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2020 Toyota Sequoia Review

2020 Toyota Sequoia Review
LIKES
  • Healthy V-8 power
  • Massive interior
  • Updated infotainment
  • Standard active safety features
DISLIKES
  • Thirsty, so thirsty
  • Basic interior
  • Not a value
  • Rival full-size SUVs are better
BUYING TIP
  • The 2020 Toyota Sequoia’s price climbs fast, so stick with the base SR5 trim for the right level of features at a palatable price.

A new TRD Pro package this year adds some excitement to the 2020 Toyota Sequoia but doesn’t disguise this design’s age.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is a thirsty, ponderous large SUV that hasn’t changed much in the 12 model years the current design has been on the market.

An upgraded TRD Pro trim level this year adds serious off-road hardware to a lineup that includes mainstream SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. The rugged appearance trim is not enough to elevate the dated Sequoia above a 4.4 out of 10 rating on our scale, however. 

The bulbous three-row Sequoia will barely squeeze into most suburban garages, and it offers room for up to eight passengers in three rows. Cargo space behind the third row is adequate. Fold the second and third rows flat and it’s spacious enough for just about any weekend hardware store run. 

The truck-based Sequoia is powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 rated at a healthy 381 horsepower, but its 6-speed automatic transmission is down on gears compared to rivals. That helps explain its dismal fuel economy, at least somewhat. With a towing rating as high as 7,400 pounds, the Sequoia won’t out-lug some beefier rivals, though it’s a stable lugger.

This year’s upgraded TRD Pro is a formidable four-wheeler, at least for the handful of buyers who want impressive off-road capability in a big Toyota not named Land Cruiser. Most shoppers are best served with the entry-level Sequoia SR5. At upward of $50,000, it is not inexpensive, though newly standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility at least bring it up to par. 

The Sequoia comes standard with a good array of collision-avoidance features as well as convenient adaptive cruise control, which are features its Chevy and GMC rivals offer for a hefty premium.

Overall, that’s not enough for the Sequoia to overcome the chintzy interior, guzzling V-8, outdated interior, and limited tech.

Styling
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is bland outside, and borderline downmarket inside.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia doesn’t earn any points for its age. This basic design dates back more than a decade, and it wasn’t exactly pretty then. We score it at 3 out of 10, dialing a point from average for the low-rent interior and another point for being old. 

The 2020 Sequoia’s two-box shape is conventional, with a few curves to liven things up. Most trims look the same aside from dressier wheels the more you spend. This year’s new TRD Pro trim adds a honeycomb grille with “Toyota” stamped across the middle, cast-aluminum running boards, blacked-out exterior bits that look chunky, plus all-terrain tires that deliver the goods off-road. 

Inside, things go downhill with a quickness, and high-spec versions are hardly nicer. Painted silver trim dominates the awkwardly styled dash, which leaves the front-seat passenger feeling like they’re out on their own. The dash itself looks like it was designed for a truck with a bench seat, like the Tundra pickup it’s based on, but don’t go looking for one on the Sequoia’s options list.

The standard 7.0-inch touchscreen is swallowed up by the big dash with its outlandishly large control knobs and buttons. If you must, perhaps order one with the rich brown leather available on costly versions.

Performance
V-8 muscle means the 2020 Toyota Sequoia is a heavy-hauler, but it drives like one as well.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia doesn’t want for power, though it never forgets its truck roots. We rate the 2020 Sequoia at 5 out of 10, with a point above average for its confident towing ability that we dial back because of its ponderous handling. 

All 2020 Sequoias make use of a 5.7-liter V-8 rated at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque that either sends power to the rear wheels, or all four with the optional full-time transfer case. The 6-speed automatic transmission delivers syrupy shifts, but its limited cogs help explain the dismal fuel economy compared to rivals with 8- and 10-speed gearboxes. 

