15 SUVs and Trucks to Avoid

Today’s cars and trucks perform better, pack more innovative features, are safer, and generally come off the assembly line built better than ever. It’s tough to wind up being stuck with a bona fide lemon these days, with more owners complaining about quirky infotainment systems than major mechanical failures.

But that doesn’t mean all new vehicles within a given model segment are created equal in terms of their performance, comfort, sophistication and – especially – their long-term reliability. And some models may have inherent design flaws that cause some shoppers to take a pass, while others have just lingered too long without a redesign and have since been eclipsed by newer models.

15. Nissan Titan XD

The heavy-duty version of Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup truck sells in only minute numbers, and though it’s capable, comfortable, and drives well enough for its size and weight, the domestic-brands’ biggest trucks beat it in terms of its critical towing and hauling capacities. Consumer Reports gives it a low overall score and predicts poor reliability down the road. CR ranks it among the worst vehicles of the year. The Ram 2500 is a great alternative, here.

14. Land Rover Discovery Sport

While the Land Rover Discovery Sport is handsome looking, with a particularly appealing interior and decent off-road chops, it falls short compared to its European rivals among compact luxury SUVs. It gets low marks for reliability from both Consumer Reports and JD Power, with CR giving it a dismal overall rating, citing its sub-par overall acceleration and handling abilities. Consider a BMW X3 or Audi Q5 instead.

13. Jeep Renegade

Though smartly styled, the subcompact Jeep Renegade gets low marks for reliability from JD Power and Consumer Reports. CR also gives the vehicle’s driving experience a poor rating, citing issues with engine and transmission response, a rough ride and uncomfortable interior. Again, the Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport and Hyundai Kona are better choices.

12. Dodge Journey

The midsize Journey crossover SUV is slated to undergo a complete redesign next year, and it couldn’t come soon enough to cure its inherent ills. With an overall score of 45 and a reliability rating of minus-79, Consumer Reports liked the Journey’s ride quality, quietness, and cabin storage, but otherwise called out its poor handling, unresponsive transmission, fuel economy, rear visibility, tiny third-row seat, and its poor small-overlap frontal crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It scored below average in the JD Power Dependability study and is expected to hold onto just 38% of its original value after three years and 24% after five years. Dodge Journey relies on hefty cash rebates to spur sales. It lacks many key features and seems crude and unrefined compared to the top models in its segment. Consumer Reports rates it as below average with poor reliability

11. Fiat 500X

The subcompact Fiat 500X is another model that looks good, both on paper and in person, but falters where the proverbial rubber meets the road. With a Consumer Reports score of 35 out of 100, it does only nominally better than the above 500L, and like that model, is rated way below average for projected durability.

10. Nissan Titan

Long in need of a refresh, Nissan’s full-size pickup truck tends to be also-ran in an intensely brand-loyal segment; it’s handily outclassed by entries from Chevrolet/GMC, Ford and Ram, and to a lesser degree, Toyota. The Titan is rated both below average in residual value from ALG and in performance from J.D. Power; it’s also noted as being among Consumer Reports’ worst values.

9. Chevrolet Suburban

The full-size Suburban SUV is as purposeful a vehicle as there is, built for large families and/or those who require the ability to tow a large boat or trailer. In truth, for this type of vehicle, it’s hard to beat. But beware that it’s big and ungainly, and is sheer vehicular overkill in absence of such special needs. With an overall score of 54 and a reliability rating of minus-154, Consumer Reports liked many of the Suburban’s attributes, but found it underpowered, hard to maneuver and park, difficult to load with cargo, and overpriced. It scored below average in all three of the JD Power studies (Initial Quality, Dependability, and Design/Performance), and is expected to hold onto just 47% of its original value after three years and 32% after five years. It’s substantively similar to the GMC Yukon XL, and the somewhat smaller Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon models, which tend to score somewhat higher.

