|Positives: Full redesign is fresh and edgy, powerful mild hybrid powertrain, excellent infotainment.|
|Negatives: Oddly short on cargo space, not especially efficient compared to gas-powered competitors, seriously expensive.|
|Bottom Line: The new and completely redesigned Sequoia does a lot of things right and some things wrong. It's luxurious, full of tech, and head-turning, but the interior space, cargo room, and the driving experience are a letdown.|
The Sequoia turns the tables on the old V8 powertrain and swaps it out for hybrid power and a the Tundra’s 10-speed automatic transmission. It's plenty powerful, and it provides a great ride. In terms of driving fun, it's not surprising that something this large isn't exactly thrilling in the turns, but it should satisfy most buyers who want a large, powerful SUV.
Ride Quality: The Sequoia's ride quality is very good with smooth and capable dampening over rough surfaces and gaps.
Acceleration: The four-wheel-drive Sequoia Capstone launches to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is pretty quick for something this big. It's not at the head of the pack, but it certainly is one of the quicker ones.
Braking: The Sequoia's brakes exhibited good progression and respectable stopping power. We experienced no pedal feel issues.
Steering: Steering is overly light, and there's pretty much a dearth of feedback coming through the wheel. Maneuvering this big boy in tight spaces is not something we'd enjoy doing on a regular basis, so if you're spatially challenged you might want to look elsewhere. Even a bigger Ford Expedition manages its size better in tight spots.
Handling: The Sequoia is big and heavy, and there's some definite body roll going on. There's no mistaking that this is a 6,000-lb vehicle.
The old Sequoia’s small 7-inch touchscreen doubles in size for the new SUV. There's a massive 14.0-inch touchscreen that carries over from the Tundra. The system comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Infotainment System: The Sequoia gets a massive 14.0-inch landscape-oriented touchscreen that's pretty much the polar opposite of the last generation's dinky and dull 7" version. The new OS is very easy to operate and wonderful to look at. It's actually almost too big, to be honest, and it dominates the dash. It's the way of the world, we guess.
Controls: Toyota does an excellent job of combining a big touchscreen with a marvelous set of physical controls for audio and climate. The switches and buttons are well-sized and well-placed. They're easy to operate while driving. The presence of a conventional shift knob is refreshing in an age where manufacturers are using rotary shifters and buttons.
We won't go so far as to say that the Sequoia is a good-looking SUV, but it has strong presence with its creases and lines. The styling is bold and noticeable. It looks and feels about three generations newer than the last generation. Toyota did a great job of making up for the seriously dated styling of the old one that languished painfully in a design that looked and felt like a dinosaur. It went from bulbous and swollen to edgy and rakish.
Front: The large lattice grille looks fantastic because of the big mesh pattern and the handsome trapezoid shape that's flanked by the large LED lights. The lower fascia also looks great since it's not overstyled.
Rear: The taillights have a tapered end that wraps around the rear quarter panels. It's a nice look that adds a bit of flair to the Sequoia's back end. The chrome bar between them and the large Sequoia lettering add a premium look.
Profile: This is the busiest angle of the Sequoia with the big fender creases and the deeply creased doors. The D-pillar is steeply raked with a BMW-like Hofmeister kink uptick. There's a lot going on in the side view, but for the most part it works.
Cabin: The interior is very blocky but in a good way that reminds you this is, first and foremost, an SUV based on a pickup truck. The two-tone seats look great, and the wide center console is well-executed.
For the most part, the Sequoia’s large interior is accommodating, but for something this big, the third row is a bit cramped. We were expecting more. Otherwise, the Sequoia is wide, airy, and the premium materials are excellent in the Capstone. Higher trim levels offer features including heated and cooled second-row seats, and a panoramic sunroof. Said sunroof cuts in on headroom in both rear rows, though.
Front Seats: The seats are big and accommodating. They have good bolstering and decent cushioning. Adjustability is also very good.
Rear Seats: Our tester had the standard Captain's Chairs that were wide and comfortable. They're a little bit on the flat side and could use more bolstering. Otherwise, they're very good for long trips.The third row is tight compared to the old Sequoia. Legroom drops from 35.3 to 33.7.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Sequoia has good sound deadening, and wind and road noise were minimal. It's a quiet ride that should bode well for longer trips.
Visibility: Overall visibility is very good, despite the slight obstruction from the D-pillar thickness and angle.
Climate: Heated and cooled seats in the two front rows are very good, and the climate system works quickly with good responsiveness from the controls.
Although the Sequoia has yet to be tested by the IIHS and the NHTSA, it comes with a slew of top-tier standard safety features that ranks at the top of the segment.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The Sequoia comes with a ton, including the full suite known as the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5: Pre-Collision System w/ Pedestrian Detection, Full Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert w/ Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Road Sign Assist.
Optional Tech: None.
The Sequoia does a pretty decent job of interior small items storage, but it's the cargo area that suffers due to the battery pack and rear suspension. The result is less space than competitors, and the rear seats don't fold completely flat. We don't think the cargo shelf helps matters, either. It feels like there's less space to work with, and loading things is more challenging.
Storage Space: The door pockets center console, and armrest have good reachable space for small and medium-sized items.
Cargo Room: There are 22.3 cubic feet behind row three, 49 cubes behind row two, and 86.9 behind the first row. The Tahoe, Expedition, Yukon, and QX80 are all larger. The cargo shelf makes things worse by adding a higher load height by adding the shelf structure, which seems pointless.
The new Sequoia's hybrid powertrain gives it added efficiency over the naturally-aspirated V8 it replaces. We didn't experience great efficiency, however, and it actually did worse than the twin-turbo V6 in the Lincoln Navigator we tested shortly after. The Sequioia in AWD gets an EPA rating of 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. Our numbers were significantly worse, and we didn't drive it all that hard. Really.
Observed: 15.9 mpg.
Distance Driven: 148 miles.
In Capstone trim, the Sequoia gets an impressive JBL 14-speaker premium audio system, along with a subwoofer and amplifier. We dialed up the music, and the bass and clarity were superb. It's a phenomenal system that fills the Sequoia's cabin with great sound.