2010 Toyota Sequoia Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 4, 2010

The 2010 Toyota Sequoia is hardly in sync with the times, but it does offer competitive towing and hauling abilities—along with plenty of interior comforts—for those who need a real truck.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the 2010 Toyota Sequoia and included the editors' own driving impressions here along with an assessment of how this large SUV stacks up against top rivals. And to help you make the most informed decision, we've included excerpts from some of the Web's top review sources in an adjacent Full Review.

The 2010 Toyota Sequoia is a full-size sport-utility vehicle, based on the mammoth Toyota Tundra pickup. In direct competition with other big utes like the the Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, and Nissan Armada, the Sequoia is built for hauling a full load of people and addressing heavy trailer-towing needs.

With its huge, imposing chrome grille and tall hood and flanks, plus its flared fenders, chunky door handles, chromed mirrors, and super-sized cues all around, the 2010 Toyota Sequoia is almost cartoonish in appearance from the outside. Inside, matte-metallic plastic trim flows down from the gauge area and covers part of the center console, which some might find a bit odd. Overall, the dash is very functional, with a very wide, multicompartment center console and chunky design incorporating simple, large controls and displays.

A 4.7-liter V-8 and five-speed automatic are standard on this behemoth, only managing 13/16 mpg when outfitted with four-wheel drive. An optional 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8, with its more efficient six-speed automatic, gets 14/19 mpg with two-wheel drive and 13/18 mpg with four-wheel drive. The fuel economy numbers are actually a bit better than those of some rivals, but they'll quickly deter some shoppers. For those who don't mind these figures and need a big ute for towing, the Sequoia drives with the best of them; either powertrain is quite smooth and responsive, though the clear favorite is the larger V-8. You'll never forget you're behind the wheel of a three-ton truck, though—you won't enjoy the Sequoia in any way on a tight, curvy road, and there's plenty of excess body motion and nosedive during braking. The turning radius is a sedanlike 39 feet, which helps it maneuver quite well at low speed.

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As full-size SUVs fade from popularity for soccer moms, what matters to most buyers is the Sequoia's true truck abilities. It comes with standard rear-wheel drive; four-wheel drive and a towing-friendly adjustable suspension are optional. The 4WD models have a knob-operated electronic two-speed transfer case containing a Torsen limited-slip differential that transmits power to front and rear axles and can be locked with the push of a button. Tow ratings range up to 9,100 pounds for rear-wheel-drive models and 8,800 pounds with four-wheel drive.

Seating space is more than adequate in the 2010 Toyota Sequoia; it feels like it's been designed for large Americans, and the available room in the first and second rows is tremendous. The third-row seating has reasonable space for smaller adults who are willing to contort a bit for entry and exit. With the power-folding option, expanding the already generous rear cargo area is a breeze. Most of the interior design and controls carry over from the Tundra, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, as the Tundra has been criticized for being too plasticky. Upholstery isn't a standout either in a class where interior appointments often parallel those of luxury vehicles, but there are copious cup holders and many small bins.

The 2010 Toyota Sequoia gets a five-star rating for driver-side front-impact protection, along with four stars for the front passenger from NHTSA, and it comes with all the expected safety equipment, including electronic stability control, side, and side curtain airbags. The Sequoia’s height and sheer size, paired with tough outward visibility, make it cumbersome to maneuver, so you might be at a disadvantage versus a smaller, nimbler vehicle in avoiding an accident in the first place.

All the luxurious features and options you expect from a large SUV are available in the 2010 Sequoia, including available middle-row captain's chairs, premium audio, DVD rear entertainment, and a reclining/power folding 60/40 split third-row bench. For 2010, the standard-feature list has been bolstered to include Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port, and aux-in port. There are few options on the Sequoia, but the lineup is split into base, Limited, and Platinum models, with the Platinum adding skid plates, a power hatch, heated mirrors, a rear-seat DVD system, a premium JBL sound system, a nav system with XM NavTraffic, perforated heated and ventilated captain's chairs, and real wood trim.

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