What Are The Best & Worst Years For The Toyota Sequoia? [My Honest Review]

Are Toyota Sequoia great trucks? If so, then which years should I purchase

The Toyota Sequoia is the largest sports utility vehicle ever produced by Toyota.

Production started for the Toyota Sequoia in September of 2000, and the car itself would see its first model released into the wild in the following year.

This would cause some issues in the early years of the lineup. Despite being a great company overall, Toyota dropped the ball in the early years of the Toyota Sequoia.

This was to the point where the early six years were quite a struggle for the lineup. This should give you an idea about the best and worst years for Toyota Sequoia.

If this is not enough, here are the models that I have picked out:

Worst Years for Toyota Sequoia:

  1. 2002
  2. 2001
  3. 2003
  4. 2004
  5. 2005

Best Years for Toyota Sequoia:

  1. 2020
  2. 2019
  3. 2009
  4. 2010
  5. 2021

If any of these years has caught your eye, read this article from top to bottom. I will go over all these years in-depth and discuss other things you should know about your Toyota Sequoia.

What Are The Worst Years For The Toyota Sequoia? Which Years To Avoid

Here are the main models which have received a lot of criticism and the ones which you should attempt to avoid by all means.

1. 2002 Toyota Sequoia

Despite being the second year in the entire lineup, the 2002 Toyota Sequoia is undoubtedly the worst year for the lineup.

This is because, despite the faults of the first model, the 2002 Toyota Sequoia managed to have more issues than its predecessor.

It has the most complaints in the entire lineup. The general audience of the Toyota Sequoia and the NHTSA had much to say about the 2002 Toyota Sequoia.

Topics like the brakes, engine, and transmission were all under discussion. Even the accessories of the car were causing massive problems.

Door handles would break from both the outside and the inside. The VSC lights would come on randomly and engage the brakes.

A grinding noise would also accompany this. This issue could cause unfortunate accidents!

This was opposed to the transmission, which was prone to failure, and the engine, which would die after coming to a stop.

2. 2001 Toyota Sequoia

Being the first year in the lineup, you can expect some hiccups. What you get from the 2001 Toyota Sequoia are issues that must be addressed.

The main issues the people and the NHTSA had were the breaks. The NHTSA also hammered the body and engine of the car.

The VSC traction control would engage for no reason. This would cause the brakes to engage and could easily lead to an accident.

This same issue would carry over to the next year. The car would jerk to the side while driving and had a bad case of the frame rusting out.

3. 2003 Toyota Sequoia

The 2003 Toyota Sequoia was, by all means, a good car, but it had the unfortunate circumstances of coming with electrical issues.

Had these issues not been present, this model would have easily avoided the 3rd spot on this list and may have ended up in the best model’s list.

The same issue which plagued the previous two years would return to haunt the 2003 Toyota Sequoia.

The VSC light would still randomly flash on and engage the brakes. The rear hatch handle would strangely stop functioning, and the car’s body was prone to rust and corrosion.

4. 2004 Toyota Sequoia

It is unclear how or why Toyota as a company allowed the VSC issue to persist for four years up to this point.

Regardless of their action, the 2004 Toyota Sequoia also had a problem with the VSC light and, as a result, took 4th place on this list.

The traction control system of the 2004 Toyota Sequoia was also spotty at best.

While the issue is still present, it is mostly toned down from the previous three years, which is why this year is lower on this list.

Other issues related to the rear power window would work erratically.

5. 2005 Toyota Sequoia

Another year passed, and the company had still not rooted out the issue of the VSC lights.

While this is cause for concern, the 2005 Toyota Sequoia was able to eliminate most of all the other issues, which is why it takes last place on this list.

Once again, the Toyota Sequoia would have its brakes pulse on its own simply because of an electrical issue dating back five years.

The ABS and brakes were both affected by this. On the other hand, the spark plugs would often blow out, which was another common occurrence in the model.

What Are The Best Years For The Toyota Sequoia? Which Years To Buy

Here are some of the best models of the Toyota Sequoia. If you get the chance to buy a Toyota Sequoia, here are the models you should choose from.

