Road Test: 2019 Toyota Sequoia

Only the toughest SUVs need apply for the job of family vehicle, because truth is not every full-size SUV is up to the challenge. That’s where Toyota Sequoia enters.

Much like the massive redwood trees for which it is named, Sequoia stands tall in the full-size SUV segment thanks to its spacious cabin, versatile cargo options, powerful engine and capable chassis.

Whether loaded with passengers and gear for the ball game, pulling a boat out to the family lake house, or just making a run to the local market, Sequoia is always at the ready for the most demanding households.

The 2019 Sequoia offers it all: roominess, luxury, off-road skillfulness, towing capability, and style. 

Sequoia offers ample comfort and room in all three seating rows. The independent rear suspension makes for the Sequoia’s smooth ride and plays a large part in allowing for the third row’s roominess, which offers adult-size legroom (35.1 in.). Second-row legroom is massive at 40.9 inches. 

Maximum strength comes from its 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8, which produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft. of torque. Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and an Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) ensure ample torque can be accessible across the engine’s entire speed range. This powerhouse requires only regular-grade gasoline and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Those who tow will love the big V8’s ability to produce 90 percent of peak torque at a low 2,200 rpm. This sort of low-end grunt makes pulling trailers no-sweat work.

Sequoia can tow up to 7,400 lbs depending on model grade and equipment. The Sequoia’s standard tow hitch is integrated into the frame as a single unit for added strength and durability. Tow/Haul mode modifies shift points for optimal towing performance, while standard Trailer Sway Control uses the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract handling forces that can lead to trailer sway.

The Sequoia’s body-on-frame construction provides a stable, comfortable foundation for towing, off-pavement driving, and everyday commuting. Four-wheel independent suspension yields outstanding bump absorption on-road and excellent wheel articulation off-road.

Our loaded Sequoia Platinum steps into luxury territory with its load-leveling rear air suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension, an electronic damper control system that offers selectable settings for Comfort, Normal, and Sport. The rear air spring suspension helps maintain appropriate ride height and chassis attitude when carrying heavy loads or towing.

Reigning in the Sequoia’s momentum are 13.9-inch ventilated front disc brakes, which utilize four-piston brake calipers, while 13.6-inch ventilated disc brakes are utilized in the rear. Platinum’s 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels feature a distinctive diamond-cut finish that just glistens.

Sequoia’s power rear liftgate means those who are height-challenged don’t have to jump up to close it. We love that it still has a sliding window, a Toyota-only feature. Second- and third-row retractable sunshades are surprising touches.

We can’t say enough about the gorgeous perforated leather seating throughout with front seats that are heated and ventilated. A 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, and second-row heated seats all come standard on the Platinum.

There’s even a Blu-ray rear seat entertainment system for those who prefer, because the Sequoia is so quiet and comfortable that it may as well be a movie theater on wheels. 

Toyota went above and beyond by offering power-retractable and auto-dimming side mirrors that tilt down when the SUV is backing up.

When folding the second- and third-row seats flat, the Sequoia can swallow up to 120.1 cubic feet of whatever needs carrying – even objects up to 11 feet long. Extra-large cup/bottle holders outnumber passengers two to one.

The third-row seat, which is fully hospitable for adults (no kidding!), is split 60/40 and can recline. The third row also easily folds flat, a task made even more convenient by the power tilting and folding feature. 

For 2019, every grade of Sequoia features LED-lit gauges and a color Multi-Information Display between the speedometer and tachometer. 

Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite works well on the 6.1-inch touch-screen, but we look forward to the updated system with Apple CarPlay. 14 JBL GreenEdge speakers including a subwoofer amplifier sound amazing in this cabin.

And like all Toyota’s now, Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) is standard on every Sequoia. This advanced active safety suite bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard too.

Overall, the Sequoia is the greatest bang for the buck when it comes to efficiently moving people and/or cargo easily, and comfortably.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 9
Braking 9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 7
Noise 9
Headlights 8
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 10
Gauges and Controls 8
Infotainment 6
Crash-Avoidance 9
Total Score 86


Make: Toyota
Model: Sequoia
Trim Level:
Engine: 5.7L V8
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Options: Floormats

Base Price: $67,635
As-Tested Price: $69,303

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