The SUVs JD Power Ranked Worst for Dependability in 2018
Whether you’re shopping for a new or used car, it can be a jungle out there. Some models will lose more than 30% of their value in their first year on the road, leaving owners with a heavy loss if they decide to change vehicles.
Other cars are so trouble-prone that owners and professional testers say you should avoid them entirely. J.D. Power is a resource that helps car buyers tell the difference between a lemon and a winner.
Since 1990, the organization has rounded up feedback from owners who reveal how their new cars performed in the third year of ownership. Like people, many vehicles can hide their flaws for a while, but after several years they always show their true colors.
To get a beat on vehicles turning three years old, J.D. Power documented reports from nearly 37,000 owners. Here are the 16 SUVs that flopped in the J.D. Power rankings for 2018, ranked from the bad to the worst.
16. Buick Encore
Talk about a vehicle showing its true colors after a few years. When the Buick Encore hit the market for 2015, its J.D. Power Initial Quality and performance ratings were excellent.
In its third year on the road, Encore owners revealed where it was lacking. Out of a possible five, Buick’s subcompact SUV scored a two for vehicle features and accessories. Those ratings matched Consumer Reports feedback for the same model year.
Next: One Subaru made the list for 2018.
15. Subaru Crosstrek
Among the SUVs that got J.D Power’s worst score in 2018, only one got great marks (four out of five circles) for its engine and transmission: The Subaru Crosstrek. The small crossover also earned decent marks for body integrity and interior dependability.
However, when it came to its features and accessories — everything from infotainment to HVAC controls and windshield wipers — Crosstrek was at the bottom of the pack.
Next: This luxury model by Infiniti got the accessories right but the interior very wrong.
14. Infiniti QX60
It takes more than a nice stereo system and cool tech to make owning a car an enjoyable experience. The 2015 Infiniti QX60 illustrates that perfectly.
Owners reported mostly good things about the infotainment and general comfort. As far as driving (average) and interior dependability (terrible) went, QX60 is sorely lacking in quality.
Next: Suburban’s GMC twin got hammered for powertrain dependability.
13. GMC Yukon
Buying an all-new model in its first year always represents some kind of risk, and feedback for the 2015 GMC Yukon confirms this on several levels.
While features and accessories showed few problems, Yukon’s powertrain (average) and body integrity (poor) left much to be desired. Even in a limited segment, used SUV buyers can do better than a ’15 Yukon.
Next: Dodge’s midsize SUV had poor ratings on several fronts.
12. Dodge Journey
The first impressions owners reported to J.D. Power on the 2015 Dodge Journey mostly held true three years later. Owners considered the powertrain average or worse, and overall quality rated low.
On the road, drivers discovered multiple problems with the in-cabin electronics, accessories, and other features. In this highly competitive segment, Journey is nowhere near a good call.
Next: Ford’s midsize SUV also flopped in the 2018 rankings.
11. Ford Explorer
Though the redesigned Ford Explorer was in its fourth year on the market by 2015, multiple problems still surfaced in owner feedback. Among them were shoddy interior materials, cabin noise, and general squeaks.
Meanwhile, Explorer’s powertrain and infotainment only rated average, making it the wrong call for most used SUV buyers.
Next: Even German luxury models got the basics wrong.
10. Audi Q5
The high volume of new compact and midsize luxury SUVs yielded a large batch of duds over the pasts few years. Land Rover, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Tesla all earned poor reliability scores.
J.D. Power surveys showed the models giving owners trouble since 2015, and Audi Q5 was one of the casualties. This model ranked just average in drivetrain and body integrity while failing on features and accessories.
Next: Volvo’s compact SUV came up short in several areas in the 2018 survey.
9. Volvo XC60
Among the eight compact premium SUVs from 2015, the Volvo XC60 scored worst of the bunch. This model’s one bright spot was its average score in the powertrain category.
Otherwise, the XC60 showed a number of design flaws in body integrity, interior dependability, infotainment, and cabin controls. If you can put up with such issues, used vehicle shoppers can likely score a deal on this Volvo.
Next: The Jeeps from this period gave owners fits.
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
If there was one brand used car shoppers would want to avoid in recent years, Jeep would be it. Consumer Reports reliability ratings for 2014-16 named Grand Cherokee, Renegade, and Cherokee worst in their respective segments.
The latest J.D. Power ratings supported all those conclusions. In Grand Cherokee’s case, bad feedback put the powertrain at the bottom of the barrel with other areas rating average at best.
Next: Nissan was behind the least dependable SUV in the midsize segment.
7. Nissan Pathfinder
Between the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder’s tendency to rattle, its bottom-rung transmission, and cheap build quality, it was no surprise it ended up on the Consumer Reports list for least reliable cars of the year.
After nearly three years on the road, owners confirmed Pathfinder’s poor overall performance for the J.D. Power ratings. The only positive feedback it could manage came in the category of features and accessories.
Next: This Volvo crossover scored poorly in everything from powertrain to interior technology.
6. Volvo XC70
Like something out of a horror movie, Volvo XC70 continues to haunt the Swedish automaker even though the wagon officially died in 2016. Owners rated it among the worst for its powertrain as well as features and accessories inside the cabin.
The only area where it rated average was interior/body dependability. Volvo’s larger XC90 has also received some negative feedback since its debut, and it appeared on the Consumer Reports list of least reliable vehicles in late 2017.
Next: This Mitsubishi SUV received bad feedback in nearly every survey.
5. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
From a tech and accessory standpoint, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport got higher-than-average ratings. However, its poor powertrain and body integrity ratings pulled it all the way down.
Terrible owner satisfaction ratings for the same model from Consumer Reports suggests Outlander Sport is one to avoid on the used market — especially the ’15 edition.
Next: Only one compact non-luxury SUV managed to get the worst rating for the 2015 model year.
4. Jeep Cherokee
Compact SUVs might have the toughest competition of any segment these days. To stand out from the pack, a vehicle has to top the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, and Honda CR-V.
Not only did the 2015 Jeep Cherokee fail on that front; it didn’t even come close to competing. The Cherokee’s subpar powertrain, cheap finish, and other imperfections made it the only complete flop in the compact SUV category.
Next: Used car shoppers have been warned repeatedly about this Jeep.
3. Jeep Compass
The previous-generation Jeep Compass (2007-16) was widely known as a lemon. Owners complained about its dull acceleration, noisy cabin, shoddy brakes, poor visibility, and crappy finish.
It received the worst owner-satisfaction scores for every year of its existence. After three years in J.D. Power owners’ hands, the verdict as no different: The 2015 Compass is the least dependable small SUV on the road.
Next: It basically didn’t get worse than this Range Rover.
2. Range Rover Evoque
Only two models got the worst possible ratings in powertrain, body integrity, and interior accessories. The Range Rover Evoque, which starts at $41,800, was one of them in the J.D. Power dependability survey of 2018.
Consumers probably expect more from the Land Rover and Range Rover brands, but this model is yet another entry-level luxury model that hasn’t delivered. On the bright side, used 2015 Evoques were selling for below $25,000 in early 2018.
Next: If you’re in the market for three-year-old SUV, this Audi might be your worst choice.
1. Audi Q7
The 2015 Audi Q7 joined the Range Rover Evoque with the worst scores of any SUV in the J.D. Power rankings. Initial Quality ratings for Q7 did not bode well for this model, and owners didn’t get any happier with it once three years passed.
Complaints revolved around shoddy brakes, excess engine noise, and a clumsy in-car electronics system. For a vehicle that started for $50,000 and still commands high prices used, consumers should take note.
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