Avoiding Pitfalls: The Worst SUV to Buy in 2023

Ever been behind the wheel of a clunker? That one SUV that felt more like an expensive paperweight than a vehicle?

Maybe it guzzled gas faster than you could fill up, or perhaps its repair costs were enough to fund your next vacation. You’re not alone. With so many models on the market today, identifying the worst SUV to buy can be as challenging as navigating through peak hour traffic.

In this exploration, we’ll navigate our way through some highway horrors and breakdown-bound bangers – those notorious underperformers that are best avoided when buying an SUV.

The journey won’t just help you steer clear of costly pitfalls but also ensure your hard-earned money is invested in a ride worth every penny. Secure your seatbelts; it’s gonna be an exciting journey!

Table Of Contents:

Understanding the Worst SUVs to Buy

At AutoBizz, we evaluated various aspects like dependability, repair costs, and resale value to determine the ten most deficient SUVs in today’s market; nevertheless, not all models are of equivalent caliber. When searching for a vehicle, being aware of the models to stay away from can help prevent expensive repairs, poor gas mileage, or unsatisfactory engine performance.

In our comprehensive analysis at AutoBizz, we examined various factors such as reliability, repair costs, and resale value to identify the 10 worst SUVs in today’s market. Let’s delve into what makes an otherwise attractive vehicle end up in this undesirable category.

What makes an SUV show up in the worst of a category?

SUVs that perform poorly often suffer from common issues like high maintenance costs or lackluster power. But sometimes it’s more than just one factor that lands them on this list; it could be everything from transmission issues to safety features (or lack thereof).

For instance, while some buyers might overlook a single shortcoming like poor fuel economy if they love other aspects of their chosen model – when several negative elements combine together – things get messy fast.

An obvious offender is excessive wind noise — no one wants their road trip soundtracked by constant howling gusts. Then there are those pesky technical hiccups: nothing ruins your day faster than an unexpected breakdown due to dodgy parts under-the-hood causing problems with the steering or braking system. Add limited cargo space into the mix? You’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

A key part of our evaluation also included assessing vehicles’ resale values over time – after all, who doesn’t want a return on investment? Some models depreciate quickly because manufacturers discontinue them (like the Chevy Trax) while others simply don’t hold their value due to a lack of demand.

But here’s a funny thing: some of the worst SUVs are also among the most popular. It just goes to show that flashy marketing can often outshine real-world performance. So, as you embark on your car-buying journey, remember not all that glitters is gold.

Key Takeaway: 

When hunting for a new SUV, dodge the duds. High maintenance costs, lackluster power and poor resale value can make an otherwise flashy model fall flat. Even popular options may disappoint with issues like excessive wind noise or unexpected breakdowns. So remember: not all that glitters is gold in the world of SUVs.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport’s High Repair Costs and Lack of Power

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has caused confusion for its owners due to the unexpectedly high costs of repair. While SUVs are known for their durability, this model seems to be an exception. Regular maintenance bills pile up fast, leaving owners scratching their heads.

The Outlander Sport, unfortunately, doesn’t just hurt your wallet at the garage but also disappoints on the road. It lacks power when compared to other models in its class which takes away from what should be a dynamic driving experience.

High Repair Costs: A Downside to Consider

You’d think that a car named ‘Sport’ would come equipped with some solid resilience – sadly not so much with our friend here. The Outlander sport has become infamous among mechanics due to frequent visits for repairs both minor and significant.

This can mean spending more time than you’d like (and money) at your local mechanic’s shop trying to get things fixed. Whether it’s engine troubles or brake system woes – they all contribute towards an expensive ownership experience over time.

Lackluster Performance Under The Hood

An SUV without power is like a lion without roar – somewhat underwhelming. For drivers who love feeling control as they navigate winding roads or merge onto busy highways, the lack of oomph in acceleration may prove disappointing.

In comparison tests between various similar vehicles such as Subaru Crosstrek or Honda HR-V, it was observed that these rivals outperformed the Mitsubishi counterpart easily in terms of speed and handling prowess. A disappointing reality considering how essential performance factors into overall driving enjoyment.

Resale Value: Not A Silver Lining Either

If the repair costs and performance weren’t enough to deter potential buyers, let’s throw in low resale value into the mix. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport unfortunately doesn’t hold its worth as well over time when compared to other SUVs.

