Looking at the spec sheet, the big and brawny 2018 Toyota Sequoia checks all the right boxes for a large SUV – a composed ride, strong V8 engine, and legitimate four-wheel-drive system. But it's held back by a low-rent interior, poor fuel economy, and pricing that can quickly escalate into near-luxury territory.

Best Value

Pricing for the 2018 Sequoia begins at $52,920 for a base SR5, but can soar into the stratosphere at over $69,000 for an AWD Platinum model finished in optional Blizzard Pearl, but absent any dealer-installed tchotchkes. Beyond the usual power features, even base SR5 models come with a raft of standard content including a moonroof, automatic three-zone air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power rear window, Bluetooth, LED headlights and fog lights, running boards, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a Tow Package (receiver hitch, auxiliary transmission cooler, heavy duty alternator, trailer wiring). A number of advanced safety features are also present including a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights with high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.

With a single engine and transmission pairing as well as the extensive standard feature set, it comes down to how much chrome, leather, and infotainment features you believe are necessary. For our money, the best value is the base SR5. Here’s how we’d build it:

  • Model: 2018 Toyota Sequoia SR5
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Output: 381 hp / 401 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
  • MPG: : 13 City / 17 Hwy
  • Options: Premium Package ($3,810, leather seats, front heated seats, 10-way power driver's seat, four-way power front passenger seat, Entune Premium Audio system with built-in navigation, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power reclining and fold-flat third row).
  • Base Price:$52,920 (including the $1,295 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$56,730

Performance

Toyota Sequoia

With maximum torque available at 2,200 rpm, the V8 pulls strongly off the line and can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in under seven seconds. The Sequoia delivers a smooth ride courtesy of its fully-independent suspension. Platinum trims get an even silkier variable air suspension. The Sequoia is also a true off-roader sporting a 27-degree approach angle, a 20-degree departure angle, and 10 inches of ground clearance in four-wheel-drive models that feature a two-speed transfer case equipped with a Torsen limited-slip differential, which can be locked when encountering rough terrain, along with an electronic traction control system for reduced wheelspin. For good measure, kicking things off in 2018 is a new TRD sport trim replete with Bilstein dampers and front and rear performance-tuned anti-sway bars.

But 10 years into its current generation, age is beginning to rear its ugly head. The transmission is no longer class-leading (both the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition feature 10-speed units) and is a contributor to the Sequoia's abysmal EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon in the city, 17 mpg on the highway, and 14 mpg combined. Not helping matters is numb steering, an urban-challenging 19.5-foot turning circle, and a tall center of gravity that can induce plenty of head-tossing in all but the mildest cornering maneuvers.

Style

Last year's refresh included a more distinctive front fascia featuring a squared-off grill and narrower, linear headlight enclosures containing bright, efficient LED headlights surrounded by a narrow band of LED daytime running lights.

The rest of the Sequoia's more rounded sheetmetal is wrapped around a voluminous interior with 18.9 cubic feet of storage behind the third row that expands to 66.6 cu. ft. when that row is folded, and further increases to 120.1 cu. ft. with the middle seats folded flat.

The seats up front are wide and soft, as is the middle row, which also slides fore and aft for more leg room. In Limited and above models, optional – and more comfortable – captain's chairs can replace the middle row bench. Standard running boards and well-placed grab handles make climbing in and out easy, despite the Sequoia's off-road-friendly ground clearance.

The new front end design doesn't match the rest of the vehicle and, aside from its sheer volume, nothing about the interior impresses. Where most vehicles in this class now sport soft-touch surfaces, the Sequoia offers not a single hint of luxury and is chock-full of hard plastics that'd look cheap in vehicles costing a third as much. The controls, though large and easy to use, are from another decade, while third-row accommodations are suitable only for children.

The Best and Worst Things

The Sequoia's smooth ride and spacious interior are offset by a cabin overrun with hard plastics as well as its wildly inefficient drivetrain.

Right For? Wrong For?

Toyota Sequoia

With its spacious interior and long list of advanced safety features, the Sequoia should find a home with safety-conscious family buyers.

At the same time, the Sequoia's poor fuel economy – even by the standards of the full-size SUV class – is sure to be a turn off for eco-conscious buyers.

The Bottom Line

Despite a composed ride, strong V8 engine, and impressive carrying capacity, the Toyota Sequoia is undone by a low-rent interior and wretched fuel economy, making it an also-ran in its class.