Hummer SUT

15 Trucks That No One Wants Anymore

Pickup trucks are a core part of the American automotive industry. Virtually every major manufacturer that has a presence in the US makes their pickup truck.

The segment has given us rugged, dependable vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado and newcomers like the Rivian R1T.

Some trucks, however, miss the mark. This list will contain 15 of the worst pickup trucks due to their unreliability, poor build quality, lack of versatility, and poor market reception.

Subaru Baja

Subaru Baja
Image Credit: r Mr.choppers/WikiCommons.

The Subaru Baja is one of several trucks that followed a novel design process. Subaru looked to merge an SUV with a pickup truck, creating the Baja. The idea was to offer the practicality of both, so plenty of interior space and pickup bed storage.

Unfortunately, the Baja is one of the trucks that didn’t resonate with consumers. The bed needed to be more extensive and practical for serious use, and the styling did not appeal to the masses. In the end, many would view the Baja as an experiment that didn’t work.

Hummer SUT

Hummer SUT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

There was a time when General Motors and AM General thought the Hummer was a fantastic car. However, the infamous Hummer H2 wasn’t the success they had hoped for, but it didn’t stop the two companies from working to turn that around.

Enter the Hummer SUT—a smaller version of the H2 that, on paper, was more practical than its bigger cousin. However, for a variety of reasons, that was different. Fuel economy was just 10 MPG combined. The tires were expensive yet tended to fall apart. And the pitman arms were faulty, causing major steering issues.

2001 Toyota Tundra

2001 Toyota Tundra
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Tundra remains vital to the Toyota lineup but has had issues over the years. The 2001 Tundra was severely affected by poor reliability, and a look at Consumer Reports sees it listed with just 52 out of 100 in that area.

The most significant issues are the slipping transmission and various cooling problems. The O2 sensors also tend to fail, adding to customers’ woes. Thankfully, subsequent Tundras fixed all these issues and made the pickup truck reliable again.

Subaru Brat

Subaru BRAT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Before the Baja, Subaru had already tried to merge an SUV with a pickup truck. Enter the Brat, one of the most unusual vehicles the Japanese manufacturer has ever produced.

The Brat had the same issues as the Baja: it was impractical, and the pickup bed needed to be more significant. But what was very strange about it was the rear-facing seats for passengers in the bed. Not only did this take away storage space, but passengers preferred to avoid facing the wrong way when riding along.

Ford Pinto Pickup Custom

Ford Pinto Pickup
Image Credit: dave_7/WikiCommons.

Subaru isn’t the only manufacturer that has merged a pickup truck with another vehicle. Ford did it with the Pinto pickup truck, which is among the rarest. That is because these Pinto pickups are custom-made.

They are the “Pincheros,” and various owners have converted their Ford Pinto into pickup trucks. But like the Baja and the Brat, they could be more practical as pickups. The conversions look much more like a natural pickup but are just as gimmicky as the Baja and Brat.

Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Ford very rarely gets it wrong when it comes to pickups. However, the Explorer Sport Trac is one of those rare occurrences when it did go wrong. Various issues would affect the Sport Trac, such as its feeble towing capacity and uncomfortable ride quality.

The Sport Trac was Ford’s first mid-sized pickup truck, occupying a space between the Ranger and the F-150. The other major issue it faced was stiff competition from more established rivals, like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. The Sport Trac struggled to stand out in a crowded market.

Cadillac Mirage

1976 Cadillac Mirage
Image Credit: Bill J./Flickr.

Remarkably, Cadillac once made a pickup truck. This was the Mirage, which they produced for just two years, and it vanished as quickly as it appeared.

You were out of luck if you wanted the Mirage for practical reasons. The Mirage had a small bed similar to the Chevrolet El Camino’s, but it did come with more flair and gravitas than its Chevrolet rival. Yet Cadillac didn’t make the bodies; a new company, Traditional Coach Works, founded by Cadillac dealer manager James Kribbs, took on the bodywork production. Cadillac produced around 120 Mirages, meaning they are now scarce. 

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Mercedes-Benz X-Class
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

A Mercedes-Benz pickup truck certainly sounds unusual, but that is precisely what the X-Class is. The German manufacturer billed it as “the first luxury pickup,” but it failed to resonate with buyers across the globe.

Mercedes would only produce the truck for three years, from 2017 to 2020, but beneath the exterior, the X-Class sat on the chassis of the Nissan Navara. Sales were poor, however, with Mercedes selling just 16,700 of the trucks in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, South America, and South Africa combined in 2018. Those slow sales were why production ceased in May 2020.

2006 Nissan Frontier

2006 Nissan Frontier
Image Credit: Donnie Ray Jones/WikiCommons.

It is rare for Nissan to miss the mark, but the 2006 Frontier was one time that it did so. Transmission problems were at the heart of the 2006 model, and three of the seven truck recalls led to severe issues for Nissan.

Reports of engine failures, fuel system issues, suspension problems, and more led to accidents with the Frontier. While recalling the trucks was embarrassing, Nissan did the right thing to correct the problems. But it does mean if you are looking for a used pickup, the 2006 Frontier is best left alone.

2013 Ram 1500

2013 Ram 1500
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

In 2011, Ram branched off into its own division, and soon after, the Ram 1500 was born. However, what started as a promising, muscular pickup truck soon became one that endured a lot of problems.

The 2013 Ram 1500, in particular, would suffer. Consumer Reports shows it has a terrible reliability score of 15 out of 100. Cylinder heads would fail and crack, and the fuel system would suffer various problems. The four-wheel drive system, a core component of the Ram 1500, sometimes refused to offer four-wheel drive to the driver.

First-Generation Chevrolet El Camino

1985 Chevrolet El Camino
Image Credit: TIMRAAB227/Flcikr.

The Chevrolet El Camino was the main rival to the Cadillac Mirage, but it was a truck that didn’t fare much better. Chevrolet introduced the first-generation El Camino in 1959, lasting only two years before production ceased.

Sales started well in 1959, with Chevrolet producing 22,246 examples of pickup trucks, but in the 1960 model year, sales dropped by a third to just 14,163. Chevrolet would then discontinue the model, but they would relaunch the El Camino in 1964, and this time the pickup lasted until 1987.

Chevrolet SSR

Chevrolet SSR
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Chevrolet SSR might be the most confusing of all the pickup trucks on this list. In the mid-2000s, Chevrolet decided that the world needed and wanted a pickup truck convertible with a hefty V8 under the hood.

This led to the SSR, which initially had a 5.3-liter 300 hp Vortec V8 under the hood. In 2005, Chevrolet upgraded it to a 390 hp LS2 V8 engine. But there were plenty of issues. The V8s didn’t have enough power for a 4,700-lb truck, and a 0-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds was underwhelming. Plus, the convertible roof took up most of the room in the bed, making it virtually useless.

First-Generation Mazda B-Series

Mazda B-Series
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Mazda produced the B-Series pickup truck across multiple generations, but the first one is probably the least successful. Mazda launched it in 1961 and lasted until 1965, but sales were low over those years.

By 1964, the newer B1500 version was available. Thanks to the improved 1.5-liter inline-four engine, it was sleeker and more powerful than many competitors. But it was also more expensive and failed to sell as Mazda had hoped. Mazda phased out the first generation in 1965 when a new generation hit the market.

Suzuki Equator

Suzuki Equator
Image Credit: LouieRBLX/WikiCommons.

A Suzuki pickup truck is rare, but it has happened before. The Japanese manufacturer wanted to penetrate the US pickup truck market, creating the Equator. The idea of a Japanese pickup truck was perfectly sound, thanks to the reliability and dependability that it would bring.

However, after briefly reaching US soil, customers discovered that the Equator was just a Nissan Frontier with a new body. Nissan even assembled the Equator. The Equator truck was discontinued in 2012 on the US market, with sales tailing off. After a whole year in production, Suzuki sold just 5,808 overall, with the company rarely selling more than 200 units a month.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Jeep’s reliability is sadly questioned more than it would like, which is no different from the 2020 Gladiator. What is a solid truck with excellent off-roading capabilities suffers from the fact that it might not take you home.

Looking at Consumer Reports, the Gladiator has a reliability score of 15 out of 100. Owners report that the Gladiator will suffer a multitude of electrical issues. These include the cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor, and washer, to name just a few. Suspension components and the drive system are also known to fail.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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