What’s New – All new from the ground up, the 2008 Toyota Sequoia out-sizes almost all of its competition, and out powers them to boot. Based on the new-for-2007 Toyota Tundra full-sized pickup, the Sequoia is significantly larger than the vehicle it replaces, and muscles its way into the full-size SUV arena.
Why It Matters – The Sequoia is entering the marketplace at a precarious time, when full-size SUV sales are on the decline as gas prices spiral upward. Regardless, it’s a finely executed beast of burden, and there are a lot of people for whom large vehicles like this are a necessity, and not an option. For them, the Sequoia’s a good choice.
Toyota Sequoia – 2008 Review:The Sequoia is not just gigantic in every dimension, it wears its size as proudly as a fat guy in a Hawaiian shirt. One of our staffers took a look at its stadium-sized proportions and dubbed it the Toyota Dome. We thought its platform-mate, the full-size Tundra pickup, had inoculated us against its enormity. We were wrong.
Just for comparison’s sake, let’s run a few numbers, shall we? The Sequoia is three inches longer, has six inches more wheelbase, and is 0.9-inches wider than Chevrolet’s big boy, the Tahoe. Its wheelbase is three inches longer than a Ford Expedition, and even though it’s about an inch and a half shorter, it’s more than an inch wider. Even the gigantic Nissan Armada is narrower, although the wheelbase and body are both longer.
The funny thing is, once you take your first bite, this 72-ounce porterhouse of an SUV goes down like an eight-ounce breakfast steak. The big 5.7-liter V-8 has plenty of power in reserve, and has no problem motivating the Sequoia. Despite its girth and length, it’s just as maneuverable as the smaller Tahoe. It offers up a comfortable and effortless drive, and of course, enough room for a board meeting.
We’re not sure if we’d bestow a “Best in Class” award on the Sequoia, because it’s not without shortcomings. However, after years of the previous Sequoia catering to the “don’t need so much” crowd, it’s clear that Toyota has thrown in with the “more than we need” camp populated by domestic makes in a big and very convincing way.
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Despite the new Sequoia’s size and presence in the market, it lacks a “gotta have” feature that makes you sit back and put it at the top of your list. That’s not to say it isn’t a very competitive vehicle, because it is, with more power and more space than any of its competition. But even there, the power is mitigated by its highest-in-class weight – it weighs 140 pounds more than the Nissan Armada – and the space advantage is mostly in cargo-carrying capacity.
The most noteworthy addition to the Sequoia line is the new Platinum trim level, which slots above the previous top-dog trim, the Limited. With Platinum, you get pretty much everything that was optional on the Limited as standard, including an adjustable suspension, navigation system, and leather front seats made even better with heating and cooling. The only options are a rear seat entertainment system, dynamic cruise control, daytime running lights, and a Platinum-exclusive pearl white paint.
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Models and Pricing
Three levels of 2008 Sequoia are available: SR5, Limited and a new high-content Platinum trim. All can be ordered with rear- or four-wheel drive, and the SR5 can be equipped with a smaller 4.7-liter V-8 engine, essentially a carryover from the previous-generation Sequoia.
A rear-drive SR5 with the small engine will set you back $34,150, including the $685 destination charge; four-wheel drive adds $3,225, and the bigger 5.7-liter V-8 adds $1,125. No matter which engine or drivetrain you choose, the SR5 is nicely equipped, with three-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, dual sun visors, an eight-way manually-adjustable driver’s seat, and stain-resistant fabric. Outside, four-wheel drive models get standard skid plates for the transfer case. Options include foglights, a roof rack, a power moonroof, and upgraded audio systems including a DVD-based navigation system with a backup camera.
Step up to the Limited, and you’ll pay $45,910 for two-wheel drive, with the same $3,225 premium for four-wheel drive. In return for the extra $10,000 versus the SR5, the Sequoia Limited delivers the more powerful 5.7-liter V-8 engine, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front leather seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat, Bluetooth, an upgraded audio system, foglights, and auto-dimming mirrors. Options include the power moonroof, 20-inch wheels and tires, the navigation system, and a power rear liftgate.
The Platinum edition starts at $53,060 for the two-wheel drive and, that’s right, requires an extra $3,225 for four-wheel drive. At this point, pretty much everything optional on the other two trim levels is standard, and then some; the leather on the front seats is perforated with both heating and cooling; and the big wheels are also standard. About the only options left are the rear-seat DVD entertainment system and the daytime running lights available on the rest of the Sequoia line.