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Toyota Sequoia LTD 4X4 (2001)

SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

By Tom Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 42,575 
     Price As Tested                                    $ 44,935 
     Engine Type              DOHC 32-valve 4.7 Liter V8 w/SMFI* 
     Engine Size                                 285 cid/4664 cc 
     Horsepower                                   240 @ 4800 RPM 
     Torque (lb-ft)                               315 @ 3400 RPM 
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  118.1"/78.0"/203.9" 
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic 
     Curb Weight                                     5470 pounds 
     Fuel Capacity                                  26.4 gallons 
     Tires  (F/R)                              P265/70R16 radial 
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) 
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive 
     Vehicle Type                      Eight-passenger/five-door 
     Domestic Content                                        N/A 
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A 


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon 
        city/highway/average                            14/17/16 
     0-60 MPH                                        9.0 seconds 
     Maximum payload capacity                        1305 pounds 
     Maximum towing capacity                         6200 pounds 
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

It was only a matter of time before Toyota introduced a full-sized SUV based on its successful full-sized Tundra pickup. And from the B-pillar forward, the new Sequoia SUV is identical to the Tundra.

Available as the well-appointed SR5 and as our tester this week, the uplevel Limited, as well as in either two-or four-wheel drive, the Sequoia is setting standards for SUV sophistication.

OUTSIDE - The Sequoia is the latest in the barrage of large SUVs over the past ten years. Its main competitors have larger models to trump Toyota's behemoth, although media attention, environmental issues and spiraling fuel costs have turned those vehicles into automotive social pariahs. Its sibling, the Toyota Land Cruiser, is smaller in wheelbase by six inches and almost a foot shorter, but is the same in width and height. But looks can be deceiving, as the Sequoia Limited's flared overfenders make it look significantly larger than its "little" Land Cruiser brother. Toyota was careful to make its overall height low enough to fit into standard-sized garages. Its 10.6 inches of ground clearance give fairly good off-road abilities, but the Limited model's standard side steps are vulnerable in the rough stuff. Directional five-spoke alloy wheels and P265/70R16 all-season tires are standard.

INSIDE - Toyota has done superb work on the Sequoia's interior. Three rows of seating provide space for up to eight, and each seating position has a three-point safety belt. Up front is a pair of bucket seats, large and firm, and covered in leather like the rest of the Limited model's interior. Each of the second and third-row seats slides forward, reclines or tumbles ahead for cargo flexibility. The third-row seat is also easily removed by releasing a single lever and lifting it out the tailgate. Naturally, cupholders are scattered about the cabin, while the center console between the front seats is cavernous and fitted with three power outlets; two up front and one for the rear passengers. Climate controls are provided for those seated in back. Other standard Limited model features include a premium JBL-brand stereo with 10 speakers, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors (also heated), HomeLink transmitter, tilt steering, cruise control and variable-speed intermittent wipers.

ON THE ROAD - Under the Sequoia's hood is a 4.7-liter V8. It uses dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder to produce 240 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque. It is the first Toyota SUV engine to be classified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle by the EPA, and it delivers up to 18 miles per gallon in 2WD form. It runs smoothly and quietly, and while its direct competition offers more power, none can boast of being more refined than the Sequoia motor. But since the Sequoia tips the scales at nearly 5500 pounds, acceleration is only adequate. Liberal pressure on the throttle, will enable Sequoia to move with authority. A four-speed automatic is the only gearbox choice, while its multi-mode 4WD system can be activated by a dash- mounted switch.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - In developing the Sequoia, extensive changes were made to the Tundra platform. It's the same from the front doors forward, using a boxed ladder frame and double wishbone independent suspension, but the suspension is tuned for a softer ride since the Sequoia is meant to be a passenger hauler. In back is a sophisticated five-link coil spring suspension with a stabilizer bar attached, which provides the big SUV with good roadability. Power rack-and-pinion steering is standard, as are four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Also contributing to its safety portfolio are Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), which helps to reduce the risk of the vehicle skidding sideways, and traction control, which reduces wheelspin on slippery surfaces.

SAFETY - Dual dashboard airbags, ABS, traction control, VSC, side-impact door beams and front seat belt pre-tensioners are standard. Side-impact airbags are optional.

OPTIONS - Premium stereo, $200; side airbags, $500; moonroof, $1005; carpet/cargo mat set, $175.