For the past several days I’ve been given the opportunity to test drive a 2012 Toyota Sequoia. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome this car — ok, behemoth SUV really — has been to drive. My husband and I are actually in the market for a large SUV to replace my Toyota RAV4. While I love my RAV, it’s just become a little on the small side, especially if I ever want to be the carpool mom. When I started outlining everything I wanted to share about the Sequoia I realized that it would be best split into two posts. So today I’m going to share my over all likes and dislikes and tomorrow I’ll tell you a little more about all the fancy technology it (along with all the other Toyota models) has to offer.
Smooth ride — I spend a fair amount of time driving and riding in large pickup trucks. I expected the Sequoia to be similar but I was shocked to find that it actually has a smoother ride than my RAV4. To me it was very similar to riding in a luxury sedan. I was also impressed at how easily it drove. Sometimes when I’m driving my husbands truck it feels a little like I’m steering a stubborn mule, that was not the case with the Sequoia.
Third row accessibility — The third row steals quite a bit of cargo room (see my list of dislikes below) but it more than makes up for that by being roomy and accessible. I’ve ridden in several vehicles where the third row is cramped and uncomfortable for little kids. I found the third row of the Sequoia to be roomy and comfortable, this was a big deal for me because I may not be very tall but I have really long legs. I was also pleased to find that I could put one (or both) car seats in the back and it was still easy to reach and buckle them in.
In addition to being comfortable I found that it was also easy to get in and out of. There are multiple options for getting the middle seat out of the way. The obvious handle on the side of the middle seat and a foot pedal on the back (top left photo below). There is a flip handle on the top edge of the middle seats to lay them flat. The back seats can be laid down using switches located just inside the rear door and just below the arm rest in the third row (bottom right photo below). The third row also reclines for additional comfort.
Details — There are so many little things, well thought out little things, about this car. The center console up front has a removable insert that allows for hanging files. It also has built in cubbies in the lid for things such as maps (yes, I still carry old school maps) and Kleenex. Above the rear view mirror there is a sunglasses cubby as well as a pop down mirror for seeing into the backseat. I actually found the mirror a little small, I could see the kids but they couldn’t see me. Chase really likes to be able to see my face in the mirror so he knows I’m listening to him. I also really like the dual visors. I realize that a lot of these things are little but when you factor them all together I think they make a big difference.
Storage — Listen, you guys know me. I’m a total nerd for organized spaces and my car is no different than my house. I spend asinine amounts of time in my car and I’m not even to the point of child-activity-shuttling yet. I carry a lot of stuff and I like that stuff to be organized. The Sequoia is littered with cubby holes and compartments. In between the gearshift and the cup holders there is a tiny storage area (see the picture above, bottom left corner) this little spot could have just as easily been left as dead space but it’s not. Now, I have no idea what I’d actually put there but I could find SOMETHING. Perhaps the litany of charging cables I carry at any given time. There is also a small compartment below the trunk space that would be perfect for storing extra diapers and changes of clothes for my kids. The backseat of my current car is my kids’ domain for sure, I keep a lot of stuff on hand to make trips and car time more manageable for me. Right now it all lives in a combination of baskets and small bags. I really like the console in the middle row and all the storage it offers.
Small trunk space — When the third row is upright for passengers the trunk space is nearly non-existent. My double stroller took up nearly the whole area. Our double stroller is actually fairly compact compared to other models. In my RAV4 I can fit the double stroller, a single stroller (full size, not umbrella), and a full load of groceries with a little room to spare. When we take trips I can fit both strollers and a few suitcases. In the Sequoia it would be hard to fit a stroller and several bags of groceries. That said, I think that’s going to be the case with any full size SUV, you trade trunk space for people space.
The price tag — Let’s be honest, with a price tag of $60,000 or better, the Sequoia isn’t really in my price range. At least not a brand new fully loaded model. Compared to other full size SUVs with similar packages, the price is only marginally higher and Toyota’s in general retain their value longer. Any way you slice it it’s looking like my next car will be new only to me.
All in all I was incredibly impressed with this vehicle. Some of my other *likes* were my ability to competently park it and navigate it through a drive through window.
Check back tomorrow to see a roundup of the fancy techno aspects.
Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.