For 2005, the Toyota Sequoia receives a mild restyling of its front bumper, grille, headlamps and tail lamps. Its 4.7-litre V8 is now equipped with Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i), which raises the horsepower from 240 to 282, and increases the torque from 315 to 325 lb-ft. A new electronically-controlled five-speed automatic transmission comes with a lock-up torque converter, overdrive cancel switch and transmission cooler. A new TRD Offroad Sport Package is now standard on the SR5, while the Luxury Package becomes standard on the Limited model.

The largest vehicle in Toyota’s fleet – it’s hard to believe this behemoth comes from the same company that gives us the ultra-“green” Prius hybrid – the Sequoia comes in two trim lines, both with the same driveline. Off-road capability is the result of Multi-Mode four-wheel-drive, which features shift-on-the-fly from rear-wheel to 4WD. Its automatic disconnecting differential provides the ability to run in 4WD on dry pavement.

The Sequoia is based on the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck, but with its suspension dialled in for a softer ride. Unlike the Tundra, the Sequoia also has fully boxed frame rails throughout.

The SR5 seats eight and includes CD/cassette with ten speakers, rear audio controls, wheel-mounted controls and two sets of headphones, front and rear dual-zone climate control, leather interior, driver and passenger power heated seats with power recline, 50/50 split removable third-row bench seat, power tailgate window, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather-wrapped wheel, cargo mat, cruise, integrated garage door opener, keyless entry, 16-inch aluminum wheels, privacy glass, power sunroof, roof rack, tubular running boards, heated mirrors, intermittent rear wiper, fog lamps, and adjustable rear air suspension.

The Limited seats seven and adds Optitron instrumentation, second-row captain’s chairs with removable centre console, driver’s position memory, six-CD stereo, rear seat DVD entertainment system, illuminated vanity mirrors, woodgrain trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, running boards, power folding mirrors and automatic headlamps.

The Sequoia’s size means comfortable seating for all passengers, even those in the third row of seats, with ten cupholders scattered throughout. It can also tow up to 2812 kg (6200 lbs). The increase in power is appreciated, although the slightly larger Nissan Armada offers 23 hp more for $6,030 less. Big and bulky, the Sequoia is more than a handful on downtown streets, but if you need to move eight people around in comparative luxury, this truck can do it.

The Sequoia is built in Princeton, Indiana.

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