The second generation Toyota Sequoia, that’s received kind of a minor refresh for the 2018 model year, although the basics of this date back to 2008, making it one of the older full-size SUVs in America, an interesting bit of trivia, The trees right behind me are coastal redwood trees known as Sequoia sempervirens, not to be confused, of course, with sequoiadendron giganteum, the giant sequoia that you will find in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.
Why does Toyota still sell the Sequoia, and not given this model a complete refresh?
Well, the first question is easy to answer, because sales of the Sequoia have been very steady for the last few years. They sell about twelve to fourteen thousand of these, and because the basics of the vehicle haven’t changed, it doesn’t really cost them that much to keep building this SUV.
It uses the same engine and transmission as other Toyota products and overall, the rest of the vehicle has been long since paid for, as to the question of why don’t they completely redesign this vehicle? Well, that’s actually pretty easy to understand as well, because large SUVs don’t really sell that well in the United States, in the grand scheme of things, assuming that Toyota could completely redesign this and steal one third of the Ford Expedition sales away from Ford and double the Sales of the Sequoia in America to 24,000 units a year. They would actually exceed 24,000 units on the rav4 line in the first three weeks of the year. The biggest change for 2018 is up front where we now find full LED headlamps.
These are LED reflectors in multi modules there and we have some LED accent strips inside as well. We then find fog, lamps down below and a radar adaptive cruise control sensor in the middle of this lower portion of the bumper. We then have a large grille here with horizontal slats, that sort of mimics what we see in the rest of the Toyota SUV and truck lineup. In addition to that radar sensor up front, we also have a camera behind the windscreen and that’s because all models – the Sequoia, now have towed a safety sense.
That’s what tota is call they’re all-encompassing safety package. Now it is important to remember that not all vehicles that have towed a safety sense have exactly the same autonomous systems, so this vehicle has radar adaptive cruise control with autonomous, braking and a lane monitoring system with automatic high beams standard. But this doesn’t have full speed range radar, adaptive cruise control like we find in some of the other totus in America, as you’d expect out of a full-size SUV. The Sequoia is a truck based body-on-frame vehicle, so under the skin we have an actual frame under there.
That the body sits on top of making this a little bit more closely related to Toyotas pickup truck line than their passenger vehicle line. It’s also obvious when you look at the front where we have more of a pickup truck shaped hood up here, but I have to say that the overall packaging of the Sequoia is a little bit more efficient than some of the other alternatives. Because, even though this is just a little bit longer than a Chevy Tahoe, we actually have considerably more interior room, especially when you’re looking at the combined legroom figures, and that’s because this overall hood proportion is a little bit different. We have a slightly shorter hood in a slightly longer body than what we see in the Chevy Outback.
We find these round themed tail lamp modules with incandescent turn signals, so you can see over there on that side. They are amber and down here we have some small reflectors at the bottom of the bumper. We have parking sensors on the back in the model that we’re driving and, of course, the trailer hitch receiver right there in the middle, with four pin and seven pin wiring harness connections because of the overall age of the Sequoia, we don’t find a power liftgate on This model, although we do have kind of an interesting feature that we just don’t see in the competition anymore, we have a rear window that actually rolls down into the tailgate. I love rear windows that open separately from the hatch, whether it’s a rear window that opens vertically, like we see in the toad, a Highlander or a window that drops into the hatch like we see here on the Sequoia.
It really improves the cargo practicality if you’re out of the home-improvement store – and you want to put large items in the vehicle, you can have them hanging out the back a little bit more conveniently than if you had to have this hatch open or if you just Want to put small items like this right back there in the rear, without opening the entire hatch. It is very handy now, unfortunately, of the age of this vehicle as well. We don’t have a separate button or remote to open and close the glass, although you can do it with the key right there in the keyhole. You can both open it and close it right from there.
Under the hood. We find just one engine. It’s a 5.7 liter v8. That’s essentially shared with totus pickup truck line.
This engine produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. When it’s placed under this hood, that’s a little bit more horsepower and torque than we find in most of the competition’s base engines, but most of the competition that offers an engine selection will offer more available power and torque than what we find under this hood. Most of them will also offer more gears than we find under here, because this engine is made it only to a six-speed automatic, not an 8 or a ten-speed like we find in many of the competitors. These days, the transmission and the age of the engine design are the likely reasons that fuel economy is on the low end of the full-size SUV segment.
