Previously you could choose from two different V-8 engines for the Sequoia, but for 2013 Toyota has discontinued the smaller-displacement choice. And it's really for the better, as most Sequoia shoppers are towing-minded (tow ratings range up to 7,400 pounds), and the big 5.7-liter V-8 maximizes that ability without being that much thirstier.
With 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, the V-8 is a powerhouse, and it sounds just as commanding as its output figures, with a rumbling character. Most of its torque, up to 90 percent in fact, is delivered at just 2,200 rpm, and to make towing easier and safer, the Sequoia offers a Tow/Haul mode that modifies transmission shift points to boost performance. Trailer Sway Control is also included and allows the stability control system to potentially counteract (and warn the driver of) the effects of trailer sway.
And when the load's a little lighter, this is an SUV that can really move; 0-60 mph acceleration can be as quick as 6.7 seconds--better than most other vehicles of this size and capability.
The Sequoia shares its underpinnings with the Tundra pickup truck, but it rides and handles somewhat better. A four-wheel independent suspension helps keep the Sequoia stable through corners for the most part, although rough patches--whether pavement patches or gravel-road washboards--can upset its composure. This is by no means a maneuverable, city-friendly vehicle, but among large SUVs its 38-foot turning circle is commendable.
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. With 4WD, there's also a special A-TRAC active traction control that may provide additional help in limited-traction situations.