Mostly, it’s because of the one-two punch from high mileage wear-and-tear and less-than-stellar reliability ratings that drive down value.

Key Takeaway: 

Don’t let the ‘Sport’ label fool you, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport might disappoint. It’s got hefty repair bills and lacks the zip you’d expect. Compared to competitors like Subaru Crosstrek or Honda HR-V, it just doesn’t pack a punch. And if that wasn’t enough, its resale value takes a hit from wear-and-tear.

Mini Countryman’s Low-Powered Engine and Missing Standard Features

The Mini Countryman, despite its appealing aesthetics, suffers from a low-powered engine. This translates to less pep when you hit the gas pedal. It might not be noticeable during city driving but becomes glaringly apparent on highways or uphill climbs.

The absence of oomph not only is irritating; it can also present a risk when attempting to pass other vehicles or enter swiftly-moving lanes. In an SUV market where most competitors are offering robust engines with strong performance figures, the Mini Countryman’s underpowered nature sticks out like a sore thumb.

Beneath the surface lies another issue – a lack of standard features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, essential for modern drivers who rely heavily on their smartphones. These two have become staples for modern drivers who rely heavily on their smartphones for navigation and entertainment purposes while traveling.

No Room For Smartphone Integration?

In today’s connected world where almost everything is accessible through our phones, it seems unthinkable that an SUV would skip including these crucial features – especially given the premium price tag attached to this brand name.

Lack of Apple CarPlay means iPhone users won’t get seamless access to their favorite apps right on their vehicle’s infotainment screen. No Android Auto? That means no easy Google Maps navigation or Spotify streaming for those using Android devices. It’s akin to buying a smart TV only realizing later that Netflix isn’t supported – rather disappointing.

Paying More But Getting Less?

You’d expect more from your investment considering how many other brands offer these essentials as part of even their base models’ package at lower prices points than what you’ll shell out for a new Mini Countryman.

Autobizz notes that it’s these glaring omissions and lackluster engine performance that make the Mini Countryman one of the least desirable options for those in search of a new SUV.

For those spending more money, they should expect a greater return on their investment. But here, buyers might find themselves stuck with a lackluster engine and missing key features – two big deal-breakers.

Key Takeaway: 

Though the Mini Countryman may catch your eye with its appealing design, it falls short in a few key areas. Its engine lacks pep and standard features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are noticeably absent. Considering its premium price point, this might leave you feeling like you’re not getting enough bang for your buck, especially when other SUVs offer these basics even in their entry-level models. Therefore, despite its good looks, the Mini Countryman doesn’t quite hit the mark on performance or value.

Ford Explorer’s Poor Fuel Economy & Cheap Cabin Materials

The Ford Explorer, once a beloved choice for its roominess and off-road prowess, has since seen better days due to its poor fuel economy and low-quality cabin materials. Its recent models have been criticized for poor fuel economy and cheap cabin materials.

It might surprise you that the Ford Explorer struggles in terms of fuel efficiency. But here’s the thing – it does. It fails to deliver competitive mileage compared to other SUVs in its class. With most city drivers getting only 18 miles per gallon (mpg) and highway drivers around 24 mpg, it seems like your hard-earned dollars are evaporating into thin air with each drive.

To add insult to injury, even when we overlook the poor gas mileage situation, stepping inside an Explorer doesn’t give much cause for celebration either. Despite carrying a not-so-modest price tag starting from $32k range upwards according to Car Buying Strategies, the interior quality leaves much to be desired.

Cheap Cabin Material: A Downer For The Price Tag?

You may ask yourself – how bad could these “cheap cabin materials” really be? Imagine being excited about your new purchase only to find out that what awaits you is an array of plastic panels making up most of the dashboard or door interiors – yes that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

This doesn’t just affect aesthetics but also raises questions on durability over time. The material used inside isn’t exactly what one would expect considering they’ve shelled out tens of thousands on this SUV.

Poor Fuel Economy: A Silent Budget Eater?

Moving onto our second culprit – the poor fuel economy. You’ll gradually detect that you’re needing to go for refills at the pump more often.

It’s like having a silent budget eater in your garage that gnaws away at your wallet each time you drive off. And let’s be honest, with rising gas prices these days who wants an SUV guzzling down more than its fair share?

