I am not a huge full-size SUV fan, but when I do get one as a loaner, I generally enjoy my week with them. So, when I finally got my chance to try the $69,000+ 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum, I must admit I was a touch excited. But could this pricey ‘Yota live up to the massive bottom line on its window sticker?
Approaching the 2018 Sequoia is an impressive moment. It’s far larger than I thought, sharper looking, and, on the surface, more premium looking. It was so imposing, in fact, that even my wife, who generally likes cushy SUVs, wasn’t overly fond of it. Despite the immediate pleasure when approaching it, it is quickly dispelled because closer examination shows the Sequoia’s design is quite dated.
The pleasure fades even more as you step into this beast of a peoplemover. First, the step up into this rig is a trek for anyone under 6 feet tall. Then there are the seats, which while comfortable, offer little in lateral support, so you find yourself sliding all over the place. Also, while its audio system is nice sounding, the rest of the features are extremely old. Its 6.1-inch touchscreen is downright unacceptable in a nearly-$70,000 SUV, its lack of push-button start is just confusing, and its controls feel too closely related to its pickup truck cousin.
What’s more, while the leather is nice, the rest of the Sequoia’s materials just feel cheap. I’d expect this from a $40,000 SUV posing as a “luxury” option but not from one that nears $70,000. This ‘Yota should be slathered in dead cow hide, its controls should be nearly flawless, and I shouldn’t see anything remotely resembling plastic above the waistline. The Sequoia fails on all fronts here.
If there is one nicety inside that I can point to, it’s the Blu-Ray player with 9-inch screen. This played a huge role in keeping the kiddos in check on long hauls.
Under the Sequoia’s hood is the equally dated 5.7-liter V-8 engine that Toyota’s passed around for ages. Sure, it’s plenty potent at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, but I feel like a neanderthal feeding this gas-sucking powerplant. This aged feel is compounded by its clunky six-speed gearbox and sloppy, too-truck-like suspension. I am sure it’s great for off-roading, but who in their right mind is actually taking a $70,000 Toyota down a rut-filled trail anytime soon?
Overall, I don’t know what Toyota’s plans are with the Sequoia, but I do know that the Platinum trim is unimpressive and way overpriced. Maybe its lower trims, which start just south of $50,000, are a better value, but I am a skeptic.
- Lots of grunt from its V-8 engine
- Built to go off-road
- Lots of room for humans and cargo
- Terrible gas mileage
- Who is off-roading a $70,000 SUV?
- Sloppy handling
- Cheap interior look and feel
- Severely lacking features