Entry Price: $48,600
Price as Tested: $59,840

This week we’re driving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia, a roomy full size SUV featuring all-new Toyota Racing Development (TRD) model designation.

Toyota’s Sequoia first appeared in 2000 and in its 18 year history is still in its second generation, which arrived in 2008. Built in Princeton, Indiana, since day one, Sequoia is the largest SUV Toyota offers and is 10-inches longer in wheelbase than the more expensive Toyota Land Cruiser.

Not surprisingly, this full-size 7,100-pound tow capacity vehicle carries a full chassis underneath similar but not identical to the heavy-duty full-size Tundra pickup. The major differences include Sequoia’s rear independent suspension featuring double wishbones with coil springs for improved ride comfort and a Torsen brand locking multi-mode center differential on the 4x4 units.

Available in four trims, Sequoia starts at the entry SR5 at $48,600, then moves upward to our TRD tester at $51,315, Limited at $57,095; and top line Platinum at $64,310. If you want the 4x4 version, add approximately $3,000 to the above prices.

All seven passenger TRD models feature TRD tuned Bilstein shocks, special front and rear anti-sway bars, 20-inch black alloy wheels, TRD sport grill, TRD shifter, dark tail lights, dark mirror covers and TRD badges. Additionally, our tester added a $3,810 TRD Sport Premium option that features a beautiful leather interior, heated power front seats, power reclining and fold flat third row (very nice) and an Entune Premium stereo with navigation. As tested, our TRD Sequoia came in at a final $59,840 with $395 for protection film and $1,295 delivery included.

In addition to the new TRD model, all 2018 Sequoias now arrive with LED headlamps, some new colors and a re-styled front end. Other than that, it’s the Sequoia we’ve come to appreciate over the years as the “big bruiser” of SUVs.

Under the hood sits Sequoia’s 5.7-liter V8 that produces 381 horses and 401 lb. ft. of torque. Coupled to a heavy duty six speed automatic, our TRD delivers just 13 city and 17 highway, something Toyota might want to work on in the future. Perhaps a new transmission with better cruising gears might help, but this engine will always require more fuel to move and tow in an aggressive manner.

Although the MPG number is a negative, there are many Sequoia positives. From a safety aspect, riding around in a Sequoia has built-in security from its size/mass alone. Then, when you add the modern standard Toyota Safety Sense-P features, I pity anything smaller than a small bus that plows into a Sequoia. As for towing, you can overlook the fuel mileage if you haul a travel trailer or race car around regularly as it’s a breeze pulling anything 3.5-tons or less. Also, the third row seating is actually roomy enough for adults, and you’ll be surprised at the highway comfort Sequoia delivers. Notable too is eight-passenger seating availability if you opt out of the second row captain seats.

Toyota Safety Sense-P includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. But Sequoia goes another step forward, as the standard Star Safety System adds Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Electronic brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology at speeds greater than five miles per hour. Smart Stop engages when the accelerator is depressed first and the brakes are then applied firmly for longer than one-half second to assist the driver bringing Sequoia to a stop. So with near three tons of mass and all this safety, you can travel nestled in some of the best security offered in an SUV today.

Underneath, a fully independent suspension with a 4x4 multi-mode unit with locking differential is noteworthy allowing secure footing during inclement weather. Other notable standard features include power slide moonroof, three zone climate control, 6.1-inch touch screen with Bluetooth, USB, the latest high-tech infotainment needs, towing upgrades with tow/haul modes and trailer brake connection, rear safety camera, blind spot and much more.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 122-inches, 5,985-lb. curb weight, from 18.9 to 120 cu. ft. of cargo space, 26.4 gallon fuel tank and 10-inches of ground clearance.

All of this leads to value, as the aging Sequoia is today quite a buy starting at just $48,600 versus smaller, albeit top luxury, Toyota Land Cruiser and its $85,860 entry. Both have the same 5.7-liter V8, and being that the Land Cruiser is built to compete with Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade, it would take this scribe a long time to even contemplate a purchase considering the near $40K difference in entry price. I certainly understand the luxury component comparison, but no one will tell me the Platinum Sequoia is anything but full-size luxury.

As a consumer, you owe it to yourself to drive any of the Sequoias from SR5 to Platinum before considering other, more expensive, luxury SUV alternatives. Yes, Sequoia is big and more Tundra like, but the return on investment is clear and the safety offered is tough to duplicate.


Your Toyota dealer awaits your visit to explain all makes and models in the Toyota SUV/Crossover family.

Likes: Very roomy, powerful V8, extremely safe vehicle, great for towing.

Dislikes: Fuel mileage, dated transmission, no power lift gate.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.