Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2008 Toyota Sequoia If...
Those who regularly carry up to eight people, haul a lot of gear and tow heavy trailers will find that the 2008 Toyota Sequoia can do all that with ease and comfort.
You May Not Like The 2008 Toyota Sequoia If...
The Tundra’s slab-sided flanks and aggressive front styling make an odd combination that may not appeal to some. Also, this is a large, heavy vehicle that is a challenge to maneuver in tight situations and does not deliver great fuel economy.
Substantial revisions to the 2008 Toyota Sequoia include a four-inch longer wheelbase, a one-inch increase in width and an all-new independent rear suspension. These combine to boost interior room. It also gets a strengthened frame, larger brakes, electronic stability control and an optional 5.7-liter V8.
While the third-row seats in the first-generation Sequoia were best reserved for children, the significantly larger 2008 Toyota Sequoia comfortably accommodates adults in all rows. The standard second-row bench seat is split into three segments that slide fore-and-aft independently. Captain’s-chair-style second-row seats are optional. The third row is split 60/40, both the second and third rows fold forward for hauling cargo and access to the third-row seats is made easier by rear doors that open wider. The instrument panel is simple and clean with easy-to-read gauges, and the steering column telescopes and tilts for driver comfort.
The 2008 Toyota Sequoia is longer, wider and taller and gets all-new sheetmetal. From the side, it looks bigger than it really is because the axles were pushed apart, increasing the wheelbase and, therefore, expanding the passenger room. A side benefit of the longer wheelbase is that the off-road capability is enhanced by virtue of shorter front and rear overhangs. The aggressively styled front end features larger headlamps, and bigger outside review mirrors improve the driver’s vision when towing a trailer. Stylish 20-inch-diameter wheels are optional on the Limited and standard on the Platinum.
The 2008 Toyota Sequoia is at its best when hauling a lot of people and cargo over long distances. When equipped with the optional air-spring rear suspension, its ride comfort rivals some luxury sedans, and increased sound-deadening material helps keep cabin noise to a minimum. Still, the Sequoia is a big, heavy vehicle: It tops out at almost 6,000 pounds. The steering feel is precise and confidence-inspiring, but, when cornering harder, body roll will be noticeable and somewhat pronounced. Even with the optional proximity warning system and back-up video camera, parking and tight maneuvering is challenging. While the Sequoia is more than adequately able to successfully tackle dirt logging trails, wet and slippery boat ramps and steep snow-covered driveways, it is not a serious off-roader.
The two-wheel-drive 2008 Toyota Sequoia SR5 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just under $35,000, while the mid-level Limited is about $46,000. Four-wheel drive will add a little over $3,000 more, and the top-of-the-line Platinum edition, loaded, will reach the mid- to high-$50,000 range. The Sequoia price range overlaps that of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban 1500, though the Platinum version likely will be markedly higher-priced than the most expensive Suburban. On the other hand, the Sequoia has proven to hold its resale value better than any other large SUV. To find out what smart buyers in your area are really paying for this vehicle, check the Fair Purchase Prices.
For 2008, the Toyota Sequoia’s standard safety features include anti-lock brakes and stability control. Larger disc brakes all around and the brake-assist system help to minimize emergency stopping distances. It has six airbags, including full-length side-curtain head protection. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard. A more powerful, three-zone climate control helps keep all passengers comfortable. Sliding, 40/20/40-split second row seats maximize rear passenger legroom, and rear bench seats fold forward to create a large, flat cargo area. The steering column has both tilt and fore-and-aft adjustments.
All three trim levels of the 2008 Toyota Sequoia are available with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The optional air-spring rear suspension not only automatically adjusts to changing cargo, passenger and trailer-tongue weight, but also contributes to a smoother ride when the vehicle is unloaded. The optional JBL Premium audio system features 14 speakers and a six-disc CD changer. A must for road trips with children is the rear-seat entertainment system, which includes a nine-inch LCD display and, for game consoles, a 115-volt AC outlet. The sonar-based proximity warning system reduces strain when parking and backing, and the satellite navigation system also includes a back-up video camera.
Improved Rear Passenger RoomThe 2008 Toyota Sequoia provides expansive passenger room in the two rear rows thanks to the new independent rear suspension, four-inch longer wheelbase and a one-inch increase in width. Fore-and-aft sliding second-row seats allow maximization of rear legroom, and rear doors open wide for easy access.Variable Steering RatioTo ease maneuvering in tight situations, such as parking or off-roading, the Sequoia’s steering ratio increases just before the steering wheel is turned to its limit, which helps to significantly reduce the turning circle.
Under the Hood
Standard on the 2008 Toyota Sequoia is a 276-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8. However, the vast majority of Sequoia buyers will choose the optional 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8; not only is it more powerful, it also gets slightly better fuel mileage and meets California’s Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle-II standards. The 5.7-liter V8 produces 401 pound-feet of torque, which helps the Sequoia tow trailers up to 10,000-pounds, an increase of 3,500 pounds over the 2007 version. The big V8 is mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission, which employs a very low first gear for strong acceleration and two overdrive gears for better fuel economy. Unlike older truck-based four-wheel-drive systems, the Sequoia’s can be employed on dry or wet paved roads, and can be operated in rear-wheel drive or low-range four-wheel drive.4.7-liter V8276 horsepower @ 5400 rpm314 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/17 (2WD), 13/16 (4WD)5.7-liter V8381 horsepower @ 5600 rpm401 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
The significantly revised 2008 Toyota Sequoia was designed with long road trips in mind. Greater width and length help increase rear passenger room, and adults can now ride comfortably in the third-row seats. This full-size sport utility vehicle can be quickly reconfigured into a flat-floored cargo hauler that will swallow lengthy items, and a strengthened frame with integral hitch receiver allows it to tow trailers up to 10,000 pounds. A new front suspension, an all-new independent rear suspension and improved shock absorber valving help produce a smooth highway ride. The optional 5.7-liter V8 makes 381 horsepower, which is 108 more than the lone engine offered in 2007. In size, the Sequoia slots between the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, which, along with the Ford Expedition, will be its prime competitors.