By on January 10, 2020

2019 Toyota Sequoia front quarter

2019 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4x4

5.7-liter V8, DOHC (381 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm)

Six-speed automatic transmission, four wheel drive

13 city / 17 highway / 14 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.4 city / 13.8 highway / 16.4 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)15.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $61,715 US / $70,237 CAD

As Tested: $63,638 US/ $70,237 CAD

Prices include $1295 destination charge in the United States and $1,947 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Do you remember 2008? I do. I was six years into a career in sales with a Fortune 500 company that I figured I’d retire from. I had an 18-month-old daughter, with a second on the way toward the end of the year. I had a shiny silver Motorola Razr cell phone, though some of my colleagues were gushing about a newfangled device from Apple that married a phone with an iPod.

Well, I now have two daughters in and around their teen years, each of whom have a smartphone fancier than that first iPhone. I’ve moved around to a few different sales careers, supplementing my income (to pay for those daughters and their data plan) by writing. Things change.

Except at Toyota, it seems, as they are still making the 2019 Toyota Sequoia with very few changes since the waning days of the Bush administration. But people keep buying them, so there must be a reason for it.

2019 Toyota Sequoia profile

It’s big. It’s old. It’s thirsty. Yes, I’m well aware that all three of those could describe your author as well, but these fine pages won’t pay for a review of a used 1978-model Ohioan. Maybe the term that best describes the Sequoia is trusty. While the competition moves toward smaller turbocharged engines and transmissions with eight to ten gears, this twin-cam V8 and six-speed automatic have been reliable motivators for Toyota trucks and SUVs for more than a decade.

2019 Toyota Sequoia front 2019 Toyota Sequoia rear

381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque are still competitive, moving this big hauler down the road with no drama. Depending on trim, the Sequoia will tow up to 7,400 pounds – my tester, with four-wheel drive, is rated for 7,100 pounds.

2019 Toyota Sequoia rear cargo folded 2019 Toyota Sequoia rear cargo upright

The Sequoia still drives like the full-size truck upon which it’s based. The steering is numb, almost disconnected from the road. The brake pedal has a long, soft travel. This is not a rig you drive to hustle down back roads – it’s happiest on the interstate, eating up the miles and the 87 octane.

2019 Toyota Sequoia interior

The ride quality is quite good, considering a curb weight just shy of three tons. Credit the well-damped independent rear suspension, which swallows the ever-present potholes and expansion joints with aplomb. After the typical sister fight over God knows what, I banished the oldest to the third row. It wasn’t the punishment that I’d hoped for, as she had plenty of room to stretch and text in peace. The second row in my tester was fitted with optional captain’s chairs, which were nearly as comfortable as the fronts.

2019 Toyota Sequoia front seats 2019 Toyota Sequoia second row 2019 Toyota Sequoia third row

Toyota has updated some bits throughout the car – a smallish 6.1-inch touchscreen for navigation and audio would have been really weird in 2008, after all – and the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of safety features (blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, pre-collision, automatic braking, lane departure alert, and adaptive cruise control) are welcome additions to make those long highway cruises just a bit easier. The row of five large control knobs across the center of the dash looks dated, but they are self-explanatory to use, rather than diving into menus on a massive touchscreen just to change fan speeds.

2019 Toyota Sequoia dash

It’s a trope that I’m both annoyed by and guilty of writing – the frequent complaints of cheap, hard plastics in the interiors of many different vehicles. My notes from driving this Sequoia mention the plastics. Indeed, the interior is cheap feeling, but a chance ride in an older Sequoia reminded me of the merits of that hard plastic. That eight-or-so year old SUV had its share of scuffs on panels inside and out, evidence of a life spent hauling a little bit of everything and everyone – but that interior had held up beautifully. No squeaks or rattles save the random kids’ toy rolling from the third row. No trim bits falling off after a too-hard door slam from a moody teen that had been banished to the back row.

I’ve no doubt that a new Sequoia will be a perfectly solid truck at the end of the loan term, which is not a statement I can make about everything on the road.

