Popular Large SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead

Skip models with low Consumer Reports test scores or reliability ratings and choose these alternatives

The Acura MDX is an SUV to avoid.

Large SUVs that can carry the family, tow a trailer, and fit a month’s worth of groceries can easily be found at most car dealerships. But it’s not so simple to find one that’s reliable, comfortable, and safe. Even though it may seem like everyone is driving the same SUV, popularity doesn’t equal a smart choice. We present alternatives to the vehicles you may be seeing all around town.

Popular vehicles tend to fall into three camps: models from brands people trust, models from brands that have a broad dealer network, and mediocre models that have been priced to move or are pushed in droves through rebates, low-interest financing, and attractive leases.

The challenge is to separate the winners from the cars to avoid. All the large SUVs we highlight below sell so well that there’s a variety of models on dealer lots to choose from, some with tempting discounts. We focus on a popular model that should be skipped and present two alternatives:

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  • A better choice: Another vehicle that sells well but has a higher Overall Score.
  • An “under the radar” alternative: A better-scoring model that doesn’t sell as well, in case you don’t want to follow the crowd.

The better choices and under-the-radar alternatives are models recommended by Consumer Reports, meaning they’ve scored well in our road tests, have good reliability, have key advanced safety equipment, and performed well in crash tests.

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access this list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances.

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Popular SUV to Avoid