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The 5 Best And Worst Toyota SUVs From The Last 20 Years

Toyota has built a reputation for producing dependable family SUVs, but it has also developed some duds.

2021 4Runner

Since the late 1940s, Toyota has been a car's household name, and it's no surprise why. From the Corolla to the Sequoia, their extensive line of automobiles can be found on streets from coast to coast.

If you're looking for an SUV that is simultaneously fuel efficient and reliable, get yourself a Toyota, the Japanese giant has always taken pride in its SUV offerings, often building more reliable machines than its European and American counterparts.

Our list below is a compilation of some of the best and worst SUVs that Toyota has made in recent 20 years — Which one did you buy?

The Best

12021 4Runner

2021 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner is Toyota's most famous SUV, and it has been one of the company's best-selling models as well. Since its debut in 1984, the 4Runner has always made a name for itself as a rugged, tough vehicle that can handle any terrain. With its family-friendly design and capability as a daily driver, the 4Runner has always been a good choice for anyone looking for an off-road vehicle.

According to J.D. Power, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner gets an 81 out of 100 in reliability. This SUV is a capable off-roader that is also fun to drive and easy to handle—a rare combination among SUVs. In addition, the 4Runner has plenty of tech and comfort features to keep everyone engaged and comfortable. Truly, this is one of the best generations of this iconic SUV by Toyota.

22021 Venza

2021 Venza

The 2021 Toyota Venza is a crossover SUV that hit all the right notes. It was a vast improvement over its previous models, and Toyota ensured that any issues from the previous model were addressed in this new version.

The Honda Venza is definitely one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. It gets 40 MPG in the city and 37 on the highway, which are very respectable ratings for an economy where gas is getting so expensive. In addition, the crossover SUV provides a modest but doable 55 square feet of cargo space. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine coupled with electric motors makes up to a respectable 219 horsepower.

32023 Sequoia

2023 Sequoia

The Sequoia has come to take its crown as the Land Cruiser exits the American market. While previous Sequoia models were more than adequate SUVs that got the job done adeptly, customers have always had problems with rough and inadequate cabins, namely the interiors, which have never been up to par.

The new Sequoia is a redesigned model built from the ground up. It will compete with the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Explorer on both comfort and technology. Based on the same architecture as the global Land Cruiser, the new Sequoia will be one of Toyota's most capable off-roaders that can also drive around town in utter luxury.

42016 RAV4

2016 RAV4

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 is easily the most impressive and reliable RAV4 model ever made, which also makes it one of the best Toyota crossover SUVs ever. Time has shown just how remarkable this model year was. With an excellent 86/100 rating for quality and reliability on J.D. Power, this car is one instance where Toyota simply didn't miss.

The crossover SUV has a solid reliability rating of four out of five on RepairPal. It even has an admirable annual repair cost of just $429, which makes it easy on the wallet. To top it all off, it wears the crown of a five out of five safety rating.

52020 Land Cruiser

2020 Land Cruiser

How could the Land Cruiser be excluded from this list? The epitome of luxury, power, and sheer, no-nonsense off-road capability, the Land Cruiser has always defined what it means to be an SUV—a true, purebred Sport Utility Vehicle.

The 2020 model of the Toyota Land Cruiser was the pinnacle of a long history of evolution, with mistakes and flaws of the past resolved. It came with an extensively-packed feature list as standard and an even more extensive Heritage trim level to take things up a notch. With a muscular 5.7L V8 engine churning out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, this truly was the pinnacle of Toyota SUV engineering.

The Worst

12007 RAV4

2007 RAV4

While the Toyota RAV4 has been very well received overall, there have been models that have failed to live up to consumers' expectations. The 2007 RAV4 is one such example, about which consumers complained left and right about engine issues or problems with the transmission shift.

On top of that, the car seemed to consume oil and had a host of minor and major technical problems. In addition to these issues, the 2007 Toyota RAV4 had defective piston rings that made even daily driving feel questionable.

22003 Highlander

2003 Highlander

In 2003, the Toyota Highlander had a bad year. It seems that some problematic technical issues have plagued the SUV in this model year. Buyers reported problems with their ignitions and faulty oxygen sensors.

Furthermore, sludge build-up was another issue with the 2003 Highlander, along with its rough idling and faulty airbag sensors. Coolant leakage was also reported at around the 100k mark on the odometer, as well as engine block bolts giving way. Some customers also reported issues with brakes, having to replace them without using them roughly. Overall, the 2003 Highlander was easily one of Toyota's worst cars to come off their assembly line.

RELATED: The Most Common Toyota Highlander Problems (1st to 4th)

32002 Sequoia

2002 Sequoia

The 2002 Toyota Sequoia has the honor of being the model year with the most complaints from owners, according to The site even rates it as the worst model year in the SUV series. These complaints included transmission failure, engine dying at neutral, and brake issues.

The car also had a problem with the rear hatch handle breaking, which always needed replacing. And the engine occasionally died when the car came to a stop—which was rated as a 'really awful' problem when it came to severity.

42008 Highlander

2008 Highlander

The Highlander has been a problematic car for Toyota on several occasions, including in 2008. The SUV housed a V6 engine that produced 270 horsepower, but it came with many problems that simply couldn't be ignored. For starters, the Highlander delivered only 19 miles per gallon combined.

In addition to a faulty ignition coil and buildup of sludge, the 2008 Toyota Highlander was plagued by issues that were present in the 2003 model before it as well. Owners reported faults like major oil leaks, which made it an even worse experience than the 2003 model year. Thus, 2008 was one of the worst model years for not only the Highlander but Toyota in general.

RELATED: The Best Years to Buy a Used Toyota Highlander (1st to 4th)

52007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The Toyota FJ Cruiser, released in 2007, was the first-ever model of the FJ Cruiser. Although many people bought it, little did they know that there would be problems with the vehicle. One of the main complaints about this model was that it had rusting problems. This is serious because structural integrity is compromised due to rusting. Some owners also complained that the paint would start chipping.

The transmission system also had some issues. For example, the SUV would shudder when traveling at 35 mph and higher until it reached 45 mph. Also, the vehicle would not shift into fifth gear. This meant that there was a speed restriction on highways because the required speed was not being reached.

RELATED: 5 Best Toyota Off-Road Vehicles of All Time

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#1 Volkswagen logoVolkswagen Germany
#2 Toyota logoToyota Japan
#3 Honda logoStellantis Netherlands
#4 Mercedes-Benz Group logoMercedes-Benz Group Germany
#5 Ford logoFord Motor United States
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#1 Michelin logoMichelin France
#2 Bridgestone logoBridgestone Japan
#3 Continental logoContinental Germany
#4 Goodyear logoGoodyear United States
#5 Sumitomo logoSumitomo Japan