Should I buy a 1st Gen Sequoia?

Plains Drifter

New member
Hi everyone. I've lurked around here for many years. I always enjoy reading everyone's adventures!

I'm considering buying a 1st gen Sequoia, and thought I'd ask for advice here.

My current family camping, fishing, exploring vehicle is a 2001 XTerra XE 4WD. Mostly stock, with 31x10.5/15 Wrangler Authorities on SE rims. It's mechanically solid and has 230,000 miles on it. I'm the 2nd owner and have had it quite a while. The X replaced a 95 Pathfinder SEV6 4WD that I also owned for a long time.

Our other vehicle is a 2012 VW Sportwagen TDI loaded. My wife and I both really love that car. Torquey and fun to drive, and awesome mileage. The TDI replaced a 2002 Corolla.

We had 2 kids, 15 and 5, when we bought the TDI. Shortly after the purchase my wife found out she was pregnant, so now we have a 3 week old newborn baby too!

We had planned to try to trade the TDI for something with a 3rd row, then the Dieselgate scandal broke. Now VW is going to buy back the TDI for more than it's worth. I'd like to keep it, but believe that would be foolish. With the new baby here it would be nice to do away with a car payment for awhile. After paying off the TDI I'll have about $7000 to buy another vehicle.

We looked for a long time before we bought the TDI Sportwagen, and there isn't much else like it on the market. I considered looking for something with a 3rd row seat that gets good mpg, but that's pretty much just minivans, and the mileage isn't that good compared to the 40s we average in the TDI anyway.

So that leads me to going the other direction. Just get a big, capable, reliable family expedition rig, and ignore the mpg. It will probably be my wife's daily driver until the X dies, then I'll inherit it. Or possibly I'll sell the X while I still can and buy a commuter car for my wife. She has a 50 mile round trip to work. I walk or bike most of the time the whole 6 blocks to my job.

So I'm thinking a 1st gen Sequoia may be the way to go. Selection is limited where I am. I'm 6 hours from Denver and Kansas City, 4 hours from Omaha. I'm in a very rural part of Nebraska. There is a Chevy Dealer in my town, so I considered a Tahoe or Yukon, etc. I've never owned a domestic though. I haven't been in Nebraska long, and will probably only be here another 3 years though.

Well that was a long ramble. If anyone made it all the way through, what do you think?
 

AaronK

Explorer
The Sequoia is a solid rig. Its 2UZ-FE engine is smooth and powerful. They handle well. I frequently wish I would have gotten one instead of my Tundra.

Sent from my OnePlus One using Tapatalk.
 

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Retired Tanker

Adventurer
I've got an '05, coming up on 240K. Just replaced the timing belt for the second time. I'll drive this thing till the wheels fall off...then I'll buy more wheels.

It's hauled my family (6 of us) back and forth to Texas, Florida, and Georgia a number of times. I've pulled 30' travel trailers without a problem.

So, yeah. Buy one. But, like with every used vehicle, take to the dealer for a once over.
 

rezkid

New member
I'll echo the others here with another vote for yes. Love our '06 and plan on keeping it until it dies.
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
The Sequoia is a great off-highway family-hauler camping/expedition rig. When I was searching for a 4x4 SUV that could accommodate 5-6 people and a weekend's worth of camping gear, the Sequoia was on my short list. I knew I wanted a solid rear axle, decent 3rd row leg room, and ample cargo space behind the 3rd row. I didn't care for the Land Cruiser's side-folding 3rd row seats, and when the 3rd row is down, the space behind them is too narrow. I looked at the Nissan Armada, too, but it's got independent rear suspension. I was not interested in either the Expedition, Excursion, Tahoe, Yukon, or Suburban.

I got an '05 Limited with 2nd row buckets (instead of the bench), and it allows 3rd row passengers to easily exit without having to wait for the 2nd row to be folded up. That's a pretty rare option, though.

I have found that with a full load of passengers, roof storage is essential for camping trips. Tents, chairs, sleeping bags and lightweight items can be put on the roof, while the heavier things like water, grills, tub full of misc cooking/cleaning supplies, food, cooler, etc. can easily fit behind the 3rd row.

