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2020 Toyota Sequoia Review

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia enters its 13th year since its last full redesign — double the lifespan of your average vehicle. Even its updates and refreshes have been kept to a minimum, and the vehicle you’ll find on dealer lots today offers basically the same cabin layout, powertrain and styling as the one that came out way back in 2008. So if you bought a Sequoia way back when George W. Bush was in his second term in office, a new model should still seem pretty familiar.

Toyota has updated the Sequoia on a few occasions over the years, and it now offers a full suite of standard accident avoidance technology along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, the latter of which is new for 2020. While it hits on these staple items, the Sequoia is still pretty old, and falls well behind competitors like the Chevrolet Tahoe and the newly-redesigned Ford Expedition when it comes to modernity. Efficiency is a major shortcoming as well, as its fuel economy ratings fall well behind those of its competitors.

Nevertheless, this ancient Sequoia is still a spacious and highly capable full-size SUV. When compared to the Tahoe and the GMC 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. Given this, we actually think the Sequoia is impressively competitive for a vehicle of its age (especially with all those safety features), and its TRD Pro trim offers more off-road capability than any other full-size SUV on sale today. That said, its fuel economy alone makes it tough to recommend.

What’s New for 2020?

The Sequoia gains a redesigned infotainment system for 2020 complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a long overdue addition. Additionally, a new TRD Pro model joins the lineup and offers unique suspension and aesthetic components, just like the other TRD Pro models in the Toyota lineup.  See the 2020 Toyota Sequoia models for sale

What We Like

  • Genuine 8-person capacity in three spacious rows
  • Standard safety tech
  • Abundant cargo capacity
  • Strong reputation for reliability
  • TRD Pro is downright cool

What We Don’t

  • It’s ancient
  • Atrocious gas mileage, even for this segment
  • Distant dashboard controls
  • Exterior and interior design look as old as they are

How Much?

$51,230-$70,495

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 RWD and 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy/14 mpg combined with 4WD. With 2WD, the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Tahoe return 20 and 19 mpg combined, respectively. That’s actually a considerable difference, translating into hundreds of extras dollars saved at the pump per year.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is available in SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, TRD Pro and Platinum trims.

Standard SR5 ($51,230) features include 18-in 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 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, and the aforementioned 7-in infotainment screen complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

The TRD Sport ($53,945) adds different styling cues, 20-in black wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, TRD anti-sway 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 ($60,240) 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 and unique instrumentation. Some of the interior niceties are optional on the SR5.

The Sequoia TRD Pro ($65,355) is all-new for 2020 and offers much of the off-road capability found on Toyota’s other TRD Pro models. Fox shock absorbers with piggy-back reservoirs, a front skid plate, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, a platform-style roof rack, and a TRD cat back exhaust round out the functional bits, while a "TOYOTA" word mark grille, black 18-in BBS wheels, and an exclusive "Army Green" exterior color make up the aesthetic touches.

The Platinum ($67,270) 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, integrated navigation and a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system with a 9-in display. These latter three tech items are optional on the Limited.

Safety

Active safety features standard on the Sequoia include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection. The Sequoia also comes standard with stability control, eight airbags (including front knee airbags), and a backup camera, which is now federally mandated.

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 the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Suburban. Of course, the Sequoia struggles in tight spots, but it loves the open road and eats up highway miles with quiet composure. 4WD Sequoia models even have 2-speed transfer cases with low-range gearing, meaning it’s more capable off-road than its competitors, especially in its new TRD Pro trim.

From the driver’s perspective, the Sequoia is distinctly reminiscent of the Tundra. The cabin is very dated in appearance, quality, functionality and infotainment offerings. 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 devoid of contour, 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 3-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

2019 Ford Expedition — The Expedition was fully redesigned last year and is arguably the leader in this segment. 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.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe — The smaller Tahoe’s compromised third-row seat make the bigger Suburban the GM full-sizer to consider (although both share a sky-high loading height and uncouth ride). Its higher-quality cabin and efficient V8 engine earn merit.

2019 Dodge Durango — The Durango isn’t as large as the others, and it’s built on a stretched version of the platform underpinning the Jeep Grand Cherokee rather than a converted pickup truck. It does feature a refined RWD platform, three usable rows of seating and an optional 5.7-liter V8 that allows for stronger towing capacity than the typical crossover. The Sequoia offers better reliability and build quality though.

Used Toyota Sequoia — The Sequoia has changed so little in the past decade and Toyotas are so reliable, why not consider a used or certified pre-owned example at a nice discount?

Autotrader’s Advice

With its full complement of accident-avoidance tech and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, even the base Sequoia SR5 represents a compelling choice. However, we would expect most buyers will be craving more luxury features like leather upholstery and the various power-operated functions that are found on the Limited trim. The new-for-2020 TRD Pro model stands out simply for the fact that it offers more off-road capability than any of its competitors like the Expedition and the Tahoe, not to mention the fact that it looks the part too. Beyond this halo model though, the Sequoia gets by primarily on its reputation for reliability and dependability, which in its defense is tough to argue with. Still, it’s probably only marginally more reliable than competing full-size SUVs, all of which have benefited from at least one full redesign since the last time Toyota rolled out a new Sequoia back in 2008, and each one offers more in the way of efficiency, ergonomics and overall modernity. Find a Toyota Sequoia for sale

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