The SUV category has recently grown exponentially. This is mainly because there are so many high-quality options at every price range imaginable. From simple utility vehicles on up to the most elite luxury brands, there is an SUV for every buyer, no matter the budget. Today’s SUV options allow buyers to check all the boxes on their wishlist, which is why the category shows no signs of losing its popularity. Unfortunately, though, not all of these SUVs are all that great. So today, we thought we would take a look at the five worst SUVs of all time. These are the ones you will want to avoid.
#5 – The Mitsubishi Outlander
There are little to no reasons you should go out of your way to buy a Mitsubishi Outlander. First off, good luck finding a convenient Mitsubishi auto dealer when something breaks. The number of Mitsubishi dealers in the U.S. has declined significantly, leaving buyers with no choice but to plan for a long commute whenever service is needed. The second problem is its underpowered powertrain. The Outlander’s base motor is a scant 166 hp, 4-cylinder dud that simply can’t provide the performance needed to accelerate efficiently when needed.
This nominee for the worst SUV of all time also lacks modern interior features. It feels dated inside and lacks some of the tech-savvy features today’s buyers want and need. One thing Outlander has going for it: the third row of seating is standard. Unfortunately, that third row is very cramped and tight, rendering it somewhat useless for hauling extra passengers. Additionally, exterior styling is a little odd, as though it was pieced together from several different types of vehicles.
Bottom line: The Outlander just falls flat, both inside and out.
#4 – The Jeep Renegade
Jeep is commonly referred to as the original SUV creator. The nameplate is associated with the rugged outdoors, and outdoor enthusiast drivers choose Jeep over and over to support their active lifestyles. Models like the Cherokee and the Wrangler continue to dominate in their respective categories, and with good reason. But the Renegade has struggled to keep up with the Jeep name.
The Renegade was introduced in 2014 as a 2015 model. Available in front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, this Jeep model was slated as a subcompact SUV and provided a less expensive option for entry-level SUV buyers. While it still boasts many Jeep-like attributes, the Renegade leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to its powertrain. The vehicle’s standard 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine delivers a scant 180 hp, with a zero to 60 time of 9 seconds. These stats are not very impressive, and throughout its life cycle, there have been complaints of the Renegade’s noisy cabin, along with lots of other creaks and rattles, calling into question its structural integrity.
Bottom line: While there are a few positives in the Renegade, such as safety features, overall, the negatives outweigh the positives.
#3 – The Suzuki Samurai
Does anyone remember this quirky little 80s SUV? The mighty Suzuki Samurai created polarized opinions like no other SUV has since. It was either the SUV you love to hate or the SUV you hate to love. There didn’t seem to be an in-between! Initially launched in 1985, the Samurai was positioned as an entry-level, lower-priced subcompact SUV and Suzuki sold over 47,000 in its first year. However, it was widely ridiculed by the general public, and became something of a pop icon, albeit one that became a mockery.
Despite its appearance, the Samurai had its attributes. It boasted tons of interior space and decent off-road capability. Sadly, that’s where the pros grind to a halt. The Suzuki Samurai had a very short wheelbase. As a result, according to a study done in 1988 by Consumer Reports, it was notorious for rolling over easily in turns. This quickly spread to the public, and sales dropped precipitously. From there, the mighty Samurai petered out in North America. Surprisingly the Samurai is still popular around the world and goes by different names, such as the Jimney and the Maruti Gypsy King.
Bottom Line: There were some good things to be said about the Samurai; however, the dangers of it tipping over were too serious to ignore.
#2 – The Dodge Journey
This current Dodge SUV is undoubtedly one of the worst SUVs of all time. Why? A better question may be, why not? A word of caution to all those that might be lured in by its low price – don’t forget, you get what you pay for! This SUV is absolutely the worst vehicle ever made by Dodge, and even one of the worst SUVs of all time.
In the mid-sized category, the Journey faces stiff competition on its best day. However, there are so many things wrong with this SUV that it doesn’t even deserve a spot in its category. The first is fuel economy. At a disappointing 19 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway, it doesn’t come close to its competitors, and sadly this lack of fuel economy isn’t due to a superb powertrain. Standard in the Journey is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers a meager 173 hp. Towing capacity is significantly affected and comes in at just 1,000 pounds.
While the Journey’s tech options have slowly improved throughout its model year evolution, it still falls short. It’s typical to find several driver-assist tech features on SUVs in this category, but aside from rear parking sensors, the Journey has none. Also conspicuously absent are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Bottom Line: This SUV is just so far behind the times. It is powerless and offers nothing special, making it one of the worst SUVs.
#1 – The Pontiac Aztek
The Pontiac Aztek has a long, sordid history that ultimately makes it the worst SUV of all time. The story begins in 2000 at the Detroit Auto Show, where the Aztek made its debut. Words like ugly and unremarkable may best describe this drab attempt at an SUV, but GM’s marketing team must not have realized this, because they positioned the Aztek as trendy and cool. It’s safe to say it fell far short of that description, except for a short time in the spotlight thanks to its appearance in Breaking Bad.
As Pontiac’s first SUV, the Aztek had the unfortunate role of being a first run, which is rarely a good thing. Aside from its odd minivan-esque styling, the Aztek looked patched together on its interior, with strangely patterned seats and random plastic accents, none of which seemed to match. It did offer a tent and blow up mattress package for campers, but this generally missed the mark with its intended target because the vehicle itself wasn’t built for serious off-roading.
The Aztek suffered through many significant recalls, including a serious fuel delivery system malfunction, which caused fuel to leak and catch the car on fire. So, with that, after nearly five years of production, General Motors mercifully discontinued the forgettable Aztek.
Bottom Line: The Aztek was a miss right from the first swing. And its mismatched features and major mechanical issues led to its eventual discontinuation, which is good considering it was the absolute worst SUV ever made.
Don’t Lose SUV Hope
While we may have highlighted the worst SUVs of all time, rest assured. There are dozens of fantastic options at a wide range of price points for even the pickiest SUV buyer. Here’s a hint: If you want something good, check out Ford’s SUVs like the Escape, Ecosport, or Explorer. Before you sign any contract, though, do a quick search to ensure your new vehicle hasn’t landed on the what-not-to-buy list.