Higher towing capacity is overall towing, behavior and off-road ability are the three big reasons that people cite for buying a body-on-frame, traditional SUV like the sequoia. We have ten inches of ground clearance, which is actually better than the total Land Cruiser. Interestingly enough – and we have a robust four-wheel drive system – that’s borrowed from the Toyota pickup truck line, towing capacity is also notably better than your average crossover in America when properly equipped, the Sequoia will tow up to seventy four hundred pounds. Of course, that is, for the rear, wheel, drive model if you get a fully loaded, four-wheel drive model like we’re driving right here that drops down a little bit to seven thousand pounds because of the weight of the four-wheel drive system.
I’m gon na get fret C comfort, seven out of ten points. The front passenger seat does not have the same range of motion as the driver’s seat, although the driver’s seat does have an extending thigh cushion and two-way adjustable lumbar support in this model. The reason that I’m gon na drop this a little bit below some of the more modern competition is because we don’t have four-way adjustable lumbar support that passenger seat doesn’t have the same range of motion as the driver’s seat and Headroom is, interestingly enough. A little on the limited side in the Sequoia and that’s not just for the front rows, but also for the rows in the back.
I think it has to do with the overall seating position. Tota decided to give this a very upright seating position, so it feels the lord of, like I’m sitting in a dining room chair. My legs are definitely in more of a traditional seat style angle, even with the seat all the way down. As far as it would go, however, I only have about half an inch of headroom left, and that is definitely on the limited side compared to most of the other full-size crossovers or SUVs, with which this would logically compete when it comes to overall, second row dimensions.
I have to say that I think that Toyota’s official numbers are wrong for the Sequoia because they say this model has 34.9 inches of headroom and I actually have a little bit more Headroom back here than I did in the front row. If that number was correct, that would make this the most confined second row in this segment, but it actually feels relatively similar to most of the competition. The model that we’re driving is the 7 passenger version, so we do have captains chairs on each side. These seats do slide forward and backward to help you apportion the legroom more equitably between the front row, the second row and the third row moving over to the second row.
This front seat is all the way back in its tracks. I had a 6 foot, 5 person sitting up front. You can see. I definitely have a generous amount of legroom left if you’re looking at the numbers on the side of your screen, they’re not wrong when it comes to combined legroom.
The Sequoia has a great deal of legroom overall. This second row seat is all the way back in its tracks. I was very comfortable in the front seat. It was actually adjusted for a six foot five person.
I was very comfortable in the second row. Sita had a lot of legroom left and moving back here to the third row. I still have about two inches left. That’s because overall legroom in the Sequoia is actually up there with some of the extended wheelbase options in this segment, notably higher than we find in your average 3-row crossover, and I would say this third row is just about as comfortable as some minivans in America.
Headroom back here is about the same as we find in the second row, although if I lean my head all the way to the back, it does just barely touch the ceiling over here on this side. I think that’s because the center seat belt actually comes out of the ceiling, because if I move over to the middle seat, I don’t have that same problem. A nice touch in the back is that we actually have a power recline mechanism in the third row seat and because of the overall shape of the Sequoia. It actually is a fairly comfortable recline.
It actually happens down there low on the seat, where you’d normally would want it to be. Although again, this middle seat belt is a little bit of a right here on this side, but I could just move over to the left side with the same power. Recline feature, and it would be a little bit more comfortable. The generous, combined legroom figures of the Sequoia don’t come at the expense of cargo capacity.
Behind the lift gate we find 18.9 cubic feet of storage space, which is awfully good for a large three row vehicle. If you want more cargo capacity than this in your 300 vehicle, you will have to offer something like a minivan really and if you fold the second row seats, which are power folding with these buttons right here, then we get sixty six point: six cubic feet of Combined space definitely an awful lot of storage capacity. I had no problem fitting 24 or 22 inch roller bags behind the third row, and if you lift up the load floor, you’ll find a little bit of additional storage space. This is also where we find the jack and the tire iron tucked away out of sight right there behind that little panel and then some additional storage space on the left-hand side of the cargo area.
