The five cars prohibited to learners for their driving test

The five cars prohibited to learners for their driving test

Little-known blacklist of unsuitable cars features top-brand models banned for safety reasons

The body that oversees the UK driving test has updated its list of unsuitable vehicles, bumping into another city car on the list of models learners are allowed to use in their test.

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In most cases, learners never have to worry about the list. Most use their instructor’s car, which will be set up specifically for lessons and driving tests to meet all requirements.

However, some learners chose to take their test in their own car, borrowed from a friend or family member, or in a rental vehicle. Generally this is not a problem as long as it meets the basic criteria set by the DVSA (see below). But some cars that meet these criteria are still banned from the driving test due to visibility issues.

The Smart ForTwo is the latest car deemed unsuitable by the DVSA

The Smart ForTwo was recently added to the DVSA’s banned car list, joining the BMW Mini Convertible; Ford KA convertible (StreetKa); Toyota iQ and Volkswagen Beetle convertible.

In each case, the DVSA will not allow learners to use them because their design does not provide the examiner with full visibility.

These bans are based on reviewers’ experiences and the agency points out that other cars may also not be suitable. He advises anyone in doubt about a car’s suitability to check with it before attending a test. In particular, you should check if you intend to use a convertible; van or coupe.

There are also several models affected by safety recalls that you cannot use unless you have proof that the recall has been made. These include the Citroën C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108 built between September 9, 2014 and October 15, 2014, which were recalled for steering failure; The Toyota Yaris built between June 2005 and May 2010, which suffered from track seat and/or steering column issues and the Vauxhall Adam and Corsa D, which suffered from potential steering issues.

Visibility issues mean VW Beetle convertible not allowed to be used for test drives

As long as you can provide official proof that your car was recalled or not needed, you will be allowed to use it.

There are other requirements for using your own car for your driving test and if you fail to meet these your examiner could cancel the test without even starting the engine.

To use your car for the driving test, you must:

  • to be taxed
  • be insured for a driving test (check with your insurance company)
  • be in working order and have a current inspection (if more than 3 years old)
  • do not have warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
  • have no damaged tires and the legal tread depth on each tire – you cannot fit a space-saving spare tire
  • no smoking – this means that you cannot smoke there just before or during the test
  • be able to reach at least 62 mph and have a mph speedometer
  • have 4 wheels and a maximum authorized mass (MMA) not exceeding 3,500 kg

It must also include an additional interior mirror for the examiner; L-plates; a passenger seat belt and an appropriate passenger head restraint.

Additionally, Covid safety rules mean that in England and Wales you must park your car before your test. This includes removing all trash or unnecessary items from the dashboard, floors, door pockets, cup holders and seats.

In Scotland the rules are stricter and you must also clean and wipe down the car’s dashboard and controls, and make sure the passenger seat and floor are not dirty. The car you use for your test must have at least one open window on each side throughout the test. If your car does not meet these requirements, your test will be cancelled.