2008 Toyota Sequoia Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2007
  • All-new, second-generation model

  • New body, new interior, new chassis

  • Increased focus on efficiency, performance, and comfort

  • Co-developed with Tundra full-size pickup

  • Available 381-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 engine

  • Available 6-speed automatic transmission

  • Flexible passenger and cargo-carrying capacity

  • Seating for up to 8 occupants

  • Toyota's STAR Safety System

  • Five new paint colors


Toyota introduced its Sequoia full-size SUV in September 2000 as a 2001 model, joining the RAV4, 4Runnerand Land Cruiser in Toyota's three-model SUV lineup. It was the first Toyota SUV designed in the U.S. and the first to be built exclusively in the U.S. at Toyota's production facility in Princeton, IN. The Sequoia received minor changes in 2005, primarily consisting of engine, transmission, safety and cosmetic enhancements.

The new, second-generation 2008 Toyota Sequoia is only slightly larger than the previous model, yet interior space has been increased significantly with a higher level of comfort for second- and third-row passengers. The 2008 Sequoia was co-developed with the new 2008 Tundrafull-size pickup, a product the company admits is the single-biggest launch in the 50-year history of Toyota Motor Sales in America. The 2008 Sequoia was designed to be more powerful, have more interior room and cargo capacity, more comfort, and more utility than its predecessor.

Production of the 2008 Toyota Sequoia begins in November, and it will be built alongside the Tundra in Princeton.

Model LineupThe 2008 Toyota Sequoia is available in three grades: SR5, Limited and Platinum. Both 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD) are available. Toyota expects the SR5 to account for 55 percent of sales, with Limited and Platinum accounting for 35 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Standard equipment on the SR5 includes manual 8-way driver and 4-way passenger seat adjustments; second-row 40/20/40 split bench seat with fold-flat feature; 60/40 split, fold-flat third-row seat with 1-touch slide feature for easy entry/exit; tri-zone automatic climate control system; power windows, locks and back window; keyless entry, an 8-speaker, AM/FM/CD system with auxiliary input jack; rear wiper and defogger; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; cruise control; spare tire; and mud guards.

Limited models add front and rear parking sonar; fog lamps; heated, leather-trimmed seats; 10-way adjustable driver's seat; leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shift knob; Optitron gauges; multi-information display; electrochromic rearview mirror; roof rack; running boards; and a 14-speaker, 3-in-1 AM/FM/6-disc CD JBL Premium audio system with Bluetooth capability.

Platinum models add to that the 5.7-liter V-8 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission; 20-inch diamond cut-finish alloy wheels; rear load-leveling suspension; power seat memory package; heated and air-conditioned front seats; second-row heated seats; rear spoiler; power rear door; sunroof; headlamp cleaner; and navigation system with backup camera.

A wide range of options is available on the SR5 and Limited trims, including the 5.7-liter V-8 engine and 6-speed transmission; 4WD; tow package; rear-seat entertainment system; heated leather-trimmed seat packages; load-leveling rear air suspension; sunroof; 20-inch alloy wheels; power rear door, and more. Platinum models also offer laser cruise control.


The standard engine in the 2008 Toyota Sequoia is a 4.7-liter V-8 that produces 276 hp and 314 lb.-ft. of torque. It is paired with an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission and includes Uphill/Downhill Shift Logic. EPA fuel economy figures are 14 mpg city/17 mpg highway for 2WD models, and 13 mpg city/16 mpg highway for 4WD models.

Standard on Platinum models and available on SR5 and Limited is a 5.7-liter V-8 engine that is shared with the Tundra and Land Cruiser. Maximum output is 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is a 24-valve, double overhead cam design with Dual VVT-I (dual variable valve timing with intelligence), which optimizes power output for improved performance, balanced economy and reduced emissions, according to Toyota. The engine is mated to an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission featuring Uphill/Downhill Shift Logic and Coast Downshift Control. Preliminary EPA fuel economy estimates are 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway for 2WD models, and 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway for 4WD models.

The 4WD system on the Sequoia features a Torsen limited-slip center differential. The system is a multi-mode, full-time 4WD system.

The 2008 Toyota Sequoia features a fully boxed frame, with extensive use of high-strength steel. As a result, Toyota claims a torsional rigidity improvement of greater than 20 percent compared to the current model.

The SUV is equipped with a new double-wishbone front suspension and a rear independent double-wishbone suspension-the first application in a Toyota SUV. This, Toyota says, results in improved on-road driving performance, ride comfort and reduced noise, vibration and harshness.

The Sequoia is equipped with 5-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in P275/65R18 tires (SR5 and Limited) or 10-spoke, diamond-cut finish 20-inch alloy wheels with P275/55R20 tires (Platinum). Optional on SR5 and Limited are 20-inch wheels: 5-spoke chrome plated on SR5 or 10-spoke machine finish on the Limited.

The 2008 Sequoia has an available towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.


Toyota designers envisioned a "Rugged and Advanced" design theme when penning the exterior of the 2008 Sequoia, aiming to give the new model a larger body size and tough new look. Sequoia's overall length, width and height are all increased, the wheelbase lengthened, and front and rear track widened. The Sequoia's styling flows rearward from Toyota's traditional trapezoidal radiator grille.

Sequoia's cabin-forward silhouette, with its low windshield angle, helps enhance aerodynamic performance, says Toyota. The vehicle's mirrors, wipers, A-pillar and roof header are shaped to maximize aerodynamic efficiency and minimize wind noise. The new design achieves a drag coefficient of 0.35. The new model features large, multi-reflector headlamps (with an available cleaning system), large sideview mirrors (with available with power retraction), and an aero blade windshield wiper design. The Sequoia's underside, meanwhile, also is optimized to reduce drag and wind noise, and to help improve directional stability.

On the inside, the Sequoia's cabin is longer, wider and taller than the previous model. The second-row seat is equipped with a sliding-type seat adjuster that allows the seat to be adjusted for added comfort when the number of passengers is limited. It also features a new seat framework, with increased seat width.


The 2008 Sequoia comes equipped with Toyota's STAR Safety System, consisting of 4-wheel ABS, VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) and TRAC (traction control) (A-TRAC with 4WD), Brake Assist (BA), and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Other standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front air bags; front seat-mounted side air bags; 3-row side curtain air bags; roll-sensing curtain air bags, offering protection to occupants in all three rows; tire-pressure-monitoring system; 3-point seat belts at all seating positions; and child-restraint lower anchors and tethers for all second-row seats.

As of this writing, the 2008 Toyota Sequoia has not been crash tested or rated for rollover resistance by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


The 2008 Toyota Sequoia features Dynamic Laser Cruise Control that employs various on-board vehicle sensors to detect a preceding vehicle and a driving lane. Using information obtained from the sensors, the system performs the control which allows the vehicle to maintain an appropriate vehicle-to-vehicle distance, which can be set manually by the driver using a distance-control switch.

The 2008 Sequoia also features Toyota's Intuitive Parking Assist system, which uses four sonar distance-ranging sensors on the rear bumper to detect objects in the vehicle's path greater than four inches across. If such an object is detected, the system sounds a warning beep via the multi-information display in the instrument panel.

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