Piloting this lumbering giant through the urban jungle

Open the heavy door, use the running board to climb inside, sit atop a leather seat with a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel in hand, and gaze over the world like a king riding his chariot. That’s what it’s like getting into the driver’s seat of the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.

Despite its age, the Sequoia isn’t bad to drive. Its 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 offers plenty of pep, especially with its 401 pound-feet of torque and a 4.30 rear axle ratio. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 6.7 seconds and its top speed is capped at 115 mph. The Sequoia might share much of its architecture with the Tundra pickup, but Toyota ditched the solid rear axle and leaf springs in favor of an independent suspension with airbags. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts between the double wishbone control arms. The Platinum trim even comes with adaptive dampers with Sport, Normal, and Comfort modes.

Continue reading for more information.

Behind the Wheel

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Interior
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The steering feels overboosted and provides almost no feedback from the front wheels

The Sequoia does have some noticeable flaws. The steering feels overboosted and provides almost no feedback from the front wheels. Worse yet, the wheel tends to kick when driving over uneven ground. The throttle and brake pedals are also mounted too far forward, forcing the driver to scoot closer to the dash. Power-adjustable pedals would fix this issue. Toyota could also add more height control over the driver’s seat. As it is, the seat is mounted very high with almost not downward movement available in its 10-way adjustability.

Thankfully the Sequoia redeems itself with massive front windows and side mirrors that make it surprisingly easy to maneuver. At nearly 80 inches wide, the Sequoia takes up most of the road lane, but it somehow isn’t unnerving to drive. At not does it feel like a mirror is about to be slapped off. That’s likely thanks to the tall seating position relative to the roadway. We also found the Sequoia to have double sun visors, allowing both the side window and windshield to be simultaneously shielded from the sun.

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Interior
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A rotary knob ahead of the shifter offers three firmness modes: Sport, Normal, and Comfort

Body movements are an interesting topic with the Sequoia. The Platinum trim comes standard with the adaptive dampers and rear air ride suspension. A rotary knob ahead of the shifter offers three firmness modes: Sport, Normal, and Comfort. The difference between Sport and Comfort are fairly substantial, with Normal basically splitting the difference.

The suspension modes are most noticeable over rough ground and around curves. Sport mode tightens things up, helping control the Sequoia’s 6,000 pounds. Over bumpy roads, the suspension shows less forgiveness but is miles away from being “stiff” compared to something like BMW X5 or Audi Q7. Rather, Sport mode makes the girthy Sequoia dance the best it can.

Comfort mode allows the body to sway more, especially when put into a turn. Understeer is definitely the response from the front tires. But blasting around corners isn’t Comfort mode’s bag of tricks. Rather, Comfort mode makes its case on washboard dirt roads and long blasts down open Interstate. The suspension just soaks up bumps with surprising confidence. Even parking lot speed bumps seem to disappear under the Sequoia’s suspension. It’s truly impressive.

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Exterior
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Highway driving is further aided by the addition of Toyota Safety Sense-P, a major part of the 2018 refresh

Highway driving is further aided by the addition of Toyota Safety Sense-P, a major part of the 2018 refresh. It includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, and Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System. Best of all, it also includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is also extremely handy.

As mentioned, the 5.7-liter V-8 provides plenty of power. Merging on to the Interstate is met with a quick downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission and revs blasting up toward 6,000 rpm. The Sequoia just squats and runs. Once at speed and into sixth gear, the DOHC V-8 settles down to around 1,500 rpm and begs to cruise all day.

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Exterior
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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum is a massive behemoth that somehow drives smaller than its

The downside to this power and the Sequoia’s hefty curb weight is fuel economy. The EPA estimates the 4WD Sequoia to get an abysmally low 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. Over the last few days of mixed driving, our tester is averaging 13.3 mpg. Thankfully only 87-octane gasoline is required. Yet even with a 26.4-gallon fuel tank, the Sequoia only has a cruising range of 396 miles.

All told, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum is a massive behemoth that somehow drives smaller than its, offers an adjustable ride thanks to the Platinum’s standard adjustable dampers and air suspension, and yet is somewhat let down by an overboosted and numb steering system.

While it’s not perfect, the driving experience does somehow overcome the Sequoia’s age.

References

Toyota Sequoia

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Interior
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Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Exterior
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What’s New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Drivetrain
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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty

What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Exterior
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The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool

2008 Toyota Sequoia
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Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Sequoia.

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