2012 Toyota Sequoia Review

Consumer Reviews
2 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
See the nominees and vote »
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 22, 2012

The 2012 Toyota Sequoia delivers traditional truck toughness, towing ability, and strong V-8 engines—plus the macho look to go with it.

The 2012 Toyota Sequoia is based on the same underpinnings as the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, and it extends the Tundra's macho look and serious towing and hauling prowess into a package that can also comfortably haul the family.

That said, the Sequoia definitely isn't appealing to everyone. Some might not even make it past the tall, heavily chromed snout, which like many of the most super-sized SUVs, looks designed to either intimidate or imitate big rig styling. With its huge, imposing chrome grille, tall hood and flanks, and details like its flared fenders, chunky door handles, chromed mirrors, and rippled sheetmetal, it's almost cartoonishly musclebound. And don't expect a respite from the look inside; the instrument panel and trim has more of the same—macho and oversize to be kind, but a bit overwrought in any case.

There are two V-8 engines offered in the Sequoia--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)--and 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. Overall, the Sequoia driving experience includes plenty of excess body motion and nosedive, but when pressed it actually handles like a smaller truck.

Seating space in the 2012 Toyota Sequoia is actually quite good; the first two rows are roomy and the seats are proportioned generously, for larger Americans. Slim drivers might not find any side support in the very wide front seats, though. The third row is only for smaller adults, as is typical in this class, and if you ride back there you'll need to contort just a bit. Overall, ride quality can be a little choppy.

Review continues below

Most of the interior design and controls carry over from the big Tundra pickup, which isn't necessarily a good thing; controls and knobs are almost cartoonishly large at times, yet light and plasticky to the touch. While the interior is well designed, upholstery and trim looks and feels a bit cheap, too.

For 2012, Toyota has added a trailer sway control system, as well as a blind-spot monitor, as standard. 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. Top 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. All four-wheel-drive Sequoias include skid plates and upgraded roll-sensing side-curtain airbags.

7

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Styling

The 2012 Toyota Sequoia has a pumped-up on steroids look that will appeal to most males, though some may find it just a tad too macho.

The 2012 Toyota Sequoia is about as big as they come, and with a healthy dose of testosterone thrown, this full-size SUV certainly isn’t for the fainthearted. The look may appear somewhat cartoonishly musclebound for some though it beats the almost anonymous styling of most minivans.

Standout features include an imposing chrome grille, tall hood, and high beltline. Adding to the musclebound look are pumped fenders, chunky door handles, chromed mirrors, and rippled sheetmetal. At the rear, a wide door-opening angle provides easy access to the cabin and child seat installation.

The Sequoia will happily go toe-to-toe with rivals such as the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, or Nissan Armada in terms of styling, and it's one of the most aerodynamic thanks to its relatively low 0.36 drag coefficient.

Inside, a matte-metallic plastic trim flows down from the gauge area and covers part of the center console, which some might find a bit odd or overwrought. That aside, the dash is very functional, with a very wide center console and chunky design incorporating simple, large controls and displays.

8

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Performance

The 2012 Toyota Sequoia is a great choice for people that tow, but its strong thirst may be a bit too much for families.

There are two engine options offered on the 2012 Toyota Sequoia, both of them V-8s. The standard unit displaces 4.6 liters and delivers a reasonable but far from exciting 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. For those wanting more power there is a 5.7-liter V-8, which brings to the table a much healthier 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.

The 5.7-liter unit is the recommended choice for people that tow, as most of its torque, up to 90 percent in fact, is delivered at just 2,200 rpm. To make towing easier and safer, the Sequoia offers a Tow/Haul mode that modifies transmission shift points to boost performance. There’s also a new-for-2012 Trailer Sway Control system that relies on the vehicle’s stability control to reduce the effects of trailer sway. When properly equipped, tow ratings range up to 7,400 pounds.

Both engines come matched to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, and 0-60 mph acceleration can be as quick as 6.7 seconds, which is seriously fast for a vehicle of this size. Four-wheel drive 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.

Despite sharing its underpinnings with the Tundra pickup truck, the Sequoia rides and handles reasonably well. The four-wheel independent suspension does a good job of keeping the vehicle stable during corners though traversing rough patches can upset things a little. The 38-foot turning circle, however, is one of the tightest in the full-size SUV class.

7

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Comfort & Quality

The Sequoia benefits from Toyota’s reputation for build quality though its materials and switchgear could do with some refinement.

