Drivers who prefer big vehicles such as pickup trucks or SUVs want to get the best performance from the vehicles, especially when they're on inhospitable terrains. The best vehicles to get a driver out of a sticky situation are 4x4s. The acronym states that the vehicle has four wheels, and it powers four wheels, whereas a 4x2 usually has power in the rear axle. A 4x4 vehicle is useful when hauling heavy loads, when driving over steep inclines and declines such as rocky ground, and when you're stuck in snow, mud, or sand.
The vehicles that are 4x4s have better traction and power than other vehicles. Although the feature helps the driver in numerous challenging spots, the disadvantage of a 4x4 vehicle is that the purchase price, the maintenance, and the fuel are more expensive than those of vehicles that don't have a four-wheel drive. The other problem with driving a 4x4 is that drivers become too confident behind the wheel. They feel that the car will get them out of any tight spot, and they tend to challenge difficult terrains only to find themselves in a heap of trouble. We expect the 4x4 to be reliable and durable, but that's not always the case. To find out which 4x4s buyers should avoid, we searched beaches, mountains, and rocks to determine the vehicles that couldn't handle the pressure.
20 Volvo XC90
Volvo knows how to make reliable vehicles but makes mistakes like other manufacturers. The XC90 is a powerhouse vehicle that provides comfort. Buyers who are looking for a fast 4x4 that delivers great fuel economy should look no further than the XC90.
The car reaches 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and provides 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The most common problems with the XC90 are the transmission failure, the audio system failure due to software issues, and erratic shifting. Drivers will also probably experience oil leakage from the AWD Differential Housing.
19 BMW X5
The X5 is much like the Volvo XC90. It has a powerful engine that produces great performance while saving the driver gas. This heavy vehicle has an engine that pumps out 445 horsepower and provides 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Although the German manufacturer is known for making reliable vehicles, the X5 is prone to oil leakage, especially after 60,000 miles. Valve cover gasket leaks, as well as loss of power steering due to leaking hoses, are also common. BMW did a great job with the 3-series but failed to impress with the X5.
18 Ford Bronco
The American manufacturer produced the car for three decades before pulling the production-line plug. Production is set to resume in 2020 for the gigantic Bronco.
If you like a huge vehicle that'll give you problems, then the Bronco may be the ride you seek.
Don't be surprised if the brakes heat up and fail to work. The other problems that you'll experience with the vehicle include EGR system tubes that'll break and cause leakage and stalling due to ignition module failure, and the problem you'll encounter with the joints may cause a vibration or noise at high speeds.
17 Chevrolet Blazer
One of the biggest reasons that drivers purchase a pickup or an SUV is to feel superior to other drivers on the road. A big car grants the driver masculinity and a status that he would otherwise not have. If you want a big 4x4, then the Blazer is one of your options. The only problem with the Blazer is that it's too big. The car has a width of 6.5 feet, which is enough to make anybody behind the wheel nervous. The car takes up the entire lane and has huge seats and a foot-operated park brake. Maneuvering the vehicle in the bush is challenging.
16 Hummer H1
The H1 was, originally, a military vehicle intended to be bulletproof and absorb the dusty terrains that militants have to endure. Then, the American manufacturer decided to produce a civilian version. That's when things turned pear-shaped. You can forget about driving fast with this vehicle, as it has a 6.5-liter diesel engine that's underpowered. Hummer flipped the AMC 20 differentials upside down to allow the portal gears to spin forward, resulting in weak links. The car is too stiff, which reduces its off-road capability. This vehicle belongs on the battlefield, not on the national highways.
15 Jeep Cherokee
If you're adamant about owning a Jeep Cherokee, you should stick to the latest models, as the '80s ones were a disaster.
The American manufacturer has improved the latest models because the older ones had horrible steering, as it was too light and reactive to inputs, and the fuses regularly blew.
Taking the '80s model off-road would entail discovering that the vehicle prefers to be driven in reverse. If you slipped up, the rear of the vehicle snapped out, so you would face ninety degrees off the intended direction. The cars also leaked fluids from the engine.
14 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The British manufacturer introduced the vehicle at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The 2.7-liter TDV6 produces 240 horsepower, allowing the vehicle a top speed of 162 mph. Land Rover built the vehicle to outcompete other SUVs with its speed. The Range Rover Sport can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. It has speed but also mechanical problems. The 2005 to 2013 models are unreliable, as drivers will experience issues with the suspension, engine stalling, oil leaks, as well as electrical problems. Stick to the new models if you insist on owning a Range Rover Sport.
13 Honda CR-V
The Japanese manufacturer has produced some of the most reliable vehicles on the road. When Honda announced that it would unveil a 4x4, fanatics of the brand couldn't wait for it to hit the market. The car has great handling and stays on course when you're on cold, slippery mountain roads. The CR-V also has good heating to ensure you stay warm while exploring cold mountains. The car is a perfect SUV, except when you take it to the beach. The front wheels bog down before the 4x4 system senses it's needed. You'll get stuck on the beach with the CR-V.
When the truck manufacturer International revealed that it would release the CXT, the news spread like wildfire, and car pundits expected the vehicle to be phenomenal. The hype of the vehicle reached celebrities, some who decided to purchase it but later regretted the decision. The exterior of the vehicle was appealing, and the chassis was tough. So, what was wrong with the CXT? The vehicle needed CDL with air brake endorsement to drive, making it impractical for many people. The bed height is so tall that most people struggle to use it. International struggled to convert a truck into a practical 4x4.