Key Takeaway: 

Despite its reputation, the Ford Explorer disappoints with poor fuel economy and cheap cabin materials. It guzzles gas at a disappointing 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. To make matters worse, despite its hefty price tag starting from $32k range upwards, it’s plagued by plastic-filled interiors that question both aesthetics and durability.

The Jeep Renegade’s Excessive Wind Noise and Low Fuel Economy

When picturing a Jeep, images of roughness and exploration may be the initial things that spring to mind. But with the Jeep Renegade, it seems like they forgot about quietude on those long road trips. Its excessive wind noise can make conversation or listening to music quite challenging.

A test drive might not reveal this flaw as wind noise usually picks up at highway speeds. The roar becomes noticeable around 50 mph and only gets worse as speed increases, which isn’t exactly what you want when heading out for an off-road trip.

Besides being a noisy travel companion, another disappointing aspect of the Jeep Renegade is its poor fuel economy. Given today’s rising gas prices – who needs a guzzler?

Fuel Efficiency: More Like Inefficiency

The Renegade lags behind many competitors in terms of miles per gallon (MPG). According to FuelEconomy.gov, the four-wheel-drive model offers just 21 MPG city and 29 MPG highway – far from impressive numbers compared to other compact SUVs in its class.

In fact, driving less than others doesn’t even save much due to these low figures. So while your friends are making fewer pit stops on their journey because their vehicles offer better mileage, you may find yourself regularly hunting down gas stations.

Noisy Ride: What’s That Sound?

You’ve probably heard of ‘wind therapy’ – but trust me; this isn’t it. While a bit of wind noise is common in SUVs, especially at higher speeds, the Renegade takes it to another level.

The excessive noise might not just be due to aerodynamics but could also be related to poor insulation. Noise from outside can leak into the cabin and disturb your peace – which doesn’t sound like much fun on a long trip or even for daily commuting.

Key Takeaway: 

The Jeep Renegade, while embodying the spirit of adventure, falls short in delivering a peaceful ride due to excessive wind noise that ramps up at highway speeds. Adding insult to injury is its poor fuel economy – with unimpressive MPG figures compared to competitors, it’ll have you hunting for gas stations more often than not.

Chevrolet Trax’s Lack of Safety Features & Depreciating Value

One may ask why the Chevrolet Trax, also referred to as Chevy Trax, has been given special attention in this list. Well, it boils down to two major factors – its lackluster safety features and rapidly depreciating value.

The issue with the Chevy Trax begins with its meager safety offerings. In an era where even budget SUVs are brimming with advanced safety tech, the Chevy falls disappointingly short. For instance, forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking – considered standard on most rivals – aren’t available across all trims.

A Safety Score that Leaves Much to be Desired

In terms of crash-test results from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), they’re just average for a car in this category; nothing worth writing home about really. Even IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) gives it only an “Acceptable” rating for driver-side small overlap front test results; again pretty average.

If we think about our daily commutes or long road trips filled with unpredictable traffic conditions and sudden obstacles appearing out of nowhere like rabbits from a magician’s hat – these missing features could make a world of difference between safe arrivals and unfortunate mishaps.

Depreciation: A Swift Downhill Ride?

Moving onto depreciation concerns – buckle up because it’s quite the ride. It’s common knowledge that cars depreciate over time but some manage to hold their value better than others. Sadly though, this isn’t one such case when talking about the Chevy Trax.

The Trax’s value plummets quicker than a skydiver without a parachute. Its final year of production is like the last season of an unpopular TV show – no one’s excited and resale values dip dramatically. It’s like buying fresh produce, only to see it rot quickly.

Key Takeaway: 

The Chevy Trax might let you down due to its limited safety features and quick depreciation. It’s missing key safety tech, like forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency brakes in some models, which leaves it lagging behind the competition. Its crash-test results are only average – nothing to write home about. Plus, its value plunges faster than most cars; imagine a skydiver without a parachute.

GMC Acadia’s Limited Cargo Space

The GMC Acadia, a mid-size SUV that’s part of General Motors’ lineup, is often celebrated for its sleek design and comfortable ride. But there’s one issue that might be a deal-breaker: the limited cargo space behind the third row.