2019 Toyota Sequoia center stack

It’s easy to dump on the Toyota Sequoia as a dinosaur. It’s certainly not the right choice for me and my family – I have no need to tow anything, it’s too thirsty, and it’s a bit ponderous to park in the urban environments I frequently encounter. But for those who need the space and capacity, it’s a choice that should prove to be a long-term family companion.

2019 Toyota Sequoia rear quarter

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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46 Comments on “2019 Toyota Sequoia Review – Proven Presence...”

  • avatar

    No idea why Toyota isn’t doing the “Pro” trim on these. Easy face lift with existing parts.

    Friggin’ awesome.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve tried to like these for what, fourteen years now, and failed the entire way.

      That front end succeeds.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a TRD Pro Sequoia for 2020. And it does help some.

    • 0 avatar

      Sweet christ that looks excellent.

    • 0 avatar

      We sure loved our 2016 Sequoia. It was the Limited trim but had many Premium elements, like power seats for both driver and passenger, Premium Sound system, etc.

      It’s true that a current Sequoia isn’t for everyone, but for those considering this class/size of vehicle, I recommend it over the rest of the competition, although the Armada cranks out a few more horses at 390 vs 381 for the Sequoia.

      The Sequoia is about the same size as a Tahoe, but rides and handles far better, and the cabin is deathly quiet at highway speeds.

      • 0 avatar

        I drove a Tahoe for the first time this week as a rental & it drove like a pig as far as handling & ride quality compared to the Expedition and Armada. Making things worse was the regular suspension squeak that it had. I don’t understand they hype over the GM’s but people seem to like them for whatever reason. The Sequoia is the only one in the class I haven’t rented yet but would like to try one out if available. My favorite so far has been the Armada.

        • 0 avatar

          The Sequoia and Armada are very close in ride and handling but I believe the Sequoia is better insulated from road nose. But that of course depends on the trim level.

          There is a world of difference in cabin road noise level between an SR5 and a Limited or Platinum trim.

  • avatar

    From the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” files…

  • avatar

    Only indirect contact I’ve ever had with these is a teacher of mine who married a lady who already owned one (she had kids from her previous marriage and now they have one together.) He owns a Tacoma and likes it but hates driving that ponderous dinosaur of a Sequoia, but he also owns an early BMW Z3 with the M package.

  • avatar

    This thing could really use a front bench seat and column shift instead of the super huge fixed console.

    Unless I *really* needed the extra size I’d go GX460 at the as-tested price.

  • avatar

    I forgot, when I’ve seen one last time. Ah, I know – 2019 Car show, about a year back. In contrast, few people have Armada and corresponding Infinity in the development I live in

  • avatar

    I’m honestly not sure why, other than Toyota brand loyalty, anyone would choose this over the domestics or even the Armada. The engine is silky but thirsty and absolutely everything else is just old and half-assed. Toyota is capable of building great products. This is not one of them.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      Easy answers:
      – The Sequoia will almost never be in the shop. By comparison, predicted reliability for current model year TahoYukoBurbAlades and Expeditions is rated “terrible”, and the forums are rife with GM/Ford gripes.
      – The Sequoia is often chided for its lower MPG, but most drivers tend to get 16-17 MPG out of them. By comparison the GM 5.8 might muster 19 and an Expedition might muster 20, but the repairs on both the GM and Ford will largely negate any fuel savings (cam lifters, coked valves, transmission problems, etc).
      – The Sequoia interior will look pretty much the same in 10 years. Materials are a higher quality, the leather is very durable, and all parts are reliable.
      – “The row of five large control knobs across the center of the dash looks dated, but they are self-explanatory to use, rather than diving into menus on a massive touchscreen just to change fan speeds.”. Best sentence of the review. You dont need to use the infotainment to make sense of anything in the Sequoia. There is a button for everything.
      – Yes, its old, but in that lies reliability. Despite that, Toyota has added the TSS suite of safety features, including dynamic cruise control, lane keeping, and BLIS – and they are STANDARD on EVERY trim. You dont have to buy a Platinum Sequoia to get these features. Try that on any competitor.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly like SSJeep said. I went on another Internet forum where a guy asked which full-size pickup to buy. I said that if he wanted it to be reliable, Tundra/Sequoia. Predictably for Internet boards, I pretty much got hooted off the board, with the most convincing rebuttal being that this vehicle’s dated design makes it inferior in small frontal offset crash tests.

