The Toyota Sequoia, which is based on the Tundra full-size pickup, is a huge, heavy beast that dates back to that not-so-long-ago era when gas prices were low and housing values were high. This Texas-built and Texas-size machine was Toyota's answer to biggies such as the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Suburban. Third-row seats are standard fare, and the maximum towing capacity is 7400 pounds. The engine lineup consists of two brawny and thirsty V-8s. The base engine is a 4.6-liter that produces 310 hp, which is probably more than enough. The muscular 5.7-liter V-8 is still king, however (it also offers E85 capability in non-California-emissions states), and as a bonus its city fuel economy actually equals that of the smaller engine. Either way, no one is going to cross-shop the Sequoia with a Prius. Rather than economy, the Sequoia concentrates on luxury; iPod connectivity and Bluetooth are standard, and midlevel models get a backup camera as well as a power liftgate. Driving one is, well, nice. The big cozy driver's seat, the commanding view of the road, and a bottomless well of torque are pleasant reminders of the days when bigger really meant better. At the same time, the Sequoia's inescapable big-truck characteristics--poor body control, slow reflexes, and obscenely bad fuel economy--make clear that large crossovers are a much better option for large families.
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