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20 Unreliable Pickup Trucks Drivers Avoid Like The Plague

Cameron EittreimDecember 22, 2020

The pickup truck market has evolved so much in the last three decades that trucks are now as luxurious as a high-end car, and priced accordingly. What changed the pickup truck from the average farm utility vehicle to a stylish urban car? The resurgence of sport utility vehicles and the insatiable appetite to drive “bigger” since the 1990s has definitely fueled some of the movement. However, it also led to some highly unreliable pickup trucks.

Just because automotive technology has become more dependable doesn’t always translate to every model being reliable. Many of these new pickup trucks require costly repairs and are oftentimes in the shop more than on roadways. We broke down 20 unreliable pickup trucks via Journey Ranger below.

Ford Raptor
via: Ford

20: Ford Raptor

The Raptor has been a smashing success for Ford and increased the notoriety of high-end special-edition pickup trucks. But the Raptor also hasn’t been without its faults, as the truck has a lot of shortcomings. The most notable is the issues with the timing chain failing around 80,000 miles. This repair is not covered by the warranty and has had a lot of owners scratching their heads and begrudgingly opening their wallets.

Ford Raptor
via: Ford

When you pay such an massive amount for a truck, you expect it to be reliable. Sadly, the Raptor has caused a lot of controversy with the owners who’ve purchased the truck. A redesign is said to be coming within the next couple of years.

Sport Trac
via: Ford

19: Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Ford has released a few notable trucks over the last couple of decades and the Sport Trac was unique. Being based on the Ford Explorer has its advantages but there were also disadvantages with this as well. The Sport Trac performed well thanks to the Explorer underpinnings, but the reliability of the generation was iffy.

Sport Trac
via: Ford

Having the durability of a pickup truck wrapped up in a Ford Explorer was a great concept. The Sport Trac had issues in reliability with the V6 DOHC engine, similar to the Explorer. Another problem was the various rollover incidents that were related to the Firestone tires that came standard on the truck.

Chevrolet Silverado - 2012 Chevrolet Colorado
via: GM

18: Chevrolet Colorado (First Generation)

Midsize pickup trucks have always dictated a certain portion of the automotive marketplace. The Colorado was a step in the right direction for GM, a true competitor for Toyota and Nissan. Fortunately, the truck had a five-cylinder engine, which was not well received by the automotive press. The reliability of the five-cylinder variant of Colorado was questionable at best.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado - 2018 Chevrolet Colorado
via: GM

A cheap interior and build quality didn’t help things out and by the latter portion of the new millennium, Colorado was fading into obscurity. It was the midsize truck that you bought when all of the other options failed. Nevertheless, the Colorado lives on to this day in one form or another.

Isuzu LUV (D-Max)
via: Isuzu

17: Isuzu D-MAX

Few pickup trucks have become as much of a relic as the D-Max. It’s a truck most drivers just don’t remember. Marketed as the Chevy LUV this was one of the first compact trucks to hit the American marketplace. The quality was lackluster at best and the lack of reliability turned buyers off. The D-Max was outsold by the original Toyota Truck, and this was just the start of compact trucks being sold domestically.

Isuzu LUV
via: Isuzu

The D-Max never reached the same amount of success that the later S-Series did. Although Isuzu gave it a valiant effort, the D-Max was notoriously bad. Few trucks have experienced the same amount of rusting and reliability issues as the D-Max did during its time period.

2005 Nissan Titan - Car
via: Car and Driver

16: Nissan Titan

The original Nissan Titan was a groundbreaking truck for the carmaker at a time when full-size trucks were starting to gain popularity. The design of the Titan was meant to be big because domestic trucks were big in size. A powerful V8 was added for flavor but the reliability was questionable at best, which did not bode well for the truck.

2019 Nissan Titan via Bing
via Bing

While the Titan had a roomy interior, the truck didn’t offer much in the way of options or reliability. The cab configurations were limited and the truck for the most part was a letdown when you compared it to other full-size pickup trucks.

Mazda B-Series
via: Mazda

15: Mazda B-Series

The Mazda B-Series is another well-known pickup truck that spent years on the market. But longevity doesn’t necessarily equate to value and the B-Series is evidence of this. The truck was based on the Ford Ranger, and it didn’t deliver in terms of quality. One of the most notable things about the B-Series was that it built on the success of the compact truck segment.

Mazda B-Series
via: Mazda

Sadly, the Mazda nameplate wasn’t enough to sell the truck, especially to a discerning segment of consumers. The B-Series was always a notch in the pickup truck market that couldn’t succeed in the larger landscape of things.

