16 Junk SUVs That GM Tried To Push During The 2000s

The modern sports utility vehicle has evolved a lot since the original Toyota Landcruiser, morphing into something that has become a modern everyday vehicle that does more than just go off-road. General Motors was at the forefront of the modern SUV revolution during the '90s with their popular mid-size and full-size SUV models, such as the Blazer and the Tahoe, and the company focused most of its attention on these large land yachts instead of on the passenger car market such as Honda and Toyota. This caused domestic passenger cars to get a bad reputation for being junk and unreliable, and this reputation has stuck with the automakers to this day when compared to foreign models.

During the 2000s when there was the housing boom and the dot com bubble, the market for large SUVs was bigger than ever, and GM was ready to push just about every badge engineered model they could. GM is responsible for bringing us everything from the Escalade to the obscene Hummer H2, a vehicle which was known as one of the worst vehicles on the environment ever. Taking a look at the slew of SUVs that GM brought to the market during this decade, it's hard to tell if the company was just experiencing corporate greed, or if the automaker had just found a niche that it was good at and wanted to perfect it. We're going to look at some of the worst GM blunders of the 2000s when it comes to the modern SUV.

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16 Oldsmobile Bravada Smart-Trac

Via: Bing

GM was pretty much clueless when it came to the Oldsmobile brand, especially in the brands final years on the planet. Being outpaced by rival car markers such as Lexus and Infinity, the Oldsmobile brand became dated and basically lackluster. The Oldsmobile Bravada Smart-Trac was an SUV that didn’t really know what it was, offering a blend of luxury wrapped up in the same boring Trailblazer shell that GM was selling over on Chevy dealership lots. Still, the Oldsmobile Bravada Smart-Trac did sell in reasonable numbers on the used car market thanks to a stellar design and a reliable engine. (Motor Trend)

15 Chevrolet Tracker

Via: Bing

The little Chevy Tracker was sold in one form or another since the 1990s, but the automaker never really tried to innovate when Honda and Toyota were continually improving their compact SUV offerings and taking up the market share. Even the initial Ford Escape was a better product then the Chevy Tracker and as the years went on, the model just became more dated. The Tracker could have been so much more if GM had decided to innovate the model, while still adding value to the compact SUV market which at the time was flooded with inexpensive offerings from foreign and domestic automakers. (Driveline)

14 Pontiac Torrent

Via: Bing

Released at an odd time for the automotive market, the Pontiac Torrent was the SUV that no one really wanted or needed. The brand had already failed with the Aztek and the Torrent was nothing special compared to the Chevy Equinox, and this was one of the lowest points for the Pontiac brand. The Torrent could have been something fun that built on the excitement of the brand, but instead, the car was nothing but a badge-engineered Equinox with nothing really to offer in terms of style or refinement, which at the time was a major issue across all of the GM brands which were panned for a lack of quality. (Driveline)

13 Saab 9-7X

Via: Bing

Released toward the end of Saab's life-cycle, the Saab 9-7X was supposed to be a Swedish SUV with refinement and luxury, but instead, it was nothing more than a Trailblazer with a fancier interior and a much smoother looking body. The Saab 9-7X offered nothing unique in the way of a luxury SUV, and GM had badge engineered the Trailblazer under so many different brands that consumers were not blind to this anymore. The Saab 9-7X was a poor seller for the brand, and eventually, the model was retired when the company decided to eliminate brands that were not turning a profit. (Driveline)

12 Saturn Vue Redline

Via: Bing

Sold as a last ditch effort to get Saturn showrooms flowing again, the Saturn Vue Redline was a compact SUV that was injected with some performance genes. Unfortunately, the vehicle was still a Saturn, and car enthusiasts had a hard time taking the vehicle seriously. Thus, there were very few of these little special editions that actually sold. The Saturn Vue Redline did have an upgraded interior over the original model, as well as a stylish pair of alloy rims which gave the car a one of a kind look that is still one of the most iconic designs of the late 2000s. (Motor Trend)

11 Buick Rendezvous

Via: Bing

The corporate cousin of the Pontiac Aztek has some things going for it, but not by far. The Buick Rendezvous was not as ugly as the Pontiac Aztek by any means, but the odd-looking exterior styling is still there. The Buick Rendezvous was notable for being heavily advertised by pitchman and golf legend Tiger Woods, and this was partly responsible for the cars massive influx of popularity. However, the Buick Rendezvous was a pretty valiant attempt to capitalize on the SUV boom at the time, which had taken over the automotive industry for the last part of the 1990s which was known for a bustling economy. (Driveline)

10 Buick Rainier

Via: Bing

Yes, GM has continued to badge engineer the Trailblazer in one form or another and the Buick Rainier was another attempt to build on the aged platform. Offering a full-on SUV as opposed to the crossover Rendezvous, which has made a lot of consumers check out the Rainier but the model was not anything special when compared to other models at the time. The Buick Rainier had a lot going for it in terms of hype but the model was not well executed when it came to bringing a new luxury SUV to market, especially one bearing a Buick badge. (Motor Trend)

