Even as the American automotive landscape remains dominated by car-based crossovers, Toyota is one of the few manufacturers that continues to offer a range of truck-based SUVs. The highly capable 4Runner and luxurious Land Cruiser are centered around the largest SUV in the Toyota lineup — the Sequoia. Although it hasn’t had a major update in many years, the big Sequoia still has plenty to offer — especially when outfitted as the TRD Pro.
Toyota provided us with a 2020 Toyota Sequoia 4X4 TRD Pro, painted in Midnight Black Metallic. As the top-level trim of the Sequoia lineup, the TRD Pro comes with a long list of standard equipment including a premium JBL audio system, 3-zone climate control, leather trimmed seats and Toyota Safety Sense. The only options on this Sequoia were a cargo cover and a TRD Performance Exhaust — total MSRP lists at $67,029. Competitors to the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro include the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, Nissan Armada and GMC Yukon.
The Sequoia can be best described as big and bold. Based on the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck, the Sequoia has a big grille flanked by large LED headlights and LED fog lights. Our test vehicle was the TRD PRO which means all trim has been blacked out. The grille and surround are black, as are the mirrors, door handles and badging. Across the grille is TOYOTA in large letters, replacing the logo found on more common Sequoias.
A black roof rack is standard equipment on the Sequoia TRD Pro, as are black cast-aluminum running boards. Completing the bold styling are 18-inch black BBS forged aluminum wheels shod with Michelin all-terrain tires. The red TRD wheel hub centers provide a nice splash of color on this blacked out SUV. A TRD front skidplate adds both function and style.
Even though Sequoia is of the oldest SUVs in the Toyota lineup, the company has done a nice job of keeping it up to date. Sequoia offers an abundance of storage up front with dual glove boxes, multiple cupholders and a massive center console.
Large dials for climate controls are designed to be used even with gloves on, although having the fan and 4WD control knobs be about the same size and next to each other could cause issues. Hard buttons next to the display screen — along with volume and tuning knobs — make navigating the infotainment system quick and intuitive. Up front, three USB ports provide opportunities for device charging and connectivity.
The TRD Pro comes with the 7-occupant option, meaning the second row consists of two bucket seats. This large vehicle offers plenty of leg- and headroom for rear-seat passengers. Seats are comfortable and even recline — not a bad place to have to travel. With tri-zone climate control, rear-seat passengers can adjust their own temperature controls. Perhaps a bit telling about the Sequoia’s age — there are no USB ports for rear-seat passengers.
Access to the third row is easy by folding and sliding the second-row seats, aided by the standard running boards. Seats are a bit cramped — as expected — but there is a surprising amount of legroom. The third row could certainly be usable for adults if necessary.
With all three rows in place, the cargo area of the 2020 Toyota Sequoia is quite small. An optional cargo cover does its job but is an odd fit. In order to place any larger luggage in the rear area, the cargo cover would need to be removed. Second-row seats can be folded flat with the push of a button, split 60/40. With the cargo cover removed and seats folded, the Sequoia’s cargo space is absolutely cavernous.
This may be the first time we’ve ever complimented floor mats in a vehicle — or even mentioned them. Both front and rear floor mats of the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro show the pattern of tire tracks in mud, and in front they also have a rendered mountain range. A nice touch.
Powering the Sequoia is a 5.7-liter V8 engine producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. For 4WD models — TRD Pro only comes with 4WD — towing capacity is rated at 7,100 pounds. Power and capability are key reasons shoppers eventually purchase a Sequoia — fuel economy is not. The EPA rates the 4WD Sequoia at 13 mpg city / 17 mpg hwy / 14 mpg combined. During our drive we didn’t see much more than 13 mpg, so the figures seem accurate, if not a little disappointing. The engine does provide a nice soundtrack with the optional TRD Performance Exhaust.
Even though the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is a large vehicle, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or too cumbersome on the road. The big V8 engine offers plenty of power for acceleration — the Sequoia moves quickly for such a large vehicle. The steering setup doesn’t offer much feedback from the road, but the big SUV does handle relatively well, considering it weighs in a hair under three tons. One annoyance we identified concerns the tires — although we’re certain they do well when the pavement ends, the tread design seems to pick up every loose rock, resulting in constant tap-tap-taps as we drove down the road.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to properly challenge the TRD Pro off-road, but it is certainly capable. With 10 inches of ground clearance, four-wheel independent suspension, Fox aluminum-bodied bypass shocks, multi-mode 4WD, a front TRD skidplate and all-terrain tires, the Sequoia TRD Pro should be able to handle itself when the terrain gets rough. This capability does give up a bit in ride quality though — on gravel and dirt roads we encountered the ride became fairly harsh.
There aren’t many full-size SUVs left on the U.S. market, and when compared to some of the newer offerings from Ford and GM, the Sequoia is starting to show its age. However, the Sequoia TRD Pro still brings a lot to the table with a spacious and comfortable interior, the latest safety technology, bold styling and plenty of room for gear. Add to this some significant off-road chops and great details thanks to the TRD Pro package, and Sequoia still holds its own in this small but competitive segment.
TRD Pro features blacked-out trim.
The TRD Performance Exhaust adds a nice sound.
Ten inches of ground clearance.
Large rear taillights.
TRD front skid plate.
Integrated TRD running boards.
Standard TRD black roof rack.
Plenty of ground clearance.
Exclusive 18-inch black BBS forged aluminum wheels.
Red TRD centers in the wheels offer a nice contrasting color.
Easy access to the third row of seats.
Third row folds flat with the push of a button.
Rear seat gets its own climate control and cup holders.
Leather-trimmed front seats with TRD Pro logo.
Dual glove boxes for extra storage.
Plenty of cargo space with third row folded.
Integrated TRD running boards.