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2021 Toyota Sequoia Review

Compared to other large SUVs, the Toyota Sequoia is a dinosaur. Its roomy interior and strong engine aren’t enough to offset its aging infotainment system, lack of available comfort features, and jittery ride. That’s why it ranks near the back of the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Strong engine
  • Spacious cabin
  • Outdated infotainment system
  • Hard plastics fill the cabin
  • Ride can be uncomfortable
  • Poor gas mileage

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia's #6 ranking is based on its score within the Large SUVs category. Currently the Toyota Sequoia has a score of 6.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 63 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 5.2
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 6.1
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Toyota Sequoia a Good SUV?

The Toyota Sequoia is not a very good large SUV, though it does hold some appeal. It has a hefty V8 engine, balanced handling, decent off-road abilities, and three rows of spacious seats. However, it’s an aging vehicle, and that shows in its rough ride, poor mpg ratings, outdated infotainment system, and abundance of hard plastics in the cabin.

Why You Can Trust Us: 63 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this SUV in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like mpg estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 63 professional reviews. This 2021 Sequoia review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2008.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota Sequoia?

You should buy the Toyota Sequoia if you want a full-size SUV that prioritizes durability over luxury and is capable of some light off-roading. Otherwise, you’d be better served with rivals like the Ford Expedition or Chevrolet Tahoe, both of which have newer (and more) available features, better mpg estimates, and higher towing capacities by at least 1,000 pounds.

Compare the Sequoia, Expedition, and Tahoe »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota Sequoia: What's the Difference?

The sole change to the Sequoia for 2021 is the introduction of the Nightshade Edition, which is essentially a package for the Limited trim that adds distinctive styling elements.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Sequoia »

Toyota last redesigned the Sequoia for 2008. Here are its key changes over the last few years:

  • 2018: Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver aids became standard; TRD Sport trim debuted
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: gained a standard 7-inch touch screen with smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; TRD Pro trim launched
  • 2021: Nightshade Edition introduced

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Sequoia, 2019 Sequoia, and 2020 Sequoia reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota Sequoia Cost?

The base 2021 Sequoia SR5 has an MSRP of $50,100, which is about average for a large SUV. The same holds true for the range-topping Platinum trim, which starts at $66,150.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Sequoia Versus the Competition

Toyota Sequoia vs. Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevy Tahoe is a three-row SUV that surpasses the Toyota in several ways. It has more cargo space behind every row and a more modern infotainment system with a larger touch screen and goodies like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Chevy can tow 1,000 pounds more than the Toyota, and it has better mpg ratings and a higher predicted reliability rating. On top of all that, the base Tahoe has a starting price that's about $1,100 less than the base Sequoia.

Compare the Sequoia and Tahoe »

Toyota Sequoia vs. Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is an eight-passenger midsize crossover SUV. It's smaller than the Sequoia, with a less spacious third row and lower cargo capacities. It has a smaller engine than its larger sibling, but it also weighs less, so there's not as much vehicle to push around. The Highlander offers a gentler ride, more-upscale cabin materials, and more available features. The top Highlander Platinum trim will get you amenities such as a large 12.3-inch touch screen, a heated steering wheel, and a head-up display for less than you'd spend on a base Sequoia without any of those features.

Compare the Sequoia and Highlander »

Compare the Sequoia, Tahoe, and Highlander »

Sequoia Interior: Old Dino

Sequoia Cargo Space

With 18.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 66.6 behind the second, and a total of 120.1 behind the first, this vehicle has plenty of room for your belongings. However, class rivals like the Chevrolet Suburban offer even more space.

How Many People Does the Sequoia Seat?

The Toyota Sequoia is a three-row SUV that seats seven or eight people, depending on if you get a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs. Cloth upholstery and a power-adjustable driver’s seat come standard, but you can buy models with leather upholstery, heated and/or ventilated front seats, additional power adjustments for the front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, a power-folding third row, and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

Many three-row vehicles have a cramped third row. Not so with this Toyota. It’s expansive enough that average-sized adults can be comfortable back there. Some critics say it’s tricky to get past the second row, but others find doing so to be simple. All of the seats are comfortable.

Sequoia and Child Car Seats

There are complete sets of LATCH connectors for all second-row seats, as well as a single tether anchor for the third-row middle seat.

Sequoia Interior Quality

The Toyota Sequoia’s cabin prioritizes durability over luxury. Its design is similar to that of its corporate cousin, the Toyota Tundra, with large buttons and hard plastic surfaces. That said, there are nice flourishes such as maplelike accents on the door panels and steering wheel in the range-topping Platinum trim.

Sequoia Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Except for some hard-to-reach physical controls, it’s easy to use this Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. However, many rivals have larger touch screens with sharper graphics.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker stereo, three USB ports, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, a stereo with 12 or 14 speakers, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch display
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, a moonroof, and tri-zone automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

Sequoia Performance: Powerful Engine but Unrefined Ride

Sequoia Engine

Powering this Toyota is a 5.7-liter V8 engine that makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine is a workhorse, well-suited to just about anything you could throw at it. Neither passing other vehicles nor driving uphill poses any problem. On top of that, the engine is quiet, and the transmission makes timely shifts.

Sequoia Gas Mileage

The 2021 Sequoia earns EPA fuel economy ratings of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, whether equipped with rear-wheel drive or available four-wheel drive. Those are poor ratings, even for a large SUV.

