SUVs are everywhere. While many hit are great and reliable, some just miss the mark completely. These are the ones that promised much but delivered little. Here are 25 SUVs that, frankly, could’ve been better thought out.

The Pontiac Aztek

Image Credit: Bull-Doser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ah, the Pontiac Aztek, the poster child for bad car design. It’s as if Pontiac was actively trying to create the ugliest car ever—and succeeded. Add to that its subpar performance and fice safety recalls, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The only redeeming quality is its role in “Breaking Bad,” but even Walter White can’t save the Aztek from its well-deserved infamy.

Dodge Journey

Image Credit: SsmIntrigueCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Dodge Journey is like that bargain that’s too good to be true—because it is. Its attractive price can’t mask its poor performance, terrible fuel economy, and overall lack of reliability. It only scored two out of five stars for reliability which is pretty concerning, if you ask us. It’s no wonder Dodge decided to put the Journey out of its misery.

2002 Hummer H2

Image Credit: Damian B OhCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hummer H2 was supposed to be the civilian answer to the military’s H1, but it ended up being more of a poseur. It’s known for it’s rough transmission and bad suspension -not the best way to make a name for yourself, if you ask us. The H2 is a reminder that bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to practicality.

2007 Jeep Compass

Image Credit: RL GNZLZ from ChileCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 2007 Jeep Compass models missed the mark by a mile. Jeep tried to enter the compact SUV market but forgot to include the ruggedness and reliability it’s known for. It’s had 5 saftey recalls, and is known as the worst model year for this vehicle.

2008 Pontiac Torrent GXP

Image Credit: Mr.choppersCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pontiac Torrent GXP is a masterclass in mediocrity. With its forgettable design and lackluster performance, it’s a wonder it made it to production at all. It’s like Pontiac was trying to be unremarkable on purpose. The Torrent GXP is a reminder that sometimes, it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.

Chrysler Aspen Hybrid

Image Credit: IFCAR, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, a rebadged Dodge Durango, was a half-hearted attempt at greenwashing a gas-guzzler. It offered little improvement over the standard model and disappeared from the market almost as quickly as it arrived. It took an entire two months for this car to disappear. To make it worse, they were building it at a loss. Ouch.

The Chevy Avalanche

Image Credit: IFCAR, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chevy Avalanche tried to be a jack-of-all-trades, blending SUV comfort with the utility of a pickup. Turns out, it mastered none. It’s like that Swiss Army knife that has too many tools to be useful. Sales dwindled, and it was put to rest in 2013. The lesson? Sometimes, trying to do too much ends up achieving very little.

Acura ZDX

Image Credit: Dinkun ChenCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Acura ZDX was a crossover SUV that tried to stand out with its design but ended up standing alone. Its performance wasn’t terrible, but like it or not, people do judge books by their covers. This SUV was ugly and tiny, and no matter how well it performed, people didn’t want it.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Image Credit: Bull-Doser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Consumer Reports gave this SUV 1 out of 5 stars for reliability. That’s insanely low! The 2016 Hyundai Tucson’s low reliability score is a black mark on an otherwise rising brand. Guess what? People want a car they can trust. It isn’t shocking people hate this SUV.

2003 Honda Element

Image Credit: Elise240SXCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Honda Element was a bit awkward. Its boxy design and plastic panels were supposed to appeal to a younger crowd, but it never quite caught on. It had pretty low gas mileage at 20 MPG combined and they were known for having oil leaks. They stopped making them in 2011 because their wasn’t enough demand.

Isuzu VehiCROSS

Image Credit: BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Isuzu VehiCROSS might win points for originality, but that’s about it. It was only produced for four years, and only available in the U.S. for two of those years. Its odd looks and limited production run make it more of a curiosity than a contender.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport

Image Credit: DeFactoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Land Rover Discovery Sport was supposed to bring luxury to the masses. Instead, it brought headaches. It’s got an engine that can’t decide if it’s asleep or on a caffeine buzz, and steering that makes you feel like you’re wrestling rather than driving. For the price, you’re better off with something like a Toyota Highlander, which actually delivers on the promise of a smooth ride.

The Suzuki Samurai

Image Credit: Shadman Samee from Dhaka, BangladeshCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Is this thing even an SUV? For some reason, it’s classified as one. Back in the 1980s, the Suzuki Samurai tried to go toe-to-toe with the Jeep Wrangler. At first glance, it seemed like a solid, cheaper alternative. Then came the bombshell from Consumer Reports: this thing was a rollover waiting to happen. That report didn’t just nick the Samurai’s reputation; it tanked Suzuki’s sales big time. Imagine a vehicle that looks like it’ll fall over if you sneeze on it. That was the Samurai.

