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Auto Corner: Monster Comforts, the 2011 Toyota Sequoia

17 April 2011   John Dickerson
2011 Toyota Sequoia drops anchor in opulent waters
toyotasequoia
The battle of land yachts has calmed, but Toyota’s Sequoia still sports plenty of comfort for passengers.

There are few categories where I don’t outright recommend buying a Toyota over every competitor. The gigantic SUV category is one of them. Don’t get me wrong; Toyota’s Sequoia is a great truck. It’s just that – in my opinion – it’s not noticeably better than the competing Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition. All three are great choices with proven reliability and similar gas mileage.

Ultimately, you’ll need to drive each of these big SUV’s to decide which one is best for you. The Sequioa may well be the winner. It’s an incredible and well-priced full-size SUV.

{sidebar id=26}Before you drive any of these brutes, let me give a little background. As you know, SUV’s became popular in the 1990’s. As they grew in popularity, they also grew in size. Today’s truck-based family SUV’s are mammoth, comfortable and superbly powerful. They have ported as yachts amongst the mere boats of suburbia.

In 2001, Toyota entered the full-size luxury yachting waters with a competitive first-model entry, the Sequoia. Like Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Ford’s Expedition, Toyota based its Sequoia on its full-size pickup truck. And like the domestic land-yachts, the Sequoia was worthy of two parking spaces. The luxury model comes outfitted with a herd’s worth of leather hide.

While Ford and GM offer luxury badges (the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade) for their full-size SUV’s, Toyota does not. There is no Lexus version, but the fully equipped Sequoia might as well be a Lexus and costs about the same as a fully loaded Navigator.

In 2008 Toyota completely redesigned the Sequoia. The newest Sequoia is bigger, smoother and more powerful than its predecessor. That 2008 model has been slightly updated for 2011 and has proven itself a competent, easy-to-drive and also, an incredibly huge vehicle.

This is an elephant-sized yacht with La-Z-Boy seating for eight, but it drives like a dream. The newest freshen of the Sequoia includes an improved dash and an array of family-comfort options, including rearview backup camera, power lift tailgate and Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

The interior components and leather on the 2011 model are fitting of the Toyota badge. I This rig also comes with a great DVD entertainment system in the rear.

As for safety, this is the vessel you’d want to be in for just about any kind of collision. Safety features include full-length side curtain airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes and a very functional rearview backup camera (image appears on the color navigation screen of the dashboard.).

As expected for a vessel of its size, the Sequoia is powered by either one of two available V-8 engines. The smaller 4.6 liter produces 310 horsepower, while the larger 5.7 churns out 381 horsepower. Trailers and passengers both get whisked forward with hardly any effort by either engine. Both those big engines produce less than ideal gas mileage.

For all its mass and tonnage, the Sequoia handles itself well. It is well mannered through the turns and doesn’t feel nearly as heavy as it actually is. Bottom line is that it’s a comfortable, spacious living room on wheels for families on the go – exactly what a key demographic of buyers wants.

© Copyright 2011, John Dickerson

toyotasequoia_interior

It's easy to mistake this for a luxurious media and entertainment center, but, it's really a Toyota Sequoia!

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