The last time I did 70 miles per hour on Stephan Bridge Road—a wide dirt road stretching 10 miles through the woods—I was an arrogant high-schooler driving an old Ford Crown Victoria. Back then, I was showing off for friends en route to our favorite campground, but this time, my heavy foot was entirely by mistake. It’s a testament to just how stable and tidy this 2024 Toyota Sequoia Platinum is, be it cruising on a wet highway or going full rally on a bumpy backroad. It’s easy to forget this is a full-size, body-on-frame SUV.

This wasn’t the only instance where the Sequoia took me by surprise. I spent nearly two weeks with the chunky Toyota, shuffling people and things over the course of 300 miles, much of it on cruise control to keep the Lunar Rock gray people mover at (or near) the speed limit. During that time, two things stood out to me: It’s actually kind of fun to drive, and with the TRD Off-Road package, I reckon it would go just about anywhere—barring one glaring issue.

Quick Specs 2024 Toyota Sequoia Platinum
Engine Twin-Turbocharged 3.4-Liter V-6 Hybrid
Output 437 Horsepower / 583 Pound-Feet
Efficiency 19 City / 22 Highway / 20 Combined
Base Price / As Tested $63,125 / $82,082
On Sale Date Now

The hybrid powertrain certainly has something to do with the fun aspect. All Sequoias get the i-Force Max V-6, packing two turbos and an electric motor to generate a combined 437 horsepower. You certainly feel the power—there’s a definitive fun zone up high as the turbos spool. But the Sequoia is best utilized at lower rpm where the 583 pound-feet of torque surges you along with little effort.

With the integrated electric motor, you can silently roll through mall parking lots, no engine required. You’d be surprised how easy it is to sneak up on people in a big SUV when there isn’t a burbly V-8 in the mix. Not that I did such things. 

This particular Sequoia Platinum also had the TRD Off-Road package which adds Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, skid plates, a locking rear diff, cool TRD trim, and a few off-road drive modes that I suspect owners will seldom use. That brings me to the glaring issue, namely the low-hanging front air dam that sits just eight inches off the ground. For something with an off-road package and features like Crawl Control, having barely more clearance up front than my Ford Mustang just doesn’t make sense. Does Toyota think Sequoia buyers won’t venture far off the beaten path? Because it sure feels like it wants to.

2024 Toyota Sequoia Platinum
Pros: Composed On Any Surface, Power At Will, Awesome Interior

That’s how I found myself at highway speeds on a dirt road instead of trolling nearby trails, and actually, I’m happy it worked out that way. The Sequoia’s mission isn’t conquering rutted paths or rock cliffs. It’s a three-row SUV designed to conquer the parking lot at Dave & Busters for a family outing of dinner and games. The second-row comfort is sublime with the Platinum’s heated/cooled captain’s chairs, and there’s enough space to keep even the most stubborn young siblings from fighting.

Up front, the adults have a bank of switches for common-use items and quick access to the 14.0-inch screen for other functions. It’s an attractive, intuitive setup that’s simple to figure out—and it has voice control that actually works, a novel concept. Only once did the Sequoia try to call Brett when I asked for a route to Jet’s Pizza. And Toyota’s navigation thinks all the secondary roads in northern Michigan have 25 mph or 45 mph speed limits. But those are small complaints for an otherwise outstanding interface—a perfect blending of analog controls with digital tech. 

The third-row seat isn’t quite as outstanding. It’s adjustable and power-folding, which is super convenient when not needed for passengers. But it doesn’t fold flat, leaving you with an elevated floor that can be cumbersome for loading smaller items. When up and in the rearmost position, there’s just 11.5 cubic feet of space for cargo. That’s enough for just a single row of groceries, whereas competitors like the Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon have approximately double the room. At 27.4 cubic feet, the Jeep Wagoneer can fit a solar system in its boot.

The rearmost seat isn’t particularly comfortable for anyone over five feet, either. It sits atop the Sequoia’s solid rear axle and hybrid battery, resulting in 35.6 inches of headroom and 36.6 inches for the legs. It’s the smallest space in the segment, though not by a huge margin. The Wagoneer offers a class-leading 39 inches of headroom, while the Expedition leads legroom at 40.9 inches. The Sequoia’s third row isn’t a torture chamber, but competitors do offer more space for large families to stretch out.

Cons: Tight Third Row, Tighter Cargo Space, Air Dam Kills Off-Road Adventures

However, none of those competitors offer a standard-issue hybrid powertrain and nobody does it better than Toyota. Official fuel economy ratings list the Sequoia at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 22 on the highway, and 20 combined. But, I consistently saw between 25 and 30 mpg on the 55-mph roads in my neck of the woods. One particular stretch of M-18 is particularly flat for about a mile, and with very light throttle input the Sequoia would shut off the engine. Tooling around town at 35 mph was generally more efficient than 75 mph on the highway. My average fuel mileage over 10 days and 300 miles was 24.1 mpg. 

For a 6,000-pound SUV with 437 hp, I consider this mileage pretty darned good. But you’ll pay for it—my Sequoia in Platinum trim with the TRD Off-Road package, a heads-up display, and a built-in dash cam cost $82,082. That’s comparable to a well-equipped Tahoe but a bit less than a GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, and Jeep Wagoneer with similar features. 

If you don’t need as many creature comforts, the base Sequoia SR5 has the same powertrain with three-row seats and can be fitted with the TRD Off-Road package … all for about $15,000 less.

Full disclosure—I’m not a big SUV fan but I found myself enjoying the hell out of the Sequoia. Its primary mission is that of a comfortable, capable, family hauler, and I believe it succeeds in that role despite the third-row constraints. Standing out in any SUV segment isn’t easy, but its chunky body captures attention and the TRD Off-Road package makes it even better.

But there’s also a sense that it could be something more, something beyond the soft-roading persona you get when you look at that low-hanging front air dam. If the zombie apocalypse comes, you won’t have to abandon the Toyota for your neighbor’s murdered-out Suburban. Just strap in, turn on the seat vents, and floor it. The air dam won’t survive, but I bet the rest of the Sequoia would. 

2024 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

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2024 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

Engine Twin-Turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 Hybrid
Motor Permanent Magnet Synchronous
Battery 1.87 Kilowatt-Hour Nickel-Metal Hydride
Output 437 Horsepower / 583 Pound-Feet
Transmission 10-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Four-Wheel Drive
Weight 6,150 Pounds
Efficiency 19 City / 22 Highway / 20 Combined
Seating Capacity 7
Towing 9,010 Pounds
Cargo Volume 11.5-22.3 / 86.9 Cubic Feet
Base Price $63,125
As-Tested Price $82,082
On Sale Now
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