Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Sequoia

In arboreal terms, the Sequoia is a large California tree, but in Toyota terms, it is a full size SUV.

With a capacity for up to eight adults or room for just over 120 cubic feet of cargo, the Toyota Sequoia seemed so cavernous on the inside, we thought it might be a tight fit for our roomy garage, but it fit nicely measuring 17 inches shorter than a Suburban.

A new 310-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 engine is standard on the SR-5 base model.? It replaces the previous generation 276-hp base engine.? Optional on the SR5 and standard on the Limited and Platinum editions is the 381-hp, 5.7-liter V-8.? Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission. ?The larger V-8 produces outstanding performance, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 6.2 seconds.

Interestingly, both engines get the same EPA rating of 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway in the two-wheel drive models and the four-wheel drive version are both rated at 13/18 mpg.? We averaged 15.1 mpg in our 5.7-liter 4WD test vehicle.

The Platinum edition includes Adaptive Variable Suspension, which adjust damper response by changing the console mounted switch between comfort, normal or sport settings.? The Limited and Platinum even comes with the desirable 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Our Platinum edition test vehicle had many of the attributes of a high-riding limousine with its plush leather interior with heated and cooled seats, wide screen rear entertainment system and premium JBL audio.

The driver gets benefits from the advanced DVD navigation system with real time traffic reports, the dynamic laser cruise control system, backup camera and many other standard features.

On the safety side, Sequoia gets new driver and front-seat passenger knee airbags.? This is in addition to Toyota?s STAR Safety System?, which includes stability and traction control, electronic brake distribution, brake assist and roll-sensing side curtain airbags.

The Sequoia comes in 11 variations starting with the rear-wheel drive SR5 with the 4.6-liter engine for $39,480, including the destination charge.? Four-wheel drive and requisite mechanical enhancements add $3,225 to any model.? The top of the line Platinum edition with four-wheel drive is priced at $59,855, with options limited to a couple items like mats or protective film for paint.

As large as the Sequoia feels, it was surprisingly agile.? To start with, it has a tight 39-foot turning radius.? Acceleration is significantly better than we would have imagined.? On corners, the adaptive suspension minimizes body rolls making for a secure ride.? What we liked most was the comfort, luxury appointments and quiet cabin.? The styling is a little vanilla, but the fit, finish and quality materials make this full-size SUV very special.

[Rating:7.5/10]

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