Sport utility vehicles are some of the most popular automobiles on the road. Perfect for families and commuters, buying one can be a life-defining moment. Not every SUV is created equal, however. Some have reputations to fail at the worst time, while others just aren’t equipped to really be called SUVs.
If you are in the market for a new or used car, make sure to go through this list to avoid buying a car that could potentially be a lemon or unsafe for you and your family. Here is the list of the worst SUVs of all time.
Land Rover Discovery
Launched originally in 1989, the Land Rover Discovery is part of a mid-sized series coming from the Land Rover manufacturing company. Altogether there are five series of Discovery SUVs that have been separately sold and are scattered across the globe.
Though the Discovery initially had a lot of traction, sales of the Land Rover model have started to decrease in the past few years. Although it may look tough, it is expensive to maintain and generally unreliable.
Produced and marketed as a mid-size luxury crossover from the automotive company Acura, the ZDX blurs the lines between a sedan, SUV, and coupe which can explain the ZDX’s unique look.
This combination of inspiration caused audiences to formulate mixed ideas on what to expect from the ZDX and that confusion showed in the sales of the vehicle. Its production time ran from 2009-2013 and in that 4-year span just over 5,000 units were sold.
The Isuzu VehiCROSS is a compact SUV made from Isuzu from 1997-2001. Designed for both on the road and off-road driving, the Vehicross had mixed reviews when it was introduced at the Tokyo International Auto Show.
In the Isuzu VehiCROSS’ four year span, Isuzu made minimal interior and body upgrades to the VehiCROSS to excite and retain their buyer base. As a result, it was eventually discontinued in 2001 due to a defect and a decrease in sales.
Around since 1983, the Toyota 4Runner is a compact SUV and mid-size SUV. Known as the Toyota Hilux in some parts of the world, the 4Runner was designed to be a family car.
Outside of some more advanced technological features in the newer models, the 4Runner isn’t incredibly unique nor does it offer anything special to buyers that they couldn’t find elsewhere. If you aren’t searching for an off-roading average-sized SUV, then there are plenty of other options to choose from.
Even the prospective buyers of Jeep Wranglers that are already aware of the vehicle’s poor gas mileage are shocked at just how bad it is, once they hit the road. Many even bring it to a mechanic, to see what’s wrong.
Owners of the model have taken to Wrangler Forum online to discuss gas mileage, with many of them wondering what’s wrong with their vehicle because it’s that bad. Those who answer blame their “heavy foot” on the poor performance while other realists explain, “I mean welcome to the world of Jeep man, tune-ups will help but everyone dreams of 15 mpg…”
The Suzuki X-90 is a subcompact SUV that looks and resembles a car and a pickup truck. Introduced as a concept car in 1993, the X-90 wasn’t launched and manufactured until 1995 where it ran for two years until its discontinuation in 1997.
In its two-year cycle, less than 6,000 models were sold and it was even named “One of The Worst Cars Ever Made” by Top Gear in 2013 for its lack of features and unappealing appearance.
The 2nd largest SUV produced and marketed by Ford Motor Company, the Lincoln MKT is a full-size luxury crossover SUV sandwiched between the Lincoln MKX and Lincoln Navigator.
It ran production for a span of 9 years between 2010-2019 though it sold under 30,000 units in that time frame. Lincoln originally made it to compete with the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Mercedes-Benz R Class – though those models performed better than the MKT.
Essentially the same thing as a luxury Nissan Patrol, the Infiniti QX56 was a full-size luxury SUV that was designed as a performance competitor. Infiniti decided after 2013 that they would rename the QX56 to the QX80.
The names of the SUVs come from the engine displacement and as the name would go, the QX56 came with a standard 5.6 liter. Sadly, being a non-upgraded version of a non-luxury vehicle spelled doom for the Infiniti QX56.
A large Hemi powered 5-door SUV, the Chrysler Aspen was a luxury SUV that was originally based on the Dodge Durango. One of the first truck-based SUVs for the brand, Chrysler wanted to offer an entry to the SUV market to compete with other manufacturers, but the Aspen missed the mark.
Not well received by the public, who stayed away from dealers, the Aspen was discontinued in 2010 with only 30 units sold in its last year of production.
