Discover The Toyota Sequoia Years To Avoid and Reliable Used Car to Buy

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you looking for a rugged and reliable but used full-size SUV like the Toyota Sequoia?

Before you decide, knowing which model years to avoid is crucial. Don’t let faulty brakes, transmission issues, or lower ball joint failures damper your adventures.

This well-researched article will delve into the years that may cause you more headaches than happy memories.

Brace yourself for the worst offenders: the 2001-2004 models. But fear not! We’ve got good news too. The best years for the Toyota Sequoia are generally between 2015 and 2018.

These later models boast improved reliability, making them a more worthwhile investment for your hard-earned money. Refrain from letting a lemon sour your driving experience – read on to make an informed decision from this resource.

Toyota Sequoia Years To Avoid

Here Are The Years to Avoid

First Generation (2001-2007)

The first Generation Toyota Sequoias are worth steering clear of, especially the model years from 2001 to 2004.

During this time, numerous complaints were reported by drivers, ranging from engine issues to faulty components.

Though the 2005, 2006, and 2007 models attempted to rectify their predecessors’ shortcomings, these years still warrant caution.

Here’s a breakdown of the issues faced by specific years in the First Generation:

  • 2001-2004: Poor engine performance and component failures.
  • 2005-2007: Slightly improved but still considerable problems with particular parts and drivability.

Second Generation (2008-Present)

The second Generation of Toyota Sequoias, beginning in 2008, significantly improved in terms of reliability and overall quality.

However, it is still necessary to be mindful of the 2008 model, as it carried over some issues from its predecessors.

Here’s a brief overview of some second-generation Toyota Sequoias:

  • 2008: Lingering issues persisted from the previous Generation.
  • 2009 and later: Most models have been problem-free, making them suitable choices.

To make the most informed decision about a Toyota Sequoia, consider the model years starting from 2009, as vehicles made during this time experienced fewer issues.

With this knowledge, you can feel more confident in selecting a reliable, capable, and enjoyable Sequoia for your needs.

Common Issues and Problems

Some model years have experienced specific issues more frequently than others.

This section discusses common problems in various Toyota Sequoia model years, focusing on transmission problems, brake and steering issues, rust and corrosion, and interior concerns.

Transmission Problems

Specific model years of the Toyota Sequoia, particularly 2001-2004, have faced several transmission issues.

Some reported problems include transmission failure, slipping transmission, and difficulty shifting gears.

To prevent these issues from causing significant drive disruptions, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance checks and transmission fluid changes.

Brake and Steering Issues

The Toyota Sequoia models 2001 and 2004 also encountered various brake and steering problems. Among the most common complaints are malfunctioning ABS brakes, faulty VCS lights, and issues with lower ball joints.

These issues can pose a significant risk to your safety if addressed. If you notice any unusual symptoms or decreased brake efficiency, consult a certified mechanic immediately to address the problem.

Rust and Corrosion

Rusting frames and corrosion problems have been reported in some Toyota Sequoia models, particularly the 2002 model.

Rust can compromise the integrity of your vehicle’s structure and result in long-term damage.

Inspect your Sequoia periodically for any signs of rust, especially in high-risk areas like the undercarriage, wheel wells, and exhaust system, to keep your Sequoia free from rust and corrosion.

Apply rustproofing treatments or get your vehicle serviced at a certified Toyota service center.

Interior Concerns

Interior problems include faulty door handles, hinges, latches, and some models experiencing a quickly dying battery.

While these issues may not affect your Toyota Sequoia’s overall performance and safety, they can be annoying and impact the overall enjoyment of your drive.

Toyota Sequoia Best Years

Knowing which years have proven the best is essential when looking for a reliable Toyota Sequoia. Here are some of the top model years for the Toyota Sequoia that you should consider:


The 2019 Toyota Sequoia stands out as one of the best years, providing a solid mix of reliability, performance, and features. With a strong V8 engine and roomy cabin, you’ll enjoy driving and riding in this year’s model.


A slightly older but still reliable option is the 2009 Sequoia. According to WVDOT Automotive, this year brings improvements in its suspension and safety features. Plus, its road handling has been well-received by many drivers.

2020 and 2021

These recent years also rank among the best for the Toyota Sequoia. With ongoing refinements and enhancements, these models continue to elevate the Sequoia’s impressive mix of comfort, safety, and reliability.


The 2011 model year also deserves recognition for its durability and solid performance. The combination of a powerful engine and a variety of available features make it an excellent option for family trips or long drives.


Last but not least, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia is a popular choice due to its updated infotainment system and added driver-assist features. This year also boasts a refreshed exterior design, making it an attractive option in the used car market.

Reliability and Recommendation

Regarding the Toyota Sequoia, reliability, and overall quality are key factors to consider when choosing a model year.

The Sequoia, a full-size SUV, offers ample space, towing capacity, and great features if you select the correct year.

However, specific model years have faced various issues, and knowing which ones to avoid is essential.

The 2001 to 2004 Toyota Sequoia models are regarded as the worst years due to numerous problems reported, including braking, transmission, and electrical issues.

