Test Drive: 2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum trucks toyota car test drives
Test Drive: 2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum trucks toyota car test drives
2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Simon Hill

While full-size SUVs may have already enjoyed their day in the sun – overall North American sales for the top seven competitors in 2012 were about a third of what they were back in 2004 – there will always exist a market for these big rigs so long as North Americans keep having families and wanting to tow boats, campers, horse trailers or anything else larger than the average unibody crossover can handle.

The proof, perhaps, is in the actual sales numbers: While total North American sales of the top seven full-size SUVs are down 66 percent since 2004, a healthy 717,176 big SUVs sold that year, so in 2012 the full-sizers still represented a total market of 245,132 vehicles.

Toyota’s share of that market is the smallest of the lot, with only 13,895 Sequoias sold across North America in 2012 compared to next smallest player, Nissan, which sold 18,609 Armadas. Not surprisingly the biggest player is GM, with its Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon/Yukon XL twins. Ford’s Expedition ended up mid-pack, outselling GMC’s offerings but falling short of either of the Chevrolets. Canada is always a little different however, and here the Japanese-branded rivalry goes in Toyota’s favour, with 744 of the company’s Indiana-built Sequoias sold in 2012 versus 537 Armadas. Ford sits atop the sales heap in Canada in terms of single-model sales, though GM still gets first place if you combine Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon/XL sales.

Test Drive: 2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum trucks toyota car test drives Test Drive: 2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum trucks toyota car test drives
2013 Toyota Sequoia Platinum. Click image to enlarge

For 2013 the Sequoia carries over virtually unchanged, although the base 4.6L V8 has been dropped, leaving the Sequoia’s sales numbers as pretty much the only thing about this Tundra-based SUV that could be described as relatively small. At 5,210 mm long, 2,030 mm wide and 1,995 mm tall the Sequoia is one super-sized rig, and its now-standard 5.7L V8 offers brawn to match, pumping out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, channeled through a six-speed electronically controlled transmission. With no load onboard and no trailer attached this powertrain gives the Sequoia eye-popping launch capabilities, pushing the burly 2,721-kg SUV from rest to 100 km/h in just over seven seconds with a lusty background roar. Rated city/highway fuel economy is 17.2/11.9 L/100 km but during my week with the Sequoia I averaged closer to 20 L/100 km in mixed driving, including some off-road time (which is never good for fuel economy).

The Sequoia’s prodigious power, coupled with its traditional body-on-frame construction, make it just the ticket for hauling a large boat or camper. The rated towing capacity is 3,175 kg (7,000 lb) in Platinum trim (3,221 kg in SR5 and Limited trim) compared to the 3,856 kg for the Chevrolet Tahoe and 4,082 kg for the Ford Expedition. As with Toyota’s Tundra truck there’s a tow-specific mode that modifies the transmission shift points when hauling through hilly terrain.

Even if you never venture off-road, the Sequoia’s one-touch part-time four-wheel-drive capability provides the kind of traction needed to haul a loaded boat trailer up a slick launch ramp, while standard trailer sway control should help keep the highway from feeling like the high seas.

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