2019 Honda Ridgeline via Bing
via Bing

14: Honda Ridgeline (First Generation)

The name Honda and pickup truck are not necessarily synonymous with one another, but Honda decided to join the fray anyway. A Honda-based pickup truck has a lot of potential benefits, one of which is reliability. Honda is a brand drivers equate with reliability and naturally, a pickup truck is the first thing that comes to mind. Sadly, the actual Honda Ridgeline was not all that great of a pickup.

2014 Honda Ridgeline - 2012 Honda Ridgeline
via: Honda

The body styling was initially panned by the automotive press, and reliability was questionable. A few recalls put the Ridgeline on the backburner of most consumer’s shopping lists. Honda eventually redesigned the Ridgeline, but the truck still hasn’t lived up to the hype.

via: Mitsubishi

13: Mitsubishi Raider

In the early 2000s, Mitsubishi had a hankering to jump onto the pickup truck bandwagon. The Raider seemed like the next best option and Mitsubishi sold a rebadged Dodge Dakota pickup truck. The Raider wasn’t all that different from the Dodge Dakota, sharing its engine with the Dakota.

Mitsubishi Raider
via: Mitsubishi

Aside from sharing undercarriage characteristics, the interior of the Raider was much more refined. Sadly, reliability and build quality just didn’t catch up with the competition and the Raider was one of the worst-selling pickup trucks on the market.

Suzuki Equator
via: Suzuki

12: Suzuki Equator

Suzuki was never a big player in the pickup truck market. In fact, the company’s only foray was brief to say the least. But the Equator was a rather unique step in the wrong direction for the company. Suzuki contracted with Nissan in order to make a pickup truck that would share the components with the Frontier. The problem was that the Frontier was already an aged platform.

Suzuki Equator
via Suzuki

Sharing a platform with the Frontier was a good thing if it had been planned correctly. But at that point in time, the platform was already aged compared to what else was on the market. The Equator didn’t offer anything unique in terms of intrinsic value for consumers to gravitate toward.

Lincoln Blackwood
via: Lincoln

11: Lincoln Blackwood

The thirst for a luxury pickup truck has been around for a couple decades now, but automakers are just starting to eclipse this segment. The Blackwood was the over-the-top luxury pickup truck that you’d expect. A satin bed lined the rear and the black paint job didn’t look anything like the F-150 that it was based. Interior quality and features were high, but the limited practicality of the truck hurt it.

2002 Lincoln Blackwood - Lincoln Mark LT
via: Lincoln

Between the bed liner and the tonneau cover, the Blackwood just wasn’t enough to pursued buyers. Ford only manufactured this truck for a single product year and rarity is growing. Finding a clean Blackwood is becoming quite a difficult task to do, but the truck should be avoided unless you are a collector.

T-100
via: Toyota

10: Toyota T-100

Toyota has been attempting to break into the full-size pickup truck market for decades now but during the ’90s, things were harder. The T-100 was the company’s first attempt to take buyers from domestic automakers. Sadly the T-100 just didn’t resonate with buyers. Cab options were limited and the powertrains were as well. There were no V8 options and the truck had questionable build quality.

Toyota-T100-
via: Craigslist

The T-100 is perhaps one of the least remembered trucks to come out of Japan. Toyota was working to reinvent itself in the U.S. but the T-100 just lacked substance. The next-generation Tundra built on a lot of these problems.

Tacoma T-3
via: Car Domain

9: Tundra T3 Special Edition

2003 was a special year for a number of reasons and one of those reasons was the rebirth of the Terminator franchise. Toyota wanted to jump in on the success of the movie and thus the T3 special edition Tundra was launched. From a visual standpoint, this Tundra was an attractive truck that offered a lot in terms of style.

Tundra T3
via: Toyota

But from the value standpoint, the Tundra had a limited appeal. It was only available in black and only came in an access cab model. Toyota was smart for attempting to latch onto the success of the movie but the Tundra was just the wrong truck for the job.

Toyota Tundra - Sport utility vehicle
via: Toyota

8: Toyota Tundra (First Generation)

The T-100 was a failure for the Toyota brand in the United States, and the company had to reinvent this. The Tundra was a completely revised pickup truck from top to bottom and an attempt to sway full-size customers.

Pickup truck - Toyota
via: Toyota

The V8 engine was a great addition and finally gave the truck some credence in relation to domestic models. But reliability was still questionable early on and the truck still had a limited amount of body styles. For the commercial customers, the Tundra just didn’t resonate with them and this hurt sales.