While many SUVs pride themselves on spacious interiors and ample storage capacity, this isn’t where the GMC Acadia shines brightest. When the back seats are occupied, you’re only left with a measly 12.8 cubic feet to stow away your possessions – not exactly practical if you have lots of family bags or bulky sports equipment that needs transporting.

The Real-World Impact

This lack of room can make certain activities challenging. Imagine going camping with your family over the weekend but struggling to fit all necessary equipment into such cramped quarters? Or what about those airport runs when everyone has at least one large suitcase?

In these scenarios, it quickly becomes apparent how an extra few cubic feet could significantly improve user experience and convenience levels. The average full-size sedan trunk offers more room than this.

How It Compares With Other SUVs

If we put it up against other vehicles in its class like Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, which boast nearly double the amount of space behind their third rows (16 and 16.1 cubic feet respectively), we see even more clearly how much potential usefulness is being lost here due to small dimensions.

Possible Workarounds?

Folding down back-row seating does expand total cargo area up to 79 cubic feet – quite respectable by industry standards but still requires sacrificing passenger accommodation whenever sizable carrying capacity is needed.

When making your next SUV purchase decision, always consider how much storage you’re likely to need. If regular large-item transport or multi-passenger road trips are in your future plans, GMC Acadia’s limited third-row cargo area might just be too restrictive for practical purposes.

Key Takeaway: 

Storage Shortage: Despite its sleek look and comfy ride, the GMC Acadia is a bit stingy on cargo space. With only 12.8 cubic feet behind the third row, it doesn’t quite measure up to rivals like Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander. If you’re frequently hauling big items or planning family getaways, keep this in mind before making your decision.

Fiat 500X’s High Starting Price & Limited Space

When it comes to compact SUVs, Fiat’s 500X model often stands out – but not always for the right reasons. This pint-sized powerhouse has a surprisingly high starting price tag that might make you do a double-take.

The Fiat 500X’s initial cost isn’t its only drawback. One of the main gripes among owners and experts alike is the limited cargo and passenger space, which significantly detracts from its practicality as an everyday vehicle.

You may be asking yourself why these two issues are such significant downsides in an SUV? Well, when considering buying any car, let alone an SUV like Fiat 500X, there are three key factors: cost-effectiveness, spaciousness, and comfortability.

Why Pay More When You Can Get More?

In terms of value for money or “bang-for-your-buck,” many potential buyers find it hard to justify spending their dollars on this little Italian import. Its base price point rivals that of larger crossovers with more standard features; thus making them seem more appealing than shelling out big bucks for less utility space.

If we consider other options within similar pricing brackets such as Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 – both known for their impressive performance and ample interior room – it becomes clear why some shoppers might feel short-changed by Fiat’s offering here.

A Tight Squeeze Isn’t Always Fun

Moving onto another crucial aspect – space. If you’re going on long family road trips or just carrying around loads of groceries regularly then surely your vehicle needs enough room to accommodate all that stuff, right?

Unfortunately, Fiat 500X falls short in this department too. The 500X’s cargo area is limited and the back seats are cramped, making it a less-than-ideal pick for those who require more space or comfort when transporting lots of items.

It’s Not All Doom And Gloom

Despite its drawbacks, the Fiat 500X has a few redeeming qualities, such as its stylish European design that is sure to catch the eye. Its sleek European design is quite a head-turner and really stands out in a sea of bland cars.

Key Takeaway: 

Though the Fiat 500X might charm you with its distinct European flair, consider its steep initial cost and confined space. It finds it tough to match up against competitors like Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 that deliver more value for your money and boast larger interiors. If you’re looking for an SUV where affordability, roominess, and comfort take center stage.

Dodge Journey’s Cramped Seating & Below-Average Power

The Dodge Journey, a once-popular choice among SUVs, has seen its reputation take a hit due to several shortcomings. A notable one is the vehicle’s cramped seating. While many of us might remember playing ‘sardines’ as kids, being squished in an uncomfortable car seat on long journeys isn’t quite the fun game we’re after.

Picture this: You’ve planned a family trip and everyone’s excited about it. But then you realize that your beloved Dodge Journey can barely fit all passengers comfortably for extended periods. It’s like trying to squeeze into those jeans from high school – technically possible but not at all comfortable.

A report shows how legroom in both second and third rows falls short compared to other models in its class.

