Top 5 Worst 4x4s of All Time

Sinking in the sand and getting dragged on a steep surface are normal but what if your 4×4 has a tendency to experience engine failure or burst into flames?

In this article, we give you a glimpse of the 4x4s that became famous not because of their features or what they can do but because of what they lack – from the poor interiors to the dangers they pose to their riders.

Chevrolet Silverado 2014

Bibbidi bobbidi boo… or should we say BOOM?! The Chevrolet Silverado has been one of America’s favorite pickup trucks due to its sleek design. But there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

Unfortunately, it has caught the attention of skeptics because of its knack for exploding even at an idle condition. So does that mean that the cheap price tag has hidden charges?

Surely, the Chevrolet Silverado conquered the headlines when 370,000 of its 2014 units were recalled as a result of a software corruption in the system that automatically triggers unnecessary overheating. Although a similar case already happened prior to it in 2011 when a Chevrolet Silverado was suddenly consumed by flames in Tucson, Arizona, affecting a Toyota Camry and a portion of a nearby house.

Whether it’s an honest mistake or a Devil’s advocate, the so-called glitch has caused serious damages like melting vital engine parts and rendering them useless.

Chevrolet Silverado 2014 Pros & Cons

Pros
  • With comfortable seats.
  • Moderately tough on weather conditions.
  • Easy to modify because of the parts’ availability.
Cons
  • Transmission is uncontrollable.
  • Dash light flashes non-stop.
  • Window buttons can malfunction.
  • Engine explodes when used at high speeds.

Get more info here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011E5UC8Y

Mazda B-Series Truck 2006

If the Chevrolet Silverado takes the spotlight for the deadliest 4×4, the Mazda B-Series Truck 2006 comes next in terms of being prone to depreciation. In fact, it’s included on Edmunds.com’s list of 2009 Top 10 Trucks & SUVs with the Worst Residual Value at 31.8%.

But what does it really mean by a residual value? A residual value refers to a 4×4’s remaining worth as time passes due to depreciation. And by depreciation, we meant the gradual loss of such value as the vehicle’s parts “wear off” due to consistent use.

There are many factors to consider in a 4×4’s value depreciation. One of which is fuel consumption. There are some truck types and models that eat a huge amount of gas despite having a low Miles Per Gallon (MPG) count.

Translation? Many riders don’t like spending a lot on gas judging from the fact that oil prices are usually fleeting. And since MPG pertains to the distance that a certain 4×4 can travel given a specific fuel capacity, you wouldn’t also be very happy to know that getting from point A to point B isn’t possible because you’re already out of gas.

Another thing of course is your 4×4’s number and degree of damages. If your vehicle doesn’t have many problems (like two broken windows or a passenger door that creaks) its value won’t be much affected because such issues can be easily fixed. However, if it has faulty wiring connections or compromised operating system (like the issue in number one), you can bet its value to greatly dip, which makes it hard to sell too.

Mazda B-Series Truck 2006 Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Very affordable.
  • Requires minimal maintenance.
Cons
  • Limited cargo space.
  • Not much improvements are made.
  • Easily depreciates.
  • Not meant for off-roading because of its 2WD nature.

Get more info here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011BIU4P0

Honda Ridgeline 2017

If only looks can kill, the one that hits right at home is no other than the Honda Ridgeline 2017. For a 4×4 of its caliber, it really does a great job of fooling others – masquerading as an off-roader and a tower but in reality, it’s just a car meant for the smooth road.

In other words, what’s not very pleasing about it is its continuous search for true identity. For one thing, it’s not a body-on-frame model which reduces its towing capability that’s associated with real pickup trucks. As a matter of fact, its front-wheel drive is only capable of 3,500 lbs.

Plus, it lacks a low-range transfer case with the all-wheel drive system which makes it perform poorly on challenging surfaces or spots.

And you can’t also neglect the idea that because it has a conventional fold-down tailgate, it doesn’t have the hydraulic dampers which can cause the tailgate to suddenly slam down if you’re not cautious enough – better watch those fingers and thighs near it.

If those aren’t sufficient to convince you, then wait until you get your hands on the radio. It’s easy to say that it goes with the flow of the digital era with its touch-screen function. On the contrary, switching in between stations proves to be difficult since it’s not in the main screen itself and you still need to activate your steering wheel button to do it.

Honda Ridgeline 2017 Pros & Cons

Pros
  • With adequate interior space.
  • With fuel economy upgrade.
Cons
  • Meant for on-road use.
  • Needs extra 1,500-lb towing capacity.
  • Expensive at $43,000+.
  • Has no stereo push buttons.

Get more info here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H8E87W8

Jeep Wrangler 2012

You know how the saying goes, even the best falls down sometimes? The same thing happened to the Jeep Wrangler back in 2012. In spite of its rugged appearance and heavy-duty design, this Chrysler vehicle wasn’t able to hide the hideous smoke coming out of its fatal flaw – the electrical components.

Believe it or not, the year 2012 has been the subject of nightmares in Jeep history because this particular jeep model received about 10 recalls, 5 investigations, and 705 filed complaints during that time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Most of these recalls and complaints arise from the high probability of short-circuit in the electrical system that can cause fire. But how does a 4×4’s electrical system work anyway?

A jeep’s electrical system is basically run by a Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). Think of it as something synonymous to a computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) that controls all the 4×4’s actions, so when there’s amiss, everything else is doomed to follow.

Chart shows the Top 5 2012 Jeep Wrangler Problems with electrical problems on the second spot at 126 complaints.