A mid-size crossover SUV, the Pontiac Aztek wasn’t a far cry from the Buick Rendezvous as they were both made under the manufacturer, General Motors, and resembled each other in body and style. The Aztek came standard with conventional features like a swing-open trunk door and a sliding cargo door for grocery shopping.
For a short time period, there was a sharp rise in the Aztek’s popularity because of it appearing in the show Breaking Bad. After a small boost in sales, its popularity faded and the line was discontinued.
A subcompact SUV, the Fiat 500X is a complement to the Fiat 500, and while it is an SUV, the Fiat 500X still is limited in room and space like its smaller counterpart.
Closely related to the Jeep Renegade, the Fiat 500X and Renegade share the same manufacturers, though the Fiat 500X is mostly made in Italy. Buyers interested in the 500X in the US have 5 base trim levels to pick from, the Pop, Pop Star, Lounge, Cross, and Cross Plus.
Based on the Dodge Dakota, the Dodge Durango is a mid-size SUV that was originally marketed as a large truck-based SUV that was capable of holding up to 7 passengers and over time, Dodge molded out the image to something softer and not nearly as rugged.
Dodge ended up having to recall and fix tens of thousands of Durangos due to a defect that may have caused the airbags not to deploy in a collision.
An off-road subcompact crossover SUV produced by Jeep, the Jeep Renegade, which was launched to the public in 2014, has seen a decrease in sales in the last few years.
Sold globally, the Renegade was meant as an option to buyers who wanted a smaller and more affordable entry-level Jeep with some of the same features and a similar appearance to the Jeep Wrangler. At the time it was designed to replace the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
The Volvo XC90 is a mid-size luxury SUV going into its second generation. It has been around since 2002 after being shown as a concept car in 2001.
Labeled as a practical SUV, if you plan on driving around your pets or children, then the Volvo could be a potential option. On the other hand, if you have a desire to drive around a clunky gas guzzler, then this SUV takes the cake.
Resembling a smaller minivan, the Dodge Journey is a mid-size crossover SUV manufactured under the FCA company. Though it was intended to be an entirely new model and different from the other vehicles on Dodge’s lineup, it isn’t much different from the Dodge Durango.
In 2014, Fiat decided to go a different route with its models and launched the Journey Crossroad. Sales for the Journey have fluctuated since 2007, but have been on a downward trend since.
Subaru B9 Tribeca
Named after the New York upscale neighborhood, the Subaru B9 Tribeca was a mid-size crossover SUV manufactured by Subaru from 2006 to 2007. Initially, the Subaru B9 Tribeca faced public scrutiny and criticism and Subaru decided because of the backlash to change the B9’s name to simply the Subaru Tribeca.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Subaru discontinued making the Tribeca in 2015 after slowed sales; in its 10-year production run, less than 84,000 units were sold.
Considered a sports car SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLA was initially designed to compete with the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3. The car’s body is based on a Nissan QX30 and outside of some label changes, the SUVs are almost identical to one another.
To market the GLA, Mercedes-Benz partnered with Nintendo and created an ad that showed Mario driving one of the GLAs on television. While the marketing was creative, sales for the GLA models have been stagnant for the past few years without much increase or improvement.
A full-size luxury SUV based on the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV, the Lexus LX570 is basically an exact replica of the Land Cruiser with a Lexus logo on the front of it.
The LX in the name of the car stands for “Luxury Crossover” and while there are a few minor tweaks to the LX line, there aren’t any glaring features that help it stand out against other luxury SUVs in its class. Sales for the Lexus LX570 have fluctuated since 2007 but the automaker has never sold more than 8,000 units in one year.
A 4-door sport SUV, the Lamborghini LM002 was the first SUV pickup designed by the luxury sports car brand. Based on its looks and usability, it’s clear that they took some risks with the design and build of the LM002.
Since 1986 when the Lamborghini LM002 was first produced, only 328 have been made. Dubbed the “Rambo Lambo,” this SUV proves that not all luxury sport SUVs are made equal and not all are wanted or needed.