Below-average power doesn’t help either…

If you thought dodging potholes was tough enough with poor visibility due to squeezed space, think again. The Dodge Journey brings another challenge – below-average engine performance which could make any uphill drive feel like Mount Everest expedition.

In terms of raw numbers? Well according to Car and Driver, this SUV comes equipped with only 173 horsepower engine; something more suited for compact sedans rather than full-fledged family vehicles meant for towing trailers or sporting gear.

Fuel Economy Is Yet Another Concern

To add fuel…err… salt (no pun intended) onto these wounds are disappointing gas mileage figures that make cross-country trips even more daunting financially speaking. Just like that chocolate cake in your fridge, it’s hard to resist but leaves you regretting later.

Despite its 19 MPG city and 25 highway ratings, according to FuelEconomy, the Dodge Journey falls short when compared to other SUVs’ fuel efficiency. It’s akin to a pie-eating contest where everyone else is ahead.

Key Takeaway: 

Imagine playing sardines, but you’re in your Dodge Journey on a road trip with the family. The tight seating and scarce legroom can make any drive feel like an awkward squish. What’s more, its lackluster power output feels like scaling Mount Everest when it should be just a hill. And let’s not forget about those disappointing fuel economy numbers – this SUV sure drinks up.

The Land Rover Range Rover’s High Maintenance Costs & Low Resale Value

Let’s get this straight: The Land Rover Range Rover is a beauty. Its posh exterior and luxurious interior scream elegance. However, financially speaking, having a Range Rover can be tricky.

Firstly, let’s talk about maintenance costs. Owning a car isn’t just about paying for gas or getting an occasional oil change; it also includes routine services and unexpected repairs.

If you own a Range Rover, expect your wallet to feel the pinch regularly. YourMechanic, states that over 10 years, the cost to maintain a Range Rover could be as high as $1,600 annually. Now that’s quite heavy on any budget.

Maintenance Breakdown

A closer look at these costs reveals why they are so steep:

  • Spare Parts: If you’ve ever had to buy spare parts for your car then you know how pricey they can be especially if it’s a luxury brand like Land Rover.
  • Labor Costs: With such complex engineering under its hood, most garages need specialized technicians which add up labor charges.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Rovers aren’t known for their fuel efficiency. According to some stats from LemberG, they consume significantly more than other SUVs in their class.

All these factors make maintaining a Range Rover no easy task economically speaking. But there’s another factor making matters worse – resale value.

Poor Resale Value

In contrast to its high maintenance costs, the Land Rover Range Rover has a notoriously low resale value. It’s not uncommon for luxury cars to depreciate faster than economy models but the Range Rover takes it a notch higher.

According to Car and Driver, after five years of ownership, you could lose up to 63% of your original investment. Ouch.

Key Takeaway: 

While the Land Rover Range Rover is undeniably eye-catching, it’s also a bit of a money pit. With high upkeep costs from expensive parts to expert labor, and not-so-great gas mileage, owning one can get pricey. Throw in its infamously low resale value – you could lose as much as 63% of what you paid in just five years – and this beauty becomes quite the financial challenge.

FAQs in Relation to Worst SUVs to Buy

What SUV has the most amount of problems?

The Jeep Renegade often tops lists for problematic SUVs due to its weak acceleration, mushy brakes, and low fuel economy.

What are the least reliable used SUVs?

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Ford Explorer rank as some of the least reliable used SUVs with high repair costs and cheap cabin materials respectively.

What new SUV not to buy?

Avoid buying a new Chevrolet Trax. Its lack of safety features and power combined with discontinuation make it a risky investment.

What is the first most reliable SUV?

Topping reliability charts is Toyota Highlander, known for excellent build quality, robust performance, and impressive longevity.


Let’s hit the brakes here.

We’ve toured some of the worst SUVs to buy in 2023. From poor fuel economy and high repair costs, we now know what makes these models a bumpy ride.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Ford Explorer, Jeep Renegade – all underperformers with serious shortcomings. Remember how Chevy Trax lacked safety features? Or how Ford EcoSport was behind on tech?

And let’s not forget Fiat 500X’s limited space or GMC Acadia’s lackluster interior. Not to mention Land Rover Range Rover’s steep maintenance costs!

You’re equipped now. You can dodge these highway horrors and find that perfect ride worth every penny! So go ahead – steer clear of pitfalls and drive towards value for your money!