MONUMENT VALLEY HASN’T SEEN DINOSAURS IN 233.23 MILLION YEARS… UNTIL NOW: 2019 TOYOTA SEQUOIA PLATINUM 4X4
In the prime of the early to mid-2000’s the craze of gargantuan SUV’s was a hot commodity. These creatures designed for seven but occupied one was everyone’s answer to “bigger is safer” when it came to keeping the family unharmed in the event of an accident. The downfall to these immense lane porkers was the poor mpg and rise in cost to keep them on the road. Many of these mega-sized SUV’s still exist and as technology advanced over the years, the only thing that remained the same with these eyesores was their size. However, there are still some amongst that appear they’ve been stuck in an hour glass and the year is still 2008.
The Toyota Sequoia has been with us for 20-years now, first being introduced in 2000 as the full-size family hauler for those that wanted the towing capability of the new Tundra pick-up truck that was just released but needed the capacity to seat seven passengers. That method stayed the same in 2008 when it was fully redesigned alongside the Tundra incorporating the same 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter iForce V-8 powerhouse with over 400 lb-ft of torque distributed through a six-speed automatic transmission that could tow 7400lbs.
Now 11-years later, while much has changed, most has stayed the same. The Sequoia hasn’t changed a bit in those 132 months – the performance, exterior and interior design is exactly still the same with some minor advancement to the new LED headlight system and the incorporation of Toyota latest safety hardware, Toyota Safety Sense system. That development at least brought the Sequoia up to par with the latest vehicles on the road with Forward Collision Alert and Automatic Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic High Beams.
While performance is running old, it says a lot about its longevity. It takes a lot to move 6000lbs and the V-8 under the hood stands up to the challenge. Swift in its motions, the Sequoia can still lay down a beat when it comes to a quick sprint taking not quite 7-seconds to 60-mph. The six-speed automatic remains smooth and coy as the eight-cylinder engine grumbles into the next gear.
On the road, the Sequoia feels like a gentle giant. It lumbers around like an indolent house cat that can’t seem to be bothered with lively motions. Asking it to do more than it should, the vague steering and floaty boat suspension may give your passengers motion sickness.
Evaluating the Sequoia is quite the challenge for 2019 when we look at the new Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe and Nissan Armada. But our reasoning behind requesting it goes far behind its fossilizing stature. In the efforts of performing a photoshoot on another vehicle, the Sequoia’s purpose was to be our support vehicle. Going deep into the desert, we needed something with off-road capability that was more than any standard SUV, we needed something that was comfortable for our team that was about to embark on a 24-hour drive and ultimately, we needed something with immense cargo capacity.
Entering the vastness of Monument Valley, the Sequoia felt at home off the pavement more so than its alternative. With a variable adjustable suspension as well as an adjustable air suspension, we were able to adjust the ride quality between smoothness and sport (go figure) while raising it to its max setting for a comfortable confidence feeling in ground clearance as we triumph over a rough rocky terrain. The terrain never got too rough during our journey and didn’t call upon using the locking center differential.
When it came time to do our photo shoot, the power folding third-row seats came in handy – we had some rather large gearing that needed to be store inside the Sequoia for a temporary time to help keep things protected. With the second-row folded down, we didn’t have quite the flat surface we were hoping for as the second-row center console extruded a couple inches higher. But we managed to work around this little hiccup and when our duties were finished, the Sequoia was our saving grace.
Now, just short of the seventy-grand status with our Platinum 4X4 coming in at $69,303 – it’s very difficult to weigh the pro and con cost balance. Considering the interior incorporates too many cheap plastic bits, the infotainment/navigation system being too small and too far out of reach of the driver, and the 13-mpg fuel economy, the only thing the Sequoia has going for it, is its new off-road capable line-up with the TRD Sport ($52,620) and TRD Pro ($64,030.) If you want to have the towing capability of the Tundra, the off-road competence of a 4Runner and haul passengers in premium comfort of a Highlander – then the Sequoia TRD Pro may just have few more pros going for it.
Model: 2019 TOYOTA SEQUOIA
Starting Price: $49,905
As Tested: $69,303
Color: TOASTED WALNUT PEARL
Engine: 5.7-LITER iFORCE V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 381-HORSEPOWER / 401 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 13-CITY / 17-HWY / 14-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 13.5 MPG COMBINED | 19.5 MPG – 500 MILE HIGHWAY)
Fuel Range: 350 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±7.0 SECONDS
A plush cruiser. Looks like Toyota sold 856 of those last month, and 972 in the prior September. So really, despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more aged, Toyota seems to still be able to sell plenty of them. I guess they live by the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And, well, knowing Toyota reliability… it’ll probably never break.