There's really nothing else on the market right now that I'm pining for. Rugged, reliable, capable full-size rigs are getting harder and harder to find these days.
 

wrenchMonkey_

Adventurer
If it were me, I'd get a GX470. I enjoy my 06 Tundra, which is the truck version of the Sequoia, but, still, I lust for a GX470.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I looked at the GX. 50/50 split rear seat means 2+ kids aint happening. Too narrow, too tall. Reminded me of my 4runner which got up on two wheels a couple if times avoiding accidents in progress on the Highway. The Sequoia is a real 3 across seating platform with a 60/40 split rear seat. That and it runs circles around the GX on the highway regarding stability.
 

jeffjeeptj

Adventurer
Wife drives an 03 Sequioa, it was bought new. Now has 120K miles. It has been very reliable. It is officially an SR5, but it has all Limited pieces except leather, seat heaters, and the 120v outlet. We love it. Our experience echoes the above posts about room, comfort, towing. Essentially no troubles except oil changes, tires, one battery, and the tailgate latch handle.
It has the t-case shifter in the console, which later ones do not have. I like that feature as we get RWD hi, AWD hi/lo, and center diff locked 4WD hi/lo. We usually have the 3rd row seats out, but have used a roof box to haul more stuff
Wife also had to unstick my TJ when it was buried to the frame in mud. She still reminds me about "the Jeep thing".
Good luck with the search.
A 31AGM battery easily fits in the stock battery location to supply power for the ARB.
 

Plains Drifter

New member
Thanks for the input guys. Sounds like mostly positive experiences regarding durability and reliability.

I guess I'm pretty set on the Sequoia now. I just have to find one. Most of what I'm seeing on Craigslist from Denver, KC, and Omaha are 200k+ in the sub $7000 price range.

I'm tentatively scheduled to do the VW buyback on Nov. 1, so I've got 3 months before I can buy it anyway.
 

Plains Drifter

New member
Guys, after spending the morning looking at Craigslist ads... I'm seeing a lot of Disco 2s in my price range. I'm even seeing some built up with lift, winch, etc and miles around 150k for that sub $7k price.

I hadn't considered Discos before, would I be in for some heartache trying to make something like that a daily driver?
 
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yloDiscoii

Observer
Guys, after spending the morning looking at Craigslist ads... I'm seeing a lot of Disco 2s in my price range. I'm even seeing some built up with lift, winch, etc and miles around 150k for that sub $7k price.

I hadn't considered Discos before, would I be in for some heartache trying to make something like that a daily driver?
A Disco would be a fine daily driver. I've owned both a DI and DII and loved them both. Solid ownership/maintenance history, continued preventative maintenance and some patience seem to be the key to LR ownership :) For 3 kids, a DII might be on the small side. One kid would likely be relegated to a jump seat, reducing your gear hauling capacity and I can't imagine it's a very comfortable ride back there.

We now have an '06 Sequoia Limited and have been extremely pleased. I was considering 100 Series LC's and the GX470 but found both to be a little on the small side for our needs. The 4.7L has plenty of power, it's got a great ride, tons of interior space for both people (I'm 6'2" and I can sit comfortably in the 3rd row) and stuff. After a year or so of Sequoia ownership, I have zero regrets. If you can find one, I'd recommend an '05-'07 (5-spd transmission, engine improvements) Limited with the captain's seats in the middle row. Plus, adding a "lift" (level the front end with the rear) is relatively cheap as you just need to get some Bilstein adjustable struts.

Good luck with your search!

 

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Leibbrand

Adventurer
Guys, after spending the morning looking at Craigslist ads... I'm seeing a lot of Disco 2s in my price range.

I hadn't considered Discos before, would I be in for some heartache trying to make something like that a daily driver?
Get the disco if you like wrenching, should keep you busy.
 

Plains Drifter

New member
Get the disco if you like wrenching, should keep you busy.
Yeah, not really. That's what always scares me off the Disco.

It sure is hard to find Sequoias with less than 200k in the sub $7k range. I guess that's the "reliability premium"!

So, how capable is the Sequoia in stock form?

With just some good AT tires, can it handle, say, Medano Pass?
 
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