Toyota’s biggest utility, the Sequoia, takes on the appearance of a rugged all-purpose vehicle with the new TRD Pro version.
As sales of utilities grow, new trends are emerging among buyers. The most recent is expressed by a growing demand for models suitable for use apart from bitumen. On the lookout for these trends, manufacturers naturally began to offer versions labeled “all-terrain”.
In some cases, the claims associated with these names are exaggerated, but others are not. This is the case with TRD Pro.
Released in 2020, these new versions of the Sequoia, 4Runner, and Tacoma and Tundra pickups are factory-prepared for off-road use (which we will call “normal”). The imposing Sequoia we tested illustrates the formula eloquently with its Khaki Green bodywork. With a very large tubular luggage rack, it gave the impression of being designed to transport us to the end of the world!
Of course, off-road enthusiasts will be more interested in the 2.5 ” Fox internal bypass shocks that this vehicle receives, as well as the skid plate under the engine. They will also appreciate the Rigid Industries fog lights, but even more so the 18-inch black alloy wheels shod with Michelin LTX A / T2, all-terrain tires. It’s a much smarter choice than the 20-inch wheels on other versions of the Sequoia.
For daring enthusiasts who intend to tackle unmarked trails, such equipment is only the beginning. They will certainly consult catalogs of specialized accessories (that of TRD or others) in order to prepare this vehicle for a more intense use. On the other hand, for Mr. and Mrs. Everybody, the TRD Pro will be perfect for occasional visits to outfitters in Quebec. Moreover, its endowment has also been designed to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of its users. That’s why it has, among other things, a power tailgate, leather upholstery and a 14-speaker JBL audio system with integrated navigation system and Destination Assist service.
When the TRD Pro was introduced in Canada in 2020, it became the third variant of the Sequoia SR5, the base version. However, the equipment associated with this variant added the tidy sum of $ 15,660 to the price of the SR5! Suddenly, the TRD Pro became the most expensive Sequoia in the family. This off-road model, which looked like a forestry worker, was more expensive than a Sequoia Platinum, the reputedly the most luxurious version! Toyota Canada has therefore reorganized its 2021 Sequoia utility vehicles to correct this anachronism. The unpopular SR5 and SR5 TRD Sport versions were withdrawn from the catalog, while the Sequoia TRD Pro became a full version, in addition to being the new flagship of the range!
This range still has three versions. The Limited now becomes the most affordable of the bunch, followed by the Platinum, to which we still lend a luxurious bent. Finally, the TRD Pro version tops the range. It is also distinguished by its exclusive grille that the manufacturer describes as retro.
The Sequoia is a model that changes little. Its first generation launched in 2000 was marketed for seven years. Then, in November 2007, the model we know today made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Over the past twelve years, its equipment has evolved, its range of engines has been rationalized and its silhouette has undergone some aesthetic alterations in 2018.
Assembled at a factory in Princeton, Indiana, the Sequoia shares the powerplant of the Tundra pickup truck (which is assembled in San Antonio, Texas). To liven it up and allow it to tow heavy loads, Toyota uses the 5.7L i-Force V8. This 381 hp engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a convenient manual mode. and an essential towing method. This engine delivers 401 lb-ft of torque, enough for off-road trips requiring use of the low gear range and towing tasks involving cargo up to 3221 kg, in the case of Sequoia TRD Pro and Limited (3 175 kg for the Platinum version). The equipment required for towing is also part of the standard equipment (high capacity hitch, 4 and 7-pin connectors, additional cooler for the automatic transmission fluid and its temperature indicator).
All Sequoias sold in Canada have a multi-mode four-wheel drive system (4H, 4L and 2WD) with Torsen self-locking center differential; a differential that can be locked to facilitate maneuvering on surfaces with little grip.
With such an engine and a vehicle weighing more than 2.7 t (the TRD Pro is the heaviest in the range), no one will be surprised to learn that EnerGuide assigns an average consumption of 16.5 L / 100 km at Sequoia (even if our test ended with an average of 14.5 L, this rating seems more realistic).
Large interior, but dated
The very spacious interior can accommodate 7 or 8 people, depending on the version chosen. The very large convertible trunk is naturally a strong point of this vehicle.
Despite the four-wheel independent suspension, this vehicle has pronounced body roll when cornering. On the other hand, despite its 5.2 m long, it remains very maneuverable. Its steering, which has a reduced turning radius, is very light. So much the better when you move in a small winding path at low speed. On the other hand, at high speed on the highway, the small corrections that it regularly imposes can become irritating.
The Sequoia shows its relatively advanced age through its lack of soundproofing (GMC does much better with the 2021 Yukon) and the parasitic vibrations that are felt in the steering and the suspension. The interior design is reminiscent of that too, especially with that 7-inch touchscreen that looks tiny in the large dashboard. On the other hand, the Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, all of which are standard, and the advent of the TRD Pro version demonstrate that an aging model can stay up to date!