The Toyota Sequoia dates back to 2007.
Base price is set at $63,290 in Canada.
The TRD Pro is the only worthy version.
Toyota and Nissan have built, or, more precisely, continue to assemble and sell vehicles that are, by many accounts, well past their due-dates. There is one critical difference between the two Japanese car companies and it is that Toyota’s vehicles are, for the most part, still desirable, or bring something to the table when facing off with competitors. The exception is the Sequoia which is out-classed on many levels by its segment partners, but this matters little.
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia’s secret is that it is a brutally honest SUV based on a pickup and doesn’t pretend to be anything else but exactly this. It’s dated, short on refinement, behind the times on equipment and technology and that’s all fine and dandy however Toyota is completely disillusioned about its worth.
Priced like a 2020, dressed like it’s 2010
At $63,290 Canadian ($49,980 2WD SR5 US), the base 2020 Toyota Sequoia SR5 is a real 4×4 V8-powered 3-row full-size SUV capable of towing 7,000 lbs and getting things done. Unfortunately, the $62,500 2020 Ford Expedition XLT, and the $59,698 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 4WD can do the same however, they’re not the same.
The Ford Expedition alone not only offers a more efficient and powerful turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic powertrain, but can tow more, is far more modern inside and out, relies on nicer materials for the most part, and feels more substantial, or as though you’re getting more for your money. Higher trims get simple 2020 features like cooled seats, heated steering wheel, larger screens, and so on, which are not available in the Sequoia.
But there’s only one TRD Pro
As of now, only the Z71 package on the Tahoe comes somewhat close to the Sequoia TRD Pro in terms of styling upgrades and off-roading goodies.
The TRD Pro package is optional with the Sequoia SR5 and adds a whopping $15,660 to the price tag for a grand total of $78,950, or $64,105 in the US. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only worthy purchase among all Sequoia trims because it is unique to Toyota.
Included features are 18-inch black BBS wheels, Fox shock absorbers, heritage Toyota front grille, JBL audio, LED headlamps and Rigid Industries LED fog lamps, roof rack, and more. Topping it all off is the unique-to-the-TRD-Pro Army Green colour, which is an absolute must.
Only old guys like me will appreciate it…
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia’s exterior styling is frozen in time but unless you take a closer look, you’d not guess it was nearly a 14-year old truck. The giveaway are the taillights and the circles within which remind me of the facelifted 1st generation Lexus RX from 2000 to 2003. The only other styling issue with the TRD Pro is the single tailpipe stuff into the rear bumper – it’s out of place and too “ricey” for this truck.
Otherwise, the Sequoia TRD Pro is the epitome of the SUV, a bridge between what they once were and where design has taken them today – it’s a cross between an International Harvester Travelall and the Ford Expedition. This is part of the truck’s unmasked honesty, and a reason why it remains so endearing.
Climbing aboard reveals the truck’s age on numerous points. One is the door cards and the quality of their plastic surfaces, the other is the dashboard’s layout and presentation. Granted, it’s all very functional as I love the large rotary knobs but again, the plastics, and the display, and the lack of features as explained above.
At more than 5 meters (205 inches) in length, the Sequoia is huge. The cabin is immensely roomy with a compact car’s volume worth of storage bins. Likewise, the compact car could be parked in the boot when the 3rd row is stowed: there are nearly 1,900 litres (67 cubic feet) of useable space.
The old i-Force V8 at work
There exists replacement for displacement for power but a large naturally-aspirated 5.7-litre V8 will always produce more “feels” than any boosted V6 if mostly because of the sounds and vibrations it produces. Power-wise, the V8 is still good for 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque and loves to rev. Maximum torque lands at 3,600 rpm just ahead of the variable valve timing kick-off. The rush is fun, raucous, and ruined when the 6-speed automatic transmission shifts.
The buildup in revs seems to last minutes, and just as real momentum builds, the transmission drops engine revs and it must start all over again. Obviously, this is not the best way to drive the truck but even if you feather the throttle regularly, expect to average between 16L and 18L/100km. In the city alone, prepare for 20L/100km. These figures are dismal, but in line with the Sequoia’s “history.”
Fox shocks are the other reason
I mentioned that the TRD Pro iteration of the Sequoia is the only one to consider. The included Fox dampers are tuned in such a way that the ride quality is better than decent, for a 6,000 lb ladder-framed pick-up-based SUV from the middle of the last decade.
As well as quelling road-surface ugliness, the allow the big “Green Giant” to hold the road with reasonable abilities. Unfortunately, steering is over-assisted with no real sense of what’s going on up ahead and the brakes feel as though they should be bled – the pedal is slow to respond.
With the right frame of mind, this truck is still amusing to drive unless cruising on the highway between 105 and 110km/h as the exhaust drones on.
So how about a 2020 Toyota Sequoia?
If I was rich, I’d have one if only to be cool at a car show in 2040. The Sequoia TRD Pro will be one of those “malaise-era” or whatever they’ll call them then vehicles that were all wrong in the first quarter of the 21st Century, and yet so cool.
Now, if I was to spend close to $80,000 on a large petrol-guzzling SUV, I would head to my nearest Dodge showroom and pick up a Durango SRT with a few options. It won’t be to go off-roading as one could with the Sequoia but on any paved surface, I’d have too much fun.