2020 Toyota Sequoia

2020 Toyota Sequoia Test Drive Review: Offroad Ready

by Ian Wright

The second generation of Toyota's three-row truck-based SUV has been around in the U.S. since 2007 with just a few minor changes. Like the Land Cruiser, the Toyota Sequoia is a body-on-frame three-row hauler - but lives in the Land Cruiser's shadow with a smaller price tag. While not as famous as its big brother, the Sequoia has endured due to its massive cargo space and reputation for reliability. A lot of that is down to its 5.7-liter V8 engine paired to a stout six-speed automatic transmission.

Despite its old bones, Toyota has kept the Sequoia around for 2020 and added some updates to keep it relevant. Not only is there more tech in the form of a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but there's a greater focus on off-road ability thanks to a new TRD Pro trim. It's the latter we found ourselves testing recently, resplendent on 18-inch BBS alloy wheels and TRD regalia, with FOX shocks ready to do the business offroad.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Sequoia?

The Sequoia has been around for over a decade and is rumored to be replaced in the coming years, but Toyota has kept this old dog alive with some recent updates in the form of a new addition to the family, namely the TRD Pro. With a focus on off-roading, it features a performance-tuned lifted suspension setup with Fox internal bypass shocks and other features that make it the most rugged Sequoia in the range. The rest of the Sequoia range receives a much-needed tech update in the form of a new seven-inch infotainment touch screen as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Specific models also benefit from mobile hotspot technology.

Pros and Cons

  • Large trunk and overall cargo capacity
  • Adept off-road
  • Workable seating configuration
  • Usable third-row seats
  • Loads of standard safety features
  • Reliability out the wazoo
  • That big V8 is thirsty
  • Some controls are difficult to reach
  • Interior quality is below the class average
  • A fancy suit can't disguise humble truck underpinnings

2020 Toyota Sequoia Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SR5
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$49,980
TRD Sport
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$52,695
Limited
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$58,990
TRD Pro
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$64,105
Platinum
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$66,020

2020 Toyota Sequoia SUV Exterior

Looking at the 2020 Sequoia, you won't notice any significant differences in appearance: the full-size SUV looks like it has barely changed since its introduction over a decade ago. The front fascia shares its DNA with the rest of Toyota's rugged pickup range while the rest of the body design looks like an amorphous blend of SUVs throughout the 90s and 2000s. There's nothing wrong with the way it looks, just don't expect to turn heads, or find it in a busy parking lot. Across the Sequoia range, you'll find standard features like LED headlights, LED foglights, heated power side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a power sunroof. TRD Sport, Limited, and Platinum, models get larger 20-inch alloy wheels, while upper trims also get chrome touches and a power liftgate. The TRD Sport receives a unique appearance package that includes a set of front door logos, gloss black side mirrors, and 20-inch black alloy wheels, while the new for 2020 TRD Pro is identifiable by a "TOYOTA" heritage grille. Rigid Industries LED foglights, BBS forged alloys, and a range of black TRD exterior regalia.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Front Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Rear Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Front Angle View 1 Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Sequoia Exterior Photos

Dimensions

There are no two ways about it; the Sequoia is a full-blown full-size SUV and compared to competitors like the Nissan Armada and siblings such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Sequoia towers above all with much larger dimensions. Height measures in at a tall 77 inches, an inch higher than the Armada, and three more than the Cruiser while maximum width comes in at 79.9 inches, matching the Armada and measuring two inches wider than the Land Cruiser. The Sequoia rolls on a 122-inch wheelbase and offers a class-leading ground clearance of 10 inches in 4WD SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, and TRD Pro guises, but will offer just 9.6 inches in Platinum trim. Ready to tackle the unknown, the approach and departure angles measure an impressive 27/21 degrees respectively in 4WD guise. Based on a full-size truck, weight is something the Sequoia puts on easily, with the scales tipping at curb weights of between 5,730 in 2WD form and up to 6,000 lbs in 4WD Platinum guise.

