There are just a handful of large SUVs that can tow the big stuff people move from point A to B. In the marketplace, you can make the journey with powerhouse V8s, fully optioned interiors and room for eight, with luggage.
After an extended review with Toyota’s Sequoia, we experienced its athleticism and comfortable ride ... as well as a few quirks.
Infotainment system lacking
Poor fuel economy
Because of its size, there is a commanding view of the road only bettered by 18-wheelers. While it is hard to lose in a parking lot, we found the need to plan exit routes carefully since it is easier to drive forward than reverse, even with the backup camera.
For 2019, Sequoia is available in four trim levels; base SR5 ($48,700) with standard emergency braking, TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum. Our test of the TRD, equipped with three-row seating and captain’s chairs, was ideal for family trips to the beach.
While its sheetmetal is unchanged dating to 2007, its powerhouse V8 comes through for heavy towing and highway travel. You may want to look elsewhere if your commute is laden with city streets.
TRD exterior badging adds a sporty touch, including blackened grille with chrome surround, black satin side-door markers, black alloy wheels, tuned Bilstein shocks and anti-sway bars, the latter of which came in handy on interstates.
Mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Sequoia moves with strength and some level of poise. With all this power, however, the downside is its 14 combined EPA tested miles per gallon, although we managed 15.5. Rival Ford Expedition and Chevy’s Suburban and Tahoe fare better.
We do recommend springing for the $3,500 Premium package to dress up an otherwise dated interior. It includes full leather stitched seating, heated and power adjustable driver and passenger seats, power fold-flat, third-row seating and updated audio. For a few thousand more, the Platinum trim adds wood-grain panels and more amenities.
We took issue, however, with its tiny touchscreen that is difficult to see and navigate during daytime hours due to constant glare and awkward touch capability. On the plus side, there are lots of storage areas inside, including a giant center-console compartment, strategically placed large cupholders in all three rows, and adult room in the third row.
Keep in mind this is ladder-on-frame truck underpinnings, not SUV based, and as such does not have low loading for cargo or easy entry and exit from seats.
We think the Sequoia’s biggest asset is its build quality and a safety suite that includes radar cruise control (not full stop), pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking assist, lane-departure alert and automatic high beams. Rivals charge additional bucks for similar technology.
If your travel requires the need for big power and a level of ride comfort, be sure to include the Sequoia in your test-drive shortlist.
Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at firstname.lastname@example.org
2019 Toyota Sequoia TRD
Engine: 5.7-liter V8, 381 hp, 401 lb.ft. torque
EPA estimated fuel economy: 13 city, 17 highway, 14 combined.
Assembled: Toyota manufacturing facilities in Princeton, Ind.; U.S./Canadian parts content, 60 percent; major source of foreign parts, Japan, 25 percent; country of origin for engine, U.S.; transmission, U.S., Japan and Thailand.
Crash test ratings: Neither The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the Sequoia as of this writing.
Warranty: 3-year/36,000 bumper to bumper; 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain; 2-year/25,000 mile scheduled maintenance