11 Jeep CJ8
The CJ was in production from 1944 to 1986. The manufacturer sold more than 1.5 million units during the period. With so many sold units, the CJ must've done something right. The CJ8 was a fun car to drive and could handle most terrains. While you're cruising the beach of the rocky mountain roads, pay attention to the fuel gauge, as it'll fall at a tremendous pace. The CJ8 has high fuel consumption and is prone to break down, and its chassis is delicate. If you can put up with the high fuel consumption and the breakdowns, then the CJ8 is for you.
10 Mercedes G-Wagen
The exterior of the G-Wagon may be intimidating but so are the price and the maintenance costs. You don't have to worry if you own the latest models, but be afraid of the old 460 model. When you go off-road with the G-Wagen 460, you don't need to worry, as the car has a great engine, three locking diffs, and scratch resistant paint as well as fantastic torque. Once you experience the car on the road, though, you'll discover that it's slow, as the manufacturer designed the engine and gearing for military use. The interior is also subpar.
9 Hummer H2
Rappers may have loved the H2, as it was broad and gave them swag, but the car is impractical, as it's too big for the road, and finding parking for it is a nightmare. The car is too wide to fit on most two-track trails. Apart from struggling on the road, drivers of the vehicle are fortunate if they get 10 miles per gallon.
The H2 doesn't burn gas; it sucks it, as the bulky frame needs support.
If you can tolerate the impracticality and the high fuel consumption, then you still have to deal with the scarcity of the aftermarket parts for the vehicle.
8 Saturn Vue
Depending on where they are in the world, consumers know the Opel Antara by different names. In the North American market, buyers refer to the vehicle as 'Saturn Vue.' The manufacturer produced the vehicle for only two years, from 2007 to 2009, after pulling the plug. Buyers who want to avoid headaches should stay away from all the models. The car is prone to overheating and emitting noises from the front suspension, and its alarm continually activates. When Warranty Direct, an insurance company, conducted an analysis of the least reliable vehicles, the Saturn Vue got a rating of 76%. The car is unreliable, as drivers will experience frequent breakdowns.
7 Land Rover LR 3
The Discovery 3, as it's known in the U.K, may look intimidating, but the vehicle needs around ten seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph. The 4-liter engine pumps out 216 mph, but the vehicle is heavy, so drivers won't notice the large engine. The car has space to seat seven people but is unreliable. To avoid countless headaches, drivers should steer clear of the 2003 to 2009 models. These have proven to break down. Drivers can count on experiencing problems with the electronics as well. The fuel consumption is high, as the big vehicle will permit only 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway.
6 Hyundai Santa Fe
Although the latest model has great safety features and provides a good performance, the Santa Fe 2006 to 2012 models are unpredictable and not in a nice way. The car has good fuel economy, as drivers will experience 42 mpg and an engine that pumps out 191 horsepower. The vehicle needs about nine seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. The older models have a problem with the crankshaft position sensor failing, causing the engine to stall or fail to start. The Santa Fe models experienced about ten recalls; one of the problems was the automatic transmission being prone to damage, leading to loss of power.
5 Range Rover Evoque
The subcompact luxury crossover that the British manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover produces has its share of flaws. The Evoque is similar to the Land Rover LRX unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in 2008. The Evoque has been in production since 2011 and has caused owners countless headaches since. The car received a rating of 87% unreliability in the Warranty Direct's analysis of least reliable vehicles. Experiencing problems on the automatic gearbox is common. The cause can be the software or the actuator. Drivers will also experience problems with the Bluetooth and weak digital radio signal.
4 Volkswagen Trophy Truck
The car didn't last long in the American market, but it did make an appearance. If you search hard enough, you'll find the VW Toureg in North America. The Toureg Race Team used the same vehicles for the 2007 Baja 500 and when it raced the Dakar Rally. The cars finished the races, and VW decided to build the first clean-diesel trophy truck to race the Baja 1000. The media unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show was extravagant, but the vehicle had problems as soon as it hit the road. A seal failed in the gearbox, and the problems exacerbated thereafter. The Toureg's existence in North America was short lived as Volkswagen canned the race program the following year.
3 Nissan Rogue
The newer models of the Rogue are reliable, but you should watch out for the 2001 to 2007 models. When Warranty Direct compiled a list of unreliable cars, the Rogue was one of the featured vehicles as numerous drivers claimed from the insurance company for repair costs.
The most common problem with the Rogue is the transmission.
The Japanese manufacturer has altered the transmission many times throughout the years but failed to get it right. Other common problems include the fuel gauge reflecting the incorrect levels, the sunroof not closing, and the engine making a strange noise at startup.
2 Suzuki Samurai
Some love the vehicle, but most hate it. The Samurai is capable off-road, and the fuel economy fares well against other vehicles in its class. The room in the interior is decent, considering the vehicle's size. Even those who are over six feet tall will feel comfortable. The 1.3-liter engine isn't powerful, and handling the vehicle can be tricky. Consumer Reports stated that the Samurai rolls over easily. The lack of power steering makes it difficult for drivers to maneuver the vehicle off-road. Considering the vehicle is light, you won't have problems pushing it home when it breaks down.
1 Jeep CJ5
If you thought the CJ8 was bad, step into the CJ5 and discover what it feels like to own a troublesome vehicle. Some car experts state that it's the worst 4x4 manufactured. Drivers who are taller than five feet can forget about feeling comfortable in the vehicle, as the interior space is limited. Jeep didn't galvanize the tubs on the CJ5 like they did with the Wrangler, so the rust-free body panels are almost non-existent. If you consider going off-road, be prepared for the two-piece axle shafts to break. The best decision is to avoid the CJ5.
Sources: fourwheeler.com; unsealed4x4.com.au