Toyota Sequoia: Plenty of room, plenty of power, plenty of attitude, but short on wow-factor.
- Year, make, model: 2019 Toyota Sequoia Limited
- Engine: 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower
- Seating capacity: Eight
- Car seat anchors: Three
- EPA-estimated MPG (as tested): 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. (14.7 mpg combined)
- Price (as tested): $60,420 ($62,320)
- Related vehicles we’ve tested: Dodge Durango, Lexus LX 570, Chevrolet Suburban
- In a nutshell: Road-trip-loving families who often need to tow campers or boats are the target demographic for the Toyota Sequoia. With its spacious cabin, comfortable seats, and a powerful V8 engine capable of towing up to 7,400 pounds, there isn’t a weekend activity that the Sequoia can’t tackle. However, its interior is dated, its luxury and tech amenities limited, and its poor fuel economy don’t help it stack up against modern competition.
Our Time Behind the Wheel
While most large SUVs have traded capability for road composure and sleek styling, the Sequoia retains its “function over form” approach that’s allowed it to remain largely unchanged for approximately 10 years and still deliver decent sales numbers. Other vehicles like the Nissan Armada and Dodge Durango share similar approaches to life, oftentimes being criticized for being old. However, unlike the others, Toyota packs more standard safety features in the Sequoia, such as lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control with full-stop, auto high beams (that have a mind of their own), and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection.
As a result of these and many other qualities of the Sequoia, but primarily its mighty size, it exudes a feeling of security and confidence behind the wheel. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or it’s just a sunny day out, the Sequoia carries on without problems thanks to its four-wheel-drive system and comfortable suspension tunning—which offers a cushier (better dampened) ride than offerings from Ford or Chevrolet. And of course, power is abound courtesy of 381 horsepower and a responsive six-speed automatic transmission.
The interior accommodations that were once luxurious and upscale now look like the coach cabin of a low-cost airline thanks to advances in interior design in recent years, none of which Toyota has adopted. Still, you will never be confused by the Sequoia’s controls because it simply doesn’t have that many buttons and everything is neatly organized. So, while it may not be the most pleasant center console to look at it, it serves its purpose well and it even has a bit of a “retro” feel. The only downside to this is the small and not so clear rearview camera.
Our time with the Sequoia included towing an 8-foot-long trailer that weighs a dainty 1,000 pounds, loading up some of Josephine’s racing gear behind the third row, including coolers, camping chairs, a foldable awning, toolboxes, and more. The Sequoia’s 120 cubic feet of cargo space swallowed everything without blinking an eye and still allowed seating for six people since we only partially folded down the third row. (Which by the way, the Limited trim offers power folding seats.) Oh, and one more thing: this third row can actually sit grown adults, unlike most out there.
At the end of our weeklong test we concluded that even though the Sequoia seems to have gotten stuck back in time, there are families out there who could benefit from this tried-and-true character more than they would from any other full-size SUV. If you live in a place where weather can be challenging, you typically drive long distances, you often need to accommodate more than five passengers, and have the need to tow weekend toys, you should give the Toyota Sequoia a long, hard look.