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2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

Go-fast off-road suspension on a three-row family hauler.

Four Wheeler StaffWords and Photos

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro was the oldest in this year's test. While the other three vehicles were all-new, the Sequoia has been around in largely this same configuration since the 2008 model year. Making the Sequoia eligible for the 2021 Four Wheeler SUV of the Year test is the addition of the desert-oriented TRD Pro off-road suspension package. The TRP Pro package brings with it 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks for the front and 2.0-inch Fox monotube shocks for the rear suspension. Also included in the TRD Pro package are foglights from Rigid Industries, TRD 18x8-inch black forged BBS wheels, a burly front skidplate, and cast aluminum running boards.

Since the TRD Pro package was available late in 2020, its eligibility carried over to our 2021 Four Wheeler of the Year test. Because of age alone our judges had their reservations about how the 2020 Toyota Sequoia would perform. Thankfully, these were quickly dispelled as soon as we set off.

Ramp and Track

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is offered with just one choice of engine and transmission. Providing the motivation is Toyota's tried and true 5.7L iForce V-8 engine, which produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Backing this is a basic (by today's standards) six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is also standard on TRD Pro models and features a center differential lock (though the axles remain open).

With plenty of power on tap, and despite being the heaviest competitor with an estimated curb weight of 5,985 pounds, the Sequoia TRD Pro was able to run from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.23 seconds. The fullsize SUV also put down a quarter-mile pass in 15.65 seconds at 91.70 mph. Braking was solid, as well, with the Sequoia able to scrub speed quickly and decorate from 60 to 0 mph in 128.33 feet.

The Sequoia TRD Pro was the only vehicle in our field to not come to us equipped with adjustable air suspension. It was, however, equipped with a fully independent suspension, like the other competitors. On the 22-degree RTI ramp the Sequoia was able to climb 47 inches up the ramp before losing traction. This netted the Sequoia a score of 351.74, which, while not the best, also wasn't the worst of the bunch.

Interior and Exterior

When it comes to showing its true age, the Sequoia's styling is its biggest tell. Our judges almost universally agreed that while the interior was extremely comfortable, the abundant use of hard plastics made it feel in a way cheap. Wrapping a few panels in leather and adding soft touchpoints would go a long way in modernizing the vehicle. Other complaints revolved around the sheer volume of buttons and knobs found scattered around the cockpit. While we all agree that physical buttons and knobs beat capacitive touchpoints, there may just be too many in the Sequoia.

The positives really outweighed the negatives in most regards, thankfully. Our judges praised the Sequoia's exceedingly comfortable seats, often comparing them to a favorite old recliner. There were also compliments on the wide door openings, which make it quite easy to get in and out of both the front and rear doors. We also found it quite easy to get into the rear seats, all of them. One of our taller judges noted the Sequoia's great legroom. We also loved all of the storage space.

The exterior saw generally favorable remarks, with judges liking everything from the look of the TRD Pro-specific grille to the black BBS wheels; even the roof rack garnered praise. People loved the look and function of the Rigid foglights. And the Sequoia has good tow points, with a pair of hooks in the front and rear trailer hitch. The only real complaint revolved around the vehicle's profile look, which stands out more as something you'd see in the carpool lane than on the trail.

On the Highway

The 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro really stood out on the highway. The V-8 engine makes great power, and the transmission was very smooth shifting. Our judges really enjoyed the highway ride quality, as well. While some judges had a hard time finding a comfortable angle for the steering wheel, all agreed that the steering feel was right on point: not too heavy and not too light. The Sequoia had great directional stability on the highway and was maneuverable enough to easily park in tight lots. Lackluster fuel economy from a big V-8 engine and six-speed transmission was really the only negative observed.

When the Pavement Ends

Off-road is where the Sequoia TRD Pro is at home. The package's Fox shocks work exceptionally well at controlling bumps of nearly all sizes. Our judges appreciated that the vehicle had great bottom out control and never felt that it had a harsh bottoming moment. The ride is quite plush, but it never felt like we were harming the vehicle (or our backs). Sand washes and washboard roads were tons of fun, and small whoops were no match for the Fox dampers.

One of the things Toyota has been known for is its well-programmed traction control systems, and on the Sequoia TRD Pro they worked quite well. We found that when climbing up a steep sandstone hill or when the suspension is flexed and lifting a tire off the ground, with a bit of patience and a steady throttle the traction control system would get us through just about anything.

While the Sequoia TRD Pro is equipped with a selectable center differential lock, both the front and rear are open. If Toyota were to equip the Sequoia TRD Pro with a selectable rear locking differential, like the Tacoma has, it would be unstoppable. Other than its open differentials, the Sequoia's biggest setbacks are simply low ground clearance and tires that could stand to be a touch more aggressive.

Bottom Line

Maybe it was the low expectations that our judges brought forth for the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, or maybe it was the fact that that the vehicle just did everything we asked of it, but by the end of the test the Sequoia was looking mighty good. It turned doubters into believers. And before the numbers were crunched, many thought it had a good chance of winning the whole thing. In the end, the Sequoia fell just a few points short of the prize. We feel that if Toyota were to bring out a third generation Sequoia, they could be hard to beat.

What's Hot

Fantastic suspension, La-Z-Boy level of seating comfort, storage for days
What's Not
Fuel economy, dated styling inside and out, open front and rear differentials

Logbook Quotes

"The suspension is great. And, despite my normal aversion to black wheels, they work on this package. "
"Holy cow What button or lever does what? It's like the cockpit of an airliner in here. "
"Why is there a trench between the shifter and cupholders?"

2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

Base Price: $64,030
Price As Tested: $66,129
EPA Fuel Econ (City/Hwy/Comb): 13/17/14
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 13.91/19.45
Engine: 5.7L iForce V-8
Power: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission:6-speed automatic
Accel 0-60 mph:7.23 seconds
-Mile: 15.65 seconds @ 91.70 mph
Braking 60-0 mph: 128.33 feet