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2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum 4X4 Test Drive Review

Toyota calls the vehicle it sent us several weeks ago the 2017 Sequoia Platinum 4X4. Friends nicknamed it the “Mom-mobile.” After spending seven days in it, we affectionately referred to it as a great “Friends and Family Truckster.”

In the Toyota lineup, the Sequoia is the ultimate people mover. It has V8 power, available four-wheel drive, and three rows of seats. The Platinum trim level is the flagship version of the Sequoia, which also comes in SR5 and Limited forms. Standard equipment ranges from 20-inch wheels to heated and ventilated leather front seats to Dynamic Laser Cruise Control.

We used the Sequoia Platinum Toyota sent us for some fun out on Central Texas’ Lake Austin. We filled almost every one of its seven seats with people, threw a cooler behind the third row, then hitched a trailer and boat to the back of it. You can call that whatever you’d like. We call it a good time.

2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum Exterior

At 17 feet long and more than 6.5 feet wide, the Sequoia is a large vehicle. There’s no disguising that. Even our tester’s Blizzard Pearl white paint couldn’t hide the fact that it was a massive people-mover. It was a well-proportioned two-box behemoth, though. The massive chrome-ringed grille was flanked by large headlight casings. The enormous doors and full-length running boards were bookended by handsome diamond-cut 20-inch alloys. Out back, the juicy red taillights flowed out of the power liftgate and onto the rear body panels.

The Sequoia is not a flashy vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t need to be. It needs to be an SUV. It certainly looks the part. Fortunately, it also performs well as an SUV, too.

2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum Interior

Our test vehicle’s tan leather interior had seven seats in it. Every one of them was a great place to be. Up front, we enjoyed the comfort of heated and cooled seats, the calming sight of warm wood-tone trim, and the convenience of large knobs for the HVAC system. If only the volume and tuning knobs connected to the 8.1-inch display for the navigation system and JBL audio system were that big. They were a bit on the small side, which was both confusing and frustrating.

Our friends were perfectly comfortable in the reclining second-row captain chairs on our way to Lake Austin, a picturesque, tree-lined water reservoir on the Colorado River. One of our pals was 6’2”, but he had plenty of legroom. He and his girlfriend passed most of the travel time by watching a movie on the standard nine-inch fold-down screen for the Blu-ray player.

The middle seats were easy to tilt and slide forward, which made getting into the third row quick and simple for another one of our pals. The vents in the ceiling of the Sequoia shot cool air down on him and his fellow passengers as we made our way to the boat launch site. The space behind the third row was large enough to carry a full-size cooler full of ice-cold drinks. We needed plenty of those because the sun was beating down on Austin that day.

2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum Performance

Toyota’s 5.7-liter iForce V8 has been on the market for a long time. Although its 381 horsepower and 401 lbft of torque are not earth-shattering numbers, they were more than enough for our needs.

After we connected our friends’ boat-topped trailer to a 2-inch ball hitch and plugged the trailer’s four-pin wiring connector to the Sequoia’s receiver, it was time to head to the water. We put the six-speed automatic transmission into its tow/haul mode, then took off. We knew we were carrying a few thousand extra pounds, but the engine never sounded stressed or overloaded. The trailer and boat only put a dent in our rig’s 7,000-pound maximum towing limit. The Sequoia’s 13.9-inch front and 13.6-inch rear ventilated brakes were strong enough to slow everyone and everything down quickly and calmly. The additional load had the positive side effect of smoothing out our rig’s already comfortable ride quality, especially when the dial for the three-mode Adaptive Variable Suspension System was turned to “Comfort.” Sport mode firmed things up a bit. We preferred the sweet spot in between those two settings.

We only had to make a couple of memorable adjustments to tow with the Sequoia. We relied on the guidance of the boat’s captain to back the Sequoia into place for hooking it up to the trailer. We rolled down all of the windows (including the one in the rear hatch) and shifted into reverse. The passenger-side mirror’s auto-tilt feature made it tilt down, which was great for avoiding curbs, but not for keeping our eyes on the hand motions we needed to see. Instead, we just looked in the rearview mirror and turned around to keep our eyes on our guide. While we were towing, we had to shut off the blind spot monitor because it kept thinking the boat trailer was in our blind spot and flashing a warning light in each side mirror.

Aside from those minor issues, the Sequoia was lovably capable and unforgettably enjoyable. It did everything we needed it to do and kept us completely comfortable while it did. We wish we had another week or two to drive the Sequoia so we could take it on more fun-in-the-sun trips.

2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum Safety

The Sequoia kept us and our friends safe with Toyota’s Star Safety System (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology); blind spot monitor; Trailer Sway Control; and front, side, knee-saving, and head-protecting airbags.

2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum Overall

Prices for the 2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum start at $62,090.* Our four-wheel-drive review vehicle had an as-tested price of $68,947. You can find the Sequoia that’s right for you and your needs at an AutoNation Toyota dealership. Whatever you end up calling your new Sequoia, your friends and family will come to know it as a great way to go on an adventure.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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