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Review 2002 Toyota Sequoia

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SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

By Annabelle Frankl

In a town populated by SUV drivers, the Sequoia still manages to look down on the competition. This behemoth is guaranteed to be higher, and longer, than most of its competitors, but that doesn’t mean that it handles like a whale or is all show and no go.

Indeed, the 4.7 liter V8 DOHC 32 valver hiding under the hood is impressively powerful (just don’t look at the mpg readout on the mini-computer if you’re accelerating, or you’re liable to faint!) Driving up the 5 Fwy on my way to Willow Springs, and a day of car testing, the Sequoia surging up hills, effortlessly passing all slower traffic, I was ensconced in comfort and quiet, surveying all other road users and generally just enjoying the ride.

The Sequoia is great in a straight line. Quick, sturdy, a real presence on the road. Cornering should, however, be done with caution and at reduced speed. The center of gravity is high and despite independent front suspension and 5-link suspension at rear, which gives one a good, firm ride, one gets the feeling that going round a bend puts a quite a strain on the equilibrium of the vehicle. It does come equipped with skid and traction control, so getting bent out of shape is made a little harder.

Given the size of the vehicle, the 4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS perform very well, possessing a reassuring amount of stopping power. Nothing worse than being behind the wheel of, what feels like, a 10 ton truck, and having brakes with no punch. Especially since the Sequoia really does have room for 7 passengers, and luggage, in 3 rows of seating. That’s a lot of weight to be stopping.

The interior is cavernous and extremely comfortable. I think Toyota could do with sprucing up its dash layout/design, and certainly they should include audio/temp controls on the steering wheel, or perhaps position the central control console slightly in favor of the driver, because it’s a long way to reach over! This space does allow for a huge, open area between driver and passenger seats, which is great for holding keys, papers, whatever you fancy. More secure stowaway areas abound too, as do big, bottle-capable cup holders, seemingly everywhere!

Power leather captain seats are comfortable and the seat heaters are very effective – great for warming up on a cold desert night. Rear passengers have loads of legroom and accessing the 3rd row of seats isn’t too traumatic and doesn’t feel claustrophobic. An optional, large moonroof, helps bring light and air into the rear of the Sequoia, although it’s a bit noisy when open at speed. The 10-speaker stereo and 6 CD in-dash is good, and other conveniences include a homelink system, mini-computer with mpg, temperature and so on, and rear climate control – all important in such a large vehicle, keeping the troops happy. Consumers with smaller children will find it a bit of a stretch to get them seated, especially if child seats are added to the already towering rear bench, but that seems to be a standard chore if one chooses to buy one of these larger SUVs.

The Sequoia certainly looks great from the outside. Very bold styling, although mine was a rather peculiar lavender shade. It’s actually surprisingly easy to park, and was narrower than the Tahoe I had a few weeks back, making it much more garage-friendly. The power rack and pinion steering kept maneuverability to a maximum, with minimum amount of muscle use.

Doing 14/18 city/highway, fuel consumption is high, although the tank is large enough not to require constant fill ups. I only had it 4-up, so I’m sure with a full quota of 7 plus bags, consumption is less than good. But, frankly, if one is shelling out just under $40,000 on this truck, it’s for the excellent engine, comfy ride and roomy interior. Those looking for fuel efficiency just don’t buy these kinds of vehicles. But then they don’t get to take 6 friends or family along for the ride either.