  • Length 205.1 in
  • Wheelbase 122.0 in
  • Height 77.0 in
  • Max Width 79.9 in
  • Front Width 67.9 in
  • Rear Width 69.1 in

Exterior Colors

For a rather pedestrian looking SUV, eight color choices are available for the Sequoia, ranging in excitement from the three choices of Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and Supre White of the TRD Sport to more exciting options like Shoreline Blue Pearl, Army Green, and Sizzling Crimson Mica. It's the Army Green we'd have on our TRD Pro, but for those wanting something that creates a more refined image, Blizzard Pearl is worth the extra $425 charge on the Platinum model on which it's exclusively available.

  • Super White
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Sizzling Crimson Mica
  • Shoreline Blue Pearl
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic

Sequoia Performance

Whereas SUVs of old weren't expected to perform and drive like their sedan counterparts, the modern SUV is tasked with offering sedan-like comfort and performance while still offering the practicalities and capability of a traditional SUV. This puts the Sequoia at a slight disadvantage, as it is based on a truck frame, but does feature a more modern rear suspension setup. The 5.7-liter V8 that does duty in the 2020 model offers strong acceleration when maneuvering in town, and matches that with good lane merging capability and effortless cruising ability at its top speed. Sequoia buyers will care little for 0 to 60 mph sprints, even if the large SUV dispatches them with surprising alacrity, and instead will focus on the big 'Yota's workhorse attributes. Towing capacity maxes out at 7,400 lbs in 2WD form and 7,100 on the 4WD derivatives, but those opting for the TRD Pro will tow only 7,100 lbs. The 4WD system offers benefits to counter the reduced towing capacity, however, with a low-range transfer case ensuring impressive off-road ability.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Front Angle View 2 CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Sequoia Rear View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Sequoia Suspension Toyota

Engine and Transmission

All five models in the Sequoia range are powered by the same 5.7-liter V8 engine, an old-school lump with an aluminum block and variable valve timing that develops 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The Sequoia sends its power to the rear or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission which features a sequential shift mode and uphill and downhill modes. 4WD models benefit from a locking limited-slip differential.

Toyota's 5.7-liter V8 is a genuinely great engine in terms of performance. Out on the road, the Sequoia feels as heavy as the nearly 6,000 lbs of weight suggests, but the engine and transmission have no problem keeping up with traffic. On top of that, the excellent throttle response can almost make you forget you're in a body-on-frame SUV.

Off the pavement, the TRD Pro's two-speed transfer box and center locking differential means you can drop the ratio for the four-wheel-drive system even lower and make full use of the 401 lb-ft of torque when things get rough. While the Sequoia doesn't make the perfect off-roader, pushing it up the steepest hills we could find in Texas was not an issue.

  • Engine
    5.7-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The first thing we noticed heading through the city and then out onto the freeway is the difference that the Sequoia TRD Pro's Fox suspension makes on the road. It's an improved ride, although the chassis feels its age once you start swinging it about or change lanes. Braking is still an issue, though, and that's where you learn just how big and heavy the Sequoia is, if you haven't already noticed the slight delay in steering response.

Moving onto the rougher ground, and the suspension smooths out lumps and bumps easily. Taking things further onto rocky terrain and starting to challenge the Sequoia TRD Pro through an off-road park, the suspension carried on taking the sting out of clunky obstacles.

As an off-roader, the Sequoia TRD Pro demonstrated itself to be convincingly competent until things get particularly tricky. Compared to Toyota's other TRD models, we found the Sequoia needed the front skid plate more and due to its lesser 27-degree approach angle. For covering most challenging ground available, we also found the TRD Pro's running boards didn't help by lowering the Sequoia's break-over angle. The large hood and thick pillars obstructing the view in the more technical areas also didn't help the Sequoia's off-road chops, and its massive width and length mean problems on tighter trails. In TRD Pro spec, the Sequoia is not something you buy as an off-roader, but something you buy because you need something with a lot of passenger and cargo space that can go into the wild.