Following these initial years, the 2005 to 2007 Toyota Sequoia models experienced improvement from their predecessors, but some issues persisted. It’s recommended that you avoid these years as well.

In comparison, newer models, such as the 2015 Toyota Sequoia, are generally well-regarded for their reliability, quality, and performance.

Choosing the most recent model years, such as the 2020 Toyota Sequoia, can offer better overall quality and fewer recalls.

Besides the Sequoia, Toyota has other SUV options, like the Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota 4Runner alternative, which have their own sets of best and worst years.

Every vehicle has pros and cons, and SUVs can vary significantly in size, features, and towing capacity.

Improvements and Alternatives

Toyota significantly improved in the second Generation (2008-2022) and the all-new third Generation (2023).

You’ll notice an upgraded V8 engine in the second-generation models, which offers better performance than the first-generation models.

These newer Sequoias also benefited from the lessons from the Tundra pickup, as their design shared several engineering features.

Not only did they address issues like paint problems and wind noise by refining manufacturing processes, but the second Generation also brought improvements in performance, handling, and overall reliability.

As a buyer, you can feel more confident in purchasing a second-generation Toyota Sequoia.

For the 2023 model, the third Generation of Sequoia has undergone a design revamp, including a new facelift and engine.

Reviews for the latest model have been positive, encouraging news for potential Toyota buyers.

If you’re searching for alternatives to the Toyota Sequoia, some other options to consider include:

  • Nissan Armada: This full-size SUV offers a potent V8 engine and a comfortable interior. Most best Nissan Armada years are reliable and last long!
  • Chevrolet Tahoe: With a smooth ride and a user-friendly infotainment system, the Tahoe has a high recommendation among full-size SUVs.

Remember, when choosing a vehicle, it’s essential to be informed about the years to avoid, always looking for the model years that have received the best feedback and improvements.

Safety and Comfort

The early years of the Sequoia, specifically 2001 to 2008, have been known to have issues that can affect both safety and comfort. Steering problems, brake issues, and problems with the traction control lights are some of the more common safety issues that arose during these years.

Brake Issues

One concerning issue you might encounter while driving a Sequoia from these years is brake failure.

In particular, the 2001 to 2004 models experienced various brake problems, including issues with the stability assist system and error lights appearing on the dashboard.

As brakes are crucial for your safety, it’s essential to prioritize models known for their braking reliability.

Steering Problems

Aside from brake problems, steering issues were also reported in the early Sequoia years.

Steering problems in such a large vehicle can severely impact your ability to maintain control while driving, especially at higher speeds or when hauling cargo.

Consider these potential issues if you’re considering an older Sequoia model.

Ride Comfort

Regarding ride comfort, the Sequoia has plenty of cargo space, making it a suitable choice for hauling large items or going on road trips with family and friends.

However, some early Sequoia models experienced excessive wind noise and issues with the rear hatch handle, which could impact your overall comfort while driving.

Mechanical Issues

Other common issues with the early Sequoia models include problems with the fuel system and difficulty with spark plugs, impacting the vehicle’s overall performance.

Investing in a well-maintained vehicle with a smoother performance can offer you peace of mind, especially if you plan to use it for more than 100,000 miles.

Toyota Sequoia Close Rivals

Here, we will briefly discuss some of Sequoia’s well-known competitors.

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevrolet Tahoe is a strong contender in the full-size SUV segment. It offers impressive towing capability and modern technology, and safety features.

Space is abundant both for passengers and cargo. With the Tahoe’s powerful V8 engine options, you’ll find the Tahoe versatile and capable of handling your daily driving and long road trips, except the bad Tahoe years with negative owners’ reputations.

GMC Yukon

GMC Yukon shares many similarities with the Chevrolet Tahoe, as both are built on the same platform. It features a refined interior with available luxury trims like the Denali.

The Yukon allows for customization with various performance and technology options. Its potent engine lineup impresses with capabilities for handling heavy loads and towing.

Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition has a powerful turbocharged V6 engine that delivers efficiency while maintaining excellent towing capacity.

The well-organized interior and family-friendly features make your road trips comfortable and enjoyable. However, the subpar versions come with more issues.

The Expedition’s spaciousness and modern technology make it an attractive alternative to the Toyota Sequoia.

Lexus LX

The Lexus LX is a high-end close rival to the Sequoia, with luxury materials and a sophisticated design unique to the Lexus brand.

It offers a smooth, comfortable ride and comes with an off-road capable four-wheel-drive system as standard.

However, it’s essential to note that the Lexus LX comes with a significantly higher price than the Toyota Sequoia, nestled in the premium SUV category.

Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator is another luxury alternative, boasting a spacious and refined interior.

Its powerful V6 engine provides remarkable towing capacity for a premium SUV. With an extensive list of features and amenities, the Navigator will keep everyone entertained and satisfied during long journeys.

This upscale choice is perfect if you’re looking for sophistication and extravagance, but it also commands a higher price tag as well as experiencing some issues for specific models.

As you explore these options, consider your priorities and preferences to find the one that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Remember the budget, performance, and available features, as well as the reputation and history of each brand.


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