1. 2020 Toyota Sequoia

While it is still in its infancy, the 2020 Toyota Sequoia has received great ratings and recommendations from the community.

This, combined with its modern approach and technology in place, makes the car destined to be in the top spot of this list.

The only reason why I did not consider the 2021 Toyota Sequoia for this spot was that considerable time had not passed, and problems tended to rise after the first two years.

This eight-seater sports utility vehicle comes with a powerful V8 engine, sure to give you the power you deserve.

While the engine’s fuel economy is not that great, the car makes up for it with speed, aggression, and a quality driving experience.

This is taken to new heights when you notice the car’s reconfigurable seats and interior space. These new standard features made the car a delight to drive and ride in.

2. 2019 Toyota Sequoia

Before the success of the 2020 Toyota Sequoia, people had to drive the 2019 Toyota Sequoia, which was, at the time, the best model in the lineup.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia would overshadow it because it had a couple of issues that held it back.

These issues were nothing to worry about as the car came in 4 trims to please you and had the driving quality you would expect from a Toyota Sequoia.

A highlight of this particular year was the well-known driving modes which made driving the car much easier.

3. 2009 Toyota Sequoia

Taking a jump back by a decade, I present the 2009 Toyota Sequoia, one of the best models in the lineup after the first six years.

While the 2007 and 2008 models were good in their own right, they are both blown out of the water compared to the 2009 Toyota Sequoia, which is why I decided to place this car in 3rd place on this list.

The 2009 Toyota Sequoia came in 3 different trims and had a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds!

This was accompanied by a power reclining third row which was both roomy and spacious.

4. 2010 Toyota Sequoia

The next model I wish to discuss is the one that came directly after the 2009 Toyota Sequoia; the 2010 Toyota Sequoia.

This year gave the people a car almost identical to the previous one. This lack of innovation is why the 2010 Toyota Sequoia takes 4th place after its predecessor.

While it lacks innovation, it does not lack the 10,000-pound towing capacity and the roomy interior.

This year’s model was also available in 3 different trims and featured a new 4.6 L V8 engine, which gave it a boost in power and speed while retaining the driving quality.

5. 2021 Toyota Sequoia

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia has also been making waves in the community, but as I mentioned above, it is still too early to say whether it will remain a good car or not.

Issues arrive in the middle of the car’s lifetime, and this car is still relatively new. This list would be incomplete without the 2021 Toyota Sequoia, which is why I placed it last.

Like the 2010 Toyota Sequoia, this model takes the 2020 Toyota Sequoia and slightly adds to it. The result is good because the previous model led to a great year for the company.

How Reliable Is A Toyota Sequoia?

Compared to its merits, the Toyota Sequoia is a great vehicle for reliability. While many issues may arise in the earlier car models, the Toyota Sequoia remains a steadfast and reliable car.

This is especially visible when you compare the car to its competitor vehicles, despite having an average cost to repair the car.

This hurts its position when compared to its competitors but not by much.

How Long Do Toyota Sequoias Last?

If given proper care and attention, the Toyota Sequoia can last you a maximum of 300,000 miles which is a whopping 20 years!

If you give it minimal upkeep and maintenance, you will see your car start to struggle at the 250,000-mile mark.

Improper maintenance can even cause the car to die below 200,000 miles which is why lengthening the lifespan of the Toyota Sequoia is very necessary.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Toyota Sequoia

The difference in the life you can have for your Toyota Sequoia is staggering. This is the main reason you should try your best to increase the life of your Toyota Sequoia.

If you do not know how to try some of the activities listed below:

  • Stay within the max load of the car.
  • Do not go off-road or drive on rough terrain.
  • Top up on various fluids every 2 to 3 months.
  • Visit the mechanic every six months for a checkup.
  • Clean the Toyota Sequoia regularly.
  • Visit the mechanic if you feel the Toyota Sequoia has an issue.

If you follow these activities and incorporate them into your daily life, you will see your Toyota Sequoia last a long time and go well beyond 300,000 miles.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Toyota Sequoia

While there are obvious ways you can increase the life of your Toyota Sequoia, there are undoubtedly things you can do which can negatively impact the life of your Toyota Sequoia.

