2008 Sequoia New Car Test Drive
All-new, completely redesigned and re-engineered, the 2008 Toyota Sequoia is bigger and more capable than last year's model. This is the biggest SUV Toyota has ever made, and it has the most capability.
It can tow up to 10,000 pounds and transport eight people, plus cargo. The optional engine, a 5.6-liter V8, makes more than 400 pound-feet of torque, so the Sequoia rarely breaks a sweat in ordinary driving. An available six-speed transmission allows for smooth, low-vibration cruising on the biggest roads. Four-wheel-drive models offer credible off-highway driving capability, with easy shifting into and out of 4WD, good low range gearing, and lockable differential for better traction.
Bigger than a Chevy Tahoe in almost every dimension, and about 450 pounds heavier, the Sequoia still manages relatively good efficiency and fuel economy for a vehicle of this size. Those who don't really need the space and heavy-hauling capabilities could be better off with a 4Runner, Highlander, or RAV4, but when nothing less will do, the Sequoia is up to the task.
Seating comfort for rear-row passengers is a design priority, so the more you carry full loads of people, the more the Sequoia becomes attractive. The interior is designed with generous seats, big armrests, and lots of storage for passengers, plus an optional entertainment system for long trips.
Toyota's comprehensive suite of electronic safety, stability and traction controls, the STAR system, is standard on all models, as are advanced airbag systems.
The new Sequoia represents a state-of-the-art rendering of the modern sport utility vehicle. It's built to transport people and their gear, in comfort, across long distances on North American super-highways. It's all about getting people in and out easily, keeping them comfy, and making heavy loads secure and routine. It rides quietly, steers easily, and with three models, two drive trains, and a broad selection of options, the new Sequoia can be configured in a variety of ways to meet specific wants, needs and price points.
The Sequoia differs from the premium Land Cruiser in that the Sequoia is larger, can carry and tow more and is designed specifically for North America. The Land Cruiser is designed to address upscale luxury car buyers in global markets. The Sequoia is more about practical utility and comfort. It is built alongside the Tundra pickup at Toyota's Princeton, Indiana, factory and shares many components with the Tundra.
The 2008 Toyota Sequoia is packaged in three grades: SR5, Limited and Platinum. SR5 and Limited come standard with the 273-hp 4.7-liter V8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Platinum comes standard with the 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic. Eight-passenger seating is standard; Platinum seats seven.
SR5 ($34,150) is the entry grade and it comes standard with tri-zone air conditioning, power windows locks and back window, keyless entry, and eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with a plug for iPod compatibility, tilt steering, cruise control, spare tire, and mud guards.
Limited ($45,225) adds heated, leather trimmed seats, upgrades the driver's seat to 10-way adjustable, and adds leather trim to the steering wheel, seats, and gearshift knob. The rear 60/40 third row seat is power operated. The dash is upgraded with brighter Optitron gauges and a multi-information display, and the JBL Synthesis audio system includes Bluetooth capability. Outside, the Limited includes a roof rack, fog lamps, running boards and parking sonar system. Limited is also available with four-wheel drive ($48,450).
Platinum grade ($52,375) comes with the bigger engine plus 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear load-leveling suspension, a memory feature for the power seats, which are heated and air conditioned in the front. Second-row seats are heated buckets, converting the interior to seven-passenger capacity, and the navigation system with backup camera is standard with Platinum. The exterior also includes a rear spoiler, power back door, sunroof, and headlamp cleaner. Platinum is available with four-wheel drive ($55,600).
Options include a rear seat entertainment system with DVD player and rear audio controls ($1650); dynamic laser cruise control ($600); daytime running lights with on/off feature ($40). The SR5 and Limited can be upgraded with practically any combination of features listed above, including touch screen navigation with JBL Premium four-CD player with 14 speakers ($2980), rear load leveling suspension ($650), running boards ($385), fog lamps ($110), rear spoiler ($100), leather trimmed seats ($3100), towing package ($660) that includes receiver hitch, auxiliary transmission cooler, seven-pin wire connector, heavy-duty alternator, 4.30:1 gear ratio; and a cold weather kit ($230) that includes windshield wiper de-icer, headlamp cleaner, and larger battery. Also available on the Limited are 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels with P275/55R20 tires ($920) and Captain's chairs for the second row.
Toyota's Star safety system comes standard on all models.