Toy­ota Se­quoia rewrites the rules about full-size SUV ver­sa­til­ity, driv­abil­ity

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - Front Page -

For fam­i­lies on the go to fam­i­lies that tow, the Toy­ota Se­quoia, a full-ca­pa­bil­ity SUV with seat­ing for up to eight and a 7,400-lb. trailer ca­pac­ity, re­mains the gold stan­dard in com­fort and ver­sa­til­ity. An up­graded En­tune Mul­ti­me­dia sys­tems for 2016 keeps them con­nected.

With a 381-hp V8 en­gine and avail­able full-time four-wheel drive, the Toy­ota Se­quoia is the full-size, full-ca­pa­bil­ity SUV that drives and ma­neu­vers with ease — on or off road. A four-wheel in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion sys­tem en­sures adult-size room for the third seat­ing row, along with ride qual­ity that’s down­right lux­u­ri­ous. The ex­pan­sive in­te­rior makes road va­ca­tions some­thing to en­joy again.

Changes for the 2016 model fo­cus on safety, con­ve­nience and con­nec­tiv­ity. In the Lim­ited grade, the new Safety and Con­ve­nience Pack­age in­cludes Blind Spot Mon­i­tor (BSM), two-po­si­tion power mem­ory driver’s seat and mem­ory out­side mir­rors.

The En­tune Mul­ti­me­dia units in all Se­quoia mod­els in­tro­duce crit­i­cal up­grades for 2016. The SR5 grade gets new stan­dard En­tune Au­dio Plus with Con­nected Nav­i­ga­tion (Scout GPS Link), which uses the cus­tomer’s smart­phone to pro­vide nav­i­ga­tion func­tion­al­ity through the head unit. All En­tune units are up­graded to 2.5 ver­sion sta­tus, which adds Siri Eyes Free mode to ex­ist­ing fea­tures and gives iPhone users even more ver­sa­til­ity.

On the En­tune Pre­mium Au­dio with In-Ve­hi­cle Nav­i­ga­tion and En­tune Pre­mium JBL Au­dio with In-Ve­hi­cle Nav­i­ga­tion, the App Suite adds Slacker Ra­dio and re­places Bing with Des­ti­na­tion Search. The pre­mium mul­ti­me­dia units of­fer 85 per­cent faster func­tion­al­ity thanks to new dual core pro­ces­sors, and iPhone users can now charge their phone us­ing the USB port while us­ing the En­tune App Suite at the same time.

Built to give … and take

A ro­bust body-on-frame plat­form gives the Toy­ota Se­quoia both ex­em­plary ca­pa­bil­ity and smooth, quiet ride com­fort. Four-wheel in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion pro­vides out­stand­ing bump ab­sorp­tion on-road and ex­cel­lent wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion off-road. The avail­able Multi-Mode 4-wheel-drive sys­tem uses a two-speed trans­fer case with a lock­able TORSEN lim­ited-slip cen­ter dif­fer­en­tial to ap­por­tion torque to the front and rear wheels. You can shift into low range on the move via a ro­tary knob, and lock the cen­ter diff with the push of a but­ton.

Ready to tow

The Se­quoia’s sole en­gine choice is the for­mi­da­ble iForce DOHC 5.7-liter V8 with 381 hp at 5,600 RPM and 401 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 RPM. Dual in­de­pen­dent Vari­able Valve Tim­ing with in­tel­li­gence (VVT-i) and an Acous­tic Con­trol In­duc­tion Sys­tem (ACIS) en­sure am­ple torque across the en­gine speed range. Even with all its power, the big V8 uses reg­u­lar-grade fuel. It’s teamed to a six-speed elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

For tow­ing, it’s not just about how much torque an en­gine pro­duces, but also how quickly it pro­duces it. The iForce V8 puts 90 per­cent of the peak torque — or 360 lb.-ft. — at your ser­vice at just 2,200 rpm. Com­pli­ant with the SAE J2807 tow­ing stan­dard, the Se­quoia can tow up to 7,400 lbs., de­pend­ing on model grade and equip­ment. Toy­ota en­gi­neered the Se­quoia for the task. For ex­am­ple, the tow­ing hitch is in­te­grated into the frame as a sin­gle unit. The trans­mis­sion’s driver-se­lectable Tow/Haul mode mod­i­fies shift points for op­ti­mal per­for­mance. Tow­ing new­bies and vet­er­ans alike will ben­e­fit from the Trailer Sway Con­trol sys­tem, which uses the Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (VSC) to help coun­ter­act han­dling forces that can lead to trailer sway.

