The 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum is a quintessential big rig

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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum is a quintessential big rig.

By Greg Rubenstein

Large SUVs have an undeniable allure. Whether tooling around town or on a long road trip, there’s nothing quite as distinctly satisfying as rolling down the road in the mobile equivalent of one’s leather-clad living room.

In a crowded field of full-size sport utility vehicles, Toyota’s Sequoia is a quintessential big rig. With three tons of rolling steel and glass, this behemoth SUV specs out at 205.1 inches long, 79.9 inches wide, and 122 inches between the front and rear axles. There’s three-row seating for seven adults, 9.6 inches of ground clearance, 7,000 pounds of towing capacity, plus selectable rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive for maximum on- or off-road traction.

The Sequoia’s interior is spacious, offering 34.8 inches of front seat headroom, 34.9 inches for the middle passengers—who also ride in captain’s chairs—and 34.5 inches of roof room for back passengers. Legroom is generous, serving up 42.5 inches of kicking space up front, 40.9 inches midship, and 35.3 inches for third-row occupants. Shoulder space is especially roomy, providing enough space for all but the burliest linebacker: 66.4 inches front, 65.6 inches middle, and 65.7 inches in the rear.

The Sequoia uses a body-on-frame structure, which has essentially remained unchanged since its 2008 second-generation debut. For 2018, it received an exterior freshening, including new trim, revised front grille and lower bumper, LED headlights, a 4.2-inch center-display multi-information screen, and improved leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are four available trims, including a new-for-2018 TRD Sport grade. Besides the 2018 updates, the base SR5 also includes three-zone automatic climate control, front and back sonar parking assist, tow package, power moonroof, power driver’s seat, integrated alarm with engine immobilizer, roof rack, running boards, and fog lamps.

TRD Sport adds 20-inch diameter wheels, power front passenger seat, as well as upgraded suspension, and the Limited trim adds a power rear liftgate with integrated sliding window, power folding and reclining third-row seats, and heated front seats.

Topping the Sequoia range is the sampled Platinum edition, which comes loaded with enough features to favorably compare with offerings from Lexus, Toyota’s up-market luxury brand. The Platinum gets everything from the lower trims, plus load-leveling air suspension, as well as 12-way power and cooling for the front seats. There’s power, heat, and memory seats for the middle row, along with a Blu-ray entertainment system including nine-inch LCD display and dual wireless headphones.

The Sequoia is also equipped with Toyota’s Safety Sense P, an active suite of safety-enhancing features including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and automated braking, lane departure alert with sway warning, semi-autonomous radar-based cruise control with full stop capability, automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Power in all trims is supplied by a 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination provides plenty of oomph for freeway passing, and returns an EPA-estimated 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. Sequoia pricing starts at $49,595 for the SR5 in 2WD. As-tested, the Platinum 4WD came with a sticker price of $69,930.

If your needs include heavy towing, you have a big family, or you just like to ride with an unobstructed “king-of-the-road” view, the made-in-the-U.S. Sequoia is a solid choice. Its comfortable interior, well-behaved road manners, and long list of features make it a good value and hard-to-beat option among full-size SUVs.

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