2018 Toyota Sequoia Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

The size of the aptly named Toyota Sequoia truly does justice to the massive trees for which it is named. The big Toyota SUV is also perfectly at home in the forest . However, when it comes to evolution, this Sequoia changes far more frequently than its alpine namesakes.


For 2018, the Toyota Sequoia gets a new TRD Sport trim package. A host of new advanced safety features also now come standard, including LED headlights.  On the appearance front, the Sequoia’s grille has been refreshed and the upmarket Platinum trim package gets a new set of 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a distinctive diamond-cut finish—all of which ups the panache factor.


As elegant as it appears with all of these upgrades, climbing into the massive Sequoia can be somewhat less than graceful; the same is true for exiting as well. Fortunately, an illuminated running board is provided to make executing these maneuvers a bit easier.


Once I was inside however, I took full advantage of the 12-way power adjustments to comfortably position the heated and ventilated leather upholstered driver’s seat. Here, I must admit, as intimidating ad the Toyota's size makes it appear, it’s girth provides a welcomed protective enclosure—especially during the madness of rush hour traffic.


With that said, it would have been nice if the product team had expended as much energy refreshing the interior as they put into adding features for the 2018 model year. Yes, there have been some modest interior improvements, but the Sequoia’s cabin is still looks like a product of the first decade of the 21st century, even though we’re rapidly approaching the third. At least the top-tier Platinum trim package fotted to my tester gave the super-sized SUV an air of luxury. I particularly appreciated the look of the perforated leather generously swathing the cabin.


Another plus of the Platinum grade is the way it makes comfort and convenience the focal points. Shining examples of this include heated second-row captain’s chairs, a second-row center console with secondary control for the climate system and an AC power outlet. The rear-seat entertainment system even features a Blu-ray DVD player. Second-and third-row retractable sunshades mute the glare of the sun to improve the visibility of the high definition video screens.


Those advanced safety features—referred to by Toyota’s marketing people as Safety Sense-P—include lane departure alert with a trailer sway warning system, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, and smart cruise control.  


Active families will appreciate the way  Sequoia’s flexible seating configurations make it the quintessential people hauler. In lieu of the handsome captain’s chairs, the 2018 Toyota also offers a 40/20/40 split bench for the second row. Which, like the 60/40-split flat folding third-row bench has both sliding and reclining capabilities.


Power output from the engine is more than adequate for anything you’re likely to come up with as well. The 5.7-liter V8 makes 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque—on regular unleaded fuel. This is routed to the drive wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but of course four-wheel drive is available as well.


As nice as all of that is, the resulting EPA fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway (17 with four-wheel drive), makes the Sequoia a less attractive proposition for folks considering it for daily long-distance commuter duty.


This is exacerbated by its relative lack of agility, which I discovered the hard way when I took a wrong turn on a narrow dead end street. With cars parked on both sides, the  Sequoia’s nearly 80-inch width made getting out of that situation feel like the proverbial bull in a china shop.


After what felt like 15 minutes of shimmying the Sequoia back and forth, I was able to safely turn around and drive back to the main street, using the rear view camera to avoid creating business for the local body shops. Still as much as I appreciated having that feature, for an SUV this size, I would have preferred a touchscreen display larger than 6.1 inches, particularly when you consider how much space is available on the Sequoia’s expansive dashboard.


Of course, city life is not what this ride was designed for. Where the Sequoia truly shines is when it is pressed into service as a recreational workhorse. After all, it boasts a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.


This is particularly relevant when you consider most boat owners prefer SUVs to trucks.The full-size Toyota SUV is also capable of transporting a maximum payload of 1,405 pounds.


So, as plush and well-equipped as it is, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia is truly in its element when called upon to ride heavy and dirty. Put it where it belongs and this big Toyota SUV proves to be just as majestic as those trees from which it borrows its name.


Pricing starts at  $48,600.

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