The Renault Megane tops a chart compiled by the BBC using Department for Transport data that identifies the cars that most frequently and infrequently failed their first MOTs in 2007.
The data, issued by DfT subsidiary the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, reveals that 28.1 per cent of all ’53-, ’04- and ’54-plated Meganes which underwent their first MOT test in 2007 failed that test.
That compares with 24.7 per cent of Peugeot 307s, which is identified in the data as the joint second most likely vehicle to fail an MOT at that age. The Vauxhall Corsa ranks joint second at a 24.7 per cent failure rate, while the Renault Scenic charted fourth with a 23 per cent failure rate.
The vehicles that proved least given to failing their first MOT in 2007 were the Toyota Corolla (11.2 per cent), the Honda Jazz (13.3 per cent) and the Honda Civic (14.1 per cent).
The data was issued under a Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC, which has this morning collected it into a list and published it online.
The BBC’s list, however, includes only those cars that were tested 20,000 times or more in 2007.
A Renault statement said: "In 2004, the Renault Mégane was the second best-selling car in its segment, with a majority of its sales to company fleets. These vehicles will do an above-average mileage and it is unfortunate that the data does not take this into account as there are a multitude of reasons why a vehicle can vehicle can fail an MOT, from a light bulb to a tyre, that relate to use and maintenance. "Also we do not understand the 20,000 threshold for the data that has been provided by VOSA, as there are a number of vehicles below that with a higher failure rate."
Elsewhere within the VOSA data, Autocar can reveal first MOT failure rates for less popular 2004-model-year models, some of which trump the Megane with their failure rate:
Mazda RX-7 60 per centMazda 626 50 per centAudi S6 42.9 per centFerrari 612 Scaglietti 36.8 per centMercedes 220CE 33.3 per centChevrolet Tacuma 33.3 per centPeugeot 407 31.5 per centFiat Multipla: 30.6 per centPeugeot 807: 29.8 per centFiat Doblo: 28.8 per centChevrolet Matiz: 28.6 per centChrysler PT Cruiser: 28.2 per centAlfa Romeo 156: 26.8 per centChevrolet Lacetti: 26.3 per centFiat Stilo: 23.1 per centMercedes C220 CDi: 22.2 per centCitroen C2: 20.9 per centCitroen C4: 20.7 per centLand Rover Range Rover Sport: 20.4 per centNissan Primera: 20.4 per centBMW 320i / 320d: 20.2 per centAudi A6: 18.8 per centFord Focus 18.0 per centBMW X5: 18.0 per centMercedes E220 CDi: 17.0 per centJaguar S-type: 16.7 per centKia Picanto: 16.4 per centMitsubishi Shogun: 16.2 per centPorsche Boxster: 15.4 per centDaihatsu Charade: 14.7 per centFerrari 360 Modena: 13.0 per centHyundai Tucson: 12.1 per centHonda CR-V: 11.7 per centBMW 116i: 11.3 per centLexus GS300: 8.1 per centBentley Continental GT: 7.4 per cent
Commenting on the data, Autocar’s used car expert James Ruppert said “this is an interesting report because it confirms the stereotypical views about French cars being problematic and Japanese ones being reliable.
“Unfortunately, it makes no allowance for mileage or usage: a fleet-owned Renault Megane that does 25,000 miles a year will have a much harder life than a Honda Jazz that’s used on the school run. Fleet cars like Meganes and 307s are also more likely to be neglected by their owners than more expensive, privately owned cars.”