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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.
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.
- Strong, refined V-8 engines
- High tow ratings
- Good passenger comfort
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- Subpar interior trim
- Lack of maneuverability
- Poor gas mileage