Although traditional, body-on-frame SUVs are looked at as old-school relics, these rugged vehicles still represent a significant market share of modern SUVs. Going up against newer SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, the current Toyota Sequoia definitely shows its age after more than a decade on the market. Toyota has breathed some much-needed life into the 2018 Toyota Sequoia by giving its full-size SUV some significant upgrades including a more modern looking face and the introduction of a sportier TRD Sport model.
Following its introduction last year at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, we were finally able to sample the 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport 4×4.
2018 Toyota Sequoia Exterior
While the styling you see on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia hasn’t changed all that much since this SUV was redesigned in 2008, the good news is that the design recipe for full-size SUVs hasn’t changed all that much since the 1990s. The Sequoia is still a handsome SUV, but a new facelift and added TRD Sport package definitely help to freshen things up. All 2018 Toyota Sequoia trim levels get a new grille, reshaped LED headlights with stylish LED accents and a restyled bumper with LED fog lights and a lower grille insert that is unique to each trim level.
The new 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport gives this big SUV the popular blacked-out treatment with dark accents such as the mirror caps, smoked taillights and black satin finish TRD Sport badging on the front doors; a stylish set of black 20-inch alloy wheels finish off the exterior appearance. The only bright work left on the TRD Sport is the grille and fog light trim up front and the badging on the liftgate – even the trim above the license plate has been blacked out! Like Toyota’s TRD Sport offerings, the Sequoia TRD Sport is only offered in three exterior colors: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and this tester’s Magnetic Gray Metallic paint job.
2018 Toyota Sequoia Interior
Inside, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia really shows its age. While the closely related Tundra pickup truck, which is also over a decade old, received a new interior for the 2014 model year, most of the Sequoia’s cabin is exactly how it came a decade ago. This was really a missed opportunity especially considering how much nicer the Tundra looks and feels compared to its seven-passenger counterpart. The 2018 Toyota Sequoia does get a new gauge cluster replacing the individual pods with a more cohesive cluster with a central 4.2-inch Multi-information Display; all 2018 Sequoia models get a more truck-like steering wheel, which was previously only available on the Platinum trim level. The 2018 Toyota Sequoia might not be the newest, but this SUV does come standard with Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App giving it a slight advantage over its competition.
Based on the base SR5 trim level, the 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport has an entry-level feel to it with the cloth seats, but it does add sporty touches like the leather-wrapped TRD shift knob, TRD Sport sill protectors with a carbon fiber pattern and TRD Sport floor mats. If you want a little more luxury, the TRD Sport Premium package does bring features like leather seats, heated second-row seats and power-folding third-row, but it also tacks an extra $3,810 on to the final price.
We already tested the plush, leather-bound Sequoia Platinum last year, so it was nice to check out the cloth version of this cabin. This cabin is extremely roomy with comfortable accommodations for seven adults (which we experienced firsthand), and up to 120.1 cubic feet of cargo space available with the rear two rows of seats folded flat.
2018 Toyota Sequoia Powertrain
All 2018 Toyota Sequoia SUVs are powered by the same 5.7-liter V-8 that produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. This four-wheel-drive model is has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway**; filling this thirsty engine up is even more painful with the massive 26.4-gallon fuel tank.
The most important part of the new TRD Sport package is the TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars aimed at giving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia a sportier ride. Most of my time with this SUV was along the fun and twisty roads near Cashiers, North Carolina, and while it still feels like a heavy SUV (5,945 pounds, to be exact), the 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport 4×4 handled twists, turns and switchbacks with relative ease. We even got to do some minor off-roading with the Sequoia, which benefits from 10 inches of ground clearance although the standard running boards could cause high-centering in more serious terrain.
2018 Toyota Sequoia Safety
The 2018 Toyota Sequoia has not yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it does come loaded with all of the latest safety technologies expected from a modern family hauler. In addition to the eight standard airbags (including knee airbags for both from occupants), the 2018 Toyota Sequoia also comes with the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of safety features that includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. The 2018 Sequoia also has Toyota’s Star Safety System bringing Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti‐lock Brake System with Electronic Brake‐force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology.
2018 Toyota Sequoia Overall
There’s no denying that the 2018 Toyota Sequoia shows its age in most regards, but the all-new Sequoia TRD Sport gives Toyota’s full-size SUV a unique niche in this popular segment. Sure, it lacks some of the creature comforts of newer SUVs, but what you’re getting is Toyota’s legendary durability and reliability. When you need to haul your family and up to 7,400 pounds of trailer weight, sometimes that’s all you need.
A base 2018 Sequoia will set you back $48,600*, but if it’s the newest TRD Sport model you desire, then you’re looking at a starting price of $51,315 ($54,340 for 4×4). The 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport 4×4 used for this test drive review added the premium interior, which nudged the as-tested price up to $56,030. And that’s actually a pretty good deal when you start pricing modern full-size SUVs!
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.