Sequoia Ride and Handling

The Sequoia rides reasonably well, especially with its available air suspension. Still, there are some jitters on uneven pavement. While the Sequoia's handling is relatively composed, don't expect a lot of agility on twisty roads. On the upside, some reviewers say the Sequoia is fairly easy to maneuver in tight spaces, though not all critics agree. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is available.

Sequoia Off-Road Performance

Although it can't quite match the off-road prowess of the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Sequoia has some decent capabilities beyond the pavement. The TRD Pro is the main off-road trim, with standard 4WD, Fox shock absorbers, a front skid plate, a lifted suspension, and a two-speed transfer case.

Sequoia Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this Toyota can tow up to 7,400 pounds. That’s not a bad rating, but other large SUVs can tow more.

Read more about performance »

Sequoia Reliability

Is the Toyota Sequoia Reliable?

The 2021 Toyota Sequoia has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five.

Sequoia Warranty

Toyota backs the Sequoia with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sequoia Safety

Sequoia Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has fully crash tested the 2021 Sequoia. However, the NHTSA gave this full-size SUV four out of five stars in its rollover test.

Sequoia Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control

Available advanced safety features:

  • None

Read more about safety »

Sequoia Dimensions and Weight

The Sequoia is 17.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 5,730 to 6,000 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 7,100 and 7,300 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota Sequoia Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 Sequoia in Indiana.

Which Toyota Sequoia Model Is Right for Me?

Toyota makes the 2021 Sequoia in five trim levels: SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, TRD Pro, and Platinum. A V8 engine and rear-wheel drive are standard. Four-wheel drive is available for $3,225 in every trim except the TRD Pro, where it comes standard. The base SR5 trim comes with lots of tech and safety features, and it’s available with amenities such as leather seats, which come standard in some higher trims. If you're looking for the most off-road capability, you should consider the TRD Pro model.

Toyota Sequoia SR5

The Toyota Sequoia SR5 has an MSRP of $50,100. Standard equipment includes a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, three USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, two rows of split-folding rear seats, fog lights, a moonroof, and alloy wheels.

Also standard in the SR5 are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS-P) suite of driver aids, which bundles a pre-collision warning and braking system, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The Premium package adds navigation, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and a power-folding and reclining third row.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport

The TRD Sport retails for $52,815. It seats seven and comes with unique performance and styling upgrades, such as a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers.

The Premium package is still available, but in this trim, it's called the TRD Sport Premium package.

Toyota Sequoia Limited

Limited models start at $59,120. Additional standard features include a navigation system, a 12-speaker stereo, a power liftgate, and the contents of the Premium package. The Limited also features eight-passenger seating.

It costs $1,000 to get the Nightshade Edition, which adds distinctive dark styling elements such as black door handles and black auto-dimming and heated power-folding outside mirrors. You can also purchase the Premium JBL Audio and Convenience package to get a JBL 14-speaker stereo.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

The off-road-oriented Sequoia TRD Pro has an MSRP of $64,225. It gains a 14-speaker JBL stereo and distinctive styling elements, such as TRD Pro red contrast stitching. It also has performance enhancements like a TRD-tuned suspension, 4WD, Fox shock absorbers, a limited-slip center differential, and a skid plate. As with the TRD Sport, the TRD Pro seats seven.

Toyota Sequoia Platinum

The Toyota Sequoia Platinum starts at $66,150. It features an air suspension, a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray DVD player and a 9-inch display, ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota Sequoia specs and trims »

The Final Call

With its rugged, truck-based platform and brutish V8 engine, the Toyota Sequoia is a decent off-roader that can handle most on-road driving situations too. It also has a roomy cabin with adult-friendly third-row seating. However, this Toyota is an aging vehicle that hasn't been redesigned in more than a decade. Most large SUVs have more modern infotainment systems and cabin materials. Several rivals have gentler rides and better mpg ratings too.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "In a word, the Sequoia is old. It hasn’t seen a full revamp since 2008, making it ancient in automotive years. Meanwhile, an all-new Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon have debuted for 2021, and the Ford Expedition was revamped a couple of years ago. These competitors bring fresher technology, more amenities, and in the case of the GM models, a variety of powertrains that include two V8s or a diesel-6. The Sequoia will appeal to Toyota loyalists who appreciate its durability, but for a similar starting price of around $50,000, it’s easy to see why far more buyers choose one of the Sequoia’s rivals." -- Autotrader
  • "The 2021 Toyota Sequoia hasn't been fully redesigned in ages, a fact made especially obvious by the slew of new rivals in this segment. With three rows of seats and a suite of standard driver-assistance technology, the Sequoia is relevant only to families who want a large SUV with Toyota's reputation for reliability." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Sequoia has a solid reputation for reliability and resale value, and it appeals to adventurous families with seating for up to eight and a good set of standard safety features. But there’s no denying the Sequoia is old. Its design and features are overdue for a revamp, and that is now even more apparent with the arrival of all-new versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon." -- Kelley Blue Book

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 15, 2021

Low Sales: The Toyota Sequoia was the slowest selling large SUV in 2019, and held that position through the end of 2020 as well. It maintained that position by a wide margin; the second slowest selling large SUV, the Nissan Armada, outsold the Sequoia by nearly 3 to 1 last year. Toyota dealerships moved 28.4 percent fewer Sequoia SUVs in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Research more buying advice »
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