2024 Toyota Sequoia TRD Platinum Hybrid
Sequoia TRD Platinum Hybrid is a name full of contradictions
Hybrid feels too eco-friendly for such a massive car. Can it be both Platinum and TRD-off-road-ready at the same time?
By J-F Wright
Thu, Jan 11, 2024 08:11 PM PST
Images by the author, edited by Erica Wright.
Toyota Sequoia is huge - as in massive. But even so, it’s technically not as large as the Suburban or the Yukon XL - those still are in a class of their own. Somehow, however, the Sequoia still looks as large - as massive - as either of them - from the outside.
The interior of the 2024 Toyota Sequoia looks just as large as the exterior suggests. However, upon closer examination, it seems that it’s a bit more looks than actual space. This is really my only “bummer” with the Sequoia - it doesn’t feel as large as it looks.
The third row is not really usable by adults for any extended drive, there just isn’t enough head or leg room. I guess for the quick drive to the store one might be ok with sitting a bit uncomfortably, but then again, who needs to take all their friends to the store? For reference, I’m 6 foot tall and that feels like it may be about an inch taller than what you’re going to want to be in the third seat.
The second row captain chairs are very large - horizontally. They’re significantly wider than a lot of the competition’s seats. Unfortunately the seats don’t sit far enough up from the floor, so the underside of my thigh is not resting on the seat. With my feet planted on the floor of the Sequoia, my lower leg - the part below my knee - is taller than the seat, and therefore my knee and thigh are above the seat cushion. I’d expect this from a compact vehicle, but not something as massive as the Sequoia.
With my grumbles about the seat heights out of the way, let’s talk about all the things I do like about the Sequoia. Like the great job Toyota has done to bring out a sense of luxury - even in the TRD, the trim that is also pretty off-road capable (yeah, I know, it’s the Platinum, but still).
The second and third rows have sunscreens built into the windows, something you really only see in cars going for that extra deluxe feeling. And speaking of the sun, the ginormous sunroof lets in all kinds of light - really adding to the roominess of the Sequoia.
The leather appointed seats are eye-appealing throughout all three rows. In our particular vehicle we are treated to black leather with blue stitching - the blue being a great offsetting detail.
Between the two seats in the second row, there’s this massive space for cups - and stuff. As my kids scrambled through the car they commented on the fact that anything in that storage area will be stepped on by whoever is going back to the third row - a pretty fair observation. Obviously they didn’t step on their own stuff, but any sister’s stuff seemed to be fair game.
As soon as kids have parted from their booster seats they can enjoy the second row even more - that second row is both heated and cooled, a really nice touch. Heating in the rear (seats, that is) is getting to be more common (my wife’s Hyundai Elantra had that back in 2010), but it’s usually just the folks up front who can blow cold air between their cheeks (butt cheeks, that is)..
Throughout the Sequoia you’ll find plenty of space for storage and the ever-loved cupholders - the second and third row is no exception. You’ll also find USB outlets for everyone’s device. Extra kudos to the interior designer who thought of covering the outlets on the back of the center console. Those outlets are close to folks’s feet, and covering them makes it more likely they’ll stay usable for many years. By the way - there’s two USB and one household outlet right there.
The Toyota Sequoia looks huge from the outside and once you get inside, it still looks huge, especially with the sunroof open. But looks can be deceiving, even though the seats are large. I feel like Toyota could’ve done a better job to accommodate adults in at least the second row, but preferably also in the third row - like some of the competition (the Yukon, Yukon XL, Tahoe, and Suburban come to mind).
Just like in the Yukon - sans the XL - and the Tahoe, there isn’t all that much space left behind the third row. In the Yukon and the Tahoe the third seat folds flat, giving way to an impressive flat space to haul anything you wish. The Toyota Sequoia’s third row does not fold into the floor, instead it just collapses in place, leaving this giant clump of seat. Toyota has dealt with this in an interesting way - included is a little “shelf” that you stick behind said seat-clump so that you do, in fact, get a flat loading surface. It’s just way higher than what it would be if the seats had disappeared.
If you’re not used to driving around in a full-size SUV, it’ll take a little while before you learn where all four corners of the Sequoia are. But once you do, the Sequoia is a fairly simple vehicle to drive - even at this ginormous size.
The Toyota Sequoia TRD is kitted for off-road driving, definitely, but also for towing. Included is the trailer brake system and all sorts of other nifty gadgets for hooking up and trailering away. The optional mega large exterior mirrors are probably ideal when towing something large, but for normal driving (aka non-trailering) it’s really hard to set the mirrors so that you don’t have a large blind spot. Actually, I wasn’t really ever happy with where these huge mirrors were pointing. The Sequoia is a very large car, and with that comes a large blind spot, and these mirrors are definitely not helping with that.