9 Hummer H3

Via: Bing

A few years before the economic downturn GM was working on expanding the Hummer brand from the gas-guzzling vehicles that made it famous, and thus the compact sized Hummer H3 was born. This small SUV was based on the Chevy Colorado truck, but with a weakened five-cylinder engine, the vehicle was not a Hummer by any means. The Hummer H3 never really managed to catch on with consumers, although these unique looking vehicles have maintained their resale value for some reason. The Hummer H3 was more desirable in many aspects then the much larger Hummer H2, which was known for being a gas hog. (Motor Trend)

8 Chevrolet Equinox

Via: Bing

When it came time to replace the aging Chevy Tracker, GM decided to redesign their compact SUV from the ground up, and thus the Equinox was born. Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, this was an under-powered SUV that had a lot of drawbacks to it. The Chevy Equinox was known for having an underpowered engine and a cramped interior, two drawbacks which made the SUV unlivable when compared to offerings from Toyota and Honda that were both more refined and generally more reliable. The current Chevrolet Equinox was a huge improvement over the original model, which has helped to bolster sales. (Drive Time)

7 Suzuki XL-7 (Badge Engineered Equinox)

Via: Bing

GM is always quick to badge engineer a vehicle, and thus the company was quick to allow Suzuki to re-badge the Chevy Equinox as a Suzuki XL-7. While the Suzuki XL-7 was a revolutionary SUV in a lot of aspects such as the fact that the vehicle was able to seat seven passengers in a compact size, there were also a lot of drawbacks to the model as well such as an underpowered engine. The Suzuki XL-7 managed to go on for quite a few years in its current state until the company was eventually folded into a motor-sports operation. (Motor Trend)

6 Saturn Outlook

Via: Bing

The first crossover vehicle to ever be sold on a Saturn lot, the Saturn Outlook was a unique looking vehicle that did have some positives. Yet with a high price that rivaled some fully loaded models that were already on the market, consumers had a hard time swallowing these for a Saturn of all things. The Saturn Outlook never really managed to catch on, and with the economic downturn, the consumer tastes were quickly switching from SUV models in favor of hybrid vehicles such as the Prius, which at the time were some of the most popular selling vehicles. (Motor Trend)

5 GMC Envoy Denali

Via: Bing

Perhaps one of the most poorly executed GM products at the time, the GMC Envoy Denali took the basic Envoy SUV and slapped a whole lot of chrome and leather onto it. The problem with this was the fact that the vehicle had a price tag that rivaled some larger SUV models, including the Escalade. This was a problem for consumers who couldn’t justify spending a premium price for a GMC when they could go and get the prestige of a Cadillac or a Lincoln with a much larger interior and engine, both of which the Escalade and the Navigator offered. (Motor Trend)

4 Cadillac Escalade EXT

Via: Bing

When it comes to one of the most notable SUVs to come out of the new millennium, the Cadillac Escalade EXT is probably one of the most over-hyped models to come out of Detroit. GM did absolutely nothing unique when the EXT hit the market, instead opting to dress the Chevy Avalanche up and sell it at a premium. While the EXT was a decent seller at the start of its life cycle, there really was no market for a luxury truck that could transform into an SUV and thus the EXT went the way of most failed GM projects. (Motor 1)

3 Pontiac Aztek

If there's one SUV that's the butt of jokes to this day, its the Pontiac Aztek, a unique looking vehicle that really got its claim to fame in the hit TV show Breaking Bad. The Pontiac Aztek is a one of a kind vehicle, to say the least, but that is about it as the rest of the SUV was painfully bad. From a lethargic engine to a lackluster exterior that was full of body cladding, the Pontiac Aztek was just about the most awful thing that was on the road. However, we will give GM props for some pretty innovative features such as a built-in drink cooler. (Driveline)

2 GMC Envoy XUV

Via: Bing

GM was really trying to ride the SUV wave hard during the early 2000s, so its no wonder that the company managed to introduce the GMC Envoy XUV. While the idea was a good one, offering the versatility of an SUV with the added benefit of a cargo bay, the finished product was nothing like the designers had imagined. The GMC Envoy XUV is notorious for having a leaking roof around the cargo area, as well as the questionable reliability that came from the Vortec V6 engine which was prominent in these models since their inception for the 2001 model year. (Motor Trend)

1 Hummer H2

Via: Bing

Dubbed one of the most embarrassing vehicles of all time, the Hummer H2 was the status symbol of the century when it was introduced by GM. The massive SUV was terrible on gas and even worse to drive, yet thousands of people grabbed these up as fast as they could. That is, until the economic downturn of 2008. The Hummer H2 quickly fell out of favor, and fast. Leaving a stream of unsold models on dealership lots and eventually causing the demise of the Hummer brand all-together, which left a lot of off-road consumers going across the way to Jeep dealerships. (Motor Trend)

Sources: Drive Time, Motor Trend, Motor Week

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