The domestic market is slowly being overtaken by SUVs in every possible format: compact, crossover, mid-size, and, of course, full-sized ones. While small cars remain somewhat of a conundrum of need over speed, sedans are mostly on their way out unless they are electric and touted to be the saviors of humanity.
But are all SUVs worth hanging around in the current car bazaar? We doubt that, and so would you if you see our list of ten SUVs that comprise both the best in the market and the worst. As always, to each their own we say, so if you own any of these, happy driving to you.
10 Problematic: Jeep Renegade
Jeep Renegade is for those who can’t afford a Jeep Compass, not that the Compass is high on reliability. Most are swayed by the Renegade's cute looks though its name doesn’t live up to its performance. Or maybe it does, because the nine-speed automatic is fairly rebellious to proper driving. Add to that a poor reliability rating, bad handling, and just an unremarkable driving experience; and the Renegade may need to be tamed more by its makers. The high points are its looks, the UConnect Infotainment system, and decent off-roading capabilities. Despite the removable sunroof attracting buyers, the engine lacks punch and makes for a shuddering drive especially on higher speeds.
9 Perfection: Volkswagen Tiguan
Despite being a compact SUV, the Tiguan manages to offer roomy interiors and respectable cargo hold. Though Volkswagen flouted emission rules and had to pay hefty fines, the Tiguan retains high-reliability ratings. The biggest plus with the Tiguan is its six-year/72,000-mile warranty which is double than most warranties offered in compact SUVs.
The problem with the Tiguan is its uninspiring engine options and a rather poor fuel economy. The higher trims offer more safety and tech, while the lower trims feel a bit underwhelming. At 184 horsepower, the Tiguan handles most roads sportily and can prove a great SUV for smaller families.
8 Problematic: Dodge Durango
Yet another car that fails its namesake. The Durango can only be described as an average SUV. The highpoints have to be the engine lineup with the two Hemi V8 versions ruling the roost. This is offset by poor safety scores and a driving experience akin to handling a brick. The Durango is big in size but low in class. It does offer a great towing capability and huge cargo space but the cabin quality is slipshod. Turning it can be a ponderous affair and there are simply better Dodges/Rams to buy. With no change for the 2019 model year, the Durango may turn into the Lone Ranger.
7 Perfection: Chevrolet Tahoe
The Tahoe tops the Expedition by offering a V8 powertrain option that manages 420 horsepower. This car is pure muscle and despite heavy towing capability, it can offer an awesome fuel economy. Despite its heftiness, the Chevrolet Tahoe steers agilely and offers a smooth ride quality.
The suspension is jittery over rough roads but Tahoe’s family-friendly tech and safety-oriented features are balming. The interior space is okay and the third row can feel a bit cramped. The Expedition makes more sense for those with larger-than-average family, otherwise, the Tahoe lives up to all expectations.
6 Problematic: Ford Flex
For a car this size, the engine options should have been kept more flexible by Ford. While the optional turbocharged engine is a powerful beast, the base engine splutters weakly trying to handle a car this size. Another low point for this car is that it hasn’t been redesigned in years. So its rivals look far fresher and sleeker than the Flex. It does have a spacious cargo hold, a fun infotainment system but the seats lack even the basic back support. With rivals like the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot, the Flex just feels like faded wallpaper. It’s not even particularly cheap and makes no statement of its own.
5 Perfection: Hyundai Santa Fe
The biggest problem with the Hyundai Sante Fe lies with its convalescent base engine. The optional powertrain that manages 235 horsepower, puts Santa Fe back in the top list of 2019's SUVs. The Santa Fe gives you good fuel economy and overall smooth driving experience. The seats are comfortable while the cabin interiors are topnotch.
There is plenty of cargo space though there are roomier rivals in the car bazaar. The Santa Fe doesn’t handle as well as other cars but it’s still one of the most reliable SUVs on 2019. Loaded with easy-to-use features, the Santa Fe is a pleasure to drive for the consumer who doesn’t expect too much from his car.
4 Problematic: Mitsubishi Outlander
When it comes to car's names, the Outlander should ideally have been one heroic car capable of handling all terrains. Instead, Mitsubishi gave us an affordable three-row compact SUV with a respectable fuel economy. The other good thing about it is that there is a plug-in hybrid model available as well. Beyond this, the Outlander falls behind its rivals in just about everything. The base engine is subpar and the overall ride experience is a dud. The interiors feel cheap and reliability ratings bottom out. While the 2019 model boasts of a retuned suspension, you could do better with a Ford Escape, or the Honda CR-V.
3 Perfection: Ford Expedition
While the Ford Expedition is pricier than its rivals, you simply cannot go wrong with it. It was dubbed The Best Large SUV for Families for 2019 by US News and World Report because that’s how good its reliability ratings are. The engine robustly jets out 375 to 400 horsepower which is impressive for this large-sized SUV.
Passengers and cargo can both travel comfortably within its extra-wide interiors. The Expedition’s SYNC-3 infotainment system curries favor with all and is quick to respond to all inputs. Surprisingly, for a car this size, there are no V8 options. However, it’s turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 proves more than capable.
2 Problematic: Tesla Model X
When Elon Musk took over Tesla he never envisaged that one day Model X owners would sue Tesla for refunds under California's "Lemon Rule". The problems with the Model X are manifold beginning with it being more showy than practical. The safety ratings show it to be a death trap with the gullwing doors becoming an obstacle in an emergency. The windshield can cause vision problems at night and there have been reports with the console screen freezing as well. The third-row seats tend to fold forward in a crash and driving this on twisty roads can be pretty dangerous. More than 90% of Model X cars show defects during the post assembly line process making this a bad bet for 2019.
1 Perfection: Toyota Highlander
This mid-size Toyota SUV manages 185 to 306 horsepower depending on its powertrain options. The drive is comfortable and the cabin is as stylish as it is quiet. The safety features are top-of-the-line and good reliability ratings prove that you will not be seeing a mechanic all too often in the Highlander. The four-cylinder engine is adequate but it is the optional V6 that can make this mid-size ride a delight. The third-row seat is a bit confining and this is not a car you buy for huge cargo space. With the Tri-Zone automatic climate control and a driver voice amplifier for rear passengers; this is one good SUV to buy in 2019.