2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Review: Riding a Dinosaur

Ground clearance being what it must be for a 4x4 like this, entry into the Sequoia is tricky, but made easier by the steps on the back. Getting into the third row isn t as easy, however, which is surprising given the Sequoia s generous interior space. What’s more, when the third row of seats is in place, the available volume is frankly disappointing. Fortunately, once it s folded into the floor, you can buy a month s worth of groceries in one shot. Note, however, that the step is high for loading heavy objects; this is the case for all these large 4x4s based on a ladder chassis.

An outdated transmission

I can t really fault Toyota s decision-makers for their choice of a powertrain; the big Sequoia has to rely on a good old V8 to get around. True, the Ford Expedition comes with a twin-turbo V6, while GM s newest generation of 4x4s can be ordered with a turbocharged V6, but in this niche, a V8 engine is still required. The catch with Toyota s naturally aspirated 5.7L V8 is that it s mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. In short, unless you re super gentle with the right pedal, the big truck has a hard time maintaining a fuel consumption average below 17.0L/100 km, and this when only two out of four wheels are used.

Photo: V.Aubé

2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, three-quarters rear

Powertrain performance, however, is not a problem. I like the sound of the exhaust system as well, although I m less enamoured of it when moving at highway speeds. Consumers looking at the Sequoia probably want the vehicle to tone it down when cruising on the highway.

The Sequoia also behaves like a real truck. What s more, the Fox shock-reinforced suspension makes the vehicle bounce more on bumpy roads, nowhere more so than on the infamous elevated section of Highway 40 in Montreal – the Met, as it’s called here. On the other hand, this suspension does a good job when off-road or else when the asphalt becomes smooth as a pool table; in the latter context Toyota s largest SUV is almost as comfortable as a Camry. The steering is heavy and imprecise, but buyers of this type of vehicle know what to expect. Given the heavy weight of the vehicle, it s wise to anticipate longer stopping distances.

2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, front grille

The last word

At just over $80,000 before preparation fees and taxes, it s easy to see why the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is not as commonplace on Canadian roads as the RAV4. Ironically, during my few days behind the wheel, I came across two other Sequoias on the road. This type of vehicle is for large families who need a workhorse that can tow heavy loads - up to 3,220 kg in this case - because that s the advantage of these full-size SUVs. The Sequoia is also likely to be failure-proof over time, as the reliability of the mechanics is no longer in question.

The trouble is that it is outdated: outdated in technology, outdated in design, and even outdated under the hood. If Toyota aims to take market share away from the category leaders - which frankly would surprise me greatly - it will take a more than this big decade-old model.
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