The mirrors extend outwards, but without a trailer hooked up it feels more like I’m shoving a mirror into the car next to me so they can do their makeup. But, with a trailer hooked up, it will definitely be a great tool.
The Sequoia comes with a bunch of driving mode options. I’d venture a guess that most Sequoias out there spend about 97.3% of their lifetime in the two-wheel drive “high” option - i.e. the one meant for regular road driving. I’d bet that almost all of the remaining 2.7% of the time is spent in four-wheel drive “high”, just for that one-off drive up a dirt road that has just been rained on.
But, that still leaves the few driving hours not covered by my “almost all” above - and it’s during those fleeting minutes that the Toyota Sequoia really delivers. The four-wheel drive “low” option can be engaged, and then maybe you’d even engage the “crawl”-option, for those rock-crawling adventures we see images from on Instagram.
Yes, there might be some sarcasm in my tone when it comes to off-roading. Really, this is because most people who buy a Sequoia are never going to push it even close to its capabilities. And that’s a shame, really, because it would do really well.
For the majority of folks considering a Toyota Sequoia, there are a bunch of features that will come in handy - some are there for off-roading but work just as well on the road, and some are there just for your convenience, and because Toyota knows their market.
The top-down view is great when crawling around on boulders, but it’s equally great when pulling in to a parking spot. And, an extra shoutout to car manufacturers that stick a “turn on the camera!”-button somewhere - Toyota is part of that group (in the Sequoia at least). Without that button, you’d have to stick the car in reverse to activate the cameras, even if you were pulling nose-first into the spot.
Speaking of cameras - the rearview mirror (interior mirror) in the Toyota Sequoia is equipped with the option of seeing a live-feed from behind your vehicle, rather than the heads of your occupants. This takes a while to get used to (actually, it takes my eyes a few days to get used to it), but once you do it’s a great tool that gives a way better view of what’s behind you.
Now, what up with this iForce MAX… What is it? Well, it’s a cool name for the hybrid system in use in this Sequoia. With a lot of juice in the battery, the Sequoia can actually drive (short) distances as an electric car. But, if that’s not really your main concern, there’s another huge win from this hybrid system. The extra boost of power… Right. Now.
Having the power of electric motors on the ready means that you can get up and go a lot quicker. Yeah, the engine will turn off at a red light, but since you have all this torque hitting the wheels immediately when you push down the accelerator, it means you’ll be moving while the combustion engine kicks in.
After the split second it takes for the combustion engine to kick in, you’ll suddenly have all while lot of horses moving this beast forward. This Sequoia is actually a pretty peppy car - it’s powerful!
Toyota Safety Sense is the umbrella name for all the safety tech in Toyota vehicles - the most advanced (newest) vehicles equipped with version 3.0. This Sequoia, however, has version 2.5. That’s not bad, it’s just not on par with the tech available on some of the sister vehicles.
The Safety Sense 2.5 does do a good job with the automatic cruise control, but it’s not quite there when it comes to keeping the car in its lane. The 3.0 version is definitely more capable, but then again you’re supposed to be able to keep your car in your lane - all on your own.
Obviously, as with all Toyotas, the Sequoia comes with wireless hookups for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Once you get connected, there are a ton of JBL speakers (actually, 14 in total) to liven up your drive. And, just to be sure, there are speakers all the way in the back, so that the third row passengers don’t feel left out.
The infotainment screen is larger than my kids' iPad - by a pretty big margin. It’s massive, like everything else in this vehicle. Underneath it is the wireless charging station, also massive. Actually, the space for the charging device is probably large enough for an iPad, at least the mini.
The exterior of the Toyota Sequoia is impressive. It absolutely commands a great deal of respect and commandeers many onlookers’s eyes. This is probably the car that has resulted in the most questions and comments from random strangers - and friends as well - for a long time. People seemed to love the massive grille and the black trim, as well as the interesting green color. At first I wasn’t all that sure about the faded green, but it seems to be a hit.
The Sequoia is a massive vehicle, any way you look at it. That massiveness doesn’t seem to carry over to the comfort of the rear seats occupants - if they are anything near six foot. With all this space, I was hoping to sit like a king in any chair I chose. But, alas, I assume that the rear seats are mostly going to be used by little ones, and they will definitely enjoy the massive amount of space.
About The Author
John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.