Large SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,300 – $45,900*

2009 Toyota Sequoia Front

2009 Toyota Sequoia Rear

2009 Toyota Sequoia Interior

2009 Toyota Sequois Profile

  • Build quality
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Refinement
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Rear visibility

No longer at a disadvantage in power or towing ability, the Sequoia more than holds its own against most rivals in every measure, except for dashboard convenience and cargo space behind the third-row seat. Even those demerits are softened by an otherwise inviting cabin, along with overall size that makes close-quarters maneuvering easier than with most vehicles in this class.


Redesigned for the 2008 model year, Toyota’s Sequoia gained new styling and features along with more available power, without growing much larger. Sequoia was based on the chassis of Toyota’s big Tundra pickup truck. Though it shared Tundra’s powertrains, the Sequoia got an independent rear suspension that made possible a lower floor and more legroom for its third-row seat. Compared to the 2001-2007 Sequoia, the 2008 model was just 1.2 inches longer and about an inch taller and wider. However, its wheelbase (distance between front and rear axles) rose 3.9 inches. Most of that expansion went to added passenger space; cargo volume actually shrunk by 8.1 cubic feet.

SR5 and Limited models returned, joined for 2008 by a top-line Platinum model. The SR5 and Limited came with a 276-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 and a five-speed automatic transmission. Optional for those two and standard on the Platinum edition was a 381-hp 5.7-liter V8 that worked with a six-speed automatic.

Sequoias came with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which could be left engaged on dry pavement and included low-range gearing. Seating for eight was standard on the SR5 and Limited. Replacing the second-row bench with two bucket seats and a console created seating for seven, which was standard in the Platinum and optional for the Limited. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags with rollover deployment that covered all seating rows, and front side airbags. All Sequoias had a tilt/telescoping steering column and three-zone climate control. Standard or optional, depending on model, were a power-folding third-row seat, adjustable air suspension, navigation and DVD entertainment systems, rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control. Sequoia competitors included the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, and Nissan Armada.

Yearly Updates

2009 Sequoia
Toyota’s largest SUV was largely unchanged for the 2009 model year. In most states, four-wheel-drive Sequoias with the 5.7-liter V8 could now be equipped to run on either gasoline or E85 (an ethanol/gasoline blend). A new Sport Appearance Package for the SR5 edition with 5.7 V8 included 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and seven-passenger seating.
2010 Sequoia
The 2010 Toyota Sequoia received freshened styling and a new base engine. Newly standard on the SR5 was a 310-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine, which replaced a 276-horsepower 4.7-liter V8.
2011 Sequoia
The 2011 Toyota Sequoia sees no major changes.
2012 Sequoia
Trailer-sway control was now standard and blind-spot alert was now offered on the top-line Platinum trim level, but otherwise, there were no changes of note to the 2012 Toyota Sequoia.
2013 Sequoia
The 2013 Sequoia was available with a factory-installed rear Blu-ray entertainment system. All models were now equipped with the 5.7-liter V8. The 4.6-liter V8 that had been fitted to SR5 models was discontinued.
2014 Sequoia
The main change for the 2014 Sequoia was the addition of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Each trim level received a version of the system with varying levels of functionality.
2015 Sequoia
Other than receiving a sunroof and rearview camera as standard equipment, the Toyota Sequoia was unchanged for 2015.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Three powertrains have been offered in Sequoias. In 2008 and 2009 SR5 and Limited editions, a 4.7-liter V8 rated at 276 horsepower mates with a five-speed automatic transmission. A 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 goes into the Platinum edition (and is optional for the other models), driving a six-speed automatic transmission. In 2010, the SR5’s standard engine switched to a 4.6-liter V8 with 310 horsepower. It mated to a 6-speed automatic. The 5.7-liter V8 was optional in SR5 and standard on the Limited and Platinum models. In 2013, the 4.6-liter engine was dropped, leaving the 5.7 standard in all trim levels. Sequoias are available in rear- and four-wheel drive.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/285
Engine HP 276
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 314
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic 13/16
dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.6/281
Engine HP 310
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 327
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 13/18
dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 381
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 401
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 13/18 14.0

Road Test

With the 5.7-liter V8, there’s plenty of power from any speed, but the transmission’s reluctance to downshift can complicate passing/merging maneuvers. Towing capacity for all models, with either engine, is 10,000 pounds, versus the previous-generation’s 6500 pounds.

Fuel economy, as expected, is not a selling point. 4WD Sequoias with the 5.7-liter V8 averaged 14.0 mpg in city/highway use and 16.1 mpg with mostly highway driving. Though far from frugal, both figures are surprisingly good for a vehicle of this nature, given the 5.7 V8’s power and lack of a fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation feature. Both engines use regular-grade gasoline, but some 2009 models with 4WD and the 5.7 V8 may be equipped to run on E85 as an alterative to gasoline.

A long wheelbase and lots of weight subdue most every bump. If installed, 20-inch tires don’t degrade ride quality by much compared to the standard 18s. The available adjustable suspension, controlled by a dashboard switch, has three settings. Sequoias are prone to unpleasant wavy-pavement wallowing with the base suspension, as well as with the adjustable suspension in either mode other than “sport.”

Sequoia is composed in most every routine maneuver, with the bonus of a usefully tight turning radius and outstanding brake power and pedal feel. In any Sequoia, fast turns result in marked body lean. Combined with steering that’s too light and indirect, it takes the fun out of twisty roads. Still, straight-line stability is confident. The 20-inch tires provide enough additional grip and diminish the copious noseplow present in speedy cornering with the 18-inch tires.