Sequoia Gas Mileage

Vehicles like the Sequoia, big machines with big, thirsty V8s under the hood, are expected to be heavy on gas. The Sequoia is claimed to chug an EPA-estimated 13/17/15 mpg city/highway/combined in 2WD form and an even thirstier 13/17/14 mpg on 4WD models, which is about on par with rivals like the Nissan Armada. To counter this, Toyota equips a 26.4-gallon fuel tank, which raises the estimated range in mixed conditions to 396 miles, fortunately only requiring regular unleaded gas to do so.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 13/17 mpg
* 2020 Toyota Sequoia SR5 RWD

2020 Toyota Sequoia Interior

The Sequoia's thirsty engine and clunky driving dynamics betray its age, but there's another area where the Sequoia's age is apparent: the cabin. It's where cheap plastics and a generally outdated look rules, which puts it on a backfoot when compared to its more modern rivals. The Sequoia will, however, appeal to those who appreciate a hard-wearing and simplified interior space that will stand the test of time. Large knobs and simple controls might seem utilitarian, especially for a 2020 model, but should be durable enough to last an eternity. There's decent functionality across the broad range of models, however, with a new seven-inch infotainment display, three-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power-adjustable fabric seats, and four 12v power outlets. Stepping up in the range, features such as leather-trimmed seats, premium audio and a host of active driver assistance tech become available, and the top of the range Platinum model sports power lumbar support, ventilated seats as well as a multi-function center console for backseat passengers.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Dashboard Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Front Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Gear Shifter Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Sequoia Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Not much has changed inside the Sequoia SUV in terms of comfort and room - there is plenty of space, and the seats are wide and cushy. You can have seating for seven or eight people, and the seven-seater floorplan with the captain's chairs makes it easy for passengers to get into the third row. The third row is fine for adults on shorter journeys, but there are only three USB ports, and all of them are located towards the front of the Sequoia.

Space for driver and passengers is great, but the cargo space is even more impressive. There's 19.9 cubic-feet with all the seats up and a massive 121 cubic-feet with all of them down. Cubby storage is also noteworthy as there's plenty, and it would be easy to find yourself hunting around trying to remember where a pair of headphones were stashed.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.5 in
  • Front Head Room 34.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 34.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

There's a ton of hard plastic inside the Sequoia, and it's the leading cause of the SUV feeling old when you climb aboard. That's before you notice how cheap and tacky the control knobs are and that new ones have appeared to the left of the main controls. They're clearly from the parts bin and don't match.

On the positive side, we know the Sequoia's interior is hard-wearing. The TRD Pro only comes with black leather, and it's a cut above the rest of the interior in texture and quality, but will last just as long and look good doing so The cloth upholstery on lower trims is equally as hard-wearing, and potential stains aside, it's a little softer and more comfortable than fairly hard-wearing leather on upper trims.

Sequoia Trunk and Cargo Space

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia might not be able to match its competitors in terms of interior quality and modern tech, but what it has always done well is to offer class-leading trunk and cargo space. The full-sized SUV offers functional cargo space behind the third row, and despite the fact that Toyota doesn't offer the Sequoia in extended form as some of its competitors do it still sits at the top of its class. Behind the third row, the Sequoia provides 18.9 cubic feet, 2.4 cubic feet more than the Nissan Armada, and nearly three cubic feet more than the Land Cruiser. This trend continues as the seats fold down: behind the second row, the Sequoia delivers 66.6 cubic feet, and with all seats folded down, a cavernous 120.1 cubic feet is available, overshadowing most in its class. The Sequoia will swallow everything a large family can throw at it, including basketball-playing golden retrievers, kiddies drum sets and even that La-Z-Boy chair that dad has always dreamed about. Small storage is good thanks to a generous center console, up to 18 cup and bottle holders, and large door pockets.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Rear Passenger Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Rear View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota Sequoia Roof Rails

Sequoia Infotainment and Features

Features

You won't mistake the features list for the 2020 Sequoia with that of a Lexus LS500 or Audi A8, but this family-friendly giant has come a long way since its launch back in 2008. Features are spread out over five models, and include premium features such as power seats and LED headlights from the base model upward. Standard features across all trims include heated power wing mirrors, a power sunroof, and three-zone climate control. The interior features an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the driver and a four-way unit for the front passenger, growing to 10-way adjustability in Limited and Platinum models. Features such as a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a HomeLink universal transceiver allow the Sequoia to stay afloat in 2020, as does the standard inclusion of Toyota Safety Sense P driver-assistance features including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

