The SUVs That Don’t Deliver the Space or Power Drivers Want

With an SUV craze gripping America, automakers are rushing new models to market every year. Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Ford EcoSport, and Hyundai Kona make up just a few of the debuts hitting the road for 2018. However, some of these utility vehicles have not scored particularly well in reliability.

Equally bad (maybe worse), many new SUVs don’t feature the robust power or impressive cargo space you might expect. In other words, the things most consumers would expect in this class of vehicles are conspicuously absent. It could make someone wonder whether a midsize sedan isn’t the best choice after all.

Here are nine SUVs that don’t deliver either enough power or space for consumers in this segment.

1. Chevrolet Trax

2017 Chevy Trax

2017 Chevy Trax | General Motors

In the subcompact SUV class, you’re not going to get a lot of space for bulky equipment or oversized passengers. However, you should get some oomph for highway travel and everyday driving. Unfortunately, you don’t get any type of power whatsoever in a Chevrolet Trax. Its 1.4-liter turbo engine took nearly 11 seconds to get Consumer Reports testers to 60 miles per hour. That’s pathetically slow for any vehicle.

2. Jeep Compass

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk | Jeep

If you hoped for big improvements when Jeep ended production of the Patriot and Compass for this all-new model, stop hoping. The 2018 Compass merely maintained its position at the bottom of the compact SUV class. You will notice as soon as you hit the gas pedal. Rather than giving Compass buyers a strong engine, Fiat-Chrysler stuck it with the same powertrain in the Renegade and lackluster Fiat SUV.

So, drivers have to power a heavier vehicle with the same weak (180 horsepower) engine. As a result, it will take you 10 seconds to hit 60 miles per hour from a stop. Meanwhile, Compass also lacks cargo space, with just 27.5 cubic feet available. By comparison, a Toyota RAV4 offers 37 cubic feet of storage. Compass fails both key SUV tests.

3. Mitsubishi Outlander

View of the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander driving through wooded area

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander | Mitsubishi

Before you make fun of a Toyota Camry, check under the hood of the SUV you’re about to buy. You might be surprised to learn that utility model barely has any power. The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is a perfect example with its 2.4-liter (166 horsepower) base engine. By comparison, a generic four-cylinder Camry delivers 204 horses. Add in Outlander’s tiny third row of seats and you have one of the most underperforming SUVs of 2018.

4. Land Rover Discovery Sport

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport | Land Rover

Sometimes, a good engine can be undone by a mediocre transmission, and that’s what happened with the 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport. Buyers have the option of either 237 or 286 horsepower, but only one nine-speed transmission comes with them. When Consumer Reports took it on the test course, drivers found it slow to shift up or down, leaving you with a jarring driving experience. That’s a bitter pill to swallow in a $40,000 SUV.

5. Chevrolet Tahoe

2017 Chevy Tahoe

2017 Chevy Tahoe | Chevrolet

Would you believe a vehicle the size of Chevrolet Tahoe had a tight seating area? Designers managed the impossible with the 2018 model, which follows the redesign of ’15. Tahoe’s first two rows are spacious and luxurious, but the cramped third row of seating essentially makes it the kids’ section. That’s unacceptable in a 17-foot vehicle, as is a powertrain that doesn’t feel like enough for a 5,600-pound SUV.

6. Fiat 500X

2017 Fiat 500X

2017 Fiat 500X | Fiat

Even if you lower your expectations for the Fiat 500X, you will be disappointed. Neither power nor cargo space impresses consumers in this vehicle. To reach 60 miles per hour, you’ll need about 10 seconds with its 180-horsepower engine. However, it will guzzle more gas than you’d ever want, getting about 16 mpg in city driving. Its cargo space won’t make up for these deficiencies, either.

7. Nissan Juke

Front- three-quarter view from passenger side of yellow 2017 Nissan Juke

2017 Nissan Juke | Nissan

You won’t have Nissan Juke to kick around much longer. After the 2017 model runs its course, this crossover is headed to the auto graveyard, making way for a new model called Kicks. In the meantime, consumers will still find the bug-eyed Juke in dealerships, but you won’t get much utility out of this ute. The tight back seats and bare-bones cargo space behind them make the Juke the Smart Fortwo of the subcompact segment.

8. Land Rover Discovery

2017 Land Rover Discovery

2017 Land Rover Discovery | Land Rover

While the Discovery Sport has flaws at $40,000, the larger Land Rover Discovery brings weaknesses of its own at $50,000. Power is not an issue here, with even the base engine topping 250 horsepower. However, the third row of seats only passes the kiddie test. Worse, Consumer Reports testers detailed a genuine struggle trying to climb into the back row.

9. Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade | General Motors

If you choose the base Cadillac Escalade ($77,000) you’re going to wonder how such a big car came up short in the third row of seats. (This model has the same problem as the Chevy Tahoe on which it’s based.) To get a livable third row, you need to opt for the Cadillac ESV ($80,000), just as you need to select Suburban over Tahoe if space is a priority. Either way, we’d say Cadillac’s big SUV ranks among the most overpriced vehicles in America.

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