Auto123 critiques the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Professional.
As I started my check drive of this large Japanese 4×4, my thoughts wandered inevitably again to an occasion 12 years previous. The day after press day on the 2008 Detroit Auto Present, Toyota Canada invited a gaggle of automotive columnists – at a time when the phrase “influencer” wasn’t even a part of the vernacular but – to find 4 new fashions within the Motor Metropolis: the Toyota Corolla and its cousin the Matrix, the Lexus LX570 … and the most important Toyota SUV ever launched in North America, the Sequoia. On the time, the large SUV was preventing the nice struggle versus the opposite pachyderms available on the market. The mannequin continues to be with us right now, however there’s no getting across the actuality that within the interim, a lot has modified within the automotive area!
To place issues in perspective, the Toyota Sequoia that first launched in 2001 obtained an replace for that 2008 mannequin yr. Since then, although, nothing – completely nothing – has been executed to the imposing car, aside from a discreet redesign in 2018, the spotlight of which was a reshaped headlamp signature.
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In the meantime throughout the road at Common Motors, that firm’s massive SUVs (Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade) had been modernized twice, in 2006 and once more in 2014. And in case you did not know, GM’s large SUVs are all shiny and new once more for the 2021 model-year.
Again to 2020, twelve years later: I had event to get again behind the wheel of the nice previous Sequoia, extra particularly a TRD Professional trim. Not within the Windsor space (throughout from Detroit) as in 2008, however within the Montreal area, within the canine days of summer season. Listed below are the outcomes of my check drive of a little-loved SUV that has been promoting by dribs and drabs in Canada since its debuted again on the flip of the century.
The TRD Professional bundle
With its Khaki Inexperienced color (unique to the TRD Professional bundle), the Toyota Sequoia is definitely extra eye-catching; additionally serving to are the addition of the retro grille with its T-O-Y-O-T-A lettering, BBS wheels and the roof rack unique to this trim. Although to be sincere, aside from a couple of curious pedestrians, I largely drew consideration from 4×4 drivers curious concerning the id of this extraordinarily uncommon Toyota 4×4. Additionally price noting with the TRD Professional are Inflexible Industries fog lights, housed within the entrance bumper, in addition to protecting plates beneath the car, that are flanked by a purple TRD emblem.
Regardless of the beauty therapy, the previous Sequoia does not evaluate favorably with the newer Detroit fashions and even with the newer Nissan Armada. Let’s simply say the mannequin is basically beginning to present its age. That stated, I did not discover something untoward by way of meeting high quality. Although in fact, after 12 years of producing a product just about unchanged, you’d higher hope the producer has all of the kinks labored out!
A classic 2000s inside
Toyota’s resolution to not renew its massive 4×4 is justified by the very restricted viewers for this kind of truck. Ford and GM share the 2 largest shares of the phase. Therefore, the inside surroundings of the Sequoia has completely nothing to do with these of Toyota’s different, more-modern fashions.
The arduous plastic dashboard, full with a couple of misaligned panels, is really from one other period. The dimensions of the central-console touchscreen is exhibit quantity two, adopted by a number of the buttons that date again to the final century. That isn’t an exaggeration. Making issues worse, the button for the audio system quantity is just too small, whereas the button for altering stations is just too removed from the motive force.
There is not any scarcity of cupboard space inside the large Sequoia, although, from the centre console to the door baskets, to not point out the rear armrests the place my boys had been in a position to cover their newest Lego creations with out my data.
Floor clearance being what it should be for a 4×4 like this, entry into the Sequoia is difficult, however made simpler by the steps on the again. Stepping into the third row is not as straightforward, nevertheless, which is stunning given the Sequoia’s beneficiant inside area. What’s extra, when the third row of seats is in place, the out there quantity is frankly disappointing. Happily, as soon as it is folded into the ground, you should purchase a month’s price of groceries in a single shot. Notice, nevertheless, that the step is excessive for loading heavy objects; that is the case for all these massive 4x4s based mostly on a ladder chassis.
An outdated transmission
I can not actually fault Toyota’s decision-makers for his or her alternative of a powertrain; the large Sequoia has to depend on a very good previous V8 to get round. True, the Ford Expedition comes with a twin-turbo V6, whereas GM’s latest era of 4x4s might be ordered with a turbocharged V6, however on this area of interest, a V8 engine continues to be required. The catch with Toyota’s naturally aspirated 5.7L V8 is that it is mated to a 6-speed automated transmission. Briefly, except you are tremendous light with the proper pedal, the large truck has a tough time sustaining a gasoline consumption common beneath 17.0L/100 km, and this when solely two out of 4 wheels are used.
Powertrain efficiency, nevertheless, is just not an issue. I just like the sound of the exhaust system as effectively, though I am much less enamoured of it when transferring at freeway speeds. Customers wanting on the Sequoia most likely need the car to tone it down when cruising on the freeway.
The Sequoia additionally behaves like an actual truck. What’s extra, the Fox shock-reinforced suspension makes the car bounce extra on bumpy roads, nowhere extra so than on the notorious elevated part of Freeway 40 in Montreal – the Met, because it’s referred to as right here. However, this suspension does a very good job when off-road or else when the asphalt turns into clean as a pool desk; within the latter context Toyota’s largest SUV is sort of as comfy as a Camry. The steering is heavy and imprecise, however consumers of this kind of car know what to anticipate. Given the heavy weight of the car, it is smart to anticipate longer stopping distances.
The final phrase
At simply over $80,000 earlier than preparation charges and taxes, it is simple to see why the Toyota Sequoia TRD Professional is just not as commonplace on Canadian roads because the RAV4. Mockingly, throughout my few days behind the wheel, I got here throughout two different Sequoias on the highway. This kind of car is for big households who want a workhorse that may tow heavy masses – as much as 3,220 kg on this case – as a result of that is the benefit of those full-size SUVs. The Sequoia can also be more likely to be failure-proof over time, because the reliability of the mechanics is not in query.
The difficulty is that it’s outdated: outdated in expertise, outdated in design, and even outdated beneath the hood. If Toyota goals to take market share away from the class leaders – which frankly would shock me enormously – it’s going to take a greater than this large decade-old mannequin.
The look of the TRD
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Insufficient six-speed automated transmission
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