Which Toyota Sequoia Model Years to Avoid, and Which to Buy Instead

If you’ve bought a Toyota Sequoia in the last ten or so years, you don’t need to worry. The Toyota Sequoia has been a fairly problem-free vehicle for the most part since about 2009. Not to say that it’s perfect, but it’s a tremendous step up from the older model years. From 2001 to 2008, Sequoia is completely plagued with problems. Some are worse than others, but we recommend avoiding buying all of them used today. Here are the Toyota Sequoia model years to avoid.

The Toyota Sequoia model years to avoid

The worst Toyota Sequoia model years are easily 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. The first few years of the Sequoia’s production were not good ones. Brake, engine, transmission, electrical, and steering problems have all been reported at a very high rate. According to CarComplaints, 228 problems have been reported by Sequoia owners just for these model years alone.

Those complaints are often backed up by the NHTSA, which for instance, reported 363 complaints of its own about brake problems on the 2001 Toyota Sequoia. Not only are these issues far too frequent, but each of them is highly dangerous. The brakes, steering, engine, and transmission are about the last things you want to stop working while driving. They’re also some of the most expensive parts to repair or replace on any vehicle. That’s why these are the Toyota Sequoia model years to avoid.

The best Sequoia model year pre-2009

A silver 2007 Toyota Sequoia at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it's one of our Sequoia model years to avoid.
2007 Toyota Sequoia | GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Before the year 2009 when Toyota finally figured out how to produce a less-problematic vehicle, the best option is the 2006 and 2007 model years. Each of these has far fewer complaints and problems reported than the previous model years. In 2006, the most complained about items are exterior accessories and body problems, which are far less dangerous and expensive than the previous model year’s issues.

For 2007, electrical and drivetrain problems are the most present. That’s much more dangerous and expensive than 2006, but only having a few complaints from NHTSA is much better than previous model years. From 2006 to 2007 the only things that changed are driver and passenger front-seat side airbags, two-row curtain side airbags, and cosmetic changes. Other than that, these two “best” model years are virtually the same vehicle.

The last decade of the Toyota Sequoia

A 2022 Toyota Sequoia in green parked on a mountain top at night, it's one of our Sequoia model years you should not avoid.
2022 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro | Toyota

Since 2009, there have been fewer than five total complaints on CarComplaints about each of the model years. NHTSA’s numbers displayed on the same website align well with owner complaints. For the last decade, the Toyota Sequoia has become a reliable vehicle.

For Toyota models, customers expect reliability. It’s something the Japanese automaker is well-known for providing, and the recent years of Sequoia have been no different. The newest Sequoia models have something for everyone, including the new off-road-focused TRD Pro model. It starts at $64,625 and gets you a nice 5.7-liter V8 engine producing 381 horsepower.

The Toyota Sequoia has become a well-trusted SUV in the full-size segment. Though we highly recommend staying away from the first few model years of the vehicle. Plagued with issues that are both dangerous and expensive, the old Sequoias just aren’t worth the risk. That’s why you should avoid buying Toyota Sequoia models from 2001 to 2008.

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