In the Used SUV Hunt, Consumer Reports Says to Avoid These 2016 Models

With a flood of new crossover SUVs hitting the market every year, consumers looking for a used model have more choices in the segment than ever before. However, that doesn’t mean there are many more good choices than in the past.

A look at the reliability ratings of new utility vehicles tells some of the story. For 2018 alone, 15 got the worst possible score from Consumer Reports. New models like Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jaguar F-Pace landed on that list.

However, long-established SUVs have many of the same issues as the luxury newcomers. With 2019 models hitting dealerships and the three-year-old models now driving the secondhand market, you’ll want to steer clear of utility models known for poor reliability and subpar performance. Here are all the SUVs from the 2016 model year that Consumer Reports says to avoid.

1. Lexus GX

2016 Lexus GX | Lexus

Looking back over the past decade, you’ll find Lexus and Toyota near the top of reliability rankings by brand every year. Consumer Reports almost unanimously recommends the cars, trucks, and SUVs these companies produce.

In fact, there was only one model since 2008 that got the thumbs-down: the 2016 Lexus GX. Problems with the drive system (e.g., all-wheel-drive components, traction control, electrical system) and brakes turned up repeatedly in owner surveys.

2. Dodge Journey

2016 Dodge Journey | Micah Wright/The Cheat Sheet

Among the midsize SUVs of 2016, Dodge Journey ranked worst for reliability. Anywhere you look, there seems to be a problem with this model. Here are a few that kept turning up in owner surveys:

  • Engine minor (belts, engine knocks, oil leaks)
  • Body integrity (cracks, water leaks, rattling)
  • Power equipment (lights, clocks, security system, wiper motor)
  • Suspension (shocks and struts, alignment)
  • In-car electronics

These issues led to four recalls for the 2016 Journey. You probably don’t want this headache in your life, no matter what price they’re selling for these days.

3. Volvo XC90

Fron three quarter view of white Volvo XC90 outside a garage

2016 Volvo XC90 | Volvo

Since the redesigned Volvo XC90 hit the market, owners have reported reliability issues. In the debut model, problems with the brakes, power equipment, body integrity, and in-car electronics stood out.

Consumer Reports recommended avoiding the 2016 edition entirely, and said the same about the ’17 model as well.

4. Hyundai Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

The team at Consumer Reports is always wary about the first model year of redesigned models. Generally, automakers need a year or two to work out the kinks, so consumers are better off waiting.

That’s exactly how the 2016 Hyundai Tucson got the thumbs-down. Problems with the transmission and drive system were the biggest causes for concern, and one led to a recall. The issue was drivers could not accelerate from a stop, and many of the 416 NHTSA safety complaints referenced that defect.

5. Chevrolet Suburban

Side view of white 2016 Chevrolet Suburban from driver's side.

2016 Chevrolet Suburban | General Motors

While the Chevrolet Suburban from earlier in the decade (2012-13) proved reliable, the redesign (2015) brought on a host of problems. Among them were issues with the suspension, in-car electronics, and power equipment.

There were a total of four recalls for the 2016 Suburban as well. If you’re dead-set on this giant SUV, be sure to see the paperwork showing the steering and air bag defects were resolved.

6. Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X | Tesla

Anyone who was surprised by the multitude of problems with Tesla Model 3 must have forgotten the Model X SUV. Since its debut in 2016, the falcon-wing electric crossover had more problems than owners would like to count. The list includes:

  • Climate system
  • Paint and trim
  • Body integrity
  • Body hardware
  • In-car electronics

While Tesla owners are famous for their loyalty and patience, over 100 logged safety complaints for the 2016 model on the NHTSA website. Meanwhile, Model X continues to bedevil buyers. In 2018, Consumer Reports named it the least reliable vehicle on the U.S. market.

7. Mazda CX-9

2017 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

While Mazda has a reputation for strong reliability, the CX-9 crossover got the thumbs-down from Consumer Reports for its redesign year (2016). Problems with in-car electronics seem to be the only major trouble spot. (Brakes were also mentioned.)

Looking at the CX-9’s NHTSA page, there are 0 recalls and few complaints, which suggests buyers could do worse. However, Consumer Reports says to avoid it.

8. Mercedes-Benz GLC

2016 Mercedes Benz GLC

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC | Mercedes-Benz

Whether you go by recalls (7) or consumer complaints (59) for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, you can say it’s an unreliable vehicle. Consumer Reports certainly did, and said used-car shoppers should avoid it entirely.

Driver complaints centered on the GLC’s air bags, service brakes, headlights, and electrical system.

9. Lincoln MKX

2016 Lincoln MKX | Lincoln

The combination of rough reliability ratings in the past and a 2016 redesign led to Consumer Reports giving Lincoln MKX the thumbs-down for the model year. While data is relatively scant on the specifics, a check on the NHTSA site reveals a few common trouble areas.

For starters, two recalls and 48 complaints came in on the 2016 MKX. (Power equipment and air bags show up frequently.)

10. GMC Yukon XL

2016 GMC Yukon XL | General Motors

After a poor reliability score for the 2015 redesign, the 2016 GMC Yukon XL got the same rating and the “avoid” label from Consumer Reports. Considering it runs on the same platform as the Chevy Suburban, that’s not a big surprise.

Problems commonly cited by owners include electrical system issues, lights, and general engine complaints. Some 784 manufacturer communications include dozens of preliminary instructions on basic repairs.

11. Acura MDX

2016 Acura MDX | Acura

With the 2016 Acura MDX, Consumer Reports referred to the previous generation that had suspension and finish issues. Looking at the 69 owner complaints, reported reliability issues sounded more serious.

Powertrain issues, including the loss of acceleration around 70 mph, rate as the scariest of the bunch. Transmission issues in low gears are more reason to avoid the MDX from this year.

12. Ford Explorer

2016 Ford Explorer Platinum | James Derek Sapienza/The Cheat Sheet

With the 2016 Ford Explorer, used SUV shoppers are looking at a vehicle with six recalls and 588 NHTSA complaints. If that alone doesn’t make you think twice, a quick look at the reasons should.

Dozens of steering and engine issues appear, as do problems with the tires/wheels. In-car electronics trouble turned up in Consumer Reports surveys as well.

13. Porsche Cayenne

2016 Porsche Cayenne | Porsche

With a high-end model like the Porsche Cayenne, there’s generally less data to work with. Nonetheless, Consumer Reports rated this crossover among those from 2016 shoppers should avoid entirely. It was the only Porsche that got CR’s thumbs-down from the past decade.

Major drive system issues were the biggest problem for this Cayenne. The few complaints on the NHTSA site referred to powertrain and electrical system trouble.

14. Dodge Durango

2016 Dodge Durango R/T | Dodge

As the worst-rated model in the large SUV segment, the thumbs-down for the 2016 Dodge Durango from Consumer Reports seems like an easy call. Brake issues were common, and a structural problem eventually led to a recall for faulty calipers.

Meanwhile, multiple powertrain and transmission issues turned up in this model’s 47 complaints on the NHTSA website. The scariest involved problems shifting the Durango into park. In 2018, what sounds like a similar issue led to a recall of the latest model. (The 2016 apparently will stay as-is.)

15. Cadillac Escalade

Front three-quarter view of white 2015 Cadillac Escalade from passenger side

2016 Cadillac Escalade | Cadillac

Like the GMC and Chevy models built on the same platform, the 2016 Cadillac Escalade got the worst possible reliability rating from Consumer Reports. Trouble spots included climate system, in-car electronics, and power equipment.

Recalls for suspension and air bag issues complicate the matter, which likely led to the thumbs-down for this model year.

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