7 WORST SUVS TO BUY: Avoid These Disappointing Models

For those looking to avoid the worst SUVs, there are certain models that stand out for their lack of reliability, fuel economy and safety ratings. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of these underperforming sport utility vehicles and discuss why they should be avoided by discerning automobile buyers.

We’ll explore issues such as high maintenance costs, outdated technology features, and inadequate passenger space in popular models like the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Additionally, we’ll examine lesser-known contenders such as the Nissan Pathfinder and Chevrolet Traverse that have earned a spot on our list due to their poor handling or unimpressive fuel economy.

By understanding what makes these particular SUVs undesirable choices in an increasingly competitive automobile market, you can make more informed decisions when considering your next vehicle purchase. So let’s dive into our comprehensive analysis of the worst SUVs to buy.

Table of Contents:

1. Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer Limited SUV | 4x4 Mid-Size Off-Road SUV | Ford PH

For years, the Ford Explorer has been a go-to selection among SUV owners, yet there are certain drawbacks associated with it. Here are some reasons why the Ford Explorer might be one of the worst SUVs to buy:

a. Poor Reliability Ratings

The Ford Explorer has consistently received low reliability ratings from various sources such as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. These poor ratings can be attributed to issues with the powertrain, electrical system, and overall build quality.

b. Expensive Maintenance Costs

Owners of the Ford Explorer can anticipate a yearly maintenance expenditure that is greater than average in comparison to other midsize SUVs. According to RepairPal, owners can expect an annual maintenance cost of around $732 which is more expensive than similar models like Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander.

c. Low Safety Ratings

In recent years, the safety ratings for the Ford Explorer have declined due in part to subpar crash test results from organizations like National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2023 model scored only a four-star rating out of five stars on NHTSA’s frontal crash test evaluation while competitors such as Mazda CX-9 achieved five-star ratings across all categories.

  • Poor reliability ratings – Ford Explorer has consistently received low reliability scores from various sources.
  • Expensive maintenance costs – Annual maintenance cost for the Ford Explorer is higher than average when compared to other midsize SUVs in its class.
  • Low safety ratings – The vehicle’s safety ratings have declined due to subpar crash test results, making it a less safe option compared to competitors.

In light of these issues, potential buyers should consider alternative options like the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander which offer better reliability and overall value.

The Ford Explorer is a vehicle that should be avoided due to its poor reliability ratings, expensive maintenance costs and low safety ratings. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been noted for its substandard motor operation, uneconomical fuel consumption and expensive repair expenses.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Prices, Reviews, and Photos - MotorTrend

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a popular SUV choice for many years, but it’s not without its drawbacks. This vehicle may be known for its off-road capabilities and rugged design, but there are several reasons why it might not be the best option when looking to purchase an SUV.

a. Unreliable Engine Performance

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is known for its often unreliable engine performance, which can manifest in the form of stalling or reduced power while driving and potentially costly transmission problems. Many owners have reported problems with their engines stalling or losing power while driving, which can be both frustrating and dangerous on busy roads or highways. Some models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee have experienced issues with their transmissions, which can cause expensive repairs in the future.

b. Poor Fuel Economy

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has lower fuel efficiency than other SUVs in its class, with a combined city/highway mpg rating of 18-21. This can be expensive when driving long distances or commuting regularly. The Grand Cherokee’s fuel economy may be less than desirable, making it a costly option for frequent travelers and commuters alike.

c. High Repair Costs

  • Maintenance: The cost of maintaining a Jeep Grand Cherokee can add up quickly due to expensive parts and labor costs associated with routine maintenance tasks like oil changes and brake pad replacements.
  • Repairs: When something does go wrong with your vehicle, repair bills tend to be higher than average as well – particularly if you need specialized work done by a certified mechanic familiar with Jeeps’ unique systems and components.
  • Durability: While the Jeep Grand Cherokee is known for its ruggedness, it’s not immune to wear and tear. Some owners have reported issues with rusting or corrosion on their vehicles, which can lead to costly bodywork repairs over time.

In light of these concerns, potential buyers should carefully consider whether the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s off-road capabilities and iconic design are worth the trade-offs in terms of reliability, fuel efficiency, and overall cost of ownership. For those who prioritize dependability and lower maintenance costs in an SUV purchase decision, there may be better options available.