Here are a few activities that you should avoid at all costs as they can shorten the life of the Toyota Sequoia:

  • Running on empty.
  • Using cheap quality fuel.
  • Hard braking and sudden stops.
  • Leaving the Toyota Sequoia out in the cold.
  • Not replacing faulty components.
  • Self-repairing delicate components of the Toyota Sequoia.

If you do these regularly, you are actively hurting the lifespan of your Toyota Sequoia. You should avoid them so that the Toyota Sequoia can run longer and better.

3 Most Toyota Sequoia Common Problems You Should Know

In this section, I am going to write some of the most common problems you can face if you are planning to buy Toyota Sequoia.

I hope this section will help you out with your decision.

1. VSC Light Issue

Throughout the article, I have talked about this issue repeatedly, but it is time I go into detail about it. This issue was due to an electrical malfunction in the brakes.

This would cause the brakes and sometimes the ABS to turn on randomly. These sudden brakes would be accompanied by the VSC light, which is why this problem is known.

The company allowed this problem to fester for around six years before getting rid of it. While years after 2002 would see general improvements, the problem would remain until 2007.

2. Rust And Corrosion

Another major issue many models of the Toyota Sequoia suffered was rust and corrosion. This is a very simple to understand the problem.

The bodies and frames were poorly made, which is why they were prone to rust. This would be followed by corrosion later on.

The problem was so severe that various owners of the Toyota Sequoia and the NHTSA would speak out against the issue.

This would have little effect as the problem would linger on for a few years before completely disappearing.

3. Faulty Doors And Handles

One issue that I did not expect to see was problems related to the door handles.

IT completely baffles me how a company that has been making cars for years at this point messes up door handles.

Not only would the door handles stop functioning randomly, but in some cases, they would break straight up. This was true for the inside and outside handles of the Toyota Sequoia.

What is more surprising is that this issue was found in multiple models of the Toyota Sequoia.

Luckily for newer entries of the Toyota Sequoia, this problem no longer exists, but the fact that it was an issue is quite alarming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Toyota Sequoia A Good Car?

If you can secure a recent model or get a used model that dates back to after 2006, you will see that the Toyota Sequoia is a good car.

It can last a very long time if you put in the effort, and while it costs slightly more to fix than other cars, it is not by much.

Q2: Do Toyota Sequoias Hold Their Value?

According to various reports, the Toyota Sequoia has very good value retention, which is why its depreciation rate is usually between 30 to 40%.

This is quite generous, considering that this is a full-sized sports utility vehicle. You can expect your Toyota Sequoia to hold its value for a long time which is another great thing about the car.

Q3: How Many Toyota Sequoias Have Been Sold?

While it is difficult to estimate how many units the car has sold over the years without actual numbers from the company, various reports paint a general idea.

Between 2005 and 2022, the Toyota Sequoia sold well over 291,000 units in the United States, a spectacular number.

Q4: Which Toyota Sequoia Engine Is The Most Reliable?

While the competition was tough, in the end, I have to give it to the 381 Hp, 5.6 L V8 engine the Toyota Sequoia boasts in the 2020 version.

Not only is the year a great one for the Toyota Sequoia in general, but the engine is also high quality and produces a lot of power.

Q5: Is Toyota Sequoia Expensive To Maintain?

If you want to get into maintenance and compare the Toyota Sequoia to its competitors, then yes, the Toyota Sequoia has an average maintenance cost!

The car will probably take $642 per year for you to fix up. This is assuming you do not have any major issues that require a lot of capital to fix.

Conclusion

While it was off to a rocky start, the Toyota Sequoia could get back on its feet and deliver a stellar lineup that is still going strong today.

Now that I have talked about the best and worst years for Toyota Sequoia, you should know what to expect from the lineup.

With the number of issues the lineup has seen early on, it makes no sense to buy a Toyota Sequoia that dates before 2007.

You are better off getting a 2009 Toyota Sequoia or one of the latest ones unless you want various issues causing you trouble.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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