Could Toyota really be the ‘best built car in the world’?

NCT test data for 2013 shows models from Japanese car brand have highest pass rate

There was good news for Toyota when the top 10 best-selling cars of 2009 underwent the NCT in 2013 - this being the first required test for cars, at four years old. The compact Yaris came out on top (87 per cent pass rate). File photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Toyota, the car brand of choice for taxi drivers, sales reps and nuclear families, might just be the most reliable car on the road.

That's if the results of an analysis of the 1.2 million cars which underwent the National Car Test (NCT) in 2013 are to be believed.

An ‘Irish Times’ analysis of the top 20 most-tested car brands during that year shows that Toyota had the highest pass rate (51 per cent), followed by Skoda and Volvo (both 50 per cent).

By contrast, Renault (38 per cent), and Mitsubishi and Peugeot (39 per cent) ranked towards the bottom of the table.


There was more good news for Toyota when the top 10 best-selling cars of 2009 were tested in 2013 - this being the first required test, at four years old. The compact Yaris came out on top (87 per cent pass rate).

In all, Toyota had three models in the top five - the Yaris, the Corolla (83 per cent) and Avensis (81 per cent), the latter two being family cars.

"It's not a big surprise," said Michael Rochford of, which compiles vehicle data and intelligence. "They might not be flash - but they're solid, popular and reliable."

A rival

As for Tommy Gorman, former president of the National Taxi Drivers' Union, the Avensis has been the car of choice among cabbies for years – but it has a rival.

“It’s a good, serviceable car. They do the miles, and they’re good for parts,” he said.

“That said, Skoda Octavia is getting more and more popular. It’s cheaper and has a great reputation.”

Many variables

There are, of course, many variables when it comes to NCT test outcomes. Everything from the relative age of cars, the number of models and relative care on the part of owners can distort impacts on pass rates. These caveats are, of course, of little concern to Toyota.

"The results of this NCT study reflect the quality, durability and reliability that Toyota are renowned for as the 'best built cars in the world'," said Ian Corbett of Toyota Ireland.

Renault, which performed less impressively, insists that international studies show it as one of the most reliable car brands in the world.

“The number of warranty-related incidents with our vehicles after one year on the road fell by 77 per cent between 2003 and 2011,” a Renault spokeswoman said.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent

Paul Scott

Paul Scott

Paul Scott is a graphic designer at The Irish Times