The Grand Cherokee is a letdown for automobile lovers, due to its undependable motor functioning, poor gas mileage and pricey upkeep. On the other hand, Nissan Pathfinder suffers from low quality interior materials, poor handling and ride quality as well as an unreliable electronics system.

Key Takeaway: The Jeep Grand Cherokee, a popular SUV choice, has unreliable engine performance and poor fuel economy. Maintaining and fixing the Grand Cherokee can be costly, with high-priced components and labor expenses for routine maintenance. Considering the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s lack of reliability, fuel efficiency, and high maintenance costs, potential buyers should weigh whether its off-road capabilities justify these drawbacks.

3. Nissan Pathfinder

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Prices, Reviews, and Photos - MotorTrend

The Nissan Pathfinder is another SUV that you might want to think twice about before purchasing. While it may seem like a good choice on the surface, there are several drawbacks that make this vehicle less than ideal for many drivers.

a. Low Quality Interior Materials

One of the most common complaints about the Nissan Pathfinder is its low-quality interior materials. Many owners have reported issues with cheap plastics and subpar finishes throughout the cabin, which can lead to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction with their purchase. This lack of attention to detail in terms of build quality can be disappointing for those who expect more from their vehicles.

b. Poor Handling and Ride Quality

The Nissan Pathfinder’s handling and ride quality fail to meet the standards of its class, compromising safety with a bouncy suspension system. The suspension of the Pathfinder can be too spongy or springy when traversing rougher roads, causing some drivers to feel unsafe due to an inability to control their vehicle’s movements.

c .Unreliable Electronics System

  • NissanConnect Infotainment System: The infotainment system found in many Pathfinders has been known for being glitchy and unreliable at times, causing frustration among users who rely on these features daily for navigation, entertainment purposes or even simple tasks such as making phone calls while driving.
  • Cruise Control Issues: Some owners have experienced problems with cruise control either not working properly or suddenly disengaging without warning – both situations potentially dangerous if they occur during high-speed highway travel.
  • Transmission Problems: There have also been reports of transmission issues in certain Pathfinder models, with some drivers experiencing a sudden loss of power or an inability to shift gears smoothly.

Potential buyers should take into account the potential issues with the Nissan Pathfinder when making their decision, as there may be other SUVs that provide a better value and more dependable performance. Therefore, it may be worth researching other SUV options to ensure the best value and satisfaction in terms of quality, performance, and reliability.

The Nissan Pathfinder is an unreliable and low-quality vehicle, making it one of the worst SUVs to buy. In contrast, the Chevrolet Traverse is also not a great option for motorists due to its own array of difficulties.

Key Takeaway: The Nissan Pathfinder is not a great SUV to buy due to its low-quality interior materials, poor handling and ride quality, and unreliable electronics system. The suspension system feels too soft or bouncy when driving over rough terrain, the infotainment system has been known for being glitchy and unreliable at times, while some owners have experienced problems with cruise control and transmission issues in certain models. Potential buyers should take into account whether the Nissan Pathfinder is the right fit for them, as there are other SUVs available that may provide better worth and contentment when it comes to quality, capability, and dependability.

4. Chevrolet Traverse

First Look: 2024 Chevy Traverse | Betley Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Traverse is another SUV that has garnered a reputation for being one of the worst choices in its segment. Despite offering ample interior space and an attractive design, there are several drawbacks to this vehicle that potential buyers should be aware of.

a. Poor Crash Test Scores

Given the potential danger posed by a low crash test score, it is essential to prioritize safety when selecting an SUV for family use. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet Traverse falls short in this aspect with subpar crash test scores from reputable organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These low ratings raise concerns about how well passengers would fare in case of an accident.

b. Uncomfortable Seating Position

A comfortable seating position is essential for long drives or daily commutes; however, many drivers have reported discomfort while driving the Traverse due to its awkward seat positioning and lack of proper lumbar support. This can lead to fatigue on longer trips and may even result in back pain over time.

c .Outdated Technology Features

In today’s world where technology plays such a crucial role in our lives, it’s disappointing to find outdated features within newer vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse. The infotainment system has been criticized as slow and unresponsive compared to rival models which offer more advanced systems with faster processing times and better connectivity options (source). Additionally, some standard safety features found on other modern SUVs are missing from certain trim levels of the Traverse – making it less competitive overall.

