Launched during the 2001 model year, Toyotas newest full-size sport utility vehicle evolved from the Tundra pickup truck and is built at the same Indiana plant. At 204 inches long, its about the size of the Ford Expedition and is considerably longer than Toyotas own Land Cruiser. Because of its recent debut, the Sequoia is basically unchanged for 2002, except for new front fog lamps and keyless entry, which are now available as stand-alone options for the SR5 model. The Sequoia comes in SR5 and upscale Limited trim levels.
Powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine, the Sequoia can have either rear-drive or four-wheel drive. Toyota now has five SUVs in its lineup, and the Sequoia is the largest. It is priced lower than the luxurious Land Cruiser and higher than the midsize 4Runner.
The Sequoia rides a 118.1-inch wheelbase and measures nearly 204 inches long overall 5 inches longer than the Chevrolet Tahoe and a foot longer than the Land Cruiser. Toyota shortened the Tundras wheelbase by 10 inches for use in the Sequoia, which is about 76.4 inches wide and 73 inches tall. The full-size SUV has four side doors and a rear liftgate, and the horizontal-bar grille and front styling are similar to those on the Tundra. The four-wheel-drive model has 11 inches of ground clearance, which is more than most rivals. A power moonroof is optional.
The Sequoia seats eight occupants with two front buckets and two three-place bench seats. Toyota claims that interior dimensions match the Ford Expeditions and exceed the Chevrolet Tahoes. A contemporary dashboard and control layout is similar to those in the Tundra. Stepping up to the Limited model brings leather-faced captains chairs, heated retractable mirrors and a 10-speaker JBL stereo system. A six-CD changer is optional.
Under the Hood
The Sequoias powertrain is borrowed from the Tundra. A 4.7-liter V-8 engine produces 240 horsepower and teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Both rear-drive and four-wheel drive are available. A dashboard control on 4x4 models allows the driver to switch in or out of 4WD High on the fly.
Antilock brakes are standard. Options include curtain-type airbags, daytime running lights and Vehicle Stability Control Toyotas electronic stability system. All eight seating positions have three-point seat belts.
Only a glance is needed to see that the Sequoia is really big. Despite abundant dimensions, the Sequoia does not feel as immense as some rivals once youve managed to get inside. In fact, it drives beautifully and yields an excellent highway ride. You feel the bumps, but the suspension absorbs the brunt of the imperfections. The Sequoia takes curves better than expected, though its hard to resist the tendency to restrain ones foot on the gas pedal. Little correction is needed on straightaways, and theres no tendency to wander.
Vigorous V-8 acceleration is matched by an easy-action automatic transmission with a column gearshift. The engine is quiet, and no other sounds are bothersome. Occupants have plenty of room all around, as well as abundant storage possibilities.