2006 Dodge Ram Pickup 2500 - Dodge
via: Dodge

7: Ram Mega Cab

The Mega Cab was a unique addition to the pickup truck market. It was the first to feature a cab immensely larger than standard pickups. But aside from the stretched cabin, the Mega Cab was not an unusual or particularly special pickup. The reliability of the Hemi V8 was questionable at best and the rise in repair costs for this larger truck was ridiculous.

Ram 2500
via: Car Domain

Dodge has always been a third wheel in the pickup truck market and there’s good reason for that. The Ram has only recently begun to rival the other domestic trucks in terms of quality and the Mega cab was a valiant effort. But if you’re in the used pickup truck market the Mega Cab is avoidable altogether.

2019 Frontier via Bing
via Bing

6: Nissan Frontier

There’s nothing horribly bad about the Frontier per say, but the truck has retained the exact same body and style for more than 15 years. The Frontier was actually a decent pickup truck when it hit the market, but a failure to refresh things set the truck back. For years now, the Frontier has been overshadowed by the Toyota Tacoma. It could take Nissan decades to get back in the game.

Nissan Frontier Via Motor Trend
via Motor Trend

That’s not to say that the Frontier is a bad truck, but the design is aged and its reliability is in question. Nissan is at an impasse right now as the company needs to start innovating in the pickup truck segment.

via R & R Auto Sales

5: Dodge Dakota

Few trucks were as instrumental in changing the segment as the Dakota was. This was the first midsize pickup and the first truck in its class to offer a V8 engine. Sadly, the Dakota was always marred by quality and reliability shortcomings. The Dakota was always a cheaper alternative to the larger Ram and Dodge treated it as such.

via Amazon.com

Obtaining a used Dakota with high mileage is a risky proposition. You can expect to buy a new transmission in addition to problems with the cooling system. The Dakota didn’t make it into the current segment of midsize trucks, although Dodge is in the process of designing a replacement.

Escalade
via: Cadillac

4: Cadillac Escalade EXT

Another interesting piece of the pickup truck revolution the last decade was the Escalade EXT. It was a Cadillac variant on the popular Chevy Silverado platform, and it looked the part. Unfortunately, the truck bed was all but useless like the Avalanche. The performance of the Vortec V8 is exceptional and the engine is one of the most reliable.

Cadillac Escalade EXT
via: Cadillac

But the EXT just had a lot of issues that made it a painful truck to live with. GM hasn’t improved the truck much over its lifespan and the model was ultimately phased out. If you have the opportunity to purchase a used Escalade. EXT, avoid it. The repairs on this truck are far too expensive and the benefits just aren’t there.

Subaru Baja
via: Subaru

3: Subaru Baja

It’s true that even Subaru tried to jump into the SUV fray. The Baja was a somewhat interesting small pickup. You’d expect a truck like this to perform similarly to a Tacoma but it did not. What’s that say for the Baja? Well, the truck had a lot of reliability issues when it comes to the transmission and drivetrain. Parts are hard to come by and the Baja didn’t sell very well.

Baja
via: Subaru

The Baja was a unique car/truck that started out with a good concept, but when it came down to it, the model was simply lacking. Pickup trucks have a certain air and style about them and the Baja was too simple in terms of design.

2005 Chevrolet SSR - 2004 Chevrolet SSR
via: GM

2: Chevy SSR

Chevrolet has attempted to create several fun-to-drive and limited production vehicles, hence the SSR. This roadster-inspired sport truck was a relic of the early 2000s push to innovate. Although the performance was more than fun enough for the average consumer, its reliability and high price were not. The SSR has a unique beltline that looks very similar to the El Camino.

2003 Chevrolet SSR - Car
via: GM

There is a lot about the SSR that makes it stand out from the crowd, and its unique design is the first thing. But when you come to dealing with expensive repairs and a lack of value, the SSR is a truck drivers stay away from.

Ford Courier
via: Ford

1: Ford Courier

Before the success of the Ranger, there was a Mazda-based compact truck. The Courier was lackluster in quality and styling, which negatively affected the sales of the truck. Drivers got the sportiness of the Mazda Rotary truck, but the Courier was lacking in a lot of other departments. Rust is one of the main issues that affect this truck, and that’s no fun when you are dealing with a 30-year-old vehicle.

Ford Courier
via: Ford

The collectors market for the Courier has increased dramatically over the years. Nevertheless, the Courier is one of the pickup trucks drivers want to avoid altogether.

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