Toyota Sequoia with a TRD Sport Trim (Worth It!): An Ideal Three-Row SUV

by Kristin Shaw

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When you’re carting kids around, you want space and comfort

In our neighborhood, SUVs and minivans are all the rage. Large vehicles of all shapes and sizes cruise through the school drop-off line, multiple kids in tow. I, too, have an SUV at home, but with only one child one would think I wouldn’t need much room.

As Lee Corso would say on College GameDay, not so fast, my friend.

My son is a social creature, and he likes to hang out with his friends. As a social mom, I try to accommodate that and haul him and his friends to fun places like Dart Bowl or Dave and Buster’s after school. I don’t always need that third row, but when we do, it’s a party. The problem with the third row in my personal SUV is that it’s kind of a pain to set it up and to get back there, requiring the passenger to pull the lever and push the middle seat up to climb in. Certainly, it’s not graceful. Since it’s boys back there most of the time, they don’t seem to care.

However, when I test drove the Toyota Sequoia, not only did I have the room I needed to host a pack of kids, there is a convenient captain’s chair option for the middle row. This gives the Sequoia passengers an easy path through the middle of the center row straight to the back, functioning much like a minivan.

But does it have enough VROOM? (Yes!)

Toyota is a solid brand with reliable resale value, and buyers looking for a vehicle with mid-range pricing can’t go wrong with this SUV. It offers ample power at 381 hp, which is on par with a Jaguar F-Type or Range Rover Velar, and a V8 engine, so it has no problem towing a boat or camper (~7,000 pounds), either.

Kids: happy. Me: happy.

The Sequoia also has, for you car enthusiasts, automatic limited-slip differential. For the average driver, what that means is that the vehicle has better traction on slippery conditions. When you’re driving precious cargo (including yourself!) in the rain, snow, or fresh gravel, you will appreciate this feature.

I tested the TRD Sport trim, which stands for Toyota Racing Development. The TRD team produces various tuning products and accessories, including performance suspension components, superchargers, and wheels. 

Toyota’s commitment to the community

And here’s something awesome you may not know about Toyota, straight from their newsroom just a couple of days ago (September 7, 2018):


Toyota USA Foundation is granting $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which will develop curricula, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide professional development for teachers, coordinate nonprofits operating in the area, and monitor and evaluate the program. The future school will be operated and staffed by the Dallas ISD. The Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with School Leadership.

The collaboration will also bring together nonprofits, including groups already working with Dallas ISD through the SMU Simmons School program, The School Zone, as well as Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Financial Services’ partners to address community issues like literacy, nutrition, transportation and after–school care –  each vital to creating successful outcomes for the community.”

We love to hear about that kind of commitment.

Facts: We’ve Got ‘Em

  • MSRP $48,700 base

  • Four trim levels available: SR5, TRD Sport (the one we tested), Limited, and Platinum

  • In terms of size, this is Toyota’s largest SUV

  • Tons of safety features (read more here)

  • Eight-passenger seating

  • Electric controls for third row (no tugging and lifting)

  • JBL audio system (sweet sounds)

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Kristin Shaw