rate in the 2016 NCTs, in comparison with cars dated from 2010, which had a failure rate of only 31pc.
  • The most common cause of failing a first NCT was lights and electrical, at 20pc, suggesting that motorists should spend more time checking their lights before sending their car to the NCT.
  • Surprisingly, the NCT results revealed that for similar VW Group cars, there is only a small difference in terms of NCT first-time pass rates for cars from 2006 or later. For example, the VW Golf, Audi A3, Skoda Octavia, Seat Leon (all built on VW's A series platform) received first-time pass rates of 69pc, 63pc, 62pc and 59pc respectively and all but the Skoda were most likely to fail on issues with wheels and tyres. With thousands of euro' difference in prices for 2013 models of these cars, perhaps the badge and interiors aren't worth paying the difference for after all!
  • It was revealed that for cars dated 10 years or older, the Toyota Prius has the best first-time pass rate at 62pc. Additionally, Toyota occupies four slots of the top 10 first-time passes for cars 10 years or older.
  • While these insights may surprise some, it raises the question - are we as well-up on our knowledge of car brands as we think we are or should we be questioning our brand loyalty and our pre-conceived perception of "it" cars, mainly influenced by creative marketing campaigns? Perhaps next time you're shopping around for a used car, it might be worth looking a little deeper into the history of the car and perhaps even dig out some information on its mechanics.
  • Deciding to ignore the higher status models and opt for a less fashionable model that will give you more trouble-free motoring could be a better road to go down. After all, if these NCT results are anything to go by, perhaps it's worth it. A massive number of additional insights can be found on the interactive dashboard, as mentioned above, which you can explore yourself and can be found, with instructions, at