By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
Toyota’s massive Sequoia SUV for 2016 continues to build on previous successes, such as an enviable reliability record and class-leading resale values. But for big families, these numbers alone are not enough, so Toyota made sure the Sequoia offers room for all the kids and then some, a powerful V8 engine and a host of safety features. Good as it is, however, the Sequoia’s mere 7,400-pound tow rating is no match for the 9,200 pounds the Ford Expedition can haul. Likewise, in the areas of horsepower and cargo space, the GM Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon triplets take first prize over the big Toyota. The Sequoia even fails to beat its domestic rivals in the area of fuel economy.
If you don’t need massive towing ability or the few extra mpg other SUVs provide, the Toyota Sequoia scores so well in every other area that matters most to SUVs buyers, it’s hard to pass over.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Sequoia SUV from Toyota gains a few new features. The Limited trim can be equipped with the Blind Spot Monitor and 2-position memory for the driver’ seat and mirrors. Changes to the Entune audio systems allow drivers to route their smartphone’s navigation through the Sequoia’s head unit.
There will likely never be a full-size SUV that rides or drives like a smaller, car-based crossover SUV. But, if you’re looking for a solid driving experience with...
... well-behaved manners and fairly stable cornering, Toyota’s 2016 Sequoia SUV won’t disappoint. The ride is firm but smooth, even over modest expansion joints. Toyota equips the Sequoia with an independent rear suspension that helps it corner and maneuver with surprising agility. Things get even better when the Platinum trim’s air-spring suspension is introduced into the mix, making going back to the standard coil-spring suspension a bit like trading chocolate for broccoli. Most exterior noises are kept well at bay, even in the 3rd-row seat. The Sequoia’s ponderous size is made somewhat more manageable thanks to an available proximity-warning system and rearview camera, but the Platinum and Limited trim’s Blind-Spot Monitor is such an important safety feature, it should be standard equipment.
PROVEN RUGGED DURABILITY
When forking over as much cash as a modern full-size SUV costs these days, people want to know they’ll be getting a good return for their money. The 2016 Sequoia has a proven history for durability, rugged construction and outstanding resale values.
ENTUNE MULTIMEDIA AUDIO
We think Toyota’s Entune audio system offers some of the most intuitive and easy-to-use features of any in-car infotainment system. With the Entune App, you can integrate your smartphone to stream navigation, Pandora or iHeartRadio, as well as real-time information regarding traffic, weather, gas prices and sports.
The 2016 Toyota Sequoia is a true 8-seater, with a 3rd-row seat that really will accommodate adults and is easily reached, thanks to big rear doors and sliding 2nd-row seats. The 3-passenger 2nd-row bench seat allows individual sections to slide fore-and-aft and also fold flat. Noteworthy options include captain’s chairs for the second row and a power-folding feature for the third row. Basically, the Sequoia’s interior will swap around into any configuration needed. The design is somewhat bland and a couple notches below sinfully luxurious but, as would be expected of a Toyota, the assembly detail is without fault.
In all its majestic glory the Sequoia for 2016 is the longest, widest and tallest full-size SUV Toyota builds and, with its long wheelbase, it appears even longer. But that long wheelbase pays dividends – it enhances interior room, improves ride quality, contributes to directional stability and, with the resultant short overhangs, gives extra clearance when approaching steep angles. The Sequoia’s appearance is fairly innocuous and can’t be accused of standing out in a crowd, but it’s clean, functional and certainly not unattractive.
There are three trim levels for Toyota’s 2016 Sequoia SUV: SR5, Limited and Platinum. Standard equipment on the SR5 includes integrated fog lights, power tilt/slide moonroof, roof rack, 3-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed tilt/telescoping steering wheel with Bluetooth hands-free telephone controls, 8-way driver’s and 4-way front passenger’s seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, all the expected power and convenience features and Entune Audio Plus. The Limited adds a power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, leather seating, Optitron instruments and Entune Premium Audio. The Platinum adds perforated leather seating, Dynamic laser cruise control, Adaptive Variable Suspension, air suspension and Entune Premium JBL Audio.
All three of the Sequoia’s trim levels – SR5, Limited and Platinum – are available with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). Options for the SR5 include a Sport Appearance Package, with 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and a Premium Package, with leather-trimmed seating, power-reclining fold-flat 3rd-row seat and auto-dimming rearview mirror with rearview camera monitor, and the Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. Optional on the Limited is a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system with 9-inch display and 7-passenger seating with 2nd-row captain’s chairs. The only option for the Platinum is Blizzard Pearl exterior color.
One of the best features offered in Toyota’s full-size Sequoia SUV for 2016 is its strong and quiet 5.7-liter V8 engine, with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. It’s unobtrusively reassuring and is equal to any task the Sequoia may be asked to accomplish. It’s matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes a low first gear for getting a heavy load moving and two overdrive gears that help enhance fuel economy and reduce noise at highway speeds. Taken together, the engine and transmission contribute to the Sequoia’s towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg (RWD), 13/17 mpg (4WD), 9/12 mpg (E85, 4WD)
The rear-wheel-drive 2016 Toyota Sequoia SR5 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $46,000, while the mid-level Limited starts just over $55,000. Opting for 4-wheel drive will add a few thousand more, and the top-of-the-line Platinum model starts at about $62,500. Overall, the Toyota Sequoia’s price range overlaps those of the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban 1500, but is more expensive than the Nissan Armada. Before heading off to the dealer, a check of the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price will show what other buyers in your area are actually paying for the 2016 Sequoia. For a longer-term investment, the Sequoia is excellent and should hold its resale value better than any other large SUV.