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2018 Toyota Sequoia vs. Toyota Land Cruiser: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill October 2018
  • Both the Toyota Sequoia and the Land Cruiser use the same 5.7-liter V8 engine.

  • The Sequoia and the Land Cruiser are two of the oldest vehicles on the market.

  • The Land Cruiser is a heavier duty, luxury SUV with excellent off-road capability; the Sequoia is family-oriented.

Toyota offers two 3-row, full-size, truck-like SUVs -- the Land Cruiser and the Sequoia. This is odd, as on the surface, these two vehicles would appear to be rather similar. When you really look at it, though, the Land Cruiser and Sequoia are very different beasts, and are meant to appeal to two very different customers. Below we'll take a look at the main differences between the two.

Background

The Toyota Land Cruiser has been on the market in some form for almost 70 years and is regarded as one of the toughest, most durable vehicles on sale across the world. Designed to withstand the world's toughest environments like the Middle East and the Australian outback, the Land Cruiser is built to travel well over 250,000 miles with basic regular maintenance, and Land Cruiser owners are known to hold onto their vehicles longer than any other owner group. The current-generation Land Cruiser is known as the 200 Series and was introduced for the 2008 model year. The Land Cruiser received a significant update for the 2016 model year that included an all-new front end and dashboard along with an updated transmission. While it's probably the toughest new vehicle on sale in the US today, the Land Cruiser's appeal has been supplanted by the introduction of more on-road oriented SUVs over the past few decades, one of which is the Sequoia. As a result, Toyota has turned the Land Cruiser into a premium luxury offering here in the US, and the sticker price of a new 2019 Land Cruiser is now a whopping $85,000.

The Sequoia was introduced for the 2001 model year and is derived heavily from the Toyota Tundra. Last fully redesigned for the 2008 model year, the Sequoia currently sitting on dealer lots is one of the oldest vehicles on the market. Still, it offers tons of space for passengers and things, making it an excellent family vehicle. And that's what it is first and foremost - a vehicle designed for hauling a family around. The Sequoia does offer 4-wheel drive, but off-roading is not its focus. This pales in comparison to the Land Cruiser, which is packed with unique off-road tech. Overall, the Sequoia is meant for much broader appeal than the niche-market Land Cruiser. This is further evidenced in its price tag. Entry-level Sequoias start at around $49,000, while a fully loaded Sequoia Platinum approaches $70,000.

Powertrains

The Land Cruiser and Sequoia both utilize the same 5.7-liter V8 engine making 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The Sequoia uses a 6-speed automatic, while the Land Cruiser uses an 8-speed. This is hardly for the sake of fuel-economy, though, as the Land Cruiser makes a marginally-better 13 miles per gallon city, 18 mpg highway, and 15 mpg overall to the 4-wheel drive Sequoia's 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy/14 mpg combined.

The Land Cruiser offers slightly more capability with regard to towing. Two-wheel drive Sequoias offer a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs, while on 4-wheel drive models this figure drops to 7,100 lbs. The Land Cruiser, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, can tow up to 8,100 lbs. Neither vehicle offers an integrated trailer brake controller.

Dimensions

The Toyota Sequoia is a bit larger than the Land Cruiser, both inside and outside, and offers more usable space. The Sequoia is 205.1 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 77.0 inches tall. The Land Cruiser measures 194.9 inches long, 78.0 inches wide and 74.0 inches tall.

Inside, the Sequoia offers 34.8 inches of head room and 42.5 inches of legroom in the front row. In the second row, the Sequoia offers 34.9 inches of head room and 40.9 inches of legroom. Move to the third row and the Sequoia has 34.5 inches of head room and 35.3 inches of legroom. The Land Cruiser offers 38.3 inches of head room and 42.9 inches of legroom in the front seat, 38.9 and 34.4 in the second row, and 35.8 inches and 28.3 inches in the third row.

The Land Cruiser offers room for eight; the Sequoia can be configured to offer room for either eight or seven if you opt for second row captains chairs.

The Sequoia also offers considerably more cargo room than the Land Cruiser. The Sequoia offers 18.9 cu ft. of room behind the third row, 66.6 cu ft. with the third row folded and 120.1 cu ft. with both the second and third rows down. The Land Cruiser offers 16.1 cu ft. with the third row in place, 43.0 cu ft. with the third row folded and 81.7 cu ft. with the third and second rows folded.

Interior

Inside, the Sequoia is a step back in time to the mid-2000s, which makes sense given that that was the last time it received any sort of appreciable redesign. In fact, the Sequoia is so old that it doesn't offer proximity-based keyless entry or a push-button start. It isn't all bad though. Buttons and switchgear are made of chunky, high-quality plastic. Ergonomics are good and storage space is littered throughout the cabin -- there are two gloveboxes, multiple storage compartments in the doors, three cup holders and two compartments on the center console and a massive center console storage box.

