2018 Toyota Sequoia

2018 Toyota Sequoia SUV Review

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is capable but lacks the tech features and efficiency you might expect.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is worth a look if your transportation needs require a heavy-duty three-row SUV. It offers seating for up to eight people, legitimate off-road and towing capabilities, and substantial cargo room. The Sequoia is capable of doing just about anything.

But the current-generation Sequoia has been around for 10 years without a redesign. That's a long time in the automotive industry, and it's mostly apparent in the Sequoia's dated interior design, lack of refinement and subpar fuel economy. It's a tough sell when other big crossover SUVs can provide similar amounts of interior room to the Sequoia but with superior fuel economy and a better combination of ride comfort and secure handling.

Still, as traditional SUVs go, the Sequoia offers a more comfortable ride than many in its class, especially when equipped with the Platinum trim's air suspension. It's also pretty capable off-road thanks to its substantial ground clearance, though obviously this isn't a vehicle you'll want to try to squeeze down a tight, narrow trail. Overall, the Sequoia isn't our top pick for a big three-row SUV, but there are enough positives that it's worth considering.



what's new

For 2018, Toyota has added a new TRD Sport trim. All Sequoias now have LED headlights and additional standard safety features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A restyled grille and gauge cluster round out the changes for 2018.

we recommend

We like the value presented by the SR5 with Premium Package. Thanks to standard safety and driver assist functions this year, its features list is comparable to (or even better than) those of other base-level SUVs. Getting the Premium package is key since it adds desirable features such as leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power rear liftgate.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia comes in four trims: SR5, TRD Sport (late availability), Limited and Platinum. They all come with a 5.7-liter V8 (381 hp, 401 lb-ft) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. There are significant price jumps between trims, but there are option packages for the SR5 and Limited that help bridge the gaps. The SR5 and Limited models seat eight passengers, while the second-row captain's chairs on Platinum reduce seating to seven.

The base SR5 model comes stocked with a healthy number of standard features. Highlights include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, a power rear window, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver seat, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat (with sliding and reclining functionality), a 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, second- and third-row retractable sunshades, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite and HD radio.

Standard safety features for the SR5 include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic-adapting cruise control.

An optional SR5 Premium package bundles an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a power liftgate, a power reclining and folding third-row seat, and an integrated navigation system.

Complete information on the TRD Sport was not available as publication, but Toyota has said it will come with a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels and special exterior styling details.

Compared to the SR5, stepping up to the Limited model gets you 20-inch wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, upgraded gauges and everything from the SR5's Premium package.

A seven-passenger option swaps the second-row bench for two captain's chairs. A 14-speaker premium JBL sound system (bundled with driver memory settings) is optional, as is a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player.

The top-of-the-line Platinum trim level comes standard with all of the above features, plus an adaptive air suspension (with a load-leveling rear), ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs (reducing seating capacity to seven), a second-row center console and a power-adjustable steering wheel

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum (5.7L V8 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration3.5 / 5.0
Braking2.5 / 5.0
Steering2.5 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.5 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position3.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage4.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

2.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration2.0 / 5.0
Voice control2.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Think of the Sequoia as a Tundra pickup with three rows and an SUV roof. At almost 6,100 pounds, it's not at home on winding roads. But its wonderful bursts of V8 power are well-suited to towing trailers and boats.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The strong 5.7-liter V8 never feels strained, even when summoned to pass slow traffic at highway speeds. In our testing, the Sequoia dashed from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. That's nearly 1 second slower than a 4WD Nissan Armada but still stacks up well with other competitors.

braking

edmunds rating
Pedal feel is soft and comfortable, but it firms up nicely during panic braking. ABS panic-brake stops are noisy and jittery as the steering wheel darts from side to side while the SUV comes to rest. Emergency stopping distances are average for a big SUV.

steering

edmunds rating
Typical big-boat steering feel, as in not much at all. Not much feedback from the road and a loose wheel feel due to too much assistance and a lot of vague, sloppy play. Just place faith that your tires are pointed where you want to go.

handling

edmunds rating
You can't expect much given the Sequoia's size, but it surprises with a decent amount of handling precision. The margins are slim, of course. Too tight a corner (most of them) and too much speed (almost any) will make the tires beg and squeal. Still, a perverse pleasure in trying to drive one fast.

drivability

edmunds rating
With light steering and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission, the Sequoia is very easy to drive. The light gas pedal feel doesn't match the immense power generated underhood. It feels large but doesn't "drive" large. Surprisingly good agility, like a sumo wrestler who excels at football drills.