A mid-size crossover that was manufactured and sold by General Motors, the GMC Acadia was designed off of the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
The GMC Acadia was GMC’s first front-wheel-drive passenger vehicle but outside of that, the Acadia didn’t have many other grand features to interest buyers. Going into its 2nd generation of Acadia’s, sales for the SUV have gone down in recent years with a 30,000 unit drop from 2017 to 2018.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The first SUV released by the manufacturer Hyundai, the Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover SUV that has been in production since 2000. Since then, the Santa Fe has gone through four generations and is currently on its 4th generation which is expected to run from 2018-2024.
With a lack of options for buyers and little changes from generation to generation as well as long-time spans before any upgrades are made, Santa Fe sales have lessened over the years.
Eventually replaced by the Chevrolet Traverse in 2009, the Chevrolet Trailblazer used to be the face of mid-size SUVs for the Chevrolet car brand from 2001-2008. While production in the U.S. ended, it is still being produced in other parts of the world including some parts of Asia and Brazil.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer ranked low in rollover safety after being tested thoroughly and annual sales have dropped dramatically since 2001 when it was first launched.
Range Rover Evoque
The Range Rover Evoque is a sub-compact luxury crossover SUV manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover since 2011 with new models still made and available today.
Initially, the Evoque was offered to buyers in a three or five-door model and allowed the buyers the option to choose between two-wheel or four-wheel drive. In 2015, Land Rover had to recall over 60,000 cars due to a defect that would unlatch the car doors without notifying the driver.
Originally known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek, the Mitsubishi Outlander is a 5-door compact crossover SUV manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors since 2001 and is currently available today.
Named the Outlander, Mitsubishi wanted the driver to feel that every time they drove the car, they felt like they were going on another adventure. Sadly, the car was far from impressive. Buyers interested in the Mitsubishi Outlander had the option to buy the plug-in hybrid model starting in 2018.
Sold as either a full or mid-size SUV, the Chevrolet Traverse was built on the same body and frame as the Buick Enclave. It has been in production since 2008 with the most recent generation having started in 2018.
Some early critics labeled the Chevrolet Traverse odd-shaped due to its egg-like body style which Chevrolet has since abandoned for a more natural truck-like appearance. Though the launch of the second generation of Traverse’s brought a lot of significant changes to the exterior and interior appearance of the SUV, no noticeable changes have been made since 2018.
Based on Kia’s past SUV and larger pickup truck frames, the Kia Sorento is a compact to mid-size SUV produced by the brand since 2002 that is currently going into its third generation.
The Kia Sorento got poor safety ratings after it was tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also known as IIHS. Sales for the Kia Sorento have gone down sharply in most recent years; dropping over 15,000 units from 2016 to 2017.
Historically one of Chevrolet’s best selling vehicles, the Chevrolet Suburban is a full-size SUV that has been manufactured by General Motors since 1934 – though it has gone through a lot of name and body changes since then.
The Chevrolet Suburban started off as a station wagon before it was placed on a full pick-up truck frame and slowly started to look like the SUV we know today. While it was a huge moneymaker for Chevrolet over the years, Suburban sales have gone down recently.
Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet
The Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet was the world’s first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible and it proved to us that we don’t need something like that on the market.
Not only was the Cross Cabriolet impractical to drive with family or pets, but Nissan also limited the options that buyers had when getting the SUV. The SUV only came standard with the same features and engine as the base Nissan Murano giving the buyer little room to personalize.
Manufactured by Honda from 2002 to 2011, the Element was a 4-door boxy compact crossover SUV. Its body style design was based on a lifeguard station and its roof was purposely curved and arched to look like a surfboard.
The Honda Element was discontinued in 2011. The last generation of the vehicle came with a new feature that Honda prided itself on. A dog-friendly package that cost an extra $1,000 was offered to help boost flagging sales.
The entry midsize crossover SUV for General Motors, the Buick Rendezvous was built on the same body and platform as the Pontiac Montana and Chevrolet Venture.
Buick had stayed away from making larger vehicles since the early 1920s and wanted to build an automobile that had the best qualities of a minivan with truck styling and the option for buyers to have all-wheel drive. Discontinued in 2007, the Buick Rendezvous sales dropped substantially to under 20,000 in its final year.
The GMC Envoy was a mid-size SUV that was canceled after its first-generation and then revamped and brought back a few years later, the GMC Envoy was incredibly similar to the Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy with a few more features and options to separate it from being an extra copy.
