The 2021 Toyota Sequoia Does Nothing New to Justify Its Continued Existence

The Toyota Sequoia is back for the 2021 model by… well, not-so-popular demand. As MotorTrend points out, there are a few new customization options and tech upgrades for this year. However, for the most part, the Sequoia stays the same as it has for over a decade.

The Sequoia SUV is somewhat of an oddity in Toyota’s lineup of consistently popular cars, including the Prius and RAV4. It constantly has poor sales, probably due to its horrible fuel economy and outdated interior. Is there any incentive for drivers to buy the Toyota Sequoia this year?

Very few upgrades

There’s a new special model of the Toyota Sequoia on the lot this year called the Nightshade Edition. As the name would suggest, it has black accents on its badge, lower grille, and the fog light surrounds. The Nightshade Sequoia can be painted in Midnight Black Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, or Magnetic Gray Metallic.

The Nightshade Edition also comes with leather-trimmed seats to spruce up the interior. The Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro trim is also slightly different for this model year. The Army Green paint option is no longer available and has been replaced with Lunar Rock. The 2021 Sequoia also more expensive than the outgoing model by $120.

The TRD Pro trim is probably the freshest thing about the Sequoia, introduced for the 2020 model year. It features some off-roading enhancers like a lifted suspension, plus front and rear shocks. All Toyota Sequoias come with 5.7-liter V8 capable of 381 hp, but only the TRD Pro comes with standard all-wheel-drive.

The engine provides a good amount of power, but MotorTrend wasn’t impressed with the Sequoia’s handling. It can’t handle corners with any grace and the steering wheel has a tendency to swerve without frequent supervision. The engine also gets terrible gas mileage – only 13 mpg for city roads and 17 mpg on highway lanes. Even more disappointing is that no Sequoia can tow more than 7,500 pounds.

The current state of the Toyota Sequoia’s interior

The inside of the Toyota Sequoia is a plastic-lover’s paradise, complete with comically large knobs and buttons. However, unlike many three-row SUVs, each of its rows has enough legroom for passengers of all sizes. It also has a large cargo hold, with almost 67 cubic feet of space once the third row is down.

For 2020, the Toyota Sequoia finally got some much-needed technology upgrades. Smartphone integration is now standard, as well as a bigger touchscreen and a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you need to keep the backseat passengers entertained, you can also add on a Blu-Ray player for the second row.

The Toyota Sequoia’s pricing compared to its rivals

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The standard Toyota Sequoia can be purchased for around $51,465. Nightshade and Limited models will cost over $60,000, which the TRD Pro and Platinum trims cost nearly $70,000. While these are definitely competitive prices for a large SUV, other rivals can offer many more features.

For the same price, you can get a Chevrolet Tahoe or a Nissan Armada. Unlike the Sequoia, the Tahoe offers two different powertrain choices and much better fuel economy. The Nissan Armada’s gas mileage is less impressive, but it has an upscale interior and better handling than the Sequoia.

The Ford Expedition is slightly more expensive, but it’s great on gas and its interior borders on luxury territory. The Chevrolet Suburban is also a better choice, with two powerful V8s on tap and a higher towing capacity. All of these models have also been redesigned in the last five years. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia isn’t a complete failure, but it’s certainly not making much effort to keep up with its rivals.