Underneath, the Sequoia rides on a separate ladder frame similar to the Tundra full-size pickup and features an independent front suspension paired with a solid rear axle suspended by coil springs. That’s hardly high tech, but it works well enough to deliver a competent ride. The taller sidewalls on the SR5 and TRD Pro trims quell bumps better than the 20” wheels and shorter sidewalls standard on other trims. 
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Sequoia TRD Pros also make use of trick Fox shocks that deliver a remarkably comfortable ride on pavement while soaking up big bumps off-road. The Sequoia is awfully big for four-wheeling, but the TRD Pro has more chops than we expected. Still, if you want a big Toyota for off-roading, maybe a lightly used Land Cruiser is in your future. 

Depending on configuration, the Sequoia is rated to tow between 7,000 and 7,400 pounds. That’s not as hefty as some competitors, but the strong engine means it doesn’t struggle with a hefty trailer out back.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is spacious, though its interior is short on pizzaz.

There’s plenty of room for the whole family and their gear inside the 2020 Toyota Sequoia. Just don’t look for Lexus-grade materials, even on range-topping versions that costly nearly $70,000.

We rate the Sequoia at 7 out of 10, giving it points for its spacious confines for humans and their gear, but peeling one back for plastic trim that could pull double duty as an emory board.

The Sequoia full-size SUV offers upward of 40 inches of leg room for front-seat and second-row passengers. The third row is tighter but still tolerable for adults, and climbing aboard isn’t too tough with the running boards standard on most trims. A bench seat is standard on the second row with captain’s chairs optional. 


Power-adjustable front seats are standard on all versions. 

Behind the third row, the Sequoia offers about 19 cubic feet of cargo space. With the third row flopped down, the cargo space is fairly flat and there’s room for nearly 67 cubes of goods. With the second row tumbled, that space nearly doubles to a hefty 120 cubic feet. 

Interior materials are subpar, with scratchy plastic trim on the dash and doors. Many versions have shiny silver plastic that looks like a throwback, and not in a charming way. The optional fake wood trim looks better by comparison, but it’s not convincing in the least.

Safety
Crash-test results for the 2020 Toyota Sequoia are curiously non-existent.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia will do its best to avoid a crash thanks to a good level of standard active safety gear, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-sport monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and high-beam assist.

Oddly, the IIHS and the NHTSA haven’t crash tested the current model. 

That’s unusual, especially given how long the Sequoia has been around. The Sequoia also includes eight airbags.

Features
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia now includes advanced smartphone capability, as it should at these prices.

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is a big SUV, and we don’t just mean its footprint. Toyota asks a lot of money for the Sequoia, and it’s not a great value. We rate it at 5 out of 10, a perfectly average score now that it includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The base Sequoia SR5 runs about $51,200, and for that money buyers get a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a power moonroof, LED headlights, a roof rack, running boards, 18-inch wheels, cloth seats, and adaptive cruise control. Another $3,200 buys four-wheel drive. 

If you’re set on a Tundra, that’s the model we’d buy. The $9,000 upcharge for the Limited trim is a heck of a lot for leather seats, 20-inch wheels, and not much else.
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Go all in and the Sequoia Platinum can cost nearly $70,000 with four-wheel drive. It’s loaded up with a Blu-ray player, heated and cooled front seats, a heated second row, keyless ignition, and JBL speakers, but none of that really impresses for that hefty price. At $65,355, the new TRD Pro with standard AWD slots between the Limited and Platinum.

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia is one of the thirstiest new vehicles you can buy.

Don’t look for a fuel-saving hybrid powertrain, active aero features, or low rolling-resistance tires on the 2020 Toyota Sequoia. This is a brash guzzler that makes no apologies for its dismal fuel economy.

We rate it just 2 out of 10. There aren’t many thirstier cars on the market. 

Rear-drive versions are rated at 13 mpg city, 17 highway, 15 combined. Opt for four-wheel drive and the combined figure slides to 14 mpg. 

Most competitors are rated at least a couple of mpg higher, and some top 20 mpg on the highway.

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