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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.

2024 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid review

2024 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid right front
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2024 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid right front

If ever there were perfect timing to possess a giant high-riding 4-wheel-drive SUV, a hero truck, a mid-January 20-inch snow dump was that time.

Talk about crushing it!

The Toyota Sequoia (big as its name implies) TRD Pro Hybrid is what you want for mashing about in a couple feet of snow with no fear of getting stuck. The neighbors likely wanted to hang a medal on me for smashing all those boulder-sized snow clumps along our neighborhood streets. The TRD was the right truck at the right time.

And it would be for anyone wanting to do serious off-roading, but in a luxury truck that coddles your posterior while also crushing your bank account.

TRD, as in Toyota Racing Development, is the top-level full-size three-row Sequoia and TRD also indicates performance throughout the Toyota brand.

No, you’re not racing this or challenging say a Ford Raptor or Ram TRX pickup to a drag race, but maybe if you were planning to challenge the Baja you’d be happy to climb aboard a Sequoia, and you could take the family along in comfort. It’ll seat seven in TRD form with two comfy captain’s chairs in the second row.

Power is plentiful, just not irresponsibly crazy as in the aforementioned pickups.

Toyota has revamped its twin-turbo 3.4-liter i-Force V6 to create 437 horsepower and an impressive 583 pound-feet of torque. That makes TRD able to tow a bit more than 9,000 pounds while easily rocketing up to highway speeds in short order. It cooks!

All that despite weighing more than 6,100 pounds, about 300 pounds more than the Platinum version tested last summer. Gas mileage was better then too, at 18 mpg vs. 13.4 this time, but again, the real world was both snowy and bitter cold for this drive.

In reality, this new powertrain is a mild hybrid, so linked up with an electric motor that basically powers the SUV up to 18 mph to help improve fuel economy. It’s rated at 19 mpg city and 22 highway with a combined rating of 20 mpg. My 18 mpg last summer comes close to reflecting that, although I probably tromped the accelerator a big harder than I should have, even then.

By comparison, its major competitors, the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, Nissan Armada and Ford Expedition are rated a bit less with no hybrid power. Armada is rated 16 mpg combined, while the Tahoe and Yukon are at 17 mpg combined. Expedition is closer to Sequoia with a 19 mpg rating.

Toyota makes it easy to go four-wheeling too with an easy button to depress and slide on the console for 4WD high or low, and TRD also includes Multi-Terrain Select on a console dial if you intend to go mudding. TRD adds crawl control, a sort of cruise control for off-roading, plus a locking rear differential and special suspension system.

Four-wheel drive is standard on TRD, naturally, but a $3,000 extra for other Sequoia trims.

Sequoia is based on Toyota’s sturdy Tundra pickup chassis and so has the usual bouncy pickup ride at times, but mostly the shocks are well dampened to make even crushing rocks or snow boulders a less than painful experience.

Handling is typical big SUV or pickup with moderately heavy steering effort, but easy to control on highways. Parking is another thing entirely as the turning radius is large, so often requires pulling part way into a lot’s space, then backing up to get the truck in straight without scraping the sides of other vehicles. A standard 360-degree camera system helps there though.

Note too, anytime a 4WD system is engaged steering firms up at low speeds and makes parking an increased effort. I often switch it off when pulling into a parking lot.

Inside, this truck is both luxurious in feel and macho in looks with black leather seats and door trim all enhanced with red stitching. Seat backs feature an embroidered TRD Pro logo, the TRD in white, the Pro in red. Floor mats include the logo too as does the leather-wrapped wheel and shifter. I especially like the red stripe atop the wheel that marks the center when aimed straight.

A dark fake carbon fiber trim graces the wide dash and the word Toyota is emblazoned on the passenger’s side dash as a large reminder of what brand one is luxuriating in.

Aiding that too is the big infotainment screen which has grown from 8 inches to 14 now. It’s simple enough to operate even if a bit overwhelming visually. A wireless charger is beneath the screen and center stack and there are oodles of climate control buttons and toggles just below the screen. While there’s no navigation built in, wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto hookups are.

Heated seats? Why yes, they have three temperature settings up front, and the same for cooling. The wheel also is heated and once turned on doesn’t need to be reignited every time the truck’s ignition is turned off. It remembers its settings. Some systems insist all settings be reengaged each time a vehicle is started which is an annoying first world problem to be sure.

Overhead is a panoramic sunroof and power shade, a $500 option. Yet Toyota includes a digital camera rearview mirror, which is high-def and offers great visibility. It took me two days to get used to is, but it’s a win for rear viewing.

Also standard are power lowering third-row seats and a power hatch. But a remaining problem, or inconvenience, is that the third row doesn’t fold flat into the floor so that there’s a flat cargo area. It’s raised a few inches due to the revised suspension beneath the tail. While one always welcomes an upgraded suspension, the bulging cargo floor is inconvenient.

There’s an awkward panel adjustment to help level the floor, but I wouldn’t want to deal with that on a regular basis.

On the plus side, there are permanent running boards along the Sequoia’s sides to help passengers hike up to the interior. No power running boards as in earlier models and that’s a positive move and one assumes saves some cost too.

Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 is included with all the current goodies one expects, now with pre-collision systems and smart cruise, etc.

One might argue that there are a few too many buttons and toggles on the dash, but most are easy to see and figure out.

I also was surprised that the handy TRD roof rack was not part of the TRD trim, but a $1,395 option. It holds a lot of snow, by the way.

Pricing is not a surprise anymore. All the three-row SUVs are now nearly the equivalent of buying a small home, yet on a shorter mortgage. The TRD lists at $80,560, including delivery, and with options the tester hit $82,954. Sure, some cost more, but still.

If you don’t need 4WD go with a lower trim level, the base SR5 listing at $62,725 with delivery or the Limited at $69,125. Jump to the Platinum tested last year at $75,315 now or the fancier Capstone with walnut trim, acoustic side glass, semi-aniline leather and offered in a black and white color scheme. That’ll set you back $79,715.

Your call on trim, but for a hero-worship-worthy SUV, Sequoia delivers in a big way.

FAST STATS: 2024 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid

Hits: Massive truck with three-row seating, potentially improved gas mileage with hybrid, excellent power and AWD. Huge info screen, heated wheel and heat/cool front and rear seats, 360-degree camera, panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, permanent running boards, power hatch and power-down third row seats. Excellent towing power and acceleration, decent handling and good safety systems.

Misses: Cargo area not flat with third row seats down, awkward panel adjustment to help remedy that, bouncy truck ride, modest third row, a lot of dash buttons and toggles.

Made in: San Antonio, Texas

Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6/hybrid, 437 hp/583 torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 6,150 lbs.

Wheelbase: 122 in.

Length: 208.1 in.

Tow: 9,020 lbs.

MPG: 19/22

MPG: 13.4 (tested)

Base Price: $80,560 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $73,225

Major Options:

Power tilt/slide panoramic roof w/power shade, $500

Dash cam, $499

TRD roof rack, $1,395

Test vehicle: $82,954

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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