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Entry price: $48,600

Price as tested: $59,840

Likes: Very roomy, powerful V8, extremely safe vehicle, great for towing.

Dislikes: Fuel mileage, dated transmission, no power lift gate.

This week we’re driving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia, a roomy full size SUV featuring all-new Toyota Racing Development (TRD) model designation.

Toyota’s Sequoia first appeared in 2000 and in its 18 year history is still in its second generation, which arrived in 2008. Built in Princeton, Indiana, since day one, Sequoia is the largest SUV Toyota offers and is 10-inches longer in wheelbase than the more expensive Toyota Land Cruiser.

Not surprisingly, this full-size 7,100-pound tow capacity vehicle carries a full chassis underneath similar but not identical to the heavy-duty full-size Tundra pickup. The major differences include Sequoia’s rear independent suspension featuring double wishbones with coil springs for improved ride comfort and a Torsen brand locking multi-mode center differential on the 4x4 units.

Available in four trims, Sequoia starts at the entry SR5 at $48,600, then moves upward to our TRD tester at $51,315, Limited at $57,095; and top line Platinum at $64,310. If you want the 4x4 version, add approximately $3,000 to the above prices.

All seven passenger TRD models feature TRD tuned Bilstein shocks, special front and rear anti-sway bars, 20-inch black alloy wheels, TRD sport grill, TRD shifter, dark tail lights, dark mirror covers and TRD badges. Additionally, our tester added a $3,810 TRD Sport Premium option that features a beautiful leather interior, heated power front seats, power reclining and fold flat third row (very nice) and an Entune Premium stereo with navigation. As tested, our TRD Sequoia came in at a final $59,840 with $395 for protection film and $1,295 delivery included.

In addition to the new TRD model, all 2018 Sequoias now arrive with LED headlamps, some new colors and a re-styled front end. Other than that, it’s the Sequoia we’ve come to appreciate over the years as the “big bruiser” of SUVs.

Under the hood sits Sequoia’s 5.7-liter V8 that produces 381 horses and 401 lb. ft. of torque. 

Coupled to a heavy duty six speed automatic, our TRD delivers just 13 city and 17 highway, something Toyota might want to work on in the future. 

Perhaps a new transmission with better cruising gears might help, but this engine will always require more fuel to move and tow in an aggressive manner.  

Although the MPG number is a negative, there are many Sequoia positives. From a safety aspect, riding around in a Sequoia has built-in security from its size/mass alone. Then, when you add the modern standard Toyota Safety Sense-P features, I pity anything smaller than a small bus that plows into a Sequoia. As for towing, you can overlook the fuel mileage if you haul a travel trailer or race car around regularly as it’s a breeze pulling anything 3.5-tons or less.   

As a consumer, you owe it to yourself to drive any of the Sequoias from SR5 to Platinum before considering other, more expensive, luxury SUV alternatives. Yes, Sequoia is big and more Tundra like, but the return on investment is clear and the safety offered is tough to duplicate.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.

 

Auto Bits

Ford issues recall for Escapes, Fusions

Ford recently issued a recall of more than 500,000 Escape SUVs and Fusion sedans in the U.S. over rollaway concerns due to a faulty shifter cable bushing. A degraded shifter cable bushing that detaches from the transmission may allow the transmission to be in a gear state different than the gear shift position selected by the driver. These vehicles are part of the recall: 

• 2013-14 Ford Escape SUVs built at Louisville, Kentucky, Assembly Plant between May 15, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014 Ford Fusion sedans built at Flat Rock, Michigan, Assembly Plant between June 18, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014-16 Ford Fusion built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant between June 2, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015

• 2013-14 Ford Fusion built at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant in Sonora, Mexico, between May 15, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014-16 Ford Fusion built at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant between June 2, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015

Ford dealers will replace the shifter cable bushing at no cost to the customer. But in the meantime, the company has said car owners should use their parking brake whenever they are parking. 

More Content Now

 

Did you know

The type of coolant required by your vehicle can vary by year, make, model, engine and even the country where the car was made.