Full 2011 Toyota Sequoia Review
What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Toyota Sequoia carries through essentially unchanged.
The 2011 Toyota Sequoia marks the 10th year of production for this perennial overachiever. Ever since its last redesign three years ago, the Sequoia's generous helpings of torque, interior volume and civilized road manners have kept it a top choice among full-size SUVs.
Thanks to its available 5.7-liter V8, the 2011 Sequoia is one of the quickest SUVs in its class. In our testing, a Sequoia Limited 4WD hustled its nearly 6,000-pound frame to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. There's plenty of towing capacity, too, with up to 7,400 pounds available when properly equipped. Its 4.6-liter base V8, introduced last year and standard on the SR5, is no slouch either, with its 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque.
The Sequoia's chassis balances a comfortable highway ride with adequate off-road agility. An independent rear suspension, a relatively tight 39-foot turning circle and 10 inches of ground clearance make the Sequoia at home on trails, in the Costco parking lot and on the urban expressway. A rear air suspension is also available on the Platinum model.
Growing families will also appreciate the Sequoia's versatile second-row seats, available as either a 40/20/40-split bench or captain's chairs. These seats feature plenty of fore-aft adjustment, optimizing legroom or cargo room as needs dictate. Unlike GM's full-size SUVs, the Sequoia's independent rear suspension allows the roomy 60/40-split third-row seat to fold flat. Stowing the second- and third-row seats opens up a cavernous 121 cubic feet of cargo space for more serious hauling, facilitated by a power liftgate that is now standard on the Limited.
If you're not in need of the Sequoia's massive towing and hauling abilities, however, a large crossover SUV like the 2011 GMC Acadia (or its Buick Enclave/Chevy Traverse relatives), 2011 Ford Flex or 2011 Mazda CX-9 would be a better choice. These crossovers offer competitive passenger and cargo space with lower price tags, better handling and superior fuel economy. The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is a very appealing new entry among Herculean full-size SUVs, yet the 2011 Toyota Sequoia still is among the best in its class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Toyota Sequoia is a full-size SUV capable of seating seven or eight, depending on the options selected. There are three trim levels -- SR5, Limited and Platinum -- and all are available with either two- or four-wheel drive. The base SR5 model comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, a sunroof, running boards, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat, triple-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, full power accessories, a power driver seat, Bluetooth (with audio streaming) and an eight-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio, auxiliary audio and USB audio jacks.
The Limited adds 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, upgraded instrumentation, a back-up camera integrated into the rearview mirror and an upgraded 14-speaker JBL sound system with a six-CD changer.
The top-of-the-line Sequoia Platinum adds load-leveling rear air springs, adaptive shock absorbers, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs (dropping capacity to seven), power-folding and -reclining rear seats, and a touchscreen navigation system.
Toyota offers two option packages for the SR5. The Sport Appearance package is a seven-passenger configuration that includes 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights and a power driver seat. The Premium package seats eight and adds leather upholstery, heated driver and front passenger seats, a power fold-and-recline third row and a back-up camera integrated into the rearview mirror. Sequoia Limited options include a rear-seat entertainment system, navigation system and second-row captain's chairs.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine for the 2011 Sequoia SR5 is a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. Limited and Platinum models come with a 5.7-liter V8 (optional on the SR5) that produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, a Sequoia with the 5.7-liter V8 went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 6.7 seconds. Properly equipped, a 5.7-liter Sequoia can tow up to 7,400 pounds.
Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models feature a two-speed transfer case with electronic shifting and push-button locking. EPA estimated fuel economy for the 4.6-liter V8 is 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. The 5.7-liter V8 drops slightly to 14/18/15 mpg. Four-wheel-drive models attain about 1 mpg less.
Standard safety equipment for all 2011 Toyota Sequoias includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and three-row side curtain airbags. Front and rear parking sensors are standard on the Sequoia Platinum and Limited, as is a back-up camera (optional on the SR5).
In Edmunds recent brake testing, the Toyota Sequoia required 127 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, which is short for SUVs in this class.
Interior Design and Special Features
Aside from audio and navigation controls that are hard to reach, the Sequoia's interior is a triumph of ergonomics, with plenty of storage bins and family-friendly conveniences.
The second-row seats adjust fore and aft regardless of whether the 40/20/40-split bench or the captain's chairs are specified. In addition, the bench seat's center "20" section slides farther forward, which can be useful if a child safety seat is installed. There's also a conversation mirror so you can quell potential uprisings in the rear quarters.
The 60/40 third-row seat in Limited and Platinum models has both a power-recline and a power-fold feature. With both sets of rear seats folded down, the Sequoia's cargo space tops out at 121 cubic feet.
For a large SUV, the 2011 Toyota Sequoia's pleasant driving experience will likely win you over. The 5.7-liter V8's abundance of low-end torque makes passing maneuvers effortless, and the six-speed automatic is always on point with gear selection, even when towing. Even the 4.6-liter V8 pulls hard, particularly if you won't be maxing out your SUV's payload and towing capacities on a regular basis.
Ride comfort ranges from smooth and composed in an SR5 to downright plush in a Sequoia Platinum with the adaptive dampers. Around corners, the suspension does a fine job of managing 3 tons of SUV, though the numb steering adds to the overall sense of heft.