Make no mistake: the Toyota Sequoia isn't some dainty crossover. It's a truck-based full-size SUV with ample room for eight passengers and loads of towing and hauling ability. While its one of the more refined examples of a dying breed, the Sequoia is still a thirsty rig that's a bit more cumbersome to drive than its car-derived competitors.
Underpinned by the same sturdy frame used by the Tundra pickup, the Sequoia uses a fully independent suspension that provides a comfortable ride and some of the better driving dynamics in the old-school SUV segment. Size-wise, the Sequoia is slightly larger inside and out than the Chevrolet Tahoe and standard-wheelbase Ford Expedition, although its noticeably smaller than the bus-length Suburban and Expedition XL.
A previously standard 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 was discontinued recently, leaving a robust 5.7-liter V8 as the only engine. This mill produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque and pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain combo is potent enough to scoot the nearly three-ton Sequoia from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds, which is blistering by the standards of the class. The Sequoia can also tow up to 7,400 pounds when properly equipped.
Rear-wheel-drive is standard, while four-wheel-drive with a two-speed transfer case and a TORSEN limited-slip center differential is optional. Fuel economy is rated at 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway with RWD and 13/17 mpg with 4WD.
As one would expect, the Sequoia's interior is vast, but clever touches make it quite versatile as well. The second-row seats recline and also slide fore and aft in order to prioritize legroom for the second- or third-row passengers. There's 19.8 cubic feet of space behind the third row seats, and the independent suspension allows that third row to fold flat into floor to free up 66.6 cubic feet. Fold the second row too, and there's a full 120.1 cubes to play with.
The Sequoia's two-tone dashboard is shared with Tundra. The controls are user-friendly for the most apart, although the sheer width of the SUV can make the audio controls difficult to reach for shorter drivers.
Trim Level Breakdown
Those looking to buy the Sequoia will be faced with a choice of SR5, Limited and Platinum trim levels.
The entry-level SR5 trim comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with AUX and USB input jacks, cruise control, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons, power windows and locks, a power-adjustable driver's seat, fog lights, running boards, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Limited adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, front and rear parking sonar, a power liftgate, power-folding third-row seats, a JBL premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The top-spec Platinum brings a navigation system, a rearview camera, dynamic laser cruise control, a Blu-Ray entertainment system with a nine-inch LCD screen, heated second-row seats, a rear load-leveling air suspension, "simulated" wood trim and 20-inch diamond cut-finish alloy wheels.
Standard throughout the line is Toyota's Entune multimedia system, which offer apps like Bing search services, iheartradio.com and Pandora music and concierge services like OpenTable and movietickets.com.
All Sequoias are equipped with dual front, front knee, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Rivals to the Sequoia include the Nissan Armada, the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon twins and the Ford Expedition.