Added sup­port for park­ing or trailer po­si­tion­ing comes from the stan­dard rear view cam­era. The 3.3-inch dis­play is built into the stan­dard elec­trochromic auto-dim­ming rear-view mir­ror, which also in­te­grates a com­pass and a map lamp. The cam­era dis­play uses the larger nav­i­ga­tion screen on ve­hi­cles so-equipped.

Han­dling it all

Large though it may be, the Toy­ota Se­quoia han­dles with im­pres­sive agility. A 38-foot turn­ing cir­cle is one of the tight­est in the class. Stan­dard front and rear park­ing sonar sen­sors on the Lim­ited and Plat­inum mod­els alert the driver

of the po­si­tion of ob­jects and their dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle.

Brak­ing power, too, is for­mi­da­ble, with 13.9-inch ven­ti­lated front disc brakes and 13.6-inch ven­ti­lated rear disc brakes — all us­ing four op­posed pis­tons. The Se­quoia SR5 rides on 18-inch alu­minum wheels with 275/65 R18 tires; Lim­ited and Plat­inum grades roll on 20-inch alu­minum wheels with 275/55 R20 tires. In keep­ing with the jew­eled theme, the Plat­inum grade’s wheels fea­ture a di­a­mond-cut fin­ish.

The Se­quoia Plat­inum grade steps into lux­ury ter­ri­tory with its load-level­ing rear air sus­pen­sion and Adap­tive Vari­able Sus­pen­sion. The lat­ter is an elec­tronic damper con­trol sys­tem that of­fers driver-se­lectable set­tings for Com­fort, Nor­mal and Sport. The rear air spring sus­pen­sion helps main­tain ap­pro­pri­ate ride height and chas­sis at­ti­tude when car­ry­ing heavy loads or tow­ing.

Vis­i­bil­ity is another Se­quoia strength. Side-view mir­rors on the Lim­ited grade are power-re­tractable and auto-dim­ming and have built-in turn-sig­nal lamps. The Plat­inum grade’s mir­rors up the ante with pud­dle lamps, po­si­tion mem­ory and re­verse-linked tilt func­tions. Stan­dard head­light wash­ers help keep the lights shin­ing brightly in sloppy weather.

Fam­ily room on wheels

The Se­quoia is a quiet, com­fort­able space for the fam­ily to spend time on the road. Its body con­tours re­duce wind drag for an im­pres­sive 0.36 co­ef­fi­cient of drag (Cd), which is com­pa­ra­ble to some smaller ve­hi­cles. The over­all de­sign and ex­te­rior fea­tures have been shaped to min­i­mize wind noise, which helps keep the cabin serene.

Wide-open­ing rear doors ease pas­sen­ger en­try/exit and child seat in­stal­la­tion. When fold­ing the sec­on­dand third-row seats flat, the Se­quoia can swal­low up to 120.1 cu­bic feet of what­ever you need to carry, even ob­jects up to 11 feet long. Ex- tra-large cup/bot­tle hold­ers out­num­ber pas­sen­gers two to one, and the Plat­inum grade adds two more for good mea­sure.

With a 40:20:40 split, the sec­ond-row bench-type seat al­lows a va­ri­ety of com­bi­na­tions, aug­mented by a seat­slide ad­just­ment range of 5.9 inches. The mid­dle row folds flat and there’s a onetouch easy-slide fea­ture to make it easy for pas­sen­gers to en­ter the third row. Lux­u­ri­ous sec­ond-row cap­tain seats are avail­able for a seven-seat cabin.

The third-row seat, which is fully hos­pitable for adults, is split 60:40 and can re­cline. The third row also eas­ily folds flat, a task made even more con­ve­nient by the avail­able power tilt­ing and fold­ing fea­ture. The rear lift­gate fea­tures power slid­ing glass that can open sep­a­rately, and the huge cargo area is equipped with handy hooks for gro­cery bags.

Toy­ota Safety

Like all Toy­ota mod­els, the 2016 Se­quoia is equipped with Toy­ota’s STAR Safety Sys­tem, which in­cludes: Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (VSC), Anti-lock Brak­ing Sys­tem (ABS), Elec­tronic Brake­force Dis­tri­bu­tion (EBD), Brake As­sist (BA), Trac­tion Con­trol (TRAC) and Smart Stop Tech­nol­ogy (SST) brake over­ride. On 4WD mod­els, TRAC is re­placed by A-TRAC (Ac­tive-Trac­tion Con­trol). All mod­els have a di­rect tire pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.

