2018 Toyota Sequoia

By October 20, 2017

The Toyota Sequoia was last redesigned for the 2008 model year, and it has changed little since. A full-size, truck-based SUV, it offers three rows of seating and a V8 engine.

2018 Sequoia models get new grilles and LED lighting for headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. A new gauge cluster for 2018 includes a 4.2-inch display screen.

Also new for 2018, the Sequoia TRD Sport edition joins the lineup with more focus on off-road capabilities. Rolling on large (20-inch) black alloy wheels, the TRD Sport features black exterior accents, sport-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, and front/rear anti-sway bars.

Sequoia is powered by a reliable V8 and provides a well-composed ride. Sequoia can carry up to eight passengers. Folding the second- and third-row seats yields a massive 120 cubic feet of cargo space.

With its 5.7-liter V8 and truck-based chassis, a properly equipped Sequoia is rated to tow as much as 7,400 pounds. It works well for towing a small boat or light trailer.

Rated at 381 horsepower, the 5.7-liter V8 develops 401 pound-feet of torque, driving a 6-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.

We found it to be a dated product. It’s inefficient compared with the latest crossover SUVs and the interior looks dated.

Standard active-safety technology includes lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. A rearview camera and front knee airbags are standard. Roll-sensing side-curtain airbags protect all three rows of seats.

Families that don’t really need the timeworn Sequoia’s carrying capacity and V8 vigor might consider a Highlander crossover SUV instead. At the other end of the scale, Toyota continues to offer its rough-and-ready Land Cruiser, also fitted with three seating rows. Smaller than Sequoia, the Land Cruiser promises hard-edged off-roading characteristics.

Model Lineup

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia SR5 ($48,300) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, power-adjustable driver’s seat, Bluetooth connectivity, 6.1-inch touchscreen.

All Sequoias come standard with rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional ($3,225).

Sequoia Limited ($56,795) adds leather seat upholstery, 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, and chrome accents.

Sequoia Platinum ($64,010) includes a rear-seat Blu-ray player, adaptive cruise control, and premium audio. A standard load-leveling rear suspension makes Platinum the logical choice for towing.

Sequoia TRD Sport features 20-inch wheels, blacked-out exterior trim, off-road shock absorbers, and other performance enhancements. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $1,295 destination charge.)

Exterior

Broad, curvaceous shoulders and a wide stance make it reasonably clear that the massive Sequoia is truck-based. Overall, Toyota’s largest SUV lacks angular elements and looks more rounded than comparable models from other manufacturers.

Details include rounded accents on the tailgate. A tall window line tends to make the Sequoia look even heftier than it is in reality.

The current grille and LED headlights seems somewhat out of place, though they give the Sequoia a noticeable presence. Special appearance features on the new TRD Sport include blacked-out body trim and chrome surrounding the grille.

Interior

The big Sequoia isn’t as space-efficient or comfortable as it appears to be, and the cabin has been showing its age for some time.

Prices are lofty, yet the interior falls well short of luxurious. Materials look cheap, dominated by hard plastic pieces, especially, matte-metallic plastic trim along the central console. Fit and finish win no prizes, either. Climate-control dials function well enough, but look especially outmoded.

Cargo capacity is undeniably appealing to large families and drivers who haul plenty of luggage or large items. With all seatbacks up, cargo volume totals 18.9 cubic feet, expanding to 66.6 cubic feet with the third row folded down.

Seats up front are wide and soft. Second-row seats can slide fore/aft to reapportion legroom, but the standard bench isn’t such a pleasant place. Captain’s chairs can be substituted, for greater comfort. The third row folds to boost cargo space, but it’s not acceptable for adults. Upper trim levels include power-folding seatbacks in the third row.

Storage cubbyholes and cupholders are bountiful, but not every seat gets a USB power port. Toyota’s easy-to-use Entune infotainment system works with a connected smartphone, and its navigation interfaces is more intuitive that most.

Driving Impressions

Stand on the gas pedal, and the Sequoia’s V8 delivers impressive performance. Most of the V8’s available torque output comes to life at low engine speed: around 2200 rpm. As a result, an unloaded Sequoia can accelerate to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. Pretty quick, that, especially given Sequoia’s weight.

Despite its outmoded design, Toyota’s 6-speed automatic operates reliably.

When equipped with four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, containing a Torsen limited-slip differential, regulates the power split between front and rear wheels. On difficult terrain, the differential can be locked. Toyota’s electronic traction control system can help limit wheelspin, too.

Among the Sequoia’s admitted merits is a composed ride, as the truck-type suspension manages to absorb plenty of rough spots and bumps. Some tossing of passenger heads may occur when taking a corner, largely because of the Sequoia’s high center of gravity. Platinum trim includes a variable air suspension that can smooth the ride further.

The new TRD Sport edition adds Bilstein shocks and front and rear anti-roll bars.

Fuel economy is EPA-rated at a mere 13/17 mpg City/Highway, or 15 mpg Combined. Four-wheel drive sinks the Combined estimate slightly further, to 14 mpg Combined.

Final Word

Toyota Sequoia is past its prime, far behind competitors. Standard equipment impresses, but Sequoias lack conveniences that contemporary SUVs offer. Prices rise swiftly, approaching $70,000 when fully loaded. Add meager fuel economy, and the Sequoia sounds like a vehicle that can be recommended only if it’s a good deal.

Driving impressions by Aaron Cole, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.