Quietness is a virtue, and overall refinement rivals premium-class SUVs. Although the 5.7-liter V8 roars intrusively in rapid acceleration, road and wind noise are very well managed. Conversation between the first and third rows is possible at highway speeds.

Sequoia shares its dashboard design with the Tundra, thus suffering the same problem of secondary gauges partially blocked from the driver’s view by the steering-wheel rim. However, Sequoia adds a plethora of controls to govern its many added features, such as the air suspension and rear climate system. Sequoia’s main controls are large and clearly marked, but many of these smaller buttons are not conveniently placed or identified. Many controls reside too far to the passenger side of the console-a long stretch from the driver’s seat. If installed, the navigation screen washes out in some sunlight conditions.

A dashboard of hollow-sounding plastic panels and a cut-rate feel to some of the main controls detract from Sequoia’s otherwise impressive build quality. There’s a reassuring solidity to the way the doors close, and in general, to the vehicle itself.

Front occupants get only adequate six-footer head clearance, but legroom is bountiful and the seats are roomy, comfortable, and supportive. High ground clearance strains getting in and out, and the available running board steps are too narrow to be of much help. Visibility is commanding to the front and sides, but poor to the rear in close quarters. A model with the rearview camera would also prove useful when backing up to a trailer hitch.

Three adults fit in the second row, with shoulders lightly touching. All will have good legroom thanks to a nearly flat floor. Only the center rider will notice uncomfortable pressure points from a seatback section that doubles as a fold-down armrest. Second-row buckets promise class-leading support and size. Like the bench, they slide fore and aft. The bench’s center section slides farther forward for easier parental reach to a child seat. (Sequoias have mounting points for four child seats.)

Third-row comfort is adult-adequate. So is space with the second row less than halfway back. However, adults still ride more knees-up than in the Ford Expedition, but are far less cramped than in a Chevrolet Suburban or its General Motors cousins. Sequoia’s second-row seats spring forward in one motion to create an unusually wide portal to the third row. Enormous door openings aid entry/exit, but don’t fully mitigate the high step-in.

Sequoia is more than one foot shorter than a Suburban or Expedition, so cargo room behind the third row is relatively limited. Four rolling luggage bags, set upright, take up most of the space. More helpful is a full-width bin below the rear floor section. Second- and third-row seats fold even with the floor to create a long, flat expanse. Cabins are packed with cupholders, bins, pouches, and pockets.


Model Tested: 2009 Toyota Sequoia 4WD Limited w/5.7 V8

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 8
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
Cargo Room - 10


Value - 8

Total: 63


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
122.0 205.1 79.9 74.6 5920
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
120.1 26.4 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 39.4 42.5 36.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Toyota Sequoia (Side impact not tested.) 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A

Trouble Spots

Oil pump
Description: The oil filter cover (cap) on hybrid engines is easily damaged unless the special service tool is used to remove it during service. (2008-10)
Audio system
Description: There may be noise in the auxiliary mode of their audio system when using an MP3 player or other audio device when connected to the 12V power port if the vehicle is equipped with the navigation system requiring an improved auxiliary port and in-line filter. (2008)
Rear axle noise
Description: Faulty breather plug may cause differential/transfer case failure. (2009-15)
Description: Rumbling or growling noises from front axle around 20 mph when in 2WD due to problem with front differential assembly. (2008)
Check-engine light
Description: If ice or other debris becomes lodged in the air switching valve, the check-engine light may illuminate and the vehicle could enter a limp-home mode that would dramatically limit drivability. A software update is available for the vehicle’s ECM to address this issue. (2012-14)
Check-engine light
Description: Check-engine light may come on in freezing weather conditions or after the vehicle is refueled. Revised software is available to address these concerns, (2012-13)
Software problems
Description: The Engine Control Module calibration in certain 2012 and 2013 model Sequoia vehicles equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 engine may cause an emission control component to fail and the vehicle could enter a limp-home mode that dramatically limits drivability. Updated software is required to correct this condition. (2012-13)

Recall History

2008-2009 Sequoia
Description: Power window master switch assemblies may malfunction and overheat due to irregularities in the lubrication process during assembly.
2008-2010 Sequoia
Description: Accelerator pedal may be hard to depress, slow to return to idle, or stick in partially depressed position.
2008-2011 Sequoia w/aftermarket heated seats
Description: Vehicles equipped with Southeast Toyota Distributors aftermarket seat heaters may short circuit and result in fire.
2008-2012 Sequoia
Description: When factory-installed wheels and tires were replaced with Toyota authorized accessory wheels and LT tires prior to first sale, the tire pressure monitoring systems were not re-calibrated correctly and therefore do not start illuminating the low tire pressure warning telltale at the required minimum activation pressure, increasing the risk of a crash. The dealer will replace or re-calibrate the tire pressure monitoring system on affected vehicles and install an updated tire and loading information label at no charge.
2010-2012 Sequoia w/aftermarket accessories
Description: Southwest Toyota Distributors installed leather seat covers, seat heaters, and headrest DVD systems may interfere with front seat occupant sensing system. Airbags may deploy inappropriately for passenger’s size and position.
2012 Sequoia
Description: Inaccurate label lists an inaccurate amount of allowable added weight.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.