2013 Sequoia New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Sequoia can transport eight people in comfort with room left over for cargo. Sequoia's interior is designed with generous seats, big armrests, and lots of storage for passengers, with an optional entertainment system for long trips. Toyota's STAR system, a comprehensive combination of electronic safety, stability and traction controls, is standard on all models, as are eight airbags. Properly equipped, Sequoia is rated to tow up to 7,400 pounds.
The 2012 Sequoia offers two engines. The standard 4.6-liter V8 is rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque and an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg City/Highway. Sequoia Limited and Platinum models come with a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque and an EPA-estimated 13/18 mpg City/Highway. Both come with a 6-speed automatic. With four-wheel drive, it's 13/18 mpg for the 4.6-liter, 13/17 mpg for the 5.7-liter. A flex-fuel version of the 5.7-liter engine is available for burning inefficient E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline), dropping fuel economy to a dismal 9/13 mpg City/Highway with E85 or 13/17 mpg with gasoline. We recommend the 4.6-liter. It's plenty, unless you have a trailer to tow, in which case we recommend the 5.7-liter.
The Toyota Sequoia was completely redesigned for 2008. The base engine got a boost in both power and efficiency for 2010. Changes since then have been confined to options and trim levels. For 2012, Sequoia Platinum models come with a blind-spot monitor, and all 2012 Sequoia models now include the Tundra's Trailer Sway Control (TSC).
This second-generation Sequoia borrows heavily in appearance from the Toyota Tundra, looking very much like the pickup from the front. Sequoia uses much of the Tundra's running gear, but with an independent rear suspension for better ride quality and room for third-row seating.
The Sequoia represents a modern take on the traditional sport utility vehicle. It's big, built to transport people and their gear in comfort across long distances on North American super-highways. It can tow a sizable trailer or continue when the pavement ends and many other SUVs don't look so tough anymore. 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 drivetrains, and a full complement of features, the Sequoia can meet a variety of wants, needs and price points. We think the Sequoia SR5 is the best model in the lineup for towing, with or without four-wheel drive.
In Toyota's SUV lineup, the Land Cruiser is a more upscale luxury vehicle than the Sequoia and offers greater off-road capability and towing capacity. Conversely, the smaller Highlander SUV and Sienna minivan offer similar features to the Sequoia, drive more like cars and use much less fuel due to their lighter weight and smaller engines.
The 2012 Toyota Sequoia SR5 ($40,930) comes with easy-clean cloth upholstery, tri-zone air conditioning; power windows, locks, and back window; power moonroof; eight-way power driver's seat and four-way manual front passenger's seat; 40/20/40 middle row recline/fold-flat seat; 60/40 fold-flat recline third row seat; keyless entry; an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system with auxiliary jack, USB port for iPod compatibility, and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming; power heated mirrors; tilt/telescoping steering; cruise control; spare tire; rear spoiler; integrated fog lamps;18-inch alloy wheels and a tow package. The SR5 is available with 4WD ($44,155). The bigger, 5.7-liter V8 is optional ($625) with either 2WD or 4WD. A Sport Package ($691) upgrades the second row bench to bucket seats (reducing total seating to seven) and adds 20-inch alloy wheels with a unique finish, and a color-keyed sport grille. A Premium Package ($3,330) is eight seats; leather; heated/power front seats; power fold/recline third row; and auto-dimming inside mirror with integrated back-up camera, compass, and HomeLink.
Sequoia Limited ($51,040) comes standard with the 5.7-liter V8 and adds heated, leather trimmed seats; upgrades front seats to 10-way power; adds leather trim to the steering wheel, seats, and gearshift knob; and a backup camera with a 3.3-inch display built into the rear-view mirror. The rear 60/40 third-row seat is power operated and all rear side windows have shades. The dash is upgraded with brighter Optitron gauges and a multi-information display, and a 14-speaker JBL Synthesis audio system. Outside, the Limited adds chrome trim, 20-inch wheels, power liftgate, and power-folding, self-dimming mirrors with integrated turn signals. The Limited is available with four-wheel drive ($54,265). Options for the Limited include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,670), second-row bucket seats (no charge), and DVD-based navigation ($1,460).
The Platinum ($58,580) is a seven-seater with heated bucket seats and a console in the middle row. It builds on Limited equipment with 20-inch diamond-finish alloy wheels, a rear load-leveling suspension and adaptive shocks, and a memory feature for the mirrors, power-adjustable steering column and power seats, which are heated and air conditioned in the front. Platinum also gets standard puddle-lamps and reverse-tilt for outside mirrors, navigation/backup camera, active cruise control, rear-seat entertainment, wood-grain trim for steering wheel, doors and shifter. The only choices on Platinum are four-wheel drive ($61,805) or adding pearl white paint ($220).
Safety features standard on all models include advanced frontal airbags, front knee airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front row, three-row side-curtain airbags with rollover sensor, electronic stability control with trailer sway control, traction control, and daytime running lights. The new-for-2012 Blind Spot Monitor, exclusive to the Platinum model, warns drivers of vehicles traveling in their blind spots.