What used SUV should I avoid?

Back in 1984, Jeep came up with the Jeep Cherokee XJ, and many people believe that this is the very first SUV in history. Ever since then, SUVs have become better and better, but some of them have failed to deliver, even after decades worth of research and development.

We live in an SUV era, this means that there are lots of great SUV options out there, new or used. However, before you go out and start looking for your next 4×4, be sure to skip these in order to live a healthier and stress-free life.

Kicking off the list is the 2005 V6 Chevy Equinox, 2008/09 Buick Enclave, and the 2011/2013 Dodge Durango. Furthermore, you should also skip the 2002-2004 Ford Explorer, 2015 Honda CR-V, and quite a few Jeep Cherokee models.

Starting with the regular 2014/15 model, followed by the 2014/15 Grand Cherokee and the 02/07 Jeep Liberty. In addition to that, a 2012-2014 Kia Sorento should be avoided at all costs. The same story goes for the 2005-2008 Nissan Pathfinder and the 2006-2008 Toyota RAV-4.

2005 V6 Chevy Equinox

The Chevy Equinox seems like a reasonable cheap alternative to many newer compact SUVs. However, the ‘05 generation powered by a 3.4L V6 has been known to malfunction because of a faulty cooling system. Even though the issue might not seem too serious, it can easily blow out the engine’s head gasket.

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If this does happen, which it will, it means that you are likely looking at a complete engine rebuild or swap, and it is safe to say that a used 05 Equinox is not really an expensive car nowadays for an engine rebuild to make any sense. Just avoid it and save yourself a headache.

2011-2013 Dodge Durango

A Dodge Durango is a fairly popular SUV, but some model years should be avoided at all costs. The 2011-2013 Durango is plagued by a well-known TIPM (Totally integrated power module) issue which results in all kinds of electrical issues and malfunctions.

Dodge even recalled a bunch of 2011-2013 models because of this very reason, and the best idea would be to completely skip these model years. You should also skip the 1999-2000 Durango models because they were equipped with incredibly unreliable engines.

2000-2004 Ford Explorer

We all know that a Ford Explorer tends to have an issue, but the 2000-2004 model is famous for an extremely lousy transmission. According to a couple of reputable sources, even a Ford dealer said that as much as 10% of these Explorer models are bound to have transmission issues, ranging from hard shifts, slipping gears, and many other transmission issues.

Some older models are known to fail completely, and as such, they should all just be avoided. It is very difficult to justify a complete transmission rebuild after only 50-100k miles. To be completely honest, a well-put-together car shouldn’t need a transmission replacement even with double that amount.

2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Even though Jeep allegedly invented the SUV, it seems that somewhere down the line they forgot how to make one. Back in 2014-2015, the already mentioned FCA TIPM issues have also plagued the Grand Cherokee. The Durango was faulty mostly because of the TIPM issue, but the Cherokee has way more issues than that.

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The main issue is the transmission because some Grand Cherokee models are known to just start rolling even when in park mode. A few tragic incidents have occurred which have been associated with this very issue. Besides this, the Grand Cherokee also had issues with staying on the ground because some of these managed to end up on their roof.

2006-2008 Toyota RAV 4

It’s hard to believe that any Toyota model, let alone the RAV4, should be avoided. Sadly, back in the day, even Toyota had problems serious enough to completely ruin a certain model. The 2006-2007 and the 2008 models have been known to use way too much oil, so much so that it’s sometimes hard to keep up.

According to a couple of reports, as much as a quarter of the oil was gone after just 1000 miles or so. Even though Toyota never fully recognized this as an issue, it’s just best to avoid this RAV4 model, no need to roll the dice.

FAQ Section

 Is it true that some models should be avoided entirely?

Pretty much every SUV on this list has a well-documented history of various issues, however, lists such as these should only serve as a waypoint for those interested in what to look out for. The truth is that each car is unique, and without a proper inspection, every used SUV should be avoided.

That being said, if the car in question is relatively new, and is being sold by a reputable dealer, chances are that the car is in good condition. Be that as it may, it’s always a good idea to dig a little bit deeper into each car before pulling the trigger and buying it.

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Is a post-recall car safe to buy?

It’s no secret that many models undergo a recall or two, and seeing such cars sold for a lot less than before might be a tempting idea. However, it all depends on what the recall was for. If it’s just a routine issue that does not affect anything else, and can easily be fixed, then such a car is a steal.

However, if such issues were connected with many other vital car systems, it’s just best to avoid those cars, and maybe consider them sometimes in the future if everything works out.

What is the worst SUV in history?

It’s hard to pick out a single model as the worst SUV of all time, but if I had to pick, I’d say that the Pontiac Aztek is the one. Firstly, the Aztek looks horrendous, even Heisenberg himself couldn’t help. Secondly, the interior looked odd and it was cheap and absolutely boring.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the Aztek went through several recalls, and a few of them were actually serious. The Aztek was doomed from the very start, and after only about 5 years, the project was scrapped, and the Aztec was no more, thankfully.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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