When evaluating SUVs, it is essential to consider the advantages and drawbacks of each model. The Chevrolet Traverse may have some appealing aspects, but its poor crash test scores, uncomfortable seating position, and outdated technology features make it one of the worst options in its class.

The Chevrolet Traverse is a vehicle that has consistently received poor crash test scores and an uncomfortable seating position, making it one of the worst SUVs to buy. On the other hand, Dodge Durango offers high cost of ownership and poor resale value which can be another factor in determining if this SUV should make your list or not.

Key Takeaway: The Chevrolet Traverse is considered one of the worst SUVs to buy due to its poor crash test scores, uncomfortable seating position, and outdated technology features. Despite offering ample interior space and an attractive design, potential buyers should be aware of these drawbacks before making a purchase decision.

5. Dodge Durango

2023 Dodge Durango | Dodge Canada

The Dodge Durango is another SUV that you might want to avoid when looking for a new vehicle. Despite its bold design and potent engine options, it’s not the ideal selection for auto aficionados or SUV owners due to a few drawbacks.

a. High Cost of Ownership

The Durango has a hefty price tag when it comes to upkeep; RepairPal cites the yearly cost for repairs on this model at $675, higher than other midsize SUVs’ average of $573. According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for a Durango is $675, which is higher than the midsize SUV average of $573 per year. This means you’ll likely spend more on keeping your Durango running smoothly compared to other similar vehicles in its class.

b. Poor Resale Value

If you’re planning on selling your vehicle at some point down the line, be prepared for disappointment with the Dodge Durago’s resale value. According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), this model doesn’t hold its value as well as competitors like Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander due to concerns about reliability and overall quality issues.

c .Inadequate Cargo Space

  • While many people choose an SUV because they need ample cargo space, unfortunately, the Dodge Durago falls short in this area compared to rivals such as Ford Explorer or Chevrolet Traverse.
  • The third-row seating takes up a significant amount of space, leaving only 17.2 cubic feet behind the last row.
  • The third-row seating takes up a fair amount of room, leaving just 17.2 cubic feet behind the last row; however, when you fold down these seats, cargo capacity increases to 43.3 cubic feet – still not as much as other SUVs in its class.

Despite its shortcomings, it is evident that other vehicles in the same class offer more economical ownership costs and higher resale value. For those in search of an SUV with lower expenses and better resell worth, the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Ford Explorer might be suitable options to contemplate.

The Dodge Durango has been a costly burden to keep up, and not worth the cost in the long run; one of the least desirable SUVs available. Moving on from this dismal model, let’s look at another SUV with plenty of issues – Kia Sorento.

Key Takeaway: The Dodge Durango is a costly, unprofitable vehicle with restricted storage room, making it an unsuitable SUV to purchase. It costs more than other similar vehicles in its class to maintain and repair, has lower resale value compared to competitors like Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, and falls short on cargo capacity when compared with rivals such as Ford Explorer or Chevrolet Traverse. Better alternatives include the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or even Ford Explorer.

6. Kia Sorento

2012 Kia Sorento Prices, Reviews, and Photos - MotorTrend

The Kia Sorento is a popular SUV choice for many drivers due to its attractive design and affordable price tag. However, there are several reasons why it may not be the best option for those in search of a reliable and efficient vehicle.

a. Questionable Build Quality

The Kia Sorento’s attractive exterior belies its questionable build quality, with reports of paint chipping and interior components malfunctioning or breaking quickly. Some have experienced issues with the paint quickly deteriorating, as well as certain interior components such as door handles being prone to breakdowns or malfunctions even after minimal use. This raises concerns about the overall durability and longevity of this SUV.

b. Unrefined Powertrain

The powertrain options available on the Kia Sorento have been criticized for their lackluster performance and unrefined feel during acceleration and shifting gears. The base engine offers modest power but can struggle when loaded down with passengers or cargo, while the optional V6 engine provides more oomph but suffers from poor fuel economy ratings.

c .Unimpressive Fuel Economy

Compared to other SUVs in its class, such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, the Kia Sorento falls short when it comes to fuel efficiency. With EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers that lag behind rivals’, you’ll likely find yourself spending more at gas stations than you’d prefer if you opt for this SUV.

