2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven
The Toyota Sequoia is alive and kicking. You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten, even despite Toyota giving the full-size SUV a slight update for 2018. The Sequoia’s sales pale in comparison to its rivals, and as such, there are simply fewer on the road. But that doesn’t mean the Sequoia is a bad SUV, right? We decided to have a look.
Our tester came decked out with all the extra goodies thanks to the range-topping Platinum trim. Of course, it also carried all the update Toyota gave it for the 2018 model year, including a new nose, a revised gauge cluster, and the now-standard Toyota Safety Sense-P active safety system. Beyond that, however, the 2018 Sequoia looks and feels nearly identically to the 2008 version.
It’s hard to believe the Sequoia’s second-generation is now a decade old. It harks back to Toyota’s major revamp of the Tundra pickup. It changed to a full-size truck for the 2007 model year and the Sequoia followed suit the next year. The Sequoia shares plenty with the Tundra, including its drivetrain and interior. Toyota did cater the Sequoia towards family usage with an independent rear suspension with available air ride rather than the Tundra’s solid axle and leaf springs. Yet despite the differences, the Sequoia still felt like a truck. In practice though, many full-size SUV customers were into that sort of thing. It fosters a sense of invincibility and a go-anywhere attitude. Well, so long as there’s a gas station close by.
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Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum
Toyota’s truck-based, full-size SUV, the Sequoia, is big. Its exterior dimensions are imposing and its interior volume feels like the vastness of an airplane hanger. The three-row SUV boasts seating for up to eight people and has an impressive amount of cargo area. This week we’re testing the refreshed 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum optioned with the Red Rock interior color. Standard with the Platinum trim is the second-row captain’s chairs with the center console. That might reduce the Sequoia’s seating to seven, but it adds an air of luxury not had with the bench seat.
The Sequoia has a 2+2+3 seating arrangement. While three across in the third row spells disaster is most crossovers, the girthy Sequoia has room enough for actual people back here. There’s even an impressive amount of legroom thanks to the sliding second-row bucket seats.
There’s more to the Sequoia’s interior, so keep reading for our impressions.
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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty
The Toyota Sequoia has undergone a mild refresh for 2018, bringing a slightly different front fascia, a slightly revised dash, and the Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment. But unfortunately, the rest of this full-size SUV dates back to 2008. Yep, that’s a full decade without change. That includes the 5.7-liter V-8, six-speed automatic transmission, and the optional part-time 4WD system.
Now, the 5.7-liter isn’t a bad engine. Its dual overhead camshafts use variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides to offer better low-speed efficiency with high-end power. The engine generates 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. And like all good V-8s, the engine makes plenty of torque down low; Toyota says the 5.7-liter makes 90 percent of peak torque at just 2,200 rpm. That certainly helps with off-the-line power and allowing the six-speed automatic to up-shift sooner and hold gears longer.
Nevertheless, the V-8 does not have modern features like cylinder deactivation or direct fuel injection. And these days, eight- and 10-speed automatic transmissions continue to squeeze more and more from a gallon of gas.
The Sequoia, on the other hand, is EPA-estimated to only achieve 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. Over the last few days of mixed driving, I’m only averaging 13.3 mpg. Ouch.
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What’s New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia
Toyota has given the full-size Sequoia SUV a mild update for the 2018 model year. In fact, “mild” is putting it, well, mildly. Yet these changes are the biggest news for the Sequoia since its introduction in 2008 – a full decade ago. Needless to say, Toyota isn’t paying too much attention to the big brute. Its sales reflect this, too, with the Sequoia only moving 12,156 examples in 2017.
The most surprising thing is a rather steady rate of the Sequoia’s sales numbers. Toyota has sold between 11,806 and 13,848 Sequoias annually since 2010. Of course, that’s a far cry from the 70,187 Sequoias Toyota moved during the SUV’s first year in 2002. It also pales in comparison to its competition. The Chevrolet Tahoe found homes in 103,306 driveways in 2016 and the Ford Expedition sold 59,835 examples during the same time – and that wasn’t even the new aluminum-bodied model that’s new for 2018.
Nevertheless, Toyota’s updates for the 2018 Sequoia are likely to help attract customers. Just don’t expect a massive surge in people banging down Toyota’s door for the old-school, body-on-frame SUV.
We happen to be driving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia this week. Our tester is fitted in the range-topping Platinum trim, meaning it comes basically standard with all the optional extras Toyota has to offer. So, let’s check out what’s different about the 2018 model and see if it helps the ole Sequoia’s case.
Continue reading for more on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.