In case you’re wondering the spare tire is under the vehicle and you’d actually pull off this little cover insert the tire iron right in there and winch it down. As we look around the interior, keep in mind that we are in the TRD trim, so things will vary based on the trim. We have high deductible shoulder belts for the driver and the front passenger, as well as the second row passengers. If you zoom back there around that seat, you can see that height adjustment mechanism right there.
Next to that second row, headrest the model that we’re driving has leather upholstery and these seats are heated. You can see that we have very minor bolstering on the seat back inside cushions that should make it a little bit more comfortable for larger drivers or larger front passengers because of the overall design of the sukhoi. The front doors are made from entirely hard touch plastics, except for that armrest right there, which is sort of a rubbery texture. Toyota has made a few interesting storage cubbies available.
We have some pull-out ones that come out of that panel right there by the window switch, and then we have our more typical bottle holders down there at the bottom of the door. As we see in some pickup trucks, we have a dual glovebox design with an upper glove compartment right there. I had no problem fitting larger smartphones inside that compartment and then a slot style compartment. Here, that’s a little on the small side compared to some of the competition.
I was not able to fit a large tablet computer in this one, because of the way that it’s divided. We have some it’s over here for our instruction manuals and then more of a square slot over there on the far side. As we see in other SUVs of this age, the dashboard is made from entirely hard touch plastics. Well, these aren’t gon na feel as premium as some of the more modern interiors.
On the flip side, this is going to be a little bit more durable. It’s also gon na be a little bit easier to clean, hard plastics, like this generally hold up to abrasion. A little bit better in the center of the dashboard, we find a center channel speaker because our model does have the up level sound system, but nestled right here in the middle of the dashboard. We have the biggest problem that I have with this interior.
It is this very small, touchscreen infotainment system. This is running one of the later versions of Toyotas infotainment software, but the screen itself is very, very small because they didn’t change the radio housing right here in the dashboard. It actually makes it difficult to interact with this system because it’s so far away from the driver and all these options are quite tiny. It does have a mapping database and of course, we do have a full-featured, Bluetooth and USB interface.
So right here by bluetooth, you can actually browse your media device, which is one of the things that I’ve always liked about Toyotas interface. There’s a plastic cover right there. That is missing. So this is not supposed to actually look like that.
That’s where you put the navigation database and then we have a single slot optical disc player, on the top below that we have a three zone: automatic climate control system. We have an auto button right over here and you can tell that these controls are definitely out of a slightly different era. We have a fan knob over here temperature knobs for the front two zones right there and then a toggle right here for the temperature for the rear zone. This is also where we find the USB and auxiliary input, the toggles for the front heated seats and then, if we zoom out from there, we have a four wheel drive control over here on the left you pushed in and rotate for four low.
You have a choice between four high and two wheel: drive for most driving situations, continuing our way down from there. We have a tow haul button over here, a button to command a lock of the center coupling and a small storage cubby right there, where you could put your smartphone to power outlets on either side. We then have some interesting storage cubbies over here. We have two large cupholders easily able to accommodate large takeout drinks, and then this storage slot right here, where you could put tablets or smartphones or things like that and kind of an interesting twist.
You can actually remove the cupholders from this area. If you wanted even more storage for your stuff and then we still have one small cup holder behind that the transmission shifter is one of Toyotas gated designs, so it hops and bops as it goes back there to drive. Sport mode is over to the left and we push away from the driver for gear up pull towards the driver for gear down. Although this is not a true manual mode, it’s more of a gear limiting feature between the front seats.
We have a padded center armrest. This opens to reveal an enormous storage area very much like your average full-size SUV or a pickup truck could easily fit gallons of milk in there. If you were so inclined, I have a wallet and some other camera gear and therefore size reference. The instrument cluster provides a combination of analog gauges like the tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right, as well as some auxilary analog gauges like oil pressure.
We have engine temperature battery and, of course, fuel over there, and then everything else is delivered by this color multifunction display in the middle. This displays where we find things like our trip: computer, readout, navigation, turn-by-turn directions, audio system, information and the status of the vehicles, active safety systems along with vehicle messages and certain vehicle settings. The steering wheel is one of Toad, has truck designed models. We have four spokes.
