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The 2011 Toyota Sequoia is based on the mammoth Toyota Tundra pickup and takes on other big body-on-frame SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, and Nissan Armada. Built for hauling a full load of people and addressing heavy trailer-towing needs, the Sequoia sacrifices some handling and maneuverability—and a lot of fuel—for the sake of hauling.
To some, it might be a little hard to take the design seriously. The Sequoia looks like it's on steroids from the outside, and almost cartoonishly musclebound with its huge, imposing chrome grille, tall hood and flanks, and details like its flared fenders, chunky door handles, chromed mirrors, and rippled sheetmetal. Inside, it's more of the same—either macho, overwrought, or 'generously functional.'
Between the two V-8 engines that are offered, a 310-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 and five-speed automatic, or a 381-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 and six-speed auto (both with either rear- or four-wheel drive), it makes sense to go with the larger one. The fuel economy difference is negligible, and the 5.7-liter's much greater torque output makes sense for what this truck's intended: towing. When properly equipped, tow ratings range up to 7,400 pounds. And the Sequoia handles like a smaller truck, even though there's plenty of excess body motion and nosedive.
There's nothing to gripe about with respect to seating space in the 2011 Toyota Sequoia; the first two rows are roomy and the seats are proportioned generously, for larger Americans. The only complaint is that in those front perches, slim frivers might not find any side support. The third row is only for smaller adults, as is typical in this class, and those who ride back there have to be willing to contort a bit for entry and exit.
Most of the interior design and controls carry over from the big Tundra pickup, which isn't necessarily a good thing, as the Tundra has been criticized for being too plasticky. While the interior is well designed, upholstery and trim looks and feels a bit cheap, and ride quality isn't impressive.
All Sequoia models include keyless entry, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with leather trim, cruise control, an overhead console, and an eight-speaker sound system with XM satellite radio, auxiliary and USB ports, and Bluetooth streaming audio capability. Bluetooth is also included in all models. All four-wheel-drive Sequoias come with skid plates and upgraded roll-sensing side-curtain airbags.
2011 Sequoia Platinum models add 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.
- Roomy interior
- Smooth, strong V-8 engines
- Excellent towing capacity
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- Super-sized exterior
- Plasticky interior trim
- Difficult to park
- Poor fuel economy