8. Jeep Cherokee

More stylish than the norm among compact crossover SUVs, the Cherokee–unlike most competitors– is able to venture off road when properly (and expensively) equipped. Consumer Reports gives the Cherokee an overall score of 40-47 and a “poor” reliability rating. CR found it to be solid and quiet, and gave high marks to its infotainment system, V6 towing capacity and off-road abilities; however, it criticized the standard four-cylinder engine, nine-speed automatic transmission, entry/exiting, cargo space, front-seat comfort, and forward visibility. It scored below average in the JD Power Initial Quality study and is expected to hold onto just 45% of its original value after three years and 33% after five years.

7. Jeep Compass

Here’s another crossover SUV that’s gone for far too long without a full redesign, and it was never exactly class-leading in the first place. With an overall score of 43 and a “poor” reliability rating, Consumer Reports found little to like about the compact Compass, other than its controls and fuel economy; it received low marks for engine noise, acceleration, seat comfort, rear visibility, cornering, and braking. It scored below average in the JD Power design/performance study and is expected to hold onto just 36% of its original value after three years and 26% after five years.

6. Jeep Patriot

Mechanically identical to the Jeep Compass, but with a more traditional Jeep-like look, the dated Patriot hardly warrants a salute. With an overall score of 40 and a reliability rating of minus-45, Consumer Reports noted zero “pros,” but had a long list of “cons,” including engine noise, acceleration, driving position, seat comfort, a too-complicated optional radio, and a poor small-overlap frontal crash test score. It scored below average in the JD Power design/performance study and is expected to hold onto just 37% of its original value after three years and 27% after five years. Most everything said in the previous caption about the above Jeep Compass applies here, except that the Patriot assumes more-traditional Jeep exterior styling. Consumer Reports says it benefits from “a compliant ride and mostly simple controls, but little else stands out.”

5. Nissan Pathfinder

Originally a burly truck-based SUV but now a more passive midsize crossover, the Pathfinder falters in what’s become the most competitive market segment. With an overall score of 53 and a reliability rating of minus-126,Consumer Reports liked the Pathfinder’s spacious interior, easy access, and handy second-row seat, but determined it otherwise had no exceptional abilities, with poor acceleration, clumsy handling, and a cheaply finished interior. It scored below average in the JD Power Dependability study and is expected to hold onto just 44% of its original value after three years and 28% after five years.

4. Jeep Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited

Though some might argue the iconic Wrangler and its four-door Wrangler Unlimited version are among the best-performing off-road vehicles, they suffer from limited passenger comfort, harsh and erratic ride and handling abilities and excessive wind noise at higher speeds. True, they get great resale value, but the Wranglers placed among the lowest scoring models in Consumer Reports’ testing, with the Unlimited also falling on its worst-values list; the original Jeep’s descendent also gets low marks in initial quality, performance and reliability from J.D. Power.

3. Nissan Armada

Nissan’s large and lumbering SUV is based on the Titan full-size truck and while it’s roomy and capable of towing a decent-sized boat, it’s a handful to drive with a bouncy ride and heavy handling. The Armada gets low marks from J.D. Power for initial quality and reliability, and garners among the lowest overall scores from Consumer Reports. According to CR, “its overall fuel economy of 13 mpg is abysmal, reliability is poor and ownership costs are the worst in the category.”

2. Jeep Wrangler JK

This is essentially the previous generation of Jeep’s iconic Wrangler, which remains on sale for 2018 alongside the newly redesigned “WranglerJL.” The JK remains second to none with regard to its off-road abilities, but it’s cramped, noisy, unrefined, and brutal over the bumps as a daily driver. The new version is by all accounts more sophisticated. The JK, meanwhile, gets a rock-bottom score of 26 out of 100 from Consumer Reports, further receiving poor reliability grades from both CR and JD Power.

1. Dodge Grand Caravan

The last of the original minivans, the Grand Caravan was supposed to have been discontinued with the introduction of the Chrysler Pacifica last year, but it remains as the brand’s best-selling model. It’s lingered for too long in its present form, however, and lacks the latest safety features; both Consumer Reports and JD Power give it low marks for reliability. A used version is probably a better deal.