“American SUVs: Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have been around since the 1930s, but it was during the 1990s that they saw a significant surge in popularity. Built on truck frames, SUVs offer special utility features and powerful engine performance. SUVs are generally designed for tough usage and are intended to perform on regular roads and off-road trails.
American SUVs have become a priority for drivers who seek luxury and power, similar to products like Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade. Regardless of the model, just like with any other product you purchase, avoiding models with numerous customer complaints, mechanical difficulties, and expensive maintenance is a good general rule. Let’s take a look at some intriguing American SUVs that avoiding would be better than catching a plague.
1: Hummer H2
American SUVs: This list would be incomplete without mentioning this massive beast. It is said that there is no better way to start it. The early 2000s model of this infamous beast was worse than the H1 version from the 1990s. The H2 was bold and powerful, defying all wrong ways. It was powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 398 horsepower at 5,700 RPM. However, fitting this large SUV in regular parking spaces was not an easy task.
It guzzled gas like crazy, with a horrendous gas mileage of 13 MPG on highways and 10 MPG in the city. The interior featured fake and hard-to-use special features that actively annoyed drivers during operation. The rear windshield was particularly small, limiting visibility dangerously. If the phrase ‘bigger is better’ was an SUV, then the Hummer H2 would be laughing loudly with its chrome front grills.
2: Jeep Grand Cherokee
The 2011 model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is particularly notorious for its unreliability. NHSTA has recorded 1,565 complaints and 6 recalls for the 2011 Grand Cherokee. Most of the complaints are typically related to electrical gremlins. Any driver knows that having three distinct mechanical issues is better than one ambiguous electrical problem.
Of the 1,565 complaints, 319 were regarding the machine, and 235 were against the energy system, according to the list. If you don’t want to experience issues like fuel pump failure, sudden stalling, fire, brake failure, and loss of power brake assistance, stay away from this Jeep.
3: Chevrolet Suburban
Various years of the Suburban fall into the ‘please avoid’ category. The year 2007 stands out as the worst. It was powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine producing 320 horsepower at 5,200 RPM and 340 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 RPM. This heavy-duty SUV weighed 5,607 pounds.
The number of complaints was the highest for the 2007 Suburban. Among the most expensive failures were related to the engine and transmission, with transmission failure costing around $3,000 and engine failure costing around $6,000. It had excessive oil consumption and mysterious and jarring jerks and shakes, a definite deficiency in the mechanical department. The bitter part is that the A/C system was lousy due to a clogged condenser.
4: Ford Excursion
The Ford Excursion is a heavy-duty SUV that comes with three engine options, sufficient cargo volume, impressive nine-passenger seating, and is also available in a 4WD configuration. Fold the bench seats in the second row and easily access the third row. The rear bench is removable and runs on independent wheels. It comes with optional wireless headphones and a DVD entertainment system.
The 2000 model had the highest number of engine-related issues. The top problem with the engine was spark plugs blowing out of the cylinder head, damaging the spark plug threads. Crazy, right? There were also reports of intermittent stalling and poor fuel mileage, likely caused by sticky EGR sensors. The list also includes oil leaks. Stay away!”
5: Chrysler Durango
The Dodge Durango first made its appearance in the 1990s and has since remained a popular option. It is known for its powerful engine, spacious interior, and attractive design. It is the only SUV from Dodge that can carry up to 7,400 pounds of weight. The Durango is now in its third generation, with the 2013 and 2021 models causing the most concerns.
In the 2013 model, there were reports of water leakage inside during heavy rains or while washing the car. Many owners complained about the unpleasant smell coming from the AC system. Electronic issues were also present, with software problems triggering the check engine light due to low oil pressure. The 2021 model was an upgrade that also improved electrical-related problems. One owner experienced a sudden fire while the car was parked near the house. Suspension and transmission issues with mediocre gas mileage truly make this SUV undesirable.
