Time for Toyota to Step Up
Roseville,CA- Although Toyota and its luxury brand (Lexus) continue to offer a large variety of quality sport utility vehicles, that doesn’t mean the Japanese automaker can rest on its considerable laurels.
We’ve test driven the Toyota Sequoia several times in past years and always came away with a favorable impression. The lasting impression regarding a recent week with the 2018 Sequoia: it’s time for a redesign. The last one was a decade ago, and that’s a long time by anyone’s standards.
The Sequoia is behind the times in sophistication when compared to other large SUVs. The interior definitely needs to be modernized; right now it looks and feels antiquated. The touchscreen is small by today’s standards, fuel economy remains poor (13-17 mpg), there was no keyless ignition, and no way to pop the trunk with the key fob.
2018 Toyota Sequoia
Performance: 5.7-liter, V8, 381 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 13-17 mpg
Price estimate: $49,800 to $65,600
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 2 years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
That combination won’t entice car shoppers to plunk down between roughly $50,000 to $65,000 for a new Sequoia. The competition includes the Nissan Armada, Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban 1500.
The Sequoia did receive a few updates for 2018, primarily a new face that includes a reshaped grille. Also added was a new trim model (TRD Sport) and the optional Toyota Safety Sense-P that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, and lane-departure alert with sway warning.
Despite its shortcomings, the Toyota Sequoia has some enviable qualities. Seating is comfortable for all eight people; even adults can sit in the third row and not feel cramped. The cargo area remains excellent, ranging from 18.9 cubic feet with the seats up, increasing to 66.6 cubic feet with the third row folded, and expanding to a whopping 120.1 cubic feet with both rows down.
The Sequoia is the longest, widest and tallest SUV in the Toyota lineup. It can still handle a large family of eight people. It’s also accommodating by offering lots of small-item storage throughout the cabin. When properly equipped, the Sequoia has a 7,400-pound towing power, a figure that several of its competitors can exceed.
There is no diversity with the Sequoia engine – take it or leave it. It’s a pretty good one, a 5.7-liter, V8 that generates 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It possesses freeway passing power and for such a large vehicle, has a very respectable 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds. That matches or exceeds many of its rivals.
The Sequoia comes in four trim levels (SR5, TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum). For off-road enthusiasts, the Sequoia has a multi-mode, 4-wheel-drive system.
We liked how the Sequoia handled overall. For a big SUV, it maneuvers fairly well, has a good turning radius, and is easier to park than some similar vehicles.
It’s time for Toyota to step up and give the Sequoia a makeover. The full-size SUV has a good reputation overall and making some changes should help it maintain that status.