Soon to enter its 10th consecutive model year, the Toyota Sequoia is starting to show its age in places – but still offers a comprehensive and fairly competitive package. Power comes from a 5.7-liter eight-cylinder gasoline engine, with the strong outputs making their way to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Cabin material quality is starting to date the Toyota Sequoia substantially, but fit-and-finish and space are good overall, and the noise deadening in particular is genuinely excellent. Do be wary of an iffy ride over rougher road surfaces, and the sheer size of the Sequoia makes it a tricky to navigate tighter spots with.
Several of the car’s rivals are substantially more up-to-date, so it’s testament to how well balanced the Toyota Sequoia was upon launch that it’s not comprehensively outclassed now. Admittedly, competitors do have the edge in areas like interior fit-and-finish and fuel economy, but the Toyota Sequoia can still hold its own in areas like interior space and noise refinement. Whilst we wouldn’t instantly recommend it over everything else in this class, the Toyota Sequoia is still a vehicle we’d suggest taking a closer look at before making a firm buying decision.
‘Pretty sizeable by segment standards. Look elsewhere if you’re after an upmarket interior’
If you were expecting your $45,000+ to buy you a Toyota Sequoia with a h interior, expect to e disappointed. Whilst it is admittedly very well assembled, and higher spec cars do feel more upmarket, the dated design, fiddly controls and abundance of hard plastics aren’t really befitting of a car at this price point. Thankfully, storage spots are aplenty, and the eight seats are (on top of being comfortable and supportive) offer good amounts of head, shoulder and leg room – meaning adults shouldn’t feel too hemmed in, even when sitting in the rear row. Cargo space is good-if-not-outstanding for the class, with the 18.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear row being pretty good by segment standards. This extends to 66.6 cubic feet and 120.1 cubic feet with the third and second seat rows folded flat respectively.
‘Comfort and handling’s okay, but refinement levels are superb’
Being built on truck-like underpinnings, the Toyota Sequoia is a way away from more contemporary SUVs in terms of ride and handling – with the Toyota feeling particularly cumbersome in built-up areas at low speeds. That said, though the ride can get a bit choppy on rough surfaces, the Toyota Sequoia does settle down nicely on less abrasive asphalt, and body movement is also fairly well controlled considering the car’s ride height. Better still, the Toyota Sequoia is also superbly refined at highway speeds, which help make the Toyota Sequoia a pretty handy vehicle to have on longer journeys. Visibility is as expected from a large SUV: the view out is fine, thanks to the high driving position and large windshield, though the thick pillars and sheer size of the vehicle does impede the driver’s ability to see out and judge the boundaries of the car.
‘Lots of performance on tap – though that does result in iffy fuel economy’
With a huge 5.7-liter eight-cylinder gasoline engine under the hood, the Toyota Sequoia has more than enough power on tap for what will be demanded of it. 381-horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque are more than ample for load-lugging and towing duties, and the two short gear ratios in the six-speed automatic transmission means the Toyota Sequoia has surprisingly prompt low-speed acceleration. Overall refinement’s pretty good for a vehicle in this segment as well. Sadly, the fuel economy isn’t great even by class standards, with the claimed fuel economy of 13mpg in the city and 17mpg on the highway being amongst the worst you’ll find in this segment.
‘The base trim should suit most buyers fine. Odd how leather’s not standard when it’s a no-cost option’
For most Toyota Sequoia buyers, the entry-level, $45,560 ‘SR5’ trim should offer enough amenities for day-to-day driving needs. Three-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a reversing camera and HD radio are included in the standard spec, with leather seats being a no-cost option. The only option we feel is worth buying is the $3,370 Premium Package, which introduces parking sensors, built-in navigation and a heated driver’s seat. More features come on ‘Limited’ and ‘Premium’ trims, but these versions are substantially more expensive to buy. Comprehensive safety test ratings aren’t yet available for the Toyota Sequoia, though the SUV was awarded four out of five stars in the NHTSA’s roll over crash tests.
Newer rivals do have the edge overall, but the Toyota Sequoia is still a package that impresses – and even more so when you consider the vehicle’s relative age. If you’re after a more rugged SUV that’s also practical and at home on highways, the Toyota Sequoia is worthy of closer inspection.