General Motors had to recall more than 250,000 Envoys in 2012 due to short circuits in the doors and windows that could cause fires.
Sold between 2006 to 2011, the Dodge Nitro was a square compact SUV manufactured and sold by Dodge and Chrysler. Initially upon release, the Dodge Nitro came standard with towing capacity, as well as extended safety features such as traction control and side airbags.
Dodge eventually decided to introduce the Dodge Journey, another crossover SUV to the public in 2009, and the Nitro was discontinued a few years after due to declining sales and poor performance.
The Nissan Pathfinder is a compact to mid-size SUV manufactured by Nissan and going on its fourth generation. When Nissan first introduced the Pathfinder to the public, the SUV was a 2-door and based heavily on the frame of the Nissan Hardbody Truck.
In Japan, the Nissan Pathfinder was known as an off-road luxury vehicle and went under the name Terrano. Sales in the United States for the Nissan Pathfinder have gone down by almost 15,000 units.
Initially classified as an MPV which stands for “multi-purpose vehicle,’ the RVR was a subcompact crossover SUV manufactured by Mitsubishi from 1991 with new models still available today.
Its passenger side includes a sliding door and it was made to resemble a more aggressive off-road vehicle. The first model of the RVR sold poorly and Mitsubishi discontinued it and reintroduced it in 2002 to compete with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester.
The Suzuki XL-7 was a mid-size SUV manufactured under Suzuki and General Motors from 1998 to 2009. Built on the frame of a Grand Vitara, the XL-7 had little to offer buyers and came with minimal features to stay affordable.
Though it ended up being the least expensive SUV on the market at its height in popularity, sales for the XL-7 slowed until it was discontinued after selling less than 12,000 units in its last year.
Sold and marketed under the Nissan brand since 2010, the Nissan Juke is a subcompact crossover SUV whose name means to “change directions demonstrating agility” which was the design theme that the engineers were going for.
The Juke’s overall curvy body was meant to resemble a Coke bottle although it performs overall weak compared to its competition. The Juke’s popularity peaked in 2013 and since then the sales for the Juke have gone down.
The 4-door compact crossover SUV, the Jeep Compass was a part of the first crossover SUVs alongside the Jeep Patriot.
Targeted towards drivers who prefer on-road driving versus the off-roading vehicles that Jeep is known for, the Compass did not brandish the “Trail Rated” badge that other popular Jeep models like the Wrangler or the Grand Cherokee had. Though the Compass is still in production, overall sales of the SUV continue to drop year after year.
Essentially a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, the Honda Passport was a mid-size SUV sold between 1993 and 2002 and was re-introduced to the market in 2018.
Slotted between the Honda CR-V and the Honda Pilot, the Passport was discontinued originally in 2002 due to the reconstruction of Isuzu, Honda’s company partner at the time. The new resurgence of the Honda Passport starting in 2018 brings the same outer body with a refreshed face with new features and buyer options.
A full size, 5-door luxury SUV, the Bentley Bentayga makes the mark as Bentley’s first SUV. The name Bentayga comes from highland rocks in the Canary Islands and the world’s largest snow forest.
Buyers were given the option to buy the Bentayga as a diesel, a V8, or a hybrid though Bentley prides itself on the luxury experience over the performance of their vehicles. In 2018, Bentley released a more aggressive Bentayga body style as well as a coupe version.
The Chevrolet Trax is a subcompact crossover SUV manufactured by General Motors and based on the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Encore. Launched in 2012, the Trax had a bumpy start after it was unveiled at the Paris International Motor Show and wouldn’t go on to be sold internationally until a few years later.
Intended to compete with the Jeep Renegade, the Trax 2020 model is not going to have any changes made to it to appeal to existing or new buyers.
An off the road mini-SUV, the Suzuki Samurai also went by the name Suzuki Jimmy and has been manufactured under Suzuki since 1970. Originally designed in Japan, the idea for the Samurai came from the Japanese automaker wanting to create an-off road vehicle that was small and efficient.
Currently, the Samurai is on its 4th generation and Suzuki decided to make the newest models more retro-styled with a boxy rectangular body shape reminiscent of its first-generation predecessor.