A few years back, a public service announcement campaign humorously referred to the SUV as a species of dinosaur. I found the metaphor fitting -- not because the full-size SUV is on the verge of extinction (although rising fuel costs may change that), but the basic formula hasn’t changed much in the past decade or so.
Such is the case with Toyota’s Sequoia. Although it launched in 2008 as an all-new design, the model doesn’t really break new ground. Like most of its competitors, it’s a large, three-row body-on-frame SUV derived from a full-size pickup, in this case, the Toyota Tundra.
The Tundra’s 4.6-liter V-8 is standard on the entry-level Sequoia SR5 model, but a 5.7-liter V-8 is available, and it’s standard on the higher-trim Limited and Platinum models. If you can stomach the extra cost (roughly $1300 on the SR5), the larger eight-cylinder is the way to go, as it adds an extra 71 horsepower, an additional 74 pound-feet of torque. Better yet, the extra power only carries a mild fuel economy penalty, as the EPA rating falls from 14/19 (city/highway) for a four-wheel-drive 4.6-liter model to 13/18 mpg.
Still, the Sequoia fails to truly break any new ground (apart from a 4Runner-like roll-down rear window) in an arguably tired segment. That said, the Sequoia’s solid construction, civilized on-road manners, and refined cabin might be enough to woo buyers, particularly those who still revere the Toyota name.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor