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2012 Toyota Sequoia Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Toyota Sequoia was new.


Performance: 7.9

Overall, reviewers are pleased with the Toyota Sequoia’s driving dynamics. They say its ride is comfortable for its size and that its engines provide lots of get-up-and-go. Keep in mind that although it’s a bit easier to drive than other large SUVs, the Sequoia is still hard to maneuver and park because of its size. Like other V8-powered behemoths, the Toyota Sequoia doesn’t get great gas mileage.

  • "A long wheelbase and lots of weight subdue most every bump. … Sequoia is prone to unpleasant wavy-pavement wallowing with base suspension, and with adjustable suspension in either mode other than ‘sport.’” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Also, this is a large, heavy vehicle that is a challenge to maneuver in tight situations and does not deliver great fuel economy.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Parking requires cargo-ship experience.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Toyota Sequoia comes standard with a 4.6-liter V8 engine that makes 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to Limited and Platinum trims will get you a standard 5.7-liter V8 that puts 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque to the ground. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential manual shift mode that aids in towing.

Two-wheel drive Sequoias with the 4.6-liter engine get an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg city/highway, while those with the 5.7-liter engine get 13/18 mpg. Four-wheel drive Sequoias with the 4.6-liter achieve 13/18 mpg, while the 5.7-liter manages 13/17 mpg. That’s about average for the class, though it’s lower than the two- or four-wheel drive GMC Yukon’s EPA rating of 15/21 mpg.

Reviewers say that both engines offer lots of power, and they love the 5.7-liter’s open-throated growl. However, one test driver notes that the transmission’s reluctance to downshift sometimes makes the engines feel less powerful than they really are.

  • "Top-spec V-8 moves with authority and sounds great.” -- Car and Driver
  • "The 5.7-liter V8's abundance of low-end torque makes passing maneuvers effortless, and the six-speed automatic is always on point with gear selection, even when towing. Even the 4.6-liter V8 is no slouch, particularly if you won't be maxing out your SUV's payload and towing capacities on a regular basis.” -- Edmunds
  • “There's plenty of power from any speed with the 5.7-liter V8, but the transmission's reluctance to downshift can complicate passing and merging maneuvers.” -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Weighing about 6,000 pounds, the 2012 Toyota Sequoia handles like the large SUV that it is. Critics complain about excess body roll in turns due to a softly-sprung suspension. However, this results in a comfortable highway ride. Test drivers say the Sequoia also has very strong braking performance, and is more maneuverable than some other affordable large SUVs. 

  • "Rough roads set the Sequoia to jiggling, but it's fairly smooth otherwise.” -- Car and Driver
  • "In any Sequoia, fast turns result in marked body lean. Combined with steering that's too light and indirect, it takes the fun out of twisty roads. Still, straight-line stability is confident, and Sequoia is composed in most every routine maneuver, with the bonus of a usefully tight turning radius and outstanding brake control.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “The steering feel is precise and confidence-inspiring, but, when cornering harder, body roll will be noticeable and somewhat pronounced.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Towing and Hauling

The Sequoia can tow up to 6,900 pounds in the base two-wheel drive SR5 model, while two-wheel drive Limited trims can tow a maximum of 7,400 pounds. That’s about average for the class, though the Chevrolet Tahoe can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

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