Crossover utility vehicles dominate the market right now. Automakers are quickly filling their lineups with as many crossovers as possible to satisfy America’s insatiable hunger for the vehicle type. With so many CUVs on the market, it’s understandable to come across a few duds. Vehicles that do nothing more than fill a tiny gap between other, more-competent models.
We’ve driven numerous crossovers over the years. There are some truly excellent ones, and then there are vehicles like the four you see listed below. These vehicles don’t deserve your money, and the automakers who made them should be mildly ashamed at their attempt to push these sub-par products on their customers.
When we reviewed the Toyota C-HR (Image Toyota), we called it “chunky, funky, and generally nonsensical”. In many ways, it just doesn’t make sense. The vehicle is supposed to be a crossover but lacks much of what many crossovers offer (AWD, good cargo and storage space, and a higher ride height). The C-HR is everything that’s wrong with the crossover mania. It’s a vehicle that gives the crossover vehicle type a bad name. We aren’t the only ones who feel this way. A simple internet search will show that most other publications share our sentiment. Toyota failed to produce something good, and we’re surprised the C-HR ever got the green light to begin with.
The Chevrolet Trax (Image: Chevrolet) actually sells well, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good crossover. Chevrolet has the ability to make fantastic SUVs and crossovers and then they sell this turd of a vehicle to the masses. Like the Buick Encore, which is a very close cousin, the Trax looks a lot like a “shiny potato” to borrow a phrase from Car and Driver. The Trax’s biggest pro? It’s pretty cheap with a starting price of $21,000. That said, we’d rather have one of its competitors for less money and not hate ourselves every time we went for a drive. When we reviewed the Trax in 2017 we remarked that in this vehicle “the struggle for mediocrity is real”. The vehicle is an acceptable choice at best, and we’d rather have a Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, or Mazda CX-3 instead.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
As we noted in our review in 2016, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (Image: Mitsubishi) could be a good crossover, but it suffers from cheap interior materials, a power-sapping CVT, sub-par infotainment system, and uncomfortable seats. That said, it looks pretty good from the outside and has Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel Control system and decent driving dynamics. With so many other good crossovers, the fact that Mitsubishi is still trying to push a vehicle that felt five years behind everyone else when it first hit showroom floors means it’s missing out on a lot of sales. If the company won’t up its game, which it probably could do thanks to the fact that Nissan is now majority stakeholder, it should just kill off this model and come up with something new.
The Nissan Pathfinder (Image: Nissan) used to be a rugged SUV that was satisfying in multiple ways, including off-road prowess. Now it’s a lot softer and offers three rows of seating. While it’s a passable model, it just about as uninspiring as it gets. There are simply better vehicles out there. The third row of seating is pretty tight. If we wanted a Nissan crossover with a third row of seating to occasionally use, we’d buy the cheaper Nissan Rogue with the optional third-row. If we wanted a Nissan SUV with a true third row that we could use regularly we’d get the large Armada. Some may say the Pathfinder is the perfect choice between those two models, but we say it’s a mediocre attempt in a segment with much better competitors. We’d point to the Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9, and VW Atlas as better options.