Which Toyota Sequoia Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

In 2001, Toyota started manufacturing the Sequoia, a full-size SUV based on the Tundra pickup. It is the brand’s second-largest SUV, behind only the Japanese-market-exclusive Mega Cruiser.

Engine, interior, and exterior accessory issues are among the most often reported concerns regarding certain model years of the Toyota Sequoia. However, the issues are almost the same across all model years.

Are you wondering which model year to purchase? Utilize the given information to determine which model years to avoid and which to invest in confidently.

List Of Toyota Sequoia Years to Avoid

There are different model years of the Toyota Sequoia that you should avoid. Unfortunately, the majority of these are the first-generation vehicles of Toyota Sequoia. As a result, they fall short when it comes to providing the level of consistency required by most owners.

The following is a list of Toyota Sequoia model years that you should avoid.

  • 2001 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2002 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2004 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2005 Toyota Sequoia

From the above list, the 2002 model year got the most number of complaints overall and fixing them all proved to be the most expensive.

That is why the 2002 Toyota Sequoia is regarded as the worst model year based on numerous characteristics like repairing costs and average miles when problems begin.

What Makes These Toyota Sequoia Years Worth Avoiding?

1. 2001 Toyota Sequoia

The majority of the problems with the 2001 Toyota Sequoia were linked to the brakes, although there were also steering and paint concern problems.

The 2001 Sequoia’s steering system was sometimes problematic. Customers reported that the car would automatically jerk to the side, resulting in a significant collision. Also, there was the problem of corrosion, which drastically shortened the SUV’s lifetime.

Traction control lights would illuminate, confusing the driver. Additionally, the stability assist system would malfunction, indicating that it cannot be depended on.

In addition, the owner of the vehicle from this model year reported the following issues:

  • VSC Traction Control Engages for No Reason
  • Back Hatch Latch Failure
  • Transmission Failure

That’s why it is recommended to avoid this model year of Sequoia to save money on repair expenses.

2. 2002 Toyota Sequoia

To be honest, the 2002 model year is the worst Sequoia model till now. It receives by far the most complaints than any other model year.

Numerous customers claimed that various error lights would illuminate, causing considerable worry. 

Another frequent criticism was that the handle on the rear hatch door broke, door handles broke, and so on.

Additionally, there were many instances of engine problems as well. The engine might shut down unexpectedly, presenting a significant risk of a crash.

Also, the model year encounter the following issues:

  • Engine Died Coming to A Stop
  • VSC or VSC/Trac Light Comes On, Brakes Engage
  • Transmission Failures

It is the worst model year that Toyota Sequoia has ever manufactured till now and received the highest number of recalls and consumer complaints. Without a doubt, this is a model year to avoid.

3. 2003 Toyota Sequoia

Despite receiving a huge number of negative comments in the 2002 and 2001 model years, the 2003 Toyota Sequoia did not improve.

Complaints concerning the paint and the brakes were raised. Also, the ABS lights started flashing wildly.

Additionally, this model has a high incidence of handle failure. Several customers had dissatisfaction with the back hatch handle. The most serious problem occurred when the brakes stopped functioning entirely, leaving the driver with no secure method to maneuver the vehicle.

Additionally, the model year has the following issues:

  • Rust, Corrosion of the Frame
  • Brakes won’t Engage While Brake Light On
  • VSC/Trac Light Comes On

It is yet another disastrous model year for the Toyota Avalon, and one that should surely be avoided at all costs.

4. 2004 Toyota Sequoia

The 2004 Toyota Sequoia faced the very same problems as the previous three model years, resulting in an excessive number of buyers being dissatisfied.

Customers have reported that the back hatch handle often breaks away, making it almost impossible to open the trunk.

Excessive wind noise has been reported by drivers while traveling at high speeds. In addition, power windows also failed to function on occasion in this model year of Toyota Sequoia, which added to the disappointment of possessing this vehicle model.

Also, the customers reported the following issues:

  • Traction Control System Failure
  • VSC/Trac Light Comes On
  • Vibration and Steering Shimmy

This is yet another model year of Sequoia that has disappointed customers. To be on the safe side, another model year of Sequoia is best avoided.

5. 2005 Toyota Sequoia

As previously mentioned, all of the first-generation Sequoia model years possess all of the qualities necessary to be included in the Toyota Sequoia model years to avoid list.

These vehicles experienced almost all of the issues that were present in the preceding model years. In certain circumstances, spark plugs might spontaneously fail, resulting in the vehicle coming to a full stop while in motion. 

Furthermore, investigations indicated that the SUV was not accelerating at all. The gas pedal would have been depressed, and pressing on it any further would have had no influence on the result of the scenario. Additionally, the fuel system would fail without the blinking of warning lights.

Also, the owner of this model year car experienced the following issues:

  • Brakes Pulsing on Their Own
  • Dashboard Warning Lights Flashing
  • Traction Service Control Light On

That is why it is recommended to avoid purchasing a Sequoia from this model year in order to save money on repair costs.

Which Toyota Sequoia Years are Safe to Buy Used?

If you have decided to purchase a Toyota Sequoia, it’s best to avoid model years that have the aforementioned significant issues. Each Toyota Sequoia model mentioned below has been properly inspected and found to be safe to purchase.

The Toyota Sequoia model year that is the safest to buy includes:

  • 2009 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2010 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2011 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2012 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2013 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2015 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2016 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2018 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2019 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2020 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2021 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2022 Toyota Sequoia

From the above list, Toyota Sequoia 2009 and current model years such as 2019, 2020,2021,2022 are certainly the safest model years to buy with a single-digit complaint count.


Buying a Toyota Sequoia from the right model year is a great choice. But it also has its drawbacks. To be on the safe side, we suggest avoiding all of the years listed above.

Instead, buy the first generation afterward Toyota Sequoia with considerably better confidence. These models work magnificently and exhibit the most significant levels of stability.

It is recommended that each vehicle be inspected to verify that it is in good working order and that any recall information is up to date for your safety and protection.

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