What's New for 2001
Toyota releases the Tundra pickup-based Sequoia, a full-size SUV that represents the first serious challenge to the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon from across either ocean.
Toyota is going after a sizable chunk of the full-size SUV market with the snazzy 2001 Sequoia, which slots between the 4Runner and Land Cruiser in price but not size.
Larger than a Tahoe or Yukon and about the same size as an Expedition, Sequoia's length, width, height, wheelbase and interior space all measure greater than the Chevrolet and GMC, while third seat room and cargo space is larger than all three competing models. Ground clearance, at a healthy 11 inches, is substantially greater than Chevy, GMC and Ford, but Toyota only offers eight-passenger capacity, compared to a maximum of nine occupants on the Tahoe, Yukon and Expedition.
Stylistically resembling the progeny of a Tundra and a 4Runner, Sequoia is powered by a smooth and silent 4.7-liter, i-Force V8 making 240 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque using regular unleaded fuel. Sequoia's V8 makes it the first Toyota truck to be certified as an ULEV (ultra-low-emission vehicle). For comparison, Toyota claims the Sequoia spews 40 percent fewer non-methane organic gases (NMOG) than the Ford Expedition with an LEV engine. Sequoia tows up to 6,500 pounds in two-wheel-drive format; four-wheelers can lug 300 fewer.
Other hardware includes an independent double-wishbone front suspension complemented by a five-link live rear axle. Four-wheel disc antilock brakes are standard, while Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is optional. Also helping protect occupants are three-point seatbelts in each seating position and optional curtain-shield side airbags.
Two trim levels are available: SR5 and loaded-up Limited. The latter buys you standard gear like leather seating, power retractable exterior mirrors, dual air conditioning, seat heaters, ten-speaker JBL sound system and aluminum wheels. Limited also includes third-row seating, privacy glass, a roof rack, and a tow hitch. A power sunroof, side airbags, and VSC are optional on both editions.
Sequoia will be built alongside the Tundra pickup truck near Terre Haute, Indiana. If you want one, consider this: Toyota expects to build only 60,000 Sequoias annually. We predict a serious shortfall, resulting in demand that far outstrips supply. You should probably start discussing your order with your Toyota dealer, like, yesterday.