EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2008 Toyota Sequoia, Day 1

Automobile Staff
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2008 Toyota Sequoia Front View

Read David Yochum's comments on driving the 2008 Toyota Sequoia.

As I pulled up to my first stoplight in the Toyota Sequoia, I couldn't help thinking how much I hated myself. There I was, letting pedestrians go through a crosswalk, sure to not make eye-contact with a single one.

Why?

It wasn't just because I didn't pay $3.50 per gallon of gas to feed the Sequoia's 381-hp iForce V-8. Or that I just returned from a trip to Europe, where this monster-truck would barely fit onto some streets.

It was because as consumers trade in their old gas hogs for smaller, more efficient and environmentally friendly ones, there I was, sitting in a vehicle that still allows drivers (and seven of their closest friends) to play God.

Beep-beep!

A car is in my way. First idea? Run it over. Second idea? Lock bumpers (more precisely, my bumper to its upper trunk) and push.

A few seconds later, a guy is now taking too long in the crosswalk, and the traffic light is turning yellow again.

First thought? Rev the engine. Second thought? Keep revving - by the time he crosses the street, doctors may have found a cure for the pollutant-related cancer I'm probably causing.

Of course to be fair, the Sequoia's pollution levels and machismo aren't much different than those that come with a Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition. Except the Sequoia reminds you it's a bigger SUV than many drivers would like.

The engine is noisy - particularly upon acceleration - with not even a mild-hybrid option available, unlike the Tahoe. And seeing the "Sonar" button on the Sequoia's dash is a great indication of a vehicle that is too big for its own good.

Other interior attributes hurt the Toyota as well. The silver dash components, a Toyota staple these days, feel and look cheap - like something straight from the '90s. The automatic transmission's gear selector is surrounded by flimsy, black plastic, and the gauges are dimly lit by a hideous, orange hue.

Though I can't understand why SUVs above the $35,000 price line don't come standard with fog lamps, it's hard to complain about the Sequoia's exterior looks - not too sporty, not too bland. But there's no denying this Toyota has plenty of road presence.

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