The Se­quoia is equipped with a dual stage ad­vanced front air bag sys­tem, seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and front pas­sen­ger, roll-sens­ing side cur­tain airbags for all three seat­ing rows, plus driver and front pas­sen­ger knee airbags.

Mak­ing the grades

The Se­quoia SR5 starts as one of the best-equipped ve­hi­cles in its class. Stan­dard ameni­ties in­clude a tilt/ tele­scop­ing steer­ing wheel with in­te­grated au­dio and Blue­tooth hands-free phone con­trols; en­gine im­mo­bi­lizer with alarm; au­to­matic tri-zone air con­di­tion­ing; power tilt/slide moon­roof; tow­ing pack­age; 8-way power driver’s seat; fog lamps; a roof rack; run­ning boards, and more.

The Se­quoia Lim­ited adds func­tion­al­ity with front and rear park­ing sonar; power rear lift­gate with slid­ing win­dow; power fold­ing and re­clin­ing 60:40 split third-row seat and 20-inch al­loy wheels. Lim­ited also means added lux­ury with 10-way ad­justable power driver’s seat; heated front leather-trimmed seats, sec­ond- and third-row re­tractable sun­shades and a leather-trimmed steer­ing wheel.

It doesn’t get any bet­ter than Plat­inum, and this Se­quoia grade adds the lux­ury of a 12-way ad­justable power driver’s seat; rear load-level­ing air sus­pen­sion; power seat mem­ory pack­age and sec­ond-row heated seats. Ad­di­tional tech­nol­ogy on this top-line model in­cludes Dy­namic Laser Cruise Con­trol and a Blue-Ray rear seat en­ter­tain­ment (RSE) sys­tem with a 9-inch LCD screen, sep­a­rate rear seat au­dio sys­tem and dual wire­less head­phones. (The RSE is avail­able for the Lim­ited grade as an op­tion.)

Tun­ing in with En­tune

With En­tune Au­dio, pair­ing a smart­phone opens up a new in-ve­hi­cle ex­pe­ri­ence with fully in­te­grated ac­cess to nav­i­ga­tion, music and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices. New for 2016, the Se­quoia’s En­tune sys­tems fea­ture Siri Eyes Free mode.

The SR5 grade’s stan­dard 8-speaker En­tune Au­dio Plus sys­tem com­bines a high res­o­lu­tion 6.1-inch touch-screen dis­play, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA play­back ca­pa­bil­ity, Sir­iusXM All Ac­cess Satel­lite Ra­dio (in­cludes a three-month trial sub­scrip­tion), aux­il­iary au­dio jack, USB port with iPod con­nec­tiv­ity, hands-free phone ca­pa­bil­ity and music stream­ing via Blue­tooth wire­less. The sub­scrip­tion-free En­tune App Suite ex­pands music choices with In­ter­net ra­dio, in­clud­ing iHeartRa­dio and Pan­dora.

The Lim­ited grade’s En­tune Pre­mium Au­dio sys­tem in­cludes MP3/WMA play­back ca­pa­bil­ity and 14 speak­ers in­clud­ing sub- woofer. In the Plat­inum grade, En­tune Pre­mium JBL Au­dio with Nav­i­ga­tion and App Suite pro­vides the ul­ti­mate level of in­for­ma­tion and music. The sys­tem fea­tures a voice-ac­ti­vated touch-screen, in­te­grated backup cam­era dis­play, Sir­iusXM All Ac­cess Satel­lite Ra­dio (in­cludes three­month trial sub­scrip­tion) along with all fea­tures of the Lim­ited grade’s sys­tem.

Lim­ited war­ranty

Toy­ota’s 36-month/36,000 mile ba­sic new-ve­hi­cle war­ranty ap­plies to all com­po­nents other than nor­mal wear and main­te­nance items. Ad­di­tional 60-month war­ranties cover pow­er­train for 60,000 miles and cor­ro­sion with no mileage lim­i­ta­tion. Toy­ota deal­ers have com­plete de­tails on the lim­ited war­ranty. The Se­quoia will also come stan­dard with Toy­ota Care, a com­pli­men­tary plan cov­er­ing nor­mal fac­tory-sched­uled main­te­nance and 24hour road­side as­sis­tance for two years or 25,000 miles, which­ever comes first.

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