Infotainment

Along with a new and more responsive seven-inch touchscreen, we can finally welcome Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Amazon Alexa, to the Sequoia. The screen is just fine, but the dial controls are awkward to reach, and three USB ports are just not enough in a three-row SUV. Sound is excellent as there's a 14-speaker JBL sound system as standard with the TRD Pro trim (up from eight speakers on base trims and 12 on the Limited), but overall, and despite that and navigation (optional even on the base trim), the infotainment system has just the basics checked off for a high-end trim level. Those in the rear will appreciate the option of a rear-seat Blu-ray player with a nine-inch display on the Platinum model, but it still can't detract from the fact that entertainment is merely rudimentary on the Sequoia.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Common Problems and Reliability

Toyota has had a good stretch of time to sort out any major issues, but small niggles will raise their heads from time to time, as is the case with most cars like the Sequoia being produced today. Even though 2020 models haven't been recalled, 2019 models suffered three for issues ranging from poorly printed load labels to failing fuel pumps and airbags not deploying properly. But Toyota backs the reliability of 2020 Sequoia with a standard three-year/36,000-mile warranty, a powertrain warranty of five years/60,000 miles, and a perforation warranty of five years.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Sequoia Safety

Officially, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has done a comprehensive review of the Toyota Sequoia, but the Tundra - the truck on which the Sequoia is based - has been, returning mixed ratings in the process. The IIHS was not impressed with the Tundra's ability to absorb small frontal overlap impacts but scored well in the moderate overlap impact test. It can be assumed that the Sequoia would offer up similar results.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Rollover Rating

2020 Toyota Sequoia Key Safety Features

Safety features are shared across the range and are class-competitive. The Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) system includes a frontal pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also included. Toyota's Star Safety System includes your average stability control, traction control, and brakeforce distribution, but also features a semi-autonomous braking system that assists the driver when decelerating in emergency situations. The airbag system consists of eight airbags, including dual front, front side, dual front knee, and side curtain bags.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Toyota Sequoia a good car?

In TRD trim, the Sequoia is a mixed bag, depending on what role it's required for. As a family vehicle with weekend adventure outings in mind, comfort, ride quality, and off-road ability is excellent. However, the interior is lacking, and it's not the greatest looking SUV around - even with the aesthetic upgrades offered in TRD Pro spec. For weekend off-road warriors that don't need the sheer space provided inside, Toyota has better options.

However, as a vehicle for people that need to get things done where things can get rugged, there's considerable value to justify the Sequoia TRD Pro. It's big, it's capable, it's rugged, and it's capable of being a long term workhorse that'll take almost anything you can throw at it. On that note, it's worth remembering that with the addition of the Fox suspension, the TRD Pro model is capable of towing 7,100 lbs versus the standard model's 7,400 lbs, but it's a small price to pay for the knowledge you can go just about anywhere. It seems compelling, but in reality, we'd much rather have a Ford F-150.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Toyota Sequoia?

The price of the Toyota Sequoia base model starts at an MSRP of $49,980 while adding 4WD will see the sticker price raised by $3,225. The TRD Sport, the next model in the Sequoia range, breaks the $50k mark with an MSRP of $52,695, and the Limited is for sale at $58,990. The Platinum breaks the $60k barrier at $66,020 and the rugged TRD Pro goes for $64,105, standard with 4WD. These prices exclude options, licensing, and a $1,325 destination charge.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Models

There are five configurations to choose from, ranging from the mom and pop SR5 to the mountain-conquering TRD Pro. The five trims offered are the SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, Platinum, and TRD Pro. All are powered by the same 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission, with 2WD as the default and 4WD optionally available.

In base form, the SR5 gets LED exterior lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, tri-zone climate control, eight-way driver's seat power adjustment, and Toyota Safety Sense P safety systems, while infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a seven-inch touchscreen with eight speakers.

The TRD Sport adds a gloss black grille, 20-inch wheels and will seat seven. Other features on the TRD Sport include a smart key system with push-button start and Bilstein off-road shocks.

The Limited sports split-spoke alloy wheels, a power liftgate, and heated front seats, along with standard navigation, power adjustment for both front seats, leather upholstery, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Upgrading to the Platinum model steps things up with new wheel designs, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, nine-inch rear infotainment screen, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated second-row captain's chairs.