6: Chrysler Aspen
Apart from being a rebranded Dodge Durango, the Chrysler Aspen had little else to offer. Chrysler tried to give the Durango a luxury touch by adding loads of chrome and marketing it as a luxury SUV. It was in production only from 2006 to 2009 – not a long run indeed. Compared to the Durango, the Aspen had different exterior bodywork, with flashy fenders and a wide front area. Chrysler presented the Aspen with a stunning interior, equipped with leather seats, space for seven passengers, and a high-performance audio system.
However, we can see where it went wrong. Major issues were related to the airbag system. In case of an accident, the airbags could deploy with sharp metal fragments that could seriously injure or even cause fatalities to the driver and passengers. Owners were notified and the issue was fixed by dealers at no cost. Other problems included serious electrical issues after rain, failure to start, fuel overflows after refueling, and loss of steering control.
7: Chevrolet Tahoe
Not all big SUVs are considered the best, and despite being Chevrolet’s most famous models, the Tahoe has had its share of issues. The Tahoe is built on a truck chassis, which makes it tough, but its reliance on a V8 engine throughout its production life makes it a gas guzzler.
However, this is where it falls short. Transmission cases, position sensor switches, or selector switches can fail. This can lead to ‘Service 4 Wheel Drive’ messages and may necessitate replacing the encoder motor or selector switch, which can be costly. The Tahoe is plagued with faulty air conditioning actuators, causing issues like clicking or tapping noises from your AC vents, improper airflow, and erratic temperature readings. Fuel and ABS sensors are not exempt from failure either.
8: GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia is a mid-sized crossover SUV that boasts several practical features. It was designed to compete with cars like the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Traverse. The 2007, 2008, and 2017 models are known for their significant problems, but the 2008 claims the highest number of complaints. High repair costs and poor gas mileage have earned it the title of the worst Acadia yet.
The most troublesome issue in that model was its faulty transmission. Experiencing overheating, difficulty in shifting gears, excessive whining, and worst of all, premature failure, these are specific issues that no car owner should have to deal with. A highly significant and aggravating problem was the internal water leak.
Failing to detect a car park situation, all electronics remain active, which can be dangerous, resulting in the battery draining or even the vehicle rolling in park position. Loose connections in the electrical department, like frayed and blown fuses, affected electrical flow, which could potentially shut down the engine or cause warning lights to flicker. Some Acadia models also had loose relays that would jiggle loose when driving, causing the engine to shut down suddenly.
9: Dodge Journey
The Dodge Journey is a medium-sized crossover SUV made from 2009 to 2020. It competes with rivals like the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Equinox. Though no longer in production, there are many used models available for purchase. Here are some reasons why you might want to avoid this SUV.
Notable brake and engine issues have plagued various model years. Premature brake and rotor wear, along with noisy and sticking brakes and calipers, are specific issues that no car owner should ever have to deal with. An extremely frustrating and troublesome issue was the internal water leak. Failing to detect a car park situation, all electronics remain active, which can be dangerous. In the worst-case scenario, the battery drains or the vehicle rolls in park position. Faulty power modules have caused headlights to flicker erratically, non-functional power windows, blinkers, and many other problems. Several models had leaking sunroofs. Numerous electrical and ABS sensors cannot be ignored, as they are prone to failure.
10: Jeep Patriot
Not all Jeeps are as lucky to earn the label of satisfaction. Jeep owners have become the center of ruthless memes, mocking their misfortune and troubles. Here we have another Jeep to add to that list. The Jeep Patriot was a smaller SUV compared to the full-sized Grand Cherokee, but its share of problematic equipment could not be ignored due to its smaller size.
Faulty transmissions have affected various model years. Experiencing overheating, difficulty in shifting gears, excessive whining, and worst of all, premature failure are listed among the expensive issues that need to be addressed. It doesn’t stop there. From 2007 to 2010, Patriot owners complained about a peculiar issue related to the manual transmission.
When shifting to first, second, or third gear, the shifter and gears would grind, which also affected the manual transmission. Faulty integrated power modules caused headlights to randomly turn on or off, faulty power windows, non-responsive blinkers, and many other issues that were listed as expensive problems to fix.
That’s not all – in some models, a leaky sunroof was also present. There are plenty of reasons to steer clear of this one. Do yourself a favor. Stay away.