- Sequoia prioritizes family-friendliness, while Land Cruiser is built for off-road dominance
- Both vehicles prioritize consistency and reliability over modernity
To the casual observer, the fact that Toyota offers both the Land Cruiser and the Sequoia in the United States makes very little sense. Both are large body-on-frame SUVs, both use a 5.7-liter V8 engine and both offer room for up to eight passengers. It would seem, then, that one would only serve to cannibalize sales of the other. There’s more to the Land Cruiser than meets the eye, though. While both of these SUVs offer great reliability, the Land Cruiser is built to traverse the toughest terrain in the world, and Toyota has spared no expense in designing it this way. By comparison, the Sequoia is meant for lighter duty such as taking kids to and from practice and towing the boat to the lake on the weekends. Below we’ll compare these two vehicles more closely in a number of categories to help you better understand the differences between them.
There’s no way to ignore it — the Land Cruiser and Sequoia are both huge vehicles. The Sequoia measures 205.1 inches long, while the Land Cruiser comes in at 194.9 inches. While they’ve both been on sale since 2008, the Land Cruiser has been the recipient of two facelifts over the years, the most recent of which came for 2016 and brought with it a heavily redesigned front end inspired by the 80 Series Land Cruiser offered during the 1990s. There’s also a new Heritage Edition Land Cruiser for 2020, which comes with unique gold wheels, a restyled grille and headlights, heritage-inspired badges on its d-pillars, and deleted running boards and door trim for a cleaner look overall. See the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser models for sale near you
The 2020 Sequoia, on the other hand, still looks very similar to the vehicle that went on sale all the way back in 2008. It’s got rather bulbous features, from the front fenders to the rear hatch. Additionally, the Sequoia has longer front and rear overhangs than the Land Cruiser, less ground clearance and a fully-independent suspension (the Land Cruiser uses a solid rear axle, which is better off-road). See the 2020 Toyota Sequoia models for sale near you
On the inside, the Land Cruiser is far nicer than the Sequoia. Offered as a low-key luxury vehicle, the Land Cruiser has a modern dashboard with a relatively large 9.0-in center infotainment screen, a number of different finishes and materials and upscale switchgear. Additionally, the Land Cruiser offers high-quality perforated leather seating, available in brown or black, as standard. That said, the Land Cruiser is designed to appeal across the world, and thus the vehicle doesn’t offer as many interior storage compartments as the Sequoia, which is designed specifically for American tastes.
Speaking of the Sequoia, it’s far more plasticky inside than the Land Cruiser. This adds to the functionality, sure, but it also looks rather cheap. It doesn’t feel cheap, though, and you can rest assured that either of these vehicles will last for well over 200,000 miles. Unlike the Land Cruiser, which comes exclusively with a second-row bench seat, the Sequoia is available with second-row captain’s chairs, although this reduces overall seating capacity to seven.
Worth mentioning: In order to preserve ground clearance, the Land Cruiser’s third row seats don’t behave like the third row in the Sequoia or in other three-row SUVs, for that matter. Instead of folding flat into the rear floor, the Land Cruiser’s third-row seat backs fold forward, and then the entire seats, which are attached to the wheel arches via hinges, fold up to the side, effectively stowing in place against the rear side windows. This eats into the cargo area by a considerable margin, and if you want the seats out of the way for good, you’ll have to break out the socket wrench to remove them. The Land Cruiser’s special Heritage Edition trim, which is new for 2020, forgoes the rear seats altogether along with the center console cooling box offered in the regular model.
In terms of dimensions, the Sequoia is a fair bit bigger than the Land Cruiser. Cargo area for the Sequoia comes in at 18.9 cu ft 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 has 16.1 cu ft behind the third row, 43.0 cu ft with the third row folded and 81.7 cu ft with both the third and second rows folded. Again, though, this is because the Land Cruiser’s second and third row seats don’t fold all the way down into the floor, which preserves ground clearance and off-road capability.