According to NHTSA, out of all the 705 complaints on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler, there are 5 outstanding issues:

1. Engine Problems – 157 complaints

2. Electrical Problems – 126 complaints

3. Brake Problems – 53 complaints

4. Paint Problems – 30 complaints

5. Interior Problems – 4 complaints

For problem #2, it gives the Wrangler 2012 a habit of making the fuel pump running non-stop until it burns out. This is then supported by NHTSA and carcomplaints.com’s combined records telling that out of the 126 complaints, 47 of them are TIPM related.

Jeep Wrangler 2012 Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Engine quickly responds.
  • Meant for off-roading.
  • 6-cylinder engine runs smoothly.
Cons
  • TIPM software is malfunctioning.
  • Has a history of stalling and burning.
  • Has been recalled by manufacturer.
  • Has brake and fuel control issues.

Get more info here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011DJMM2U

Jeep Compass 2011

If you think that an impostor pickup truck is anything but hilarious, then wait ‘til you see a Jeep that’s trying to fit into the ordinary standard. Honestly, it’s downright annoying to know that once upon a time, Jeep has gone to great lengths of re-adjusting its tried-and-tested off-road characteristics to mimic the look of a daily, traditional ride, only to make it available to a larger target market.

And this is no other than the Jeep Compass 2011. At a glance, its physique is a hybrid of jeep and car. However, when it comes to functionalities, it has sadly gone to the route of a car. How so?

One obvious flaw of this 4×4 is its Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT). When you say CVT, it simply means that a certain 4×4 is only as good as its speed limit, once you go beyond it, you run the risk of moving backwards or experiencing a rollover if you lack proper balance, so traversing a hill or a sloped surface isn’t such a great idea with this model.

Probably the one to blame is its predecessor the Jeep Cherokee from which its design was patterned after. Furthermore, it has very little ground clearance at just 8.5.”

Flash forward into the future six years later, Jeep has made an update on the Compass in the form of its 2017 counterpart. While it may have improvements like a good sound system and blind spot detector, it still lacks in certain areas where heating and air condition controls are hard to reach and the driver’s seat can make you uncomfortable due to its move-up-slide-back operation.

Jeep Compass 2011 Pros & Cons

Pros
  • An effective hybrid.
  • Very affordable.
Cons
  • Not meant for hardcore off-roading.
  • Little to no ground clearance.
  • Starts to perform poorly when beyond 70 MPH.

Get more info here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011DB7SOK

Some Factors That Make 4x4s Bad

Sound surprised about the 5 worst 4x4s? You may somehow disagree with the results here and there despite the facts presented but the thing is, we want you to be aware of what influences a really bad 4×4 and have an idea on how to bounce back from it.

Outdated 4×4 Interiors

4×4 interiors are one of the main things that we look into when buying a vehicle. Sure, beauty is relative because what may be appealing to us may be the exact opposite to others. But the point is, vehicle models and types are improved every year. Which means to say, certain styles may be popular for a certain period but in the next two to three years, they’re already considered outdated.

Bear in mind though when you say outdated, it doesn’t just affect the 4×4’s appearance but also the purpose of its parts. Take the Hummer H2 2002 as an example. When you peek inside, its general look gives you a Lego-inspired design where everything appears to be piled on top of each other which signals a lack of organization.

While the windows’ size and structure exude a sophisticated vintage-meets-millennium touch, they somehow restrict the rider’s vision which can be a huge issue when on and off the road.

Unnecessary 4×4 Modifications

4×4 modifications contribute a lot not only to a vehicle’s appearance but also to its performance. But be careful not to overdo it because too much or too little of everything spells disaster.

For example, you can’t place a very huge rim into a small tire. Supposed you have a 30’ rim and you’re planning on putting it to your 15’ tire. This is an accident waiting to happen because when you go on rough, uneven surfaces, your tire’s walls stretch too much which reduces the amount of footprint needed to gain better traction on areas that can be unstable. And if you get very unlucky, sometimes the tire walls even tear apart.

The rule of thumb is simple, the bigger the rims, the bigger the tires should be around them so they can get proper traction and withstand various pressure.

Vehicle Brand Reliability Ratings

Vehicle brand has a huge impact especially for those who have developed brand loyalty. You can’t blame them because brand loyalty stems from brand reliability. There are some brands that already have a reputation for having good, high-quality parts. Others are known for longevity while others are noted for their safety features, etc.

However, when a vehicle brand has a long history of engine malfunctions and recalls, it leaves a lasting, negative imprint on the minds of consumers that sow doubt and later on, distrust.

A portion of Consumer Reports Brand Report Card 2019 showing Chevrolet is at the bottom of the list with a score of 61 via automotivenews.com.

In the case of the Jeep wrangler 2012, the NHTSA recorded 29 complaints related to the jeep’s electronic control glitch, some saying that wipers aren’t working when activated in the middle of the rain, while others report that their headlights suddenly turn on and off with the cruise control function disabling itself.

With this and many other issues concerning this particular 4×4, people have been very worried about their lives and the effects of such issues when left unaddressed in the long run. It’s no wonder 2012 has been the dark age of Wrangler.

New or Used 4WD?

Choosing to buy either a new or used 4WD can be stressful but if you know what you’re options are and what you’re after, it can still get your feet wet in terms of weighing the odds but less challenging than before. Here’s what you should remember on both sides.

Conclusion

Knowing something about the worst 4x4s isn’t a matter of bashing some of your favorite vehicles. It’s a matter of enlightening you about the harsh truths behind such famous brands that sellers would rather hide from you, only to find out later that you had an unfortunate encounter with one or more of them. With this, you’ll be able to come up with an informed and wise decision in buying a 4×4. Share us your thoughts by commenting below.