Launched during 2001, Toyota's largest sport utility vehicle evolved from the company's Tundra pickup truck and is built at the same Indiana plant. At nearly 204 inches long overall, the Sequoia is considerably longer than the Japanese automaker's own Land Cruiser SUV.
Sequoias exhibit a freshened exterior for 2005, which includes a new front fascia and grille, standard overfenders and redesigned taillamps with clear-lens covers. The V-8 engine has gained 42 horsepower and drives a new five-speed-automatic transmission. New side curtain-type airbags that incorporate roll sensing and extend to protect second-row occupants are optional.
A new optional Limited Luxury Package includes a height-control rear air suspension. The newly available touchscreen navigation system pairs with a 10-speaker audio system.
Offered in SR5 and upscale Limited trim levels, the Sequoia is priced lower than Toyota's luxurious Land Cruiser but higher than its midsize 4Runner, which are also truck-based. Sequoias may have either rear- or four-wheel drive.
The Sequoia rides a 118.1-inch wheelbase and measures 203.9 inches long overall � that's more than 11 inches longer than the Land Cruiser. Toyota shortened the Tundra's wheelbase for use in the Sequoia, which is 78.9 inches wide. The Limited rides on 17-inch tires, but the SR5 has standard 16-inch tires.
The full-size Sequoia has four side doors and a rear liftgate with a fully retracting power window. The four-wheel-drive Limited has 10.6 inches of ground clearance, which is more than most rivals offer. Toyota claims the Sequoia offers more cargo capacity than the Ford Expedition.
The Sequoia seats up to eight people on two front captain's chairs and two three-place bench seats. Its contemporary dashboard is similar to the Tundra's. Stepping up to the Limited model adds standard leather upholstery, heated front seats and a 10-speaker JBL stereo. Cargo volume is 128.1 cubic feet with all of the seats folded or 36.2 cubic feet behind the third row.
Under the Hood
Toyota's 4.7-liter V-8 produces 282 hp and 325 pounds-feet of torque. It teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission. The V-8 uses Toyota's variable valve timing with intelligence system. A dashboard control on 4x4 models permits switching into or out of 4WD High while under way.
Antilock brakes and Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control electronic stability system are standard. Options include side-impact and side curtain-type airbags. All eight seating positions have three-point seat belts.
Despite its abundant dimensions, the Sequoia doesn't feel as immense as some of its rivals once you've 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 road imperfections. The Sequoia takes curves better than expected. Little correction is needed on straightaways, and the SUV doesn't tend to wander.
Vigorous acceleration is matched by an easy-action automatic transmission and column-mounted gearshift. The engine is quiet, and no other sounds are bothersome. Occupants have plenty of room, and the Sequoia offers abundant storage possibilities.