Both of these big SUVs use Toyota’s tried-and-true 5.7-liter V8, which is also featured in the Tundra. Output is rated at 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. In the Sequoia, this engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic, while the Land Cruiser has used an 8-speed auto since the 2016 model year. Fuel economy is pretty bad in either of these vehicles. With 4-wheel drive, the Sequoia is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 13 miles per gallon in the city, 17 mpg on the highway and 14 mpg combined. The Land Cruiser, which offers full-time 4-wheel drive, is rated at 13 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/15 combined.
Speaking of those all-wheel drive systems, the Land Cruiser comes with several more off-road features than the Sequoia. While the Sequoia gets part-time 4-wheel drive high and low, plus a selectable locking center differential and a limited-slip rear differential, the Land Cruiser offers a solid rear axle, full-time 4-wheel drive with selectable low-range, a locking center differential, Toyota’s A-TRAC system that can mimic the effect of locking front and rear differentials, Toyota’s clever KDSS automatic sway bar disconnect system, Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select and an off-road turn assist feature.
In terms of towing, the Land Cruiser is a little more capable than the Sequoia. The Land Cruiser can tow up to 8,100 pounds. Two-wheel drive Sequoias are rated to pull 7,400 pounds, while 4-wheel drive models are rated for 7,100 pounds. Worth noting: The Sequoia offers a Tow-Haul mode and an available rear air suspension that allows the vehicle to level itself when towing.
Perhaps the Sequoia’s most noteworthy standard feature is its power roll-down rear window, a feature it shares with the 4Runner and Tundra. Also available are an adaptive suspension with different settings, a power tailgate, power folding second and third-row seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a JBL audio system and power adjustable thigh support for the driver’s seat. The TRD Sport model, introduced for 2018, comes with black accents, 20-in wheels and a sportier suspension, while the new-for-2020 TRD Pro model gets Fox-branded internal bypass off-road shock absorbers with piggy-back reservoirs, a skid plate, mild all-terrain tires, unique wheels and a unique grille, and more. Other additions to the Sequoia for 2020 include a new 7.0-in infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as push button start, both of which come standard across the board.
In addition to all of its off-road technology mentioned above in the “Mechanicals” section, the Land Cruiser offers heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a JBL sound system, a 360-degree camera, a cooled center console box and more. The Land Cruiser has a large 9.0-in center infotainment screen, but it does not offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The Land Cruiser also comes with a unique split rear tailgate — the glass is hinged at the top while a literal tailgate is hinged at the bottom. When open, the tailgate can act as a platform for sitting, a table or a step for accessing things attached to the roof rack. While it’s power-operated, this functionality is better in theory than it is in practice and luckily can be turned off.
The Land Cruiser and Sequoia have the same offering of active safety features. This consists of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.
Factoring in destination fees, the regular 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser costs $86,640, while the special 2020 Heritage Edition costs $88,970. The Land Cruiser’s only option is a set of entertainment screens located on the driver and passenger seat backs that come at a price of $2,000. We’d skip these. The Sequoia is offered in a number of different trim levels. The base model costs $51,230, while a fully-loaded example comes in at just over $70,000. The new TRD Pro model, which is offered with no options, costs $65,430.
A good way to understand the relative appeal of these vehicles is to take a look at their respective sales figures. In 2019, the Land Cruiser sold 3,536 units, while the Sequoia sold 10,289. For perspective, 151,000 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans were sold in that same period. It should therefore go without saying that neither the Sequoia nor the Land Cruiser have massive appeal in today’s SUV space. Both are old, inefficient and lack the modern amenities offered by the competition. That said, both will likely still be going strong long after their competitors from Ford and GM have been relegated to the junkyard and will appeal to buyers who value reliability and consistency over the latest trends in technology and design.
If you’re still torn between the two, look at it this way. If you’ve got a few kids and need an SUV to haul the whole family around and tow a boat on occasion, the Sequoia is probably the more approachable option. But if you can afford to spend almost $90,000 on a vehicle and like the idea of driving something with unbeatable capability and historically slow depreciation, get a Land Cruiser and keep it for 20 years. Find a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale or Find a Toyota Sequoia for sale