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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Toyota Sequoia Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Toyota Sequoia Overview

Brute Force With a Beautiful Face

For a great many years, the realm of the full-sized SUV was the sole domain of the Big Three. Two years ago, Toyota decided to try its hand at building a family hauling 4x4 and— to no one's surprise—they got it just about perfect. Resting on the same platform as the full-sized Tundra pickup truck, the Toyota Sequoia's rugged, go anywhere attitude combined with its Lexus inspired V8 make it one of the most desirable SUVs in the full-size arena today. But even with a hands-down winner in its fleet, Toyota clearly intends to remain competitive, offering the base SR5 at just over $32,000 with a full-loaded Limited topping out around $48,000.

Size is important, especially in this class, so Toyota made sure that the Sequoia's interior dimensions were second to none. The cargo area is so big that even with the third-row seat in place, you will still find a useable amount of stowage space behind it. You'll appreciate that Toyota wisely split the rear seat into a 50/50 configuration, allowing you to remove one or both seats without the aid of an Olympic power lifter. For those times when hauling plywood and plants takes priority over passengers, you'll find that the Sequoia's easy to operate fold and tumble second-row seats move away to create a vast cargo hold of 128 cubic feet.

The third-row seat is mounted on its own slide rails, allowing it to be moved forward to create more storage space or backward to increase legroom. You can tell someone at Toyota spent a great deal of time thinking about how people actually use their SUVs, right down to the smallest detail. Along with its built-in rear storage areas, the Sequoia also features specially designed hooks for hanging plastic grocery bags and no less than 10 cupholders.

With all the weight the Sequoia has to haul around, Toyota wisely looked to its Lexus division for a refined yet powerful heart to transplant into its new SUV. The Sequoia's 4.7-liter V8 shares a common ancestry with the LS luxury sedan and SC sport coupe. Modified for use in the Sequoia, the 4.7-liter V8 provides plenty of low-end power, an all-important factor when towing and passing. The Sequoia's V8 engine is rated at 240 horsepower and 315 lb.-ft of torque, helping it attain a tow rating of 6500 pounds. Yet for all its grunt, the Sequoia's V8 remains smooth and quiet, delivering its power in a remarkably smooth and linear fashion, which means that a gradually metered throttle input is all you need to make the Sequoia get out of its own way.

For 2003, Toyota offers a new load-leveling rear suspension that helps keep its tail from sagging under duress. The new rear suspension adds an extra measure of stability to an already rock-steady platform. On the open highway, the Sequoia feels stable and true, exhibiting only minor rolling and sway when performing emergency-like maneuvers. Though derived from the Tundra pickup truck platform, the Sequoia's ride is as smooth and bump free as any sedan. Standard Vehicle Skid Control and Traction Control help keep the big SUV under control when the road conditions become less than hospitable. Still, negotiating curves in any vehicle with a high center of gravity requires an added measure of caution, and while we don't recommend you drive your Sequoia like you would a performance sedan, a driver who stays within the rational boundaries of common sense should feel completely confident behind the wheel of a Sequoia.

The Sequoia's tall ride height and tough suspension may not make you the king of the s-curves, but take it off-road, and you quickly become master of all but the most vertical terrain. The 4x4 versions feature Toyota's Multimode four-wheel drive system that allows you to switch from two-wheel high to four-wheel high with just a push of button

Whether on or off-road, most people rely on their vehicle to protect them in the event of an accident, but the best built vehicle in the world can't do its job if the people inside it don't buckle up. For this reason, Toyota has equipped every passenger with a three-point seatbelt. The Sequoia has special crumple zones designed to absorb energy in the event of an impact and reinforced side pillars and door frames to protect against side-impacts. Optional on both the SR5 and Limited are front-side airbags and a side-curtain airbag. Anti-lock brakes are standard.

True to Toyota's reputation for value, the Sequoia has been blessed with a long list of standard equipment. The base SR5 comes outfitted with power windows, mirrors and door locks as well as cruise control, automatic temperature control, auto-off headlights, AM/FM/Cassette/CD with six speakers and a 4-speed automatic transmission. The upscale Limited model adds leather seats, a JBL audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver's seat, a roof rack, fog lights and the Homelink system. An auto-dimming rear view mirror and a flip-down DVD entertainment system with wireless headsets are two new options available on both the SR5 and Limited models.

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