6 Used SUVs Consumer Reports Gave the ‘Never Buy’ Label

The good news about buying a used SUV is that several years’ worth of feedback is now available to help you make your decision. Consumer Reports got things started by naming the worst used models from the past decade.

Each year their annual auto survey looks at 17 potential problem areas. They weight the severity of the issues, ranging from nuisance (noises or broken trim) to serious (transmission or drive system troubles), to create reliability scores for each of the vehicles. Here are six of the used SUVs that have a record of “much-worse-than-average reliability.”

1. BMW X5

Consumer Report suggests avoiding the BMW X5 model years from 2011 through 2013. These years had reliability issues, including problems with climate control, fuel systems, and engine parts.

Luckily, the SUV was redesigned for 2014 and again for 2019. By 2019, Consumer Report called it “one of the best vehicles we’ve ever tested.”

2. Cadillac Escalade

You should plan to avoid the 2015 and 2016 Cadillac Escalade according to Consumer Report. The 2015 model had problems with the transmission, powertrain, body components, and paint and finish quality.

The 2016 model was an improvement, but it still had unreliable power equipment and audio systems. The 2019 Escalade is back on the list, with trouble spots marked for its climate system, transmission, and in-car electronics. While it has a powerful engine, it drives stiffly and doesn’t feel roomy or comfortable in the second and third-row seats.

3. Tesla Model X

Consumer Report referred to the 2016 Tesla Model X as “more showboat than functional.” Problems were with the falcon-wing door design and overall reliability.

The doors open upward but do it really slowly. People also report issues with the large dashboard-display screen. Consumer Report suggests avoiding the 2016 and 2017 models. The Model X once again appears on the 2019 list with troubles with body hardware, paint and trim, in-car electronics, noises, and leaks.

4. Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder was redesigned in 2013, switching to be a crossover SUV on a car chassis. However, Pathfinders from 2013 and 2014 are on the list of the model years to avoid.

The 2013 model had nine recalls, including brake issues and airbag failure. The model from 2014 was even on Consumer Report’s 10 worst list.

5. Chevrolet Suburban

Despite redesigns in 2007 and 2015, the Chevrolet Suburban remained far below average for its class. Consumer Reports suggests skipping the model years 2008 and 2014 through 2016.

Problems include poor fit and finish issues, power window issues, and audio systems issues. The 2015 model also had three recalls.

6. Dodge Journey

The Dodge Journey received the lowest scores of all, making it one to avoid entirely. Its scores reflect problems with the engine, suspension, and audio components.

Consumer Report especially recommends avoiding model years 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2016. For 2019, it has the lowest score in its class and comes in as the worst midsized SUV. The 2011 through 2019 years also have poor IIHS small-overlap crash-test results.