2018 Toyota Sequoia 4x4 Limited Review

Yes, dinosaurs still roam the earth


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Positively huge inside, powerful V8 engine means business, rare body-on-frame construction, mild refresh helps.
Negatives: Still antiquated interior, ponderous on road, seriously thirsty, low-tech infotainment system is awful
Bottom Line: The Sequoia is one of those vehicles you tend to forget still exists. It's serious about towing and off-road ability, but it's also seriously dated inside with a low-rent look and feel. Unless you need a body-on-frame vehicle for 7+ people, there are far better options out there.
The current generation of the Sequoia has been around for a decade, a near-eternity in the automotive industry. Based on the Tundra pickup truck, this body-on-frame SUV is one of the few left in the business. It was just mildly refreshed for the 2018 model year, and it couldn't come soon enough, shy of a full redesign. It gets a tweaked fascia and some interior styling but perhaps most importantly, a robust set of standard safety features. We drove it for a week to see if this beast of burden is still relevant in the modern age of tech and slick design. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

5.8

 

Some drivers might like it big and cushy, and that's exactly what the Sequoia is. Unfortunately, that also makes it virtually disconnected from the outside world, and the size and weight certainly don't help matters.

Ride Quality: It's soft and absorbs just about everything on the road. It rides like a big pillow, but it feels far too insulated.

Acceleration: The big 5.7-liter V8 is strong and powerful, and it moves the near 6,000-lb beast to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. That's pretty quick for something this largeI. t's about half a second slower than the Nissan Armada but faster than the Chevy Tahoe. The V8 engine, at least, sounds wonderfully robust.

Braking: Braking is on the long-ish side in the segment, but at least pedal progression is decent.

Steering: Steering is light with very little feedback, but at least turn in is decent.

Handling: The Sequoia's handling is ponderous since it's so tall and heavy. Lateral acceleration is at the poor end, meaning you can't take this thing too hard in turns.

Technology

5.2

 

There's not much to talk about here because the Sequoia's Entune system is almost as poor as it gets. Not only does it look painfully antiquated, it's also not great to use. Let's hope that the redesign ushers in a much-needed update with tech.

Infotainment System: The 6.1-inch touchscreen is far too small for a vehicle this size, and the screen's resolution and visibility are poor. The icons make the system look even older, and the fact that there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto makes it even more aged.

Controls: The infotainment buttons that flank the screen are well-sized, but the dinky audio knobs are far too small to use at high speeds. It's a bit odd since the climate control knobs are gargantuan.

Styling

5.5

 

Despite the fact that Toyota made some interior and exterior changes to the Sequoia, it still looks long-in-the-tooth. It just looks clunky from every angle, and shows how badly it needs to be updated. Even for a body-on-frame SUV, it comes across as far too bulky. The styling elements that work on the Tundra somehow fall flat in the Sequoia.

Front: The updated fascia sports a less chrome-y grille with four darker bars, and the headlights have angular DRLs. It's not great, but it is slightly different.

Rear: The rear is unchanged from the 2017 model year. It's nothing particularly attractive, but at least the big glass balances things out.

Profile: This is actually the Sequoia's best angle, despite its thickness. It's well-proportioned, but it might look even better with more pronounced fenders.

Cabin: Though the new instrument cluster is nicer than before, it's still drab and clunky inside. There's a lot of big, dark plastic inside, and nothing looks or feels refined. That's bad for north of $60K.

Comfort

9

 

This is one of the Sequoia's strong points. The interior cossets the occupants of the first two rows, and overall the cabin is very comfortable and accommodating.

Front Seats: These are some of the biggest seats we've ever seen, and the cushioning is superb. Road trips will be no problem, and passing the hours should be nearly effortless.

Rear Seats: The second row seats are also quite comfortable with ample leg and headroom. Even the middle position is quite good.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Pricier Toyotas are generally built like tanks, and the Sequoia is no exception. It's quiet with no squeaks or rattles. Only the burly V8 intrudes in the cabin, but that's a good noise.

Visibility: Visibility overall is good with no overly sized pillars to get in the way.

Climate: The three-zone climate control system works well and cools and heats the cabin decently.

Safety

6.5

 

The Sequoia hasn't been crash tested by either body, but it now comes with an improved set of standard safety technology.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The Sequoia now provides the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of tech, which seriously increases the SUV's accident avoidance technology and overall safety, and it includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

8.8

 

There's plenty of space inside the Sequoia, and there should be.This thing is huge on the outside, so it necessitates capaciousness inside.

Storage Space: Though there's not much in the center stack from storage, the huge armest and long door pockets are great for daily gear.

Cargo Room: 19 cubic feet behind the third row and a whopping 120 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The load floor is wide and flat, and this thing can swallow cargo like monster.

Fuel Economy

4.7

 

The combination of heft and a big displacement engine leads to poor efficiency. Though something this big shouldn't get great mileage, the Sequoia actually does worse than its EPA estimates.It's no surprise that the next-gen version will likely get a turbocharged V6.

Observed: 12.8 mpg combined.

Distance Driven: 112 miles

Driving Factors: We drove the Sequoia in local and highway settings. It was never full loaded with people and gear, so the low mileage numbers are disappointing.

Audio

6.3

 

The premium JBL audio system is just ok. At first, we thought it was a stock system until we took a closer look. Though the system is plenty loud, it just lacks the refinement and depth of other upgraded systems. We don't think it's worth the extra $1,250 for the package.



Final Thoughts

If you need to tow a boat or do some off-roading while toting a ton of cargo, you should consider the Sequoia, but there are far better big SUVs out there for the money. Even with mild updates and upgraded standard safety features, the Sequoia looks and feels like a Brontosaurus. Its strong suit is long-haul driving in comfort, but don't expect easy to use controls, nice driving dynamics, good-looking digs, or the latest technology. It's high time Toyota went back to the drawing board.
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