Some small sport grips up top over here. The buttons on the Left relate to the infotainment system. We have volume, up/down and track forward backward voice command button mode button. You can hold that for mute as well, and then we have some dedicated phone buttons down here.
On the right side, we have this toggle that controls that multifunction display the back button and a page change button. Then down here we have distance control for the radar, adaptive cruise control system and the lane departure warning system right there. You control the rest of the cruise control system via this stalk that actually rotates with the steering wheel.
The original footage for this particular car was lost. Sadly, with that out of the way, let’s dive right into the numbers, keep in mind, the Secoya is quite heavy for this segment. It is over 6,000 pounds in terms of overall curb weight, that’s a pretty significant difference and it affects all aspects of the Sequoias performance out on the road. The Chevy Tahoe is about 700 pounds lighter, and even though the Ford Expedition is made of aluminum, it actually ends up being a little bit heavier than the Chevy Tahoe.
Some of that is because Ford has chosen to put a lot of feature content back into the vehicle that they were able to do after they removed all that extra weight. If you’re looking for something even lighter at the Dodge Durango, which has towing ability beyond what we see in the Sequoia, actually is about 1,400 pounds lighter, despite the heavy curb weight, a Sequoia does fairly well when it comes to zero to sixty performance. We clocked in at 6.6 seconds, which is very quick for this particular segment for bass models. You will go slower, zero to 16, something like a v6 Dodge Durango and you’ll go a little bit slower in something like a Chevy Tahoe or a Yukon with the 5.3 liter engine on the flipside.
The curb weight does mean that the Sequoia is slower than the Armada, the Durango v8, any of the GM SUVs with the 6.2 liter v8 engine, including those full-size ones, with the longer wheelbase and, of course, the expedition with the twin turbo engine. The added curb weight also effects the braking distance. It took 131 feet for the Sequoia to stop from 60 miles an hour back to zero, and that is significantly longer than any of the other entries, even without upgrading to some of the sporty-er trims of the Chevy Tahoe or the Yukon. You’ll, stop about 10 to 15 feet shorter from 60 miles an hour back to zero.
That may not sound like too much but remember that mid-sized sedans in America are right around 16 feet long or so, and that is the difference between hitting one and not hitting one or perhaps avoiding that school bus or running over a child. So keep that in mind when you’re taking a look at braking distances, the overall weight of the vehicle also affects the handling and the Sequoia doesn’t handle as well as really any of the other entries in this particular segment. Part of that is due to the curb weight. Part of that is due to the overall suspension design, which is definitely a little bit softer.
We get more body roll in the Sequoia. It doesn’t feel quite as engaging as the other entries. The new Ford Expedition really is the winner here in this segment, if you’re looking at a traditional body-on-frame vehicle, even though it is a little bit heavier than the Chevy Tahoe, it does very very very well when it comes to overall handling ability and actually the General Motors SUVs are really no slouch either they’ve been well designed and even though the design is a little bit older than what we see in the Ford, they still hold their own when pitted right against one another. It’s worth noting that, although the Nissan Armada is relative new for America, it’s not new overall and has been sold in other world markets as the Nissan Patrol, and that’s why it doesn’t feel quite as fresh on the inside compared to the Ford Expedition.
Although handling falls behind the majority of the competition, we get a very supple ride in the Sequoia and that’s thanks to the overall softer suspension and the general design. If you’re looking for one of the best highway rides in this segment, whether the vehicle is fully laden or not, this is definitely going to be an excellent option. Although I have to say that some of the larger crossovers and more capable crossovers that you can get in this segment will actually ride a little bit better than the Sequoia. Generally speaking, the truck features that we find in some of these vehicles, especially the rear suspension design, means that we get a little bit more motion in the cabin on washboard pavement.
