The 2011 Toyota Sequoia is a large SUV with a large price tag, but it adds some much-sought-after versatility, convenience and roominess to family-filled days in the car.
A three-row SUV, the 2011 Sequoia is stylish without being ostentatious and it's filled with power, convenience and a variety of storage and seating options.
The Sequoia was redesigned in 2008, and the 2011 model year doesn't add much to the SUV other than a new on/off button for the daytime running lights. As far as I'm concerned, the Sequoia doesn't need too many changes.
My test car was the midlevel Limited trim with four-wheel drive. It comes with a 5.7-liter V-8 flex-fuel engine that delivers 381 horsepower. The Sequoia had no problems performing on the city streets and easily tackled a highway jaunt into the Rocky Mountains. I didn't take it off-roading, but rumor has it that the Sequoia also is competent on dirt, which is no surprise given its little brother, the 4Runner, is known for its great off-roading skills.
It's also no surprise given the size of the 2011 Sequoia and its engine that it's a gas guzzler. EPA estimates put the fuel economy at 12/17 mpg city/highway. When using ethanol, the Sequoia gets 9/12 mpg.
The Sequoia's starting MSRP is $40,930, and the as-tested price for my test car was $55,255.
With a large chrome grille and boxy shape, the 2011 Sequoia is attractive without too much pomp. A standard roof rack, 20-inch wheels and a rear spoiler complete the sporty look of the Sequoia Limited. The roof rack and spoiler are standard across the line, but the entry-level trim comes with smaller wheels.
My two older children, who are on the small side for ages 4 and 2, were able to get in and out of the SUV on their own thanks to the standard running boards. I was even able to pop in and out while wearing four-inch platforms and a skirt with the help of the running boards. One thing I like about Toyota's larger vehicles is the lightweight doors and the Sequoia is no exception. I never fear that any of my children will get irreparably smushed by a Toyota SUV door. My 4-year-old could even get the Sequoia's doors open on his own, though it required some monkey-like leaping and swinging maneuvers due to the door's height.
A power moonroof is standard across the line, and a power liftgate is standard on upper-level trims. This mama has to have her power liftgate so I was happy it was included on my test car. The 2011 Sequoia can tow up to 7,400 pounds, making it a good choice for people who need to occasionally haul things.
My test car, the midlevel Limited, came standard with a 5.7-liter V-8 flex-fuel engine. A 4.6-liter V-8 is standard on the entry-level Sequoia. The 5.7-liter engine delivers 381 horsepower, which was quite powerful and made for an enjoyable ride. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. While my test car was a four-wheel-drive vehicle, the Sequoia is also available with rear-wheel drive.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
With available seating for eight, a 60/40-split power-folding third row (standard on the Limited trim I tested) and a variety of seating configurations available, the 2011 Sequoia is great for growing families.
My test car had the 40/20/40-split second-row bench, which worked well for my family. Second-row captain's chairs are also available. Regardless of the second-row configuration, the seats slide back and forth enabling you to adapt front and rear legroom easily. Since I need to fit a rear-facing infant-safety seat in any car I drive, this makes a big difference because it gives the front passenger some legroom. It's also great if you don't have car seats installed in the second row since it allows easy access to the third row.
The seating is comfortable all-around, and my test car came standard with soft leather trim and a 10-way adjustable driver's seat. Retractable sunshades in the second and third rows made for happy little passengers during the dog days of summer.
Much like the 4Runner I reviewed, I found the Sequoia's center stack easy to reach and appreciated the simple knob setup. Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port are standard, and a rear entertainment system is available, though my test car didn't come with one.
Cargo space is a whopping 120.1 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded flat, but with all rows in use — something necessary to haul my family — cargo space diminishes to just less than 19 cubic feet, which seemed rather paltry. I couldn't even fit a few pool floaties in the rear without them falling out.
Storage around the cabin is better. There are dual glove boxes, handy little storage compartments underneath the window controls on the driver's and front passenger's doors (perfect for an energy bar or sunglasses), and the largest front center console I think I've ever seen. It can fit a laptop, all of your files and enough snacks to last a week. Brilliant!
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
The 2011 Sequoia received four out of five stars in rollover tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It hasn't undergone other crash tests by NHTSA or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Sequoia comes with standard rear-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, an electronic stability system with traction control and eight airbags, including side curtains for all three rows and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.
Optional safety features include four-wheel drive, front and rear parking sensors and a backup camera, which was in my test car as part of a navigation package ($1,460) and provides a clear picture on the 7-inch screen.
The Sequoia has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row. They're covered with a Velcro flap that you simply pull down when you need to use them. This made finding them easy and access to them simple.
I do wish any car that offers three rows of seats would also offer a third set of Latch anchors. It's often those of us who need the third row for a child or two that are buying these cars, so at least one more set of anchors in the third row would be a nice.
Get more safety information about the 2011 Toyota Sequoia here.