The 2012 Sequoia comes standard with seating for eight and provides ample space in the first two rows, while the third row is best for children or small adults. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to find your ideal driving position but the front seats, which are designed for larger Americans, may not offer enough side support for slimmer individuals.

Storage space is ample once the third-row seats are folded in place, which is made easy thanks to a power-folding option. You’ll also find plenty of amenities such as cupholders and small bins, and--for families with young kids--materials that are easy to keep clean.

Build quality and panel gaps, like on most Toyotas, are near the top-end of the class. Our only gripe is that many of the dials and switchgear carry over from the Tundra pickup, which may be fine for a workhorse but feel a little cheap in the Sequoia. The matte-metallic plastic trim on most of the dash may not sit well with everyone, but items like the heated seats, steering wheel controls, and power tilt/slide moonroof help make up for this.

7

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Safety

Although there aren’t any independent crash-test results for the 2012 Toyota Sequoia, plenty of standard safety gear makes it a good choice for the safety conscious.

Apart from its sheer size, the 2012 Toyota Sequoia has a lot to offer in terms of safety. These include stability and traction control systems as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

The Sequoia is also equipped with a dual stage advanced front air bag system, seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and front passenger, roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three seating rows, plus driver and front passenger knee airbags.

Neither the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2012 Sequoia, though under former federal tests the 2010 and earlier model got a five-star rating for driver-side front-impact protection, along with four stars for the front passenger from NHTSA.

8

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Features

It may not have all the bells and whistles as its Chevy and Ford rivals, but the 2012 Toyota Sequoia has a lot to offer, even in standard trim.

There are three different trim levels to choose from when buying the Sequoia, a base SR5, mid-level Limited, and the luxury-packed Platinum. All come well-equipped, including the base SR5, which despite being aimed at cost-conscious buyers still comes with automatic tri-zone air conditioning, an eight-speaker stereo, a towing package, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio and climate controls.

Move up to the Limited and you get parking sensors, a power rear liftgate, a power folding third-row seat, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The best feature, however, is the rear-view mirror, which allows you to have a backup monitor without having to add a navigation system. The special rear-view mirror integrates a 3.3-inch monitor for the backup camera, and it also has an auto-dimming function, compass and map light.

The range-topping Platinum brings loads of luxury to the table, including DVD navigation and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 9-inch LCD screen, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, 12-way adjustable power driver’s seat, heated second-row seats, and rear load-leveling air suspension.

Missing, rather oddly, from the Sequoia's factory options list is serious off-road hardware, or a dedicated off-road model. It all makes sense when you see the much pricier Toyota Land Cruiser across the lot.

4

2012 Toyota Sequoia

Fuel Economy

There’s no hiding the fact that the 2012 Toyota Sequoia is a gas-guzzler, so if fuel bills or the environment are your primary concern you may want to look elsewhere.

With a curb weight approaching 6,000 pounds and only a pair of gas-powered V-8 engines to choose from, the 2012 Toyota Sequoia is hardly what you would call fuel-efficient.

The most frugal model, if you can call it that, is the base SR5 version equipped with a 4.6-liter V-8 and rear-wheel drive. Its official EPA gas mileage rating is 14/20 mpg city/highway and 16 mpg combined. If you opt for the Sequoia's 5.7-liter V-8 option and all-wheel drive, you’ll see gas mileage drop to 13/17 mpg city/highway and 12 mpg combined.

Note, the bigger V-8 is E85 flex-fuel capable, but if you want to be really environmentally conscious, while still having most of the Sequoia’s capability, GM's full-size SUVs, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Sierra, do offer a hybrid option, and Mercedes-Benz’s GL Class can be ordered with a clean diesel.

Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

2 Reviews
5 star
50%
4 star
50%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
January 27, 2016
2012 Toyota Sequoia RWD 5.7L Platinum (SE)

Super SUV - looks and performer well

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Great feature, great power, great comfort. Terrible gas mileage
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
April 28, 2015
2012 Toyota Sequoia 4WD 5.7L Platinum (SE)

Extraordinarily versitile, comfortable, safe, secure and pleasing to the eye.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Great visibility. Safety features great for the model. Would add auto stop and accident prevention and rear end crash avoidance. Consumer reports for the 2012 platinum gives great review.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$18,991 - $39,000
Browse Used Listings
in your area
7.4
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 7.0
Safety 7.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy 4.0
Compare the 2012 Toyota Sequoia against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Toyota Sequoia?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used