So if you’re driving down the highway that washboard pavement will make the vehicle ride a little bit more like a pickup truck and a little bit less something like a Ford Explorer or a Dodge Durango or a Volkswagen Atlas in our cabin noise test, we measured 71 Decibels at 50 miles an hour making this one of the quieter entries in the full-size SUV segment, although not quite as quiet as the new Ford SUV, where the Sequoia really starts to show its age is the fuel economy score? The engine is not terribly modern, nor is the six-speed automatic transmission, and that’s why, over a week of mixed driving before we started towing with the vehicle, we were averaging between 12 and possibly 13 miles per gallon. If we were treating it very very nicely our overall week, long average was just over 11 miles per gallon because we did spend some time telling with the vehicle, just as we do with most large SUVs like this, that fuel economy score is significantly behind the General Motors SUVs or the Ford SUVs. One of the big reasons for that is that we don’t find some of the modern fuel saving technologies that we find in, for instance, the General Motors vehicles, where they have an active fuel management system that will shut down cylinders.
We don’t find an eight speed or a 10 speed automatic transmission, and the gear ratios that tow to chose for the Sequoia are actually a little on the low side, so the engine is spending fairly quickly at highway speeds, and that does reduce your fuel economy. It means we get that excellent 0 to 60 acceleration score excellent, towing ability and towing feel, but it does have a negative impact when it comes to overall fuel economy and you’ll certainly be getting much better fuel economy in a large crossover. So if your simple looking for that seven or eight passenger seating, then you’ll find significantly better fuel economy in any of the crossovers that can accommodate that many people. But you will also get significantly better at real-world fuel economy in the expedition, the Tahoe, the Yukon, etc.
Overall, the Sequoia is definitely starting to show its age in this particular segment. Acceleration is still good and the cabin is quiet, but it really falls behind the rest of the SUV competition when it comes to the other categories. Toyota has priced the Sequoia very similarly to other full-size SUV competition, starting at forty, eight thousand seven hundred dollars for the rear-wheel drive model. Although the Sequoia is pretty old, as is obvious by that small infotainment system that we see on the inside and the fact that the interior does not seem as premium as most of the competition tota has been updating some things in the vehicle and one of those Big things is the inclusion of their latest active safety package, which includes again the autonomous braking system, adaptive cruise control and Lane Keeping assistance that really helps the base value of the Sequoia, especially if you’re really looking for some of those active safety features.
You’ll find them at much lower price points in the Toyota than in the competition. There are a variety of different reasons why full-size SUVs seem to be more expensive than the average large crossover in America. Some of that has to do with the fact that they sell in much smaller numbers, and some of that has to do with the fact that they’re just a little bit more expensive to build. They have more complicated drivetrain systems and having a separate body and a separate frame increases the number of parts, the amount of complexity you have in the vehicle, etc.
As we move on into the competition. Remember that the Sequoia only comes with that one engine options that 381 horsepower 5.7 liter v8. The general motor series of SUVs, which includes the Tahoe, the Yukon and the suburban in the con, of course, is both the short and the long version of the Yukon. Are the direct competitors to the Sequoia?
They start out with a 5.3 liter v8 engine which has a little bit less power than the Sequoia at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. But you get significantly better fuel economy because it’s a more modern engine and a more modern drivetrain all the way around. Now, when you look at the fuel economy ratings for these two vehicles, do you think to yourself it’s just a few mpg. How much difference does that really make well you’ll actually see a savings of about 700 to 800 dollars a year, depending on exactly how much you’re paying for fuel in your area of the country and how many miles you drive.
That’s a pretty significant difference. If you were to keep these vehicles long-term, say 10 years and you’re an average driver in America, that would be an $ 8,000 possible difference in terms of operational cost from one to the other. So, even though the Tahoe, the Yukon and the suburban may not be quite as reliable as the toda in some respects, it’s going to be significantly less expensive overall, because you’re unlikely to have an $ 8,000 Delta in terms of overall maintenance costs. If you want more power in your Yukon or your Tahoe, you can do that.
There is a 6.2 liter, optional. V8. That’s made it now to a 10 speed automatic transmission. It gives you more power, better performance and better fuel economy than we find in the Sequoia.
As well pressing is actually fairly similar between the Tahoe, especially and the Sequoia itself. Now, if you work on up into the Yukon or the suburban they’re going to cost you a little bit more logically, the larger formats these vehicles would but also the Yukon is available with features that we just don’t see in the Sequoia. It has a much more modern interior, even though the General Motors series of SUVs have also been around for some time. Next up, we have the Ford Expedition.