comfort

edmunds rating
All-around comfort and surprising serenity are the Sequoia's main strengths. Levels of tire and wind noise are well-suppressed, and the adjustable suspension helps maintain comfort when hauling heavy loads. The seats offer good long-haul comfort. The cabin is about as roomy as you could wish.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The first- and second-row seats are wide with no lateral support, but sitting for several hours brought no complaints. Lack of front seat adjustments is disappointing. Third-row seats are flatter and more shapeless, but that's expected given that they need to be folded down for cargo carrying.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Plush ride absorbs impacts and shrugs off smaller bumps, but plenty of bob and weave when driving over larger potholes or when whipping around a parking lot. Soft, but driver isn't totally isolated from the road. Negligible differences between Comfort, Normal and Sport adjustable suspension modes.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
It's very quiet at idle. Some wind noise at highway speeds as air rushes over the stubby, upright front end. The engine sounds strained when you really get on it. It does the job, but other V8s (Chevrolet, GMC) sound better doing it.

climate control

edmunds rating
Blows seriously strong and seriously hot or cold. Four large knobs and integrated buttons control climate functions. The second row gets temp, fan and mode controls. Front seats have three-stage heating and cooling, but airflow and cooling are weak even on highest setting. Two-stage heating for second-row seats.

interior

edmunds rating
The Sequoia feels spacious, but you expect that given its size. Could probably be even roomier — needlessly bulky panels and trim intrude into cabin space. The third row is narrow but offers good legroom. Driver and front passenger will need to stretch to reach touchscreen and stereo controls.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The cupholders and stereo controls require a long arm to reach. The dashboard and center stack feature a patchwork of buttons and knobs, some with cryptic labels like "Sonar." Most are easy to decipher. Front passengers will often need to sit upright and lean to make adjustments.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Getting into the Sequoia's first two rows requires a step up, but running boards and grab handles help. The second-row seats tilt and slide, making for easy third-row entry, but getting out requires a limber, deliberate effort, especially for tall adults who'll need to crouch to clear the roof.

driving position

edmunds rating
The driver's seat offers surprisingly little downward adjustment, and taller drivers may sit higher than they like. The power tilt-and-telescoping steering column is nice, but this SUV also needs power pedal adjustment to bring those pedals closer to the feet of shorter drivers.

roominess

edmunds rating
Plenty of room for heads, arms, elbows and shoulders all around. The captain's chairs make the second row as roomy as the front. The third row is a bit narrow for three adults, although there's enough legroom. It's fine for short trips, but you don't really want more than six adults in this SUV.

visibility

edmunds rating
Big windshield aids driver's view, but the big, bulbous hood makes it hard to discern space around the front end. Thick front pillars, large mirrors hamper view through turns. Side visibility is good for safe lane changes, and large rear window helps for backing up. Rearview camera is a necessity.

quality

edmunds rating
The Sequoia's cabin materials are outclassed by its rivals. We don't doubt the durability, but the oversized knobs, pulls and handles and hard-touch plastic make it feel more like a Tundra pickup and less like a more affordable Lexus. Toyota's indifference to keeping the Sequoia fresh is obvious.

utility

edmunds rating
Utility is in the Sequoia's wheelhouse. Cargo space is among the largest in its class, helped by two rows of fold-flat seats. A power liftgate enhances the ability to stuff the Sequoia full of gear. Slimmer plastic panels would increase capacity, but it's still impressive.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
The Sequoia offers so many nooks and cubbies that some personal items will disappear forever. There are door pockets, door panel channels, coin trays, slide-out bins, deep center consoles and dual gloveboxes. There are at least two cupholders for each occupant, although most are comically small.

cargo space

edmunds rating
Arguably the key reason you buy a Sequoia. With 120.1 cubic feet of maximum space, it's only beat by the longer Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition Max. With the seats up, it offers an impressive 67 cubes with just the third row folded and 19 cubes of room for groceries with the third row up.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
LATCH anchors are hidden behind a Velcro-backed flap at the base of the seat cushion and seatback. Easily accessible and nicely hidden from view, they are close enough to the surface to avoid or minimize abrasion between the car seat and upholstery.

technology

edmunds rating
The Sequoia's tech is woefully deficient compared to what rivals offer. The touchscreen media interface is small and dated, especially in an SUV of this price. Makes minimal concessions to today's driver and passenger needs and offers only bare minimum of driver assistance features. Disappointing.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The 6.1-inch touchscreen is tiny, dated and not high-resolution, despite Toyota's claims. Inexplicable given rival interfaces and those in recent Toyotas. Nav software does the job, but graphics are also outdated. Good power and clarity from JBL audio system, but bass seems exaggerated for effect.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Just the basics: Bluetooth, one USB port and one auxiliary audio jack. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Bluetooth pairing is easy and offers browsing of device's audio library. Single-screen rear DVD entertainment system is more robust and may make passengers forget about their iPads for a while.

driver aids

The 2018 Sequoia has a comprehensive set of features this year, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking and lane departure warning.

voice control

edmunds rating
Native voice controls are limited to navigation functions and audio control. Worked well for navigating to specific addresses, not so well for recognizing points of interest or accessing audio files from device library. iPhone users can access Siri functions by holding down the talk button.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.