2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Professional evaluate | Automobile Opinions
As I started my check drive of this huge 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 massive SUV was combating the great struggle versus the opposite pachyderms in the marketplace. The mannequin remains to be with us right this moment, 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 acquired an replace for that 2008 mannequin yr. Since then, although, nothing – completely nothing – has been executed to the imposing automobile, apart 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 Basic Motors, that firm’s giant SUVs (Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade) have been modernized twice, in 2006 and once more in 2014. And in case you did not know, GM’s huge 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Again to 2020, twelve years later: I had event to get again behind the wheel of the great outdated Sequoia, extra particularly a TRD Professional trim.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 time. Listed here 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 package deal
With its Khaki Inexperienced color (unique to the TRD Professional package deal), the Toyota Sequoia is actually 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 trustworthy, aside from a couple of curious pedestrians, I largely drew consideration from 4×4 drivers curious in regards to the identification of this extraordinarily uncommon Toyota 4×4. Additionally value noting with the TRD Professional are Inflexible Industries fog lights, housed within the entrance bumper, in addition to protecting plates underneath the automobile, that are flanked by a crimson TRD emblem.
Regardless of the beauty therapy, the outdated Sequoia would not evaluate favorably with the newer Detroit fashions and even with the newer Nissan Armada. Let’s simply say the mannequin is de facto beginning to present its age. That mentioned, I did not discover something untoward when it comes to meeting high quality. Although in fact, after 12 years of producing a product nearly unchanged, you’d higher hope the producer has all of the kinks labored out!
A classic 2000s inside
Toyota’s choice to not renew its giant 4×4 is justified by the very restricted viewers for the sort 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 onerous plastic dashboard, full with a couple of misaligned panels, is really from one other period. The scale of the central-console touchscreen is exhibit quantity two, adopted by among 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 isn’t any scarcity of cupboard space inside the massive Sequoia, although, from the centre console to the door baskets, to not point out the rear armrests the place my boys have been in a position to cover their newest Lego creations with out my information.
Floor clearance being what it have to be for a 4×4 like this, entry into the Sequoia is hard, however made simpler by the steps on the again. Moving into the third row is not as simple, nonetheless, which is shocking 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 buy a month’s value of groceries in a single shot. Be aware, nonetheless, that the step is excessive for loading heavy objects; that is the case for all these giant 4x4s primarily based 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 massive Sequoia has to depend on a great outdated V8 to get round. True, the Ford Expedition comes with a twin-turbo V6, whereas GM’s latest era of 4x4s will be ordered with a turbocharged V6, however on this area of interest, a V8 engine remains to be required. The catch with Toyota’s naturally aspirated 5.7L V8 is that it is mated to a 6-speed automated transmission. In brief, except you are tremendous light with the suitable pedal, the massive truck has a tough time sustaining a gas consumption common under 17.0L/100 km, and this when solely two out of 4 wheels are used.
Powertrain efficiency, nonetheless, 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 shifting at freeway speeds. Customers wanting on the Sequoia in all probability need the automobile 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 automobile bounce extra on bumpy roads, nowhere extra so than on the notorious elevated part of Freeway 40 in Montreal – the Met, because it’s known as right here. However, this suspension does a great 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 nearly as snug as a Camry. The steering is heavy and imprecise, however patrons of the sort of automobile know what to anticipate. Given the heavy weight of the automobile, it is sensible 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. Satirically, throughout my few days behind the wheel, I got here throughout two different Sequoias on the highway. Such a automobile is for giant 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 be prone to be failure-proof over time, because the reliability of the mechanics is now not in query.
The difficulty is that it’s outdated: outdated in know-how, outdated in design, and even outdated underneath the hood. If Toyota goals to take market share away from the class leaders – which frankly would shock me vastly – it is going to take a greater than this huge decade-old mannequin.
The look of the TRD
We like much less
Growing older dashboard
Insufficient six-speed automated transmission
2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Professional footage