        So there’s the best argument for and against this vehicle: You can die by small increments rotting in the stealership’s service waiting room, or you can die all at once smashing into a telephone pole. Or something.

        • 0 avatar

          Our 2016 Sequoia was never in need of repair during the time we had it, Oct 2015 – Dec 2018, from mile 11 – 72914 when we turned it over to the business office in Wyoming.

          All I did to it was change the oil and filter, and cabin filter, periodically myself. Had a local Carwash do the cleaning, detailing and waxing once a year.

          That Sequoia was as reliable and trouble-free as both my 2011 Tundra and my 2016 Tundra were.

          I’d buy another Sequoia if I had a need for it. I don’t have a need for it at this time.

      • 0 avatar

        So your argument is that it is a modern version of Crown Victoria – the truck for old people.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. Newer designs are not more reliable than this workhorse. A model that has been around for years and supported is going to have the kinks worked out, and this one has had few of those to begin with. This is a great vehicle for people who need its capabilities, want to buy and drive for a decade or more, and do not want to pay big money to be constantly aggravated with quality and reliability issues. This vehicle is a classic.

    • 0 avatar

      Resale value/ease of third party resale
      Build quality
      No Ipad Dash
      Possibly has visibility.

      Maybe the Grand Wagoneer of today?

  • avatar

    Every personal vehicle up to 2008 was a Toyota or Honda. That ended when I wanted to purchase a Sequoia. Do the deep dive and payload becomes the deciding factor. Switch to a EB Expedition and first trip loaded the twins, formula, play pens, luggage, and all the crap my wife brings. No sag. Every loaded Sequoia on the interstate sags.

  • avatar

    WHy? C’mon man!

    Tried and proven, plus Toyota reliability.

    So Chris, can you please tell us how many of these Toyota sold in 2019 and 2018?

    Are they assembled in the US? Where?


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A friend has had two Sequoias. The first was totaled in a snowstorm collision with another vehicle (imagine what that takes to accomplish), so he ran out and bought another. It’s a pretty nice tank.

  • avatar

    Why buy,
    Well even thou I like the GM’s better as an actual vehicle the resale and reliability of these are close to land cruiser levels with a slightly cheaper entry price (they actually share a number of parts).
    If I was buying new Armada or Suburban, but if I was buying a car to drive into the ground this might be it.

  • avatar

    For the same reason the continue to buy 300’s and Chargers?

  • avatar

    Sequoia 10,289 11,121 -7.48
    Armada 32,044 32,650 -1.86

  • avatar

    @ dal20402 I don’t even think the reliability is what it’s cracked up to be.

    • 0 avatar

      Ours was ultra-reliable. Nothing beyond periodic oil and filter changes.

      One thing though, it does wear out tires rather quickly if you do a lot of hi-speed Interstate cruising. Originals lasted ~ 20K miles on our Sequoia.

      I replaced them with top line Michelins and kept those tires at 36psi, front and rear, and that made a world of difference.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        In fairness, 60k trouble free miles isn’t really a true statement of long term reliability. My 15 F150 is at 74k and it has only been in the shop once due to me nailing a deer with it. Not to say I wouldn’t trust one long term, just saying that really isn’t enough to make a statement on reliability.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s fair. OTOH, my 2011 Tundra and my 2016 Tundra on which the Sequoia is based, continue to soldier on with 160+K miles and 78+K miles respectively on the clock, all without need for a dealer-repair intervention.

          My 2006 F150 had >165K miles on it when I sold it outright in 2011, many of those were hard, towing and hauling, miles when I was still working, but I had to do a lot of maintenance and repair on it to keep it running. Too much, IMO.

          Ditto with my 1988 Silverado.

          My 2011 Tundra, doing the same towing and hauling duties experienced NO problems.

