It has been some time since this writer has driven the Toyota Sequoia. This is a large vehicle most loved by outdoorsy folks and those with a lot to haul around. The Sequoia is Toyota’s full-size 3-row SUV unlike one of its stablemates the Highlander. Rather, the Sequoia is a body-on-frame utility vehicle. On a rugged platform, the Sequoia features a big V8 engine (381 horse) and can tow 7,400 pounds. No slouch. For those who camp, go off-roading and have something to tow, the Sequoia is heaven.
Competition for the Sequoia includes some big players, including the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2020 Ford Expedition, 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and one of its own stablemates, the Toyota Highlander. As competition, the 2021 Tahoe took the number one spot as MAMA’s “Family Vehicle of the Year.” It also offers a V8 engine (and available diesel), newer technology and improved suspension.
The 2020 Ford Expedition was updated a couple of years back but also offers a lot of features, and good space. Towing capacity for the Expedition is higher, too, at 9,300 lbs. The Chevrolet Suburban remains a favorite large SUV for many-as does the Tahoe XL, while the Toyota Highlander, while a 3-row SUV, doesn’t seem to be in the same ballpark. The engine is a V6 and the ride, a little more refined. The Sequoia, however, hasn’t had a full update in several years, but that doesn’t deter buyers from purchasing pre-driven Sequoias at decent prices.
Today’s buyer is often looking for upgraded amenities such as leather seating, and Sequoia only offers those on the Limited trim. The newest model to the lineup, the TRD Pro model does provide more off-road capability than Tahoe or the Expedition. And again, the Sequoia’s-any Toyota product-reputation precedes it and folks are very loyal to the brand.
The 2021 Toyota Sequoia is offered in several trim levels, including the TRD Sport ($59,344), Nightshade Special Edition ($62,940), SR5 ($50,100), Limited ($54,120), TRD Pro, and Platinum ($68,472). Our 2021 Sequoia Nightshade press vehicle carried a MSRP of $63,345 and total vehicle price of $67,505 with just under $3,000 of options. Buyers can opt for rear-wheel-drive (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). The 5.7-liter V8 (381 hp) is the only available engine, paired with the 6-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose from 5 exterior colors and 4 interior colors.
Our Nighshade edition came with options that included Rear-seat Blu Ray Disc Player with 9-inch display, two wireless headphones, wireless remote and rear audio system with 120v AC power outlet and RCA jacks ($1,920), and Premium Audio and convenience package-auto dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink Universal Transceiver and power folding outside mirrors (w/memory), Premium audio, 7-inch Touchscreen Dynamic Navigation w/3-yr. trial, JBL 14 speakers including Subwoofer/amplifier; connected services: Safety connect (1 yr. trial), Service Connect (10 yr. trial), Remote Connect (1 yr. trial), Destination Assist ($1065),(1 yr. trial w/up to 2 GB within 3-mth trial).
As expected, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia offers lots of standard features, particularly active safety features and standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa. As with many car buyers, the Sequoia has a following of loyal buyers. Anyone who has owned a Toyota product knows it’s a good investment. After some updates in 2020, the only update for the 2021 model is the addition of the limited-edition Nightshade, based on the Limited trim.
Although this writer would never be a candidate for this large of an SUV, it has its attributes, including a huge cargo capacity, reliability, a cool “racy” TRD version and room for 8 people! What wouldn’t appeal to this writer is its size, the ‘feel’ of being an old-style vehicle, and the exterior design. Not to even mention mileage of 13-17 mpg.
Somewhat of a ‘nitch’ vehicle, the Sequoia has a 4-wheel-drive system that includes a locking center differential, lots of ground clearance and the ability to take on rocks and lots of snow. If you choose the TRD Pro trim level, you’ll add Fox off-road shocks and 18-inch BBS wheels. It comes in an “army green” color.
The Sequoia’s roomy interior feels dated. The quality feels old and the infotainment group isn’t new age. The 7-inch touchscreen feels inadequate for a vehicle with these dimensions. Reaching the controls is tough to do while driving, so setting up your controls before you hit the road might be a good idea.
The 2021 Sequoia does include up-to-date safety features such as the lane departure warning, auto high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and stability control. All standard equipment. Knee airbags and backup camera are also standard, as they are federally mandated.
Pricing:$67,505 total; $63,345 MSRP, $2,985 options, $1,175 destination
Engine: 5.7-L V8
Transmission:6-speed shiftable automatic, RWD
Wheelbase: 122,0 in.
Width: 79.9 in.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gal.
EPA Mileage: 13/17 mpg.
Curb Weight: 5,730 lbs.
Gross weight:7,100 lbs.
Wheels: 18×8.0-inch, alloy
Tires: P275/65R all-season
Warranty: Basic: 36 mths/36,000-miles; Powertrain: 60 mths/60,000 miles; Corrosion Perforation: 60 mths/unlimited miles; Restraint Systems: 60 mths/60,000-miles