Full 2013 Toyota Sequoia Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, Toyota has dropped the previous Sequoia's smaller base V8 engine. An optional Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system is now available.
Full-size, truck-based SUVs like the 2013 Toyota Sequoia are becoming rarer with each new model year, as buyers who don't need big-time towing or off-road capabilities are switching to more carlike crossovers. But if those qualities are still a big part of your vehicle needs, the Sequoia should work out well.
The Sequoia may have the bones of Toyota's big Tundra pickup, but its ride quality is quite agreeable. The Platinum trim's adaptive air suspension ups the ante even further, delivering luxury-car isolation and comfort. You get performance that befits a luxury vehicle, too, as Toyota's smooth but muscular 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 becomes the Sequoia's only available engine for 2013. The V8's thirst means it isn't going to win any save-the-earth awards, but it seems only barely troubled to move the 2013 Sequoia's ample mass.
If you're shopping for a vehicle primarily to haul around a lot of people and have the all-weather security of four-wheel drive, we'll be the first to recommend one of the numerous large crossovers available. They serve the same purpose, but they're easier to drive and park and don't hit you with the fuel economy penalty for truck-type capabilities you may rarely, if ever, put to use. Toyota's own Highlander is one crossover alternative that seats three rows of occupants, as does the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse.
If you do have towing needs or other heavy-duty uses, however, nothing but a truck-type SUV will get the job done, and the 2013 Toyota Sequoia surely is one of the most comfortable ways to do it. The Sequoia rides better and has a more sophisticated interior than the stalwart class choice, the 2013 Chevy Tahoe, while its beefy V8 outshines the power available from the Ford Expedition.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Toyota Sequoia is a full-size SUV with seating for seven or eight passengers, depending on the model or options selected. There are three trim levels -- SR5, Limited and Platinum -- all of which are offered with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive.
The SR5 base model comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a roof rack, running boards, privacy glass, a towing package, a sunroof, keyless entry, a power vertically sliding rear window, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), a 40/20/40 sliding and reclining second-row bench seat, 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Limited adds 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, 10-way power driver seat (adds adjustable lumbar), heated front seats, a power reclining and folding third-row seat, upgraded gauges, a rearview camera, rear side window sunshades (second and third rows) and a premium 14-speaker JBL sound system with a six-CD changer. Available options on Limited models include second-row captain's chairs, a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system and a navigation system with a touchscreen interface and Toyota's Entune app-based smartphone capability.
Those options are included on the top-of-the-line Sequoia Platinum, which also adds 20-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, load-leveling rear air springs, adaptive shock absorbers, adaptive cruise control, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a 12-way power driver seat (adds thigh adjustment), driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel and heated second-row captain's chairs.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Toyota Sequoia comes standard with a 5.7-liter V8 that generates 381 hp and 401 pound-feet of torque. The Sequoia's V8 is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive is standard for all trim levels. Four-wheel drive with low-range gearing is optional.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Sequoia powered by the 5.7-liter V8 hustled from zero to 60 mph in a quick 6.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy is 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined with rear-drive and 13/17/14 with four-wheel drive. The two-wheel-drive Sequoia can tow up to 7,400 pounds; the tow rating drops to 7,100 pounds for four-wheel-drive SR5 and Limited models and 7,000 pounds for the four-wheel-drive Sequoia Platinum.
Standard safety equipment for all 2013 Toyota Sequoias includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, trailer sway control, front-seat side-impact airbags, front knee airbags and three-row side curtain airbags. Front and rear parking sensors and a back-up camera are standard on Limited and Platinum trim levels. A blind spot warning system is standard on the Platinum version.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Toyota Sequoia required 127 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, which is a short distance for SUVs in this class.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Sequoia's passenger cabin offers abundant room for passengers, cargo or a combination of the two. Whether you opt for the eight- or seven-passenger variation, you'll find a more comfortable and versatile cabin than its rivals. The second-row seats in particular not only recline, but slide fore and aft for extra legroom: a rare feature among full-size SUVs. The center section of the 40/20/40-split second-row bench also slides forward to put little ones within easy reach of mom and dad. Controls are generally easy to use, but those for the audio system require a long reach for the driver.
The Sequoia's interior is well set up for carrying stuff, too, with 66.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats. While the popular Chevy Tahoe requires you to remove and stow its heavy third-row seats in order to maximize cargo space, the Sequoia's independent rear suspension allows its 60/40-split third-row seats to quickly fold down into the floor to create a vast 121 cubic feet of cargo space with all the rear seats folded. In the Limited and Platinum models, they fold with the touch of a button.
You'll never forget the 2013 Toyota Sequoia is a large vehicle, but thanks to its independent rear suspension and quick (but numb) hydraulic power steering, there's a surprising nimbleness to be found. At least until it's time to park. There, the upper trim's standard parking sensors prove invaluable.
On the go, the Sequoia soaks up the worst the road surface has to offer, particularly the Platinum model thanks to its adjustable suspension. Equally satisfying is the 2013 Sequoia's powertrain: The 5.7-liter V8 is powerful, silken and near silent until you pin the throttle. We also like the six-speed automatic, which is responsive even when towing.