Gram Lights

Toyota knocked the new Sequoia TRD Pro out the park. I know… duhhh right? But here’s the thing to realize: Across the board at all price levels, Toyota TRD & GR models are absolutely crushing it. Toyota is unleashed! The right team has emerged at the right time with the right leaders… and Toyota’s absolutely created a modern golden era. And if you can’t see it now, trust me, you will when you look back with 20/20 hindsight at the TRD/GR models of today. 

Sequoia TRD Pro

The Sequoia TRD Pro… 

It checks all the boxes of a versatile, comfortable, mega-spacious SUV. But it does so with a true sense of rugged appeal that’s anything but a gimmick. Honestly, I think the biggest concern or potential drawback for a lot of people (besides the potential sticker shock), is the new non-negotiable hybrid powertrain. Yep, the Sequoia only comes as a hybrid, so let’s get into the good & bad of that. 

toyota Sequoia

Sequoia TRD Pro skid plate

Sequoia TRD Pro hybrid

Personally, when I’m in the market for a new vehicle…

I instinctively look at the purchase through a longterm lens. And I think a lot of the Toyota Nation does the same thing. Therefore, even though Toyota pioneered the hybrid with the Prius, we tend to be apprehensive about hybrids longterm. Because no matter how you spin it & slice it, hybrids add complication. Meaning, there are more components, and more potential fail points. Plus – at a certain point, you start giving up the ability/freedom to wrench on your own vehicle in your own garage. And you hand all that accumulated know-how over to technology & chance.

Toyota trucks historically go for hundreds-of-thousands of miles, and see decades of seasons. So will this new Sequoia be able to follow in those mighty footsteps? I think most of the Toyota fanbase would trade a few MPGs for longevity & resale value. But governments have intervened with aggressive mandates for an EV future, and a hybrid is technically ‘electric’. So looking at the hybrid (dubbed i-FORCE MAX) from a glass-half-full perspective…

Sequoia TRD Pro

I genuinely enjoyed the power of the twin-turbo, 3.4-liter, V6 hybrid in the Toyota Sequoia.

The 5.7 V8 in the last generation Tundra & Sequoia is probably as sturdy as an actual giant sequoia, but the tradeoff is a relatively heavy-driving engine. The new engine feels smoother, sharper, faster, and much more responsive. It’s important to differentiate: The i-FORCE MAX hybrid system seems to be designed more around performance & instant TORQUE, versus something like a stereotypical Prius, where the hybrid is really meant to squeeze out every MPG. The engine delivers 583lbs of torque fast, and fills in any turbo boost-lag gaps seamlessly. And it’s complimented even further with the new 10-speed transmission. You can’t argue with the performance; the thing is a beast! 

Sequoia TRD Pro

Sequoia TRD Pro rear seat

The Sequoia TRD Pro exhaust is equally burly.

Typically, these modern turbo 6-cylinder trucks just don’t sound right to me, but that’s not the case with the Sequoia TRD Pro. Here’s what I did not enjoy though: When you cold-start the Sequoia TRD Pro, it fires to life with no apology. People take notice in parking lots… it’s bad ass! BUT THEN that hybrid kicks-in & the big beastly TRD Pro gets as quiet as a mouse. C’mon man! It feels like somebody ran up & pantsed you in front of your crush… revealing your My Little Pony undies. I’m just not sure you can have it both ways. 

The Toyota Sequoia averages about 18 miles per gallon…

That’s certainly acceptable for a vehicle of this size, but not particularly astounding considering the components & complications added to achieve it. But as mentioned, the i-FORCE MAX hybrid isn’t so much about squeezing every last MPG… as it is about performance (and satisfying tightening legislation). Plus, I believe we only got about 13-14mpg in the last generation Tundra, so that’s definitely an improvement, especially when you consider the increased performance. 

Sequoia TRD Pro seats

Sequoia TRD Pro fender flares

I’ll close by reemphasizing my intro… 

I really just admire Toyota’s energy right now. The Sequoia TRD Pro immediately felt like the perfect fit. The sheer size of it made me feel like it could solve all my life’s problems lol. Yet it didn’t drive like a… like a burden. When I had to hand it back over after a week, it felt like they were taking something that already belonged to me lol.

The bold design features of the Sequoia TRD Pro… it’s more than people expect… and I love that. I love the arctic camo design within the red seats. And I even further love that Toyota has the courage to do it & send it. With the TRD & GR models, Toyota’s not making cars for the masses, they’re making cars for fans.

Sequoia TRD Pro rear

Sequoia TRD Pro interior

Sequoia TRD Pro interior

Sequoia TRD Pro wheels

Sequoia TRD Pro light bar

Sequoia TRD Pro stereo

Roof rack

Sequoia TRD Pro

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