The Toyota Sequoia is a full-size SUV known for its powerful engine, luxurious interior, and suitability for both family and off-road adventures. When I decided to buy a car at the end of last year, I developed a strong interest in this model. I extensively researched information and reviews online and found numerous advantages and some drawbacks. To assess if it met my expectations, I decided to personally test drive it.
After inquiring with several dealers, I discovered that most demanded additional fees. Moreover, the TRD PRO version had a two-year waiting period, which left me disappointed. Although the TRD PRO variant with enhanced off-road capabilities and appearance seemed ideal for me, I chose a Limited version from a dealer without additional fees. After a nine-month wait, I finally got my beloved car.
With 1500 miles driven so far, I’d like to share my impressions, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses that might be helpful for those interested.
- Striking Exterior: The Sequoia boasts an impressive design. Recognizable features include distinctive headlights, a prominent grille, smooth body lines, and a cool LED light strip at the rear. Opting for a white body with silver-black alloy wheels enhances the overall aesthetics.
- Powerful Performance: Equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine delivering 355 horsepower and 510 Nm of torque, coupled with a 10-speed automatic transmission and hybrid system, the Sequoia offers ample power under any road conditions. It effortlessly reaches speeds like 80mph and handles overtaking with ease. Additionally, it has a towing capacity of 9500lbs, suitable for trailers or boats.
- Comfortable Seats: The car features leather seats with ventilation and heating functions, ensuring temperature adjustments for different seasons. The seats provide excellent support with multiple adjustment options. Even after driving for several hours, I haven’t experienced fatigue or discomfort.
- Spacious Second Row: With a wheelbase of 3100mm, the second-row space is generously accommodating, comfortably seating three adults with ample head and legroom. Adjustable seat angles contribute to passenger comfort, and there are dedicated air vents and USB ports for the second row.
- Sunshades for Second and Third Rows: A considerate design feature, sunshades for both rows can be deployed to block sunlight, protecting passengers’ eyes and skin, especially beneficial for families with children.
- Wireless CarPlay: The car supports wireless CarPlay, enabling smartphone functions like navigation, music, and calls without the need for physical connections, enhancing safety and convenience during driving.
- Chassis Design: The Sequoia adopts a truck-style ladder frame chassis, enhancing rigidity, stability, and off-road capabilities. Although this sacrifices some comfort, it instills confidence in diverse road conditions.
- Lack of Locking Differential and Independent Suspension: Disappointingly, the Sequoia no longer features a locking differential and independent suspension, which were crucial for improved off-road performance in previous models. This omission may be for cost-saving or design simplification, resulting in compromised off-road capabilities and increased vibrations and noise on rough surfaces.
- Part-Time 4WD System: The part-time 4WD system with manual 4H and 4L modes lacks an intelligent auto mode that automatically adjusts the drive mode based on road conditions. It requires manual operation, potentially causing inconvenience. Moreover, the absence of 4Auto and 4×4 modes restricts flexibility in traction and torque adjustments for various road conditions, affecting off-road performance.
- Lack of Pure EV Mode, High Fuel Consumption: The absence of a pure electric mode in the hybrid system, coupled with high fuel consumption (currently 16mpg in pure city driving), raises concerns. A hybrid system should ideally focus on reducing fuel consumption rather than enhancing power. I hope Toyota improves the system to include a pure electric mode or plug-in charging to save fuel costs and reduce emissions.
- Wind Noise, Limited Interior Quality in the Limited Version: The Sequoia exhibits noticeable wind and road noise, especially at high speeds, affecting call quality and music enjoyment. The limited version’s interior quality falls short of expectations, featuring hard plastics that lack a premium feel and are prone to scratches. Additionally, I’ve noticed slight noises, such as creaking from the seatback or dashboard, diminishing the perceived value.
- Omitted Features Like Power Liftgate Glass and Limited Second-Row Adjustability: The absence of a power liftgate glass diminishes practicality, and the inability to adjust the second-row seats forward and backward limits the flexibility and space in the cargo area. Retaining these features would enhance the vehicle’s practicality and comfort.
- Cargo Space Not Leading in Its Class: Although the Sequoia’s cargo space is adequate, it falls short compared to some competitors. However, it meets my needs, accommodating luggage or camping gear with the option to fold the third-row seats for additional space. The optional shelf system seems less practical, occupying space and lacking stability.
- Limited Instrument Cluster Customization: The 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster lacks extensive customization options, limiting the display of information. The fixed layout and inability to adjust colors or styles may disappoint those seeking a more personalized experience. Lack of interaction between the instrument cluster and the infotainment screen hampers the projection of information from one to the other.
- Glove Box lacks Handy Drawer: The absence of a small drawer on the glove box lid, as seen in the Highlander, is a small but notable omission. This drawer was useful for storing small items like keys or lip balm, providing convenient access without opening the entire glove box.
- Subscription Requirements After Trial Period: Some services, such as remote control and built-in navigation, require subscription payments after a short trial period. The relatively high costs and short trial durations for basic vehicle functions seem unreasonable and may impact user satisfaction and loyalty. I hope Toyota revisits this policy to offer more user-friendly options.
In conclusion, despite some drawbacks, I am generally satisfied with the Toyota Sequoia. Its numerous strengths align with my needs and preferences for a family-oriented and off-road-capable vehicle. It performs well in both urban and suburban settings, providing enjoyment and convenience. I will continue to drive and enjoy it while keeping an eye on Toyota’s future updates and improvements. If you are interested in this vehicle, I recommend taking it for a test drive to see if it aligns with your expectations and preferences. Thank you for reading this unboxing review of the Toyota Sequoia, and I hope it proves helpful to you.