Trucks and SUVs seem to keep getting bigger and bigger. Look at the new Ford Maverick. What was once a car is now a truck. Most Jeep Wranglers these days have four doors, and some even grew a bed. After spending over a week with a 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, its actual size is starting to settle in.
On the highway, the size isn’t very noticeable
I’m not sure if the interstate is the worst or best place to test vehicles. On the one hand, you can stretch its legs and give it some room to breathe, but on the other, the interstate tends to be pretty boring driving. They have virtually no corners, usually less hard braking, no serious steering to speak of, and other than straight-line speed, comfort, and interior features, there is little to help gauge how good a vehicle is.
In the case of the big ol’ green Sequoia TRD Pro, it was like a giant couch lumbering down the freeway. It told me very little about itself in that setting. It was comfortable and easy to spend time in between the many gas stops.
I could not really get a great feel for the off-road kid-hauler’s size until I passed a first-generation Sequoia. My new Sequoia lazily grunted past the old one, and I drove side by side for a few seconds to compare. I was genuinely shocked to see that we in the 2020 model TRD pro were looking down at the 2001 model. It was dramatically shorter in height and length and narrower than the golden oldie. Enough smaller, in fact, to really sink in how big the new one truly is.
Is the big Sequoia TRD pro any good off-road?
Well, it’s a Toyota 4×4 after all, so yes – but also no. As far as hardware and driveline capability, it’s great, but the size really holds it back from being a truly great off-roader. After the road trip, I spent an entire day running trails and back roads in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We had gotten over 14 inches of snow in some places. The back roads and trails were positively buried. The problem here is that many of these trails followed along the side of a mountain with no guard rail.
Knowing where your tires are at all times is key to off-roading and doubly so on the side of a snowy cliff. The Sequoia never once even flinched at the ruts and deep, muddy snow. It powered through every trench and up every hill. The problem was the width.
Some of these trails were one and a half cars wide that if you could find any shoulder, two trucks could pass one another, but with the Sequoia, every trail/road was turned into a one way. The day was filled with either me or another fellow off-roader having to back down steep and icy roads until the trail was wide enough for someone to squeeze by. It was humiliating.
If you are crossing wide stretches of desert on an overlanding journey, I will wager the Sequoia would work great, but it is simply too wide on most trails. Every corner was white-knuckled for fear of dropping a wheel over the edge.
Let’s put some hard numbers on the 2020 Sequoia’s size
The Sequoia with the TRD Pro package stands at 77-inches high, 80-inches wide (that’s the literal width of my couch), and 205-inches long. That, right there, is what the young people call a “unit.” All that size doesn’t come in lightweight either; this behemoth weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. Not exactly very nimble on the trail. Consider all that size and weight on a steep, snowy mountainside. When the Sequoia gets to sliding, it is not easily stopped, which leads to a lot of clinched-cheek moments.
I will say it was fun, but mostly due to the fear. All that aside, as Road & Track mentions in their review of this big dawg, I don’t have many objective or professional reasons to like the Sequoia, but somehow I still do, a little bit.