          My oldest son bought it from me when I bought my 2016 Tundra, and the 2011 is still doing daily duties, getting abused at the hands of the illegal alien field hands and cowboys working the ranch.

  • avatar

    What a plodgy looking vehicle. The sludge grey on grey colour combo doesn’t help either.

  • avatar

    tomLU86, I believe they are. I’d rather have a 4R any day (and I do- well, my wife does).

  • avatar

    I dont understand why Toyota is so uncompetitive with larger pickups and SUVs. And you cant say its Big3 bias with these buyers because they sold over 70,000 of these a year in the early 2000s.

  • avatar

    Not my vehicle, but I’ve liked seeing more reviews on the site lately.

    Next up: Transit AWD with Ecoboost engine, please!


  • avatar

    Thanks I will have to check them out. I’ll be in the market for this type of vehicle this year and I’ve narrowed it down to the Armada/QX80 or Sequoia.

  • avatar

    Unexpected cross state run for a move had me borrow the parents 2017 Platinum Sequoia yesterday. Nice timing. My first extended time in the beast. My impressions over 400 miles via both interstate and 2 lane state roads.
    -It’s a tank. Solid as they come. 50,000 miles and not one squeak or rattle….super quiet.
    -both thirsty and rather small fuel tank
    -drivers seat super comfy
    -I like the old school, simple dials for climate etc
    -radio control WAY to far away from driver. Almost a deal breaker but I still need to master steering wheel controls. Sound system does rock though
    -radar cruise a little TOO sensitive in the rain.
    -steering little loose and cumbersome in parking lot driving as well as the suspension BUT never took it off comfort setting. Probably should set on sport around town to see if that changes things.
    -it has faults for sure but for eating up road miles coupled with zero repair worries makes it a great contender.
    -being on a first name basis with a GM / Ford service advisor is no way to go through life

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    If I could afford one and put it in my garage I would. Knowing that I could drive at least 300,000 to 400,000 miles. My uncle has the last generation Tundra TRD with over 300,000 miles.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The Japanese (Toyota/Nissan) have never really “understood” this segment-and the sales prove it.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Good grief that thing is dated. My 2007 Tahoe has a fresher look. The interior is also pretty low grade looking. Reminds me of the 2016 Tundra I took a snowmobile trip in recently. Sitting/riding in that was a big step down from what I’m used to with my ‘Hoe. Next time we’ll take my truck and leave the Tundra in town!……LOL

    Lastly boys, it’s not 1975 anymore. I’ve owned 2 Toy motors products, so save me the BS about how they never see a dealership. They break and fall apart like everything else.

    • 0 avatar

      If you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not settling for Chinese compost, I’m not going to mess with your peace of mind.

      • 0 avatar

        Well put. That generation of Tahoe wasn’t terrible, but it was bad. Pre-bankruptcy GM SUVs were not known for technology or reliability. The worst part of the 2007 era Tahoe was the interior. It doesn’t even hold a candle to the Sequoia. On the Tahoe interior, parts broke off randomly, seats suffered from premature wear and panel detachment, silk screening on knobs failed, chrome flaked off of interior bits, etc. All before 100k miles. Plus those used the first generation of GMs VCM, so if the lifters haven’t failed, they will. Not to mention rust issues on these models after 13 years.

        That said, they weren’t Chinese compost at that time. They most assuredly are now.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Modern domestics all come standard with climate control systems and infotainment suites with knobs on them. They have had Android Auto/Car play integration for years. They give you the OPTION to go with touch screens for all of that. Even the sync 3 equipped rental I had had knobs for all of those things in addition to not feeling like it was from 2004.

    Look, If you like these rigs, fine…there is in fact much to like but lets dispense with the illusion that because that stuff is old it is somehow better and not available on newer and more advanced products from other manufacturers. You can get knobs in any other truck currently made and they likely actuate far more intuative and advanced systems behind them. This has never been Toyota’s strongpoint. Even back during “Peak Toyota” their stereo systems sounded tinny unless you got a Lexus with the Nakamichi system or something. Those were fantastic.

  • avatar

    Can’t give them away. DAMHIK

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