At the top of the Sequoia range, the performance-oriented TRD Pro comes fitted with LED foglights, TRD Pro suspension parts courtesy of FOX, and smaller 18-inch alloy wheels, and is the best option if off-roading is your aim. TRD styling addenda includes a TOYOTA-lettered grille, a bold front skid plate, and TRD interior trim.

See All 2020 Toyota Sequoia Trims and Specs

2020 Toyota Sequoia Additional Options

Just three packages are available for the Sequoia, available on various trims. Exclusive to the SR5 is a Premium Package, grouping together seating for eight with leather upholstered seats, ten-way power adjustment for the driver, a power-folding third row, and upgraded infotainment with onboard navigation. An auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink receiver are also included, with the bundle priced at $4,325. The TRD Sport gets the option of a TRD Sport Premium Package, which includes the same equipment as the standard Premium Package, but with seating for seven and contrast stitching on the leather, priced at the same $4,325. The last of the three options groups is the Premium JBL Audio and Convenience Package - standard on the Platinum trim - which adds navigation and a 14-speaker JBL sound system and driver's seat memory function to the Limited trim for an additional $1,065. Certain models also have access to rear-seat entertainment for a fee of $1,920, with a nine-inch rear screen and Blu-ray player included.

🚗What Toyota Sequoia Model Should I Buy?

If it's a rugged off-roader you need and the new Toyota Sequoia fits the bill, then the TRD Pro is a no-brainer. The bonus is in how the Fox suspension and TRD tuned springs improve the on-road ride quality as well as off-road ability. If that's not quite what you need, we would also avoid the TRD Sport as the SUV is just not suited to athleticism. As a primary and relentlessly competent working vehicle to carry people and gear, the base model SR5 is a reliable option. The drivetrain is the same throughout the Sequoia range, and the Limited model is where the creature comforts start with leather trim and from there, and that's where we would start for a family vehicle. For a family-only vehicle, we would shop around first, though, there are better alternatives in the segment.

2020 Toyota Sequoia Comparisons

Nissan Armada Nissan
Toyota Land Cruiser CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Sequoia381 hp13/17 mpg$49,980
Nissan Armada 390 hp14/19 mpg$47,500
Toyota Land Cruiser 381 hp13/17 mpg$85,415

2020 Toyota Sequoia vs Nissan Armada

The second-generation Nissan Armada was launched in 2017, giving it a major age advantage over the dated Sequoia, but it still has its pros and cons. Powering the full-size Nissan SUV is a 5.6-liter V8 pushing out 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque, closely resembling the power outputs of the Toyota. Power is sent through a more advanced seven-speed gearbox and gas mileage is slightly better with a combined figure of 16 mpg. The Armada is a smaller SUV inside and out but does offer more front and rear headroom. In terms of trunk and cargo capacity, the Armada can't touch the Sequoia but does have a higher-quality interior and a better infotainment system. The Armada offers similar capability in a fresher package at similar pricing but if space is what you're after, rather look at the Toyota.

See Nissan Armada Review

2020 Toyota Sequoia vs Toyota Land Cruiser

There is only one Land Cruiser model on offer for 2020, which starts way above the Sequoia's price at a cost of $85,315. Whereas the Sequoia is a down to earth off-road capable SUV, the Land Cruiser is a premium luxury SUV that can go off-roading in emergencies, and absolutely dominates in the process. The Landcruiser is powered by the same 5.7-liter V8 and returns more or less the same miles per gallon. Big differences in the size of both cars are easy to spot: the Land Cruiser is significantly smaller than the Sequoia, but still manages to seat eight with room to spare. Trunk and cargo space is ample, but can't stack up to the massive swathes of trunk space found in its larger sibling. In terms of interior quality and tech, the Land Cruiser is ages ahead and displays levels of build quality on par with some luxury sedans. Get the Sequoia if you're looking for a basic SUV that can carry large loads and drive over stuff, or opt for the Land Cruiser if you're looking for a balance between luxury and capability.

See Toyota Land Cruiser Review

Toyota Sequoia Popular Comparisons

2020 Toyota Sequoia Video Review

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$49,980 - $69,245
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Sequoia