Despite its attractive design and budget-friendly price, the Kia Sorento may not be the best choice for those looking for a reliable, efficient SUV. This SUV’s dubious construction, lacklustre powertrain offerings and inadequate fuel efficiency make it a hard sell compared to other models in the class.

The Kia Sorento is a vehicle with questionable build quality, an unrefined powertrain and unimpressive fuel economy. Nevertheless, prior to purchasing the Toyota 4Runner, one should take into account its own shortcomings.

7. Toyota 4Runner

2023 Toyota 4Runner Price, Reviews, Pictures & More | Kelley Blue Book

The Toyota 4Runner is a popular SUV choice for off-road enthusiasts and those who value its rugged appearance. However, not everyone may find it to be the most suitable option due to certain drawbacks.

a. Poor Visibility

One of the main issues with the Toyota 4Runner is its poor visibility due to large blind spots caused by thick pillars and small windows. This can make parking, merging, and navigating tight spaces more challenging than in other SUVs on the market. A Consumer Reports study even listed it as one of the worst vehicles for driver visibility.

b .Rough Ride Quality

The ride quality in a Toyota 4Runner leaves much to be desired compared to competitors like the Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer. The body-on-frame construction makes it less comfortable on long drives or over rough terrain, resulting in excessive vibrations and noise inside the cabin.

  • Ride comfort: The stiff suspension setup leads to an uncomfortable ride experience when driving over bumps or uneven surfaces.
  • Noise levels: Road noise tends to seep into the cabin at higher speeds, making conversations difficult without raising your voice.

c .Expensive Repairs

Last but not least, owning a Toyota 4Runner comes with expensive repair costs that can add up quickly if you encounter any problems down the road – especially since many parts are specific only to this model. According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for a 4Runner is $514, which is higher than the midsize SUV average of $573.

Before making your final decision, it’s important to weigh the drawbacks of owning a Toyota 4Runner against other SUVs that offer better visibility, ride quality and lower repair costs. There are other SUVs on the market that offer better visibility, ride quality, and lower repair costs while still providing excellent performance and capabilities.

Key Takeaway: The Toyota 4Runner is a popular SUV choice for off-road enthusiasts, but it has poor visibility due to large blind spots caused by thick pillars and small windows. In comparison to other SUVs like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer, the 4Runner’s ride quality isn’t great, plus pricey repair bills could accumulate if any issues arise.

Frequently Asked Questions Worst Suvs to Buy

Which SUV brand has least problems?

The SUV brand with the least problems is generally considered to be Lexus. Known for their reliability and build quality, Lexus vehicles consistently rank high in dependability studies such as those conducted by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.

What is the most reliable SUV Consumer Reports?

The most reliable SUV according to Consumer Reports is the Mazda CX-5. It received top marks for its performance, interior design, fuel efficiency, and overall value. You can find more information on their list of best and worst rated SUVs here.

Why are SUVs less safe?

SUVs may be perceived as less safe due to their higher center of gravity which increases the risk of rollovers during accidents or sharp turns. Additionally, larger size can make them harder to maneuver in tight spaces or emergency situations. However, modern safety features like electronic stability control have helped improve safety ratings for many models.

What SUVs have the best crash ratings?

SUVs with the best crash ratings include Volvo XC60, Subaru Forester, Audi Q5, Acura RDX and Hyundai Tucson among others according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which evaluates vehicle safety based on crash tests and other safety features. You can also check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Picks for more information.


In conclusion, the worst SUVs to buy are those that fail to meet safety standards and lack features that make them reliable vehicles. The Ford Explorer, Grand Cherokee, Pathfinder, Traverse, Durango, Sorento and 4Runner all have possible issues that could lead to buyer’s remorse. Researching a vehicle thoroughly before making a decision is essential for any car buyer looking for an SUV they won’t later regret buying as one of the worst SUVs on the market.

If you’re in the market for a new SUV, be sure to research and compare all available models before making your purchase. Don’t get stuck with an unreliable or expensive vehicle; read reviews from experts and consumers alike to make an informed decision.

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