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2018 Toyota Sequoia: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by AutoTrader May 2018

Wait, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia has been updated? Stop the presses! Sure, most of this full-size SUV remains fundamentally the same as the truck that debuted a decade ago, but changes are still changes. In this rare case, the Sequoia gets revised styling, a new TRD Sport trim and, perhaps most importantly, a standard collection of accident-avoidance technologies. They're optional or not available at all on competitors.

Obviously, that pales in comparison to the complete redesign undergone by the Ford Expedition this year, not to mention those by the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Nissan Armada several years ago. That means the Sequoia's interior design looks just as old as it is (the reach to certain controls is laughable), its infotainment tech is a bit lacking and its V8 engine is less efficient. Ultimately, that last point could be the reason you go with an Expedition instead, as it could save you as much as $750 per year in gas.

Nevertheless, this old guy is still a spacious and highly capable full-size SUV. When compared to the Tahoe and Yukon, for instance, it has a more modern rear suspension design that pays dividends in terms of third-row comfort, cargo space and ride quality. Then there's the Sequoia's renowned reliability.

So we actually think that the Sequoia is impressively competitive for a vehicle its age (especially with all those safety features), but its fuel economy makes it tough to recommend.

What's New for 2018?

For 2018, the Toyota Safety Sense package of accident-avoidance tech is not only now available, but it's standard. There's also a new TRD Sport trim level and revised exterior styling that features LED headlights.

What We Like

Genuine 8-person capacity in three spacious rows; abundant cargo capacity; decent ride and handling for a big rig; strong reliability reputation

What We Don't

Poor gas mileage even for this segment; distant dashboard controls; exterior and interior design look as old as they are

How Much?

$48,400-$67,300

Fuel Economy

The Sequoia can be had with either rear-wheel drive (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD) with low-range gearing. The only engine available is a 5.7-liter V8 that produces a robust 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Fuel economy is estimated to be 13 miles per gallon in the city, 17 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in combined driving with rear-wheel drive and 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy/14 mpg combined with 4WD. With 2WD, the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe return 20 and 19 mpg combined, respectively. That's actually a considerable difference, translating into spending between $650 and $750 more every year on fuel.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is available in SR5, TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum trims.

Standard SR5 ($48,400) features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, fog lamps, running boards, a power rear window, a roof rack, a sunroof, a backup camera, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic warning systems, adaptive cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-passenger seating, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a reclining third-row seat, rear side sunshades, Toyota's Entune 6.1-in touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, one USB port and an 8-speaker sound system.

The new-for-2018 TRD Sport ($51,100) adds different styling cues, 20-in black wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, TRD antisway bars for better on-road handling, leather upholstery and standard second-row captain's chairs (reduces seating to seven, available on other trims).

The Limited ($56,900) adds different 20-in wheels, a power lift gate, power-folding mirrors, parking sensors, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, a power-folding third-row seat, Optitron instrumentation, a 7-in touchscreen with an integrated backup camera and Entune's improved app suite. Some of the interior niceties are optional on the SR5.

The Platinum ($64,100) features an adaptive and load-leveling air suspension, second-row captain's chairs, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system with a 9-in monitor and the hard-drive-based navigation system. These latter three tech items are optional on the Limited.

Safety

The Sequoia comes standard with stability control, eight airbags (including front-knee airbags), forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic warning systems and a backup camera.

The Sequoia has not been crash-tested by a third party.

Behind the Wheel

The Sequoia may be the size of a small bus, but its light steering effort makes it feel more maneuverable than it actually is. It also has an independent rear suspension, which means it tackles bumps without the sort of wiggling and crashing of old truck-based SUVs (plus the current Chevy Tahoe). Of course, the Sequoia struggles in tight spots, but it loves the open road and eats up highway miles with quiet composure. 4-wheel-drive Sequoia models even have 2-speed transfer cases with low-range gearing, meaning it's more capable off-road than its competitors.

From the driver's perspective, the Sequoia is distinctly reminiscent of the Tundra -- or rather, the old, preredesign Tundra. The cabin is very dated in appearance, quality and functionality, and the stretch to some controls from the driver seat can be humorous. Good luck tuning the radio without a co-pilot.

The Sequoia's front seats are about what you'd expect: wide and largely contourless, but adequately supportive for longer trips. The 40/20/40-split second-row seat has plenty of room for adults, and it slides and reclines to accommodate various physiques, though we give the comfort edge to the available second-row captain's chairs. The 3-person reclining third row is reasonably adult-friendly as well -- once you're situated, that is. Simply getting back there is the issue, as access is rather awkward via the Sequoia's elongated rear door and flip-forward second-row chair.

Cargo space is a Sequoia specialty. There's 18.9 cu ft. behind the third row (one of the biggest of any three-row SUV), 66.6 cu ft. behind the second row and a gargantuan 120.1 cu ft. with all the rear seats folded.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Ford Expedition -- The all-new Expedition should be considered the best alternative. It offers almost the same interior volume as the Sequoia, but with a vastly more efficient powertrain and a more modern interior. It's also available in an extended-wheelbase EL model.

2018 Chevrolet Suburban -- The smaller Tahoe's compromised third-row seat, sky-high loading height and uncouth ride make its bigger Suburban the GM full-sizer to consider. Its higher-quality cabin and efficient V8 engine earn merit.

2018 Dodge Durango -- The Durango isn't as large as the others, and it's a stretched Jeep Grand Cherokee rather than a converted pickup truck. But it does feature a refined rear-wheel-drive platform, three usable rows of seating and an optional 5.7-liter V8 that allows for stronger towing capacity than the typical crossover.

Used Toyota Sequoia -- The Sequoia has changed so little in the past decade and Toyotas are so reliable, why not consider a used one?

Autotrader's Advice

With its full complement of accident-avoidance tech for 2018, even the base Sequoia SR5 represents a compelling choice. However, we would expect most buyers will be expecting luxury features like leather upholstery and various power-operated functions that are found on the Limited trim.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Toyota Sequoia: New Car Review - Autotrader