This is the newest entry in the segment, because Ford recently completely redesigned it and it definitely feels fresher than the rest starting at 50 mm $ 130. The expedition is notably more expensive than the Sequoia, but again we get much better fuel economy in it than we find in a Sequoia and over the long term. That’s gon na make a pretty big difference in terms of the overall cost of each vehicle, because the Ford is Neuer. We logically find all of Ford’s latest gadgets and gizmos inside the vehicle, and those are things that you just won’t find on the todah because of the overall design of the expedition handling is very, very good for a body-on-frame full-size SUV.
We have an independent suspension in the rear. We still have good towing capabilities, but the overall feel of the vehicle out on the road is definitely more engaging than what we see actually in the not only in the Toyota, but also in the General Motors series of SUVs. But of course, if you want the best in handling with towing ability in your SUV, then the Dodge Durango is probably going to be the best fit, but the Durango is a horse of a different color. It’s not the same thing as the other entries in this segment.
First off, it’s significantly less expensive. It starts in about 30,000 dollars that is notably less than the Sequoia, the Tahoe you con, the suburban, the expedition, etc. Towing capacity is actually quite high because of the overall design. However, you can tow over 8,000 pounds in your Durango when properly equipped, that’s because the Durango is probably the truest cross over available in America.
It’s a blend of truck like features with car lock features. It’s a rear-wheel drive vehicle with a v8 engine under the hood. You can get a two-speed transfer case if you want to, but it’s a unibody vehicle very much like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Durango is also targeted a little bit differently.
It’s targeted to compete with something like a CX 9 or a Volkswagen Atlas, or a Ford Explorer, not necessarily the Ford Expedition, even though in reality it is a little bit more like the expedition in some ways than the Explorer because of the relative inefficiency in packaging. In a body-on-frame vehicle, the Tahoe and the expedition, don’t really have the same kind of interior room that we find in some large crossovers in America. So if you think that buying one of these larger vehicles like this is actually going to give you more third row room or more cargo room, you may be mistaken and you might be better off with something like the Ford Explorer in terms of overall performance. The Durango’s lighter weight and overall construction helps it get better fuel economy, better performance and, of course, better handling than we find in the average full-size vehicle in this segment.
But there are a few things you want to know. Passenger capacity is either six or seven, not seven or eight like we find in the average full-size SUV. So, if you’re looking for something with eight seats, not going to find that in the Durango, if you’re looking for something with seven seats in top-end trims, you may not be able to find that in the Durango either. It’s also worth noting that 2019 brings us an integrated, trailer brake controller, so if you’re shopping for a Durango – and you really want that feature – be sure and walk right past all those 2018 models on the dealer.
Lots look for the 2019 with that specific feature in it. The other thing that you should know is when you’re towing with the Durango the towing experience, is very different than a body-on-frame vehicle, because in a body-on-frame vehicle the trailer is connected to the frame which is connected to the engine and the wheels etc. But the body which is where you’re sitting is actually isolated from that. So when the trailer is banging around its hitch, receiver, etc, you don’t get as much noise into the cabin as you will in the Durango, because the Durango everything is all connected together.
So the trailer hitch is connected to a part of the unibody that is also tied with those structural components to give it the ability to tow these large amounts, but all of that is permanently tied together without isolation from the cabin. So, as your trailer is bopping around back, there you’ll definitely hear it more in the Durango than in the Sequoia, the Tahoe, the Yukon, the expedition etc. That brings us along to the question of what would I do if my money were on the line? Well, since I own a Durango – that’s probably what I would do.
However, you do have to keep those caveats in mind and if you’re looking for something that really is a little bit larger, then I would definitely get the Ford Expedition. The expedition might cost you a little bit more, but it is definitely the newest, the freshest and the best handling entry in this particular segment. I’d also say that it’s probably hard to go wrong with one of the general motors full-size SUVs you’re likely going to get a good deal on it, that 5.3 liter engine is very efficient and overall, it’s not going to cost you as much long term as the Sequoia is likely to bottom line. I probably wouldn’t get the Sequoia in this segment, it’s getting just a little bit too old and it’s a little bit too inefficient.