With the price of the all-mighty SUV starting in the $20K range and climbing to heights which most don’t even like to envision, finding an affordable one can be a task which decides whether your financial future lies on the positive side or the negative side. Getting an SUV lemon can drain your bank account, your patience, and your sanity. To preserve your mind, and your wallet, you’ll want to avoid these used SUVs, as judged by the professionals at Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Motor Trend, and J.D. Power & Associates.
The Range Rover’s reliability record is one of the most infamous in automotive history. Despite its 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, the Range Rover received only 5 out of 10 stars in the J.D. Power & Associate’s reliability studies. All in all, the Rover is very comfortable, practical, and luxurious. The problem here is that you may hardly ever get to enjoy that luxury on the road. Unless you’re willing to spend all your time enjoying your vehicle from the repair shop window, avoid this one.
The Range Rover has a horrible reputation for reliability, but at least it can offer some luxury. The Jeep Liberty possesses the best of neither world. It scored only 4 out of 10 in the J.D. Power reliability studies, and it is frowned upon by automotive experts for its disappointing interior materials quality, uncomfortable on-road ride, and mediocre performance in both power and handling. “Liberty has a more chiseled exterior but it drives much like the unrefined original, finishing last in a nine-SUV comparison test.” (Car and Driver)
3. 2007-2009 Suzuki XL7
Thankfully, the Suzuki XL7 was discontinued after the 2009 model year. It was another atrocity that scored a mere 5 out of 10 in the J.D. Power studies. Add to that the fact that Suzuki is miles behind Asian competitors with its 3-year/36,000-mile warranty (when Hyundai and Kia are at 5-year/60,000-mile) and you’ve got a vehicle to pass on even with a good price tag. The interior and exterior stylings are listed as mediocre, but effective. Still, the risk of breakdown is high, and the warranty low.
For whatever reason, Dodge can’t seem to get the whole transmission thing together. The Nitro is just one of its latest victims to suffer from the Dodge tranny nightmares. “The Dodge Nitro has a macho name and a macho image, but that’s about where its appeal ends. Just about any other compact crossover SUV would be a wiser purchase.” (Edmunds) It was also a winner of the mediocrity award with a score of 5 out of 10 in the J.D. Power reliability studies. Even though it has a nice, boxy style with a mean front end, the Nitro falls short in several areas.
Rarely do you find luxury vehicles on lists of cars to avoid, but the Acura ZDX in these model years just isn’t appealing in any category, least of all reliability. The one good thing that can be said for it is that it scores high on the safety scale, and it still possesses all the comfort and elegance which gave Acura its name. However, it is a newer model line that suffers from newer model line problems. “Is it an overweight hatchback or a sporty SUV? In either case, the Acura ZDX is an automotive oddity that compromises in the wrong places. It possesses a cramped backseat, compromised cargo capacity, and unimpressive power from the V6 model.” (Edmunds)