The Cadillac Escalade

Image Credit: KevautoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cadillac Escalade is like that loud guy at the party who wants everyone to know how much money he has. It’s big, it’s flashy, and it guzzles gas like there’s no tomorrow, getting about 15 mpg if you’re lucky. Dropping at least $75,000 on this beast might give you street cred, but it won’t do your wallet or the environment any favors. It’s more of a status symbol than a sensible ride, proving that more money doesn’t always mean more sense.

2014 Buick Encore

Image Credit: Willis LamCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 2014 Buick Encore could have been a compact SUV contender but was let down by its reliability, or lack thereof. It’s like Buick was aiming for the stars but got stuck in the mud. The Encore’s struggles highlight the gap between ambition and execution, serving as a lesson in the importance of getting the basics right.

2018 Ford EcoSport

Image Credit: KevautoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ford EcoSport tried to pack a punch in a compact frame but ended up pulling its punches. With glaring safety issues and a transmission that’s more trouble than it’s worth, it’s a stark reminder that sometimes, less is just less. The EcoSport’s shortcomings serve as a warning to prospective buyers to tread carefully in the compact SUV market.

The Dodge Nitro

Image Credit: IFCAR, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Released in 2007, right before the auto industry took a nosedive, the Dodge Nitro was all show and no go. With a weak engine, terrible handling, and a cramped interior, it was a relief when it got the axe in 2011. It’s like Dodge wanted to make a statement but ended up just mumbling.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Image Credit: Bull-Doser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re counting pennies but need an SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport might catch your eye with its price tag. But don’t let that fool you. With less than 150 horsepower, it’s about as energetic as a sloth. Forget towing or loading it up; it just can’t handle the pressure. Sure, it’s cheap, but it’s a clear case of getting what you pay for—a lackluster ride that barely meets the SUV criteria.

The 2017 Fiat 500X

Image Credit: MercurySable99CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fiat tried to make a crossover that’s not quite a car and not quite an SUV, and it shows. It’s cramped, the gearbox is a nightmare, and it’s just not cut out for long drives or anything resembling off-road. It might catch your eye with its looks, but it’s best left on the lot if you want a real SUV experience.

The GMC Envoy XUV

Image Credit: IFCAR, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Taking a page from Studebaker’s book, the GMC Envoy XUV brought back the retractable roof concept about 40 years too late. Aimed at combining SUV luxury with pickup utility, it ended up pleasing neither camp. It’s a perfect example of why some ideas should stay in the past.

The Bentley Bentayga

Image Credit: Dinkun ChenCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bentley Bentayga is the SUV equivalent of a diamond-encrusted smartphone—overpriced and over-the-top. Sure, it’s luxurious and drives like a dream, but at nearly $230,000, it’s hard to see the value. It’s a reminder that just because you can spend that much on an SUV, doesn’t mean you should. There are far better ways to spend a quarter of a million dollars, and most of them don’t depreciate the minute you drive them off the lot.

The Jeep Renegade

Image Credit: Dinkun ChenCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jeep, known for rugged, go-anywhere vehicles, somehow thought the Renegade was a good idea. It’s too small, too weak, and just doesn’t live up to the Jeep legacy. It’s like Jeep forgot what made them popular in the first place. The Renegade might be affordable, but it’s a far cry from the capable machines Jeep is known for.

The Range Rover Evoque

Image Credit: DeFactoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Range Rover Evoque looks good, sure, but it’s plagued by reliability issues, especially with the transmission. And don’t get me started on the convertible version—it’s like they were trying to win a contest for worst idea ever.

The Chevy Tahoe

Image Credit: RL GNZLZ from ChileCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chevy Tahoe sells well and looks good doing it, but it’s got a dirty little secret: it’s one of the most likely SUVs to flip over. The NHTSA gave the 2016. Tahoe a dismal two-star rollover rating. It’s like driving a ticking time bomb, except the bomb is flipping over when you take a turn too sharply. Not exactly the family-friendly image it tries to portray.

The Ford Excursion

Image Credit: Dana60CumminsCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ford Excursion is the SUV equivalent of a monster truck. It’s huge and completely unnecessary unless you have a huge family. It’s like Ford took the phrase “bigger is better” and ran with it, right off a cliff. It’s over 7,000 lbs and a whopping 19 long. Imagine trying to park that thing at Chick-fil-A. It was discontinued just 6 years later. The Excursion is a prime example of excess for the sake of excess, making it one of the most impractical vehicles ever made -unless you have 7+ kids you need to take to choir practice.

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.