The Land Cruiser is far more upscale inside, especially after its 2016 update. The seats are soft and comfortable, while materials used throughout the cabin are both durable and attractive. Storage space isn't as rampant as in the Sequoia. While there's ample room for a water bottle in each door, the Land Cruiser's center console offers only a small slot for a wireless charger and two cupholders. The area underneath the center arm rest is even a bit compromised, offering a standard "cool box" in place of a traditional storage box. The cool box will keep your drinks cold on a long road trip, but when it isn't being used for cooling drinks, you'd likely prefer the added space and simplicity of a more traditional box.

The Land Cruiser is also unique when it comes to configurability of the second and third row seats. The Sequoia, along with just about every other SUV on the market, offers fold-flat second- and third-row seats, allowing for a flat load floor when folded. Likely in an effort to preserve ground clearance and enable a more efficient packaging of components on the undercarriage, the Land Cruiser eschews this more ubiquitous design for a simpler one. The second row seats fold and tumble forward against the driver and passenger seat backs, while the third row folds up against the sides of the vehicle. The third row takes up an unfortunate amount of space and also happens to be bolted in place, which makes it impractical to remove and install as needed, as tools and time are required to do so.

Ultimately, the Sequoia is pretty mainstream, while the Land Cruiser offers a luxury experience.

Features

Standard on the Sequoia is a power roll-down rear window; a highly unique feature shared with the 4Runner and Tundra. An adaptive suspension is available that can adjust to varying load weights and can be switched between sport, normal and comfort modes. Power tailgate, power folding second and third row seats, heated and ventilated seats and a JBL audio system are all available. Also new for 2018 is a TRD Sport model which offers black accents, unique 20-inch wheels and a "sport-tuned" suspension.

The Land Cruiser offers a 360-degree camera, a JBL audio system, power split rear tailgate, perforated leather, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a cooled center console box. The Land Cruiser's only option is a $2,220 pair of entertainment screens mounted to the driver and passenger seat backs (in our opinion, skip them). Many of the Land Cruiser's best features are of the off-road variety, which we'll take a look at next.

Off-Road

The Land Cruiser is a 4x4 icon and packs some serious off-road tech, while the Sequoia is a family hauler that also happens to offer a bit of off-road capability. Both vehicles use an independent front suspension. The Sequoia also has an independent rear suspension, while the Land Cruiser uses a solid axle, which gives it greater off-road capability. The Sequoia is available in either 2- or 4-wheel drive variants. Four-wheel drive models default to 2-wheel drive and offer selectable 4-high and low-range along with a center-locking differential.

The Land Cruiser uses full-time all-wheel drive and can be shifted into low range via a similar knob on the center console. It also offers a locking center differential, Toyota's Active Traction Control System (also known as A-TRAC) and hill-descent and crawl control modes, which act as an off-road cruise control and help the vehicle crawl over treacherous terrain in a controlled manner. The Land Cruiser also has Toyota's Multi-Terrain Select system -- which allows you to tailor the vehicle to a variety of ground surfaces -- and a clever off-road turn assist feature, which brakes the vehicle's inside rear wheel to help cut down on the vehicle's turning radius off-road. Finally, the Land Cruiser comes with Toyota's unique Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, referred to as "KDSS," which can sense when the vehicle is traveling over uneven terrain and disconnect the front and rear sway bars to allow for greater wheel articulation.

Infotainment

Neither the Land Cruiser or Sequoia offers a great infotainment experience, although the Land Cruiser's offering is superior to that of the Sequoia. As part of its 2016 update, the Land Cruiser received a new 9.0-inch infotainment screen. The Sequoia sticks with a very old-fashioned 6.1-in screen. Neither vehicle offers Android Auto or Apple CarPlay integration; buyers are forced to rely on Toyota's own infotainment system, which feels sluggish and primitive, especially in an $85,000 vehicle like the Land Cruiser.

Safety

The Sequoia and Land Cruiser come with an identical assortment of standard driver assistance safety features. Both vehicles offer a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors.

Neither the Sequoia of Land Cruiser has been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Reliability

Reliability isn't usually something you have to worry about with a Toyota, and the Sequoia and Land Cruiser are no different. While both are reliable, the Land Cruiser is a marvel of engineering, and as long as you keep up with routine maintenance, should exceed 300,000 miles without needing a major engine rebuild. Both vehicles come with a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic and 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty, in line with the rest of the industry.

Conclusions

The relative appeal of these two vehicles is probably best summed up by taking a look at their respective sales figures. In 2017, the Land Cruiser sold 3,000 units, while the Sequoia sold 12,000. For perspective, 155,000 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans were sold in 2017. Needless to say, both the Sequoia and Land Cruiser have some shortcomings. They're very old, lack the latest infotainment features and achieve abysmal fuel economy. We don't recommend buying either without first checking out the options offered by the competition.

Still, if you're deciding between these two, if comes down to this: If you can afford a Land Cruiser and like the idea of driving perhaps the most storied and respected SUV nameplate in the world, buy a Land Cruiser. If you've got a young family and are looking for an SUV as a minivan alternative, the Sequoia is probably the better alternative.

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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 vs. Toyota Land Cruiser: What's the Difference? - Autotrader