This week I drove the 2002 Toyota Sequoia SUV, which is the first model year. 2003 wasn’t released when I tested it and I was told there wouldn’t be significant changes for the 03-year release. Another reason I wanted to test it was because a friend just bought an 02 and I rode in it and thought others would also be interested.
Luxury SUV’s like this Sequoia is a constant reminder of just how big this class of vehicle has become. Most consumers have their own reasons for buying a vehicle that is expensive to buy and operate. They probably don’t have a boat or other hole to dump their money or maybe they simply have money to burn. So much for a poor economy. When the Republicans are in office the Democrats talk about how bad the economy is and of course we believe them. But when I look around at today’s trains, planes and automobiles the USA looks pretty affluent. Am I missing something here? Of course it is said “It’s a recession when you’re out of work and a depression when I’m out of work”. All relative I guess.
I enjoyed driving this well endowed and abundantly appointed car/truck/small bus. What’s not to like. Other than the poor mileage from a 4.7-liter V8 at 14-17 mpg I couldn’t complain too much. It was comfortable, after all, and folks know instinctively this tank must cost about $50 grand so people will think the driver is pretty successful. We humans are shallow, don’t you think?
Handling & Performance:
”Big” speaks volumes. For starters it carries up to 8 good-sized people comfortably. It is still smaller than the Chevy Suburban or Ford Excursion and has 240 horses to power you from gas pump to gas pump.
Nice, but I quickly tired of the long reach past the necessary running boards that got my pant legs dirty as I avoided their use. In the process I think I’d eventually tear my clothing on the plastic seat apparatus on exit. Friend Mark noticed the same problem in his new 2002.
Fit and Finish:
Toyota is “First Class” when it comes to assembly. They simply are as good as cars get. But then $42,000 should buy something more than a V8, 8 leather seats and nice carpet.
Well I hate to complain but manufacturers could do a lot better. You’d think the heavy competition would keep the price down. But they keep the huge profit margin the same and just reduce the size of the SUV. These guys are getting smarter. Porsche even entered the market.
If you have money to burn, care little for how fast we burn fossil fuels and need a 4-wheel drive, 9 out of 10 will never use, go for it. Otherwise look closely at the smaller versions of SUV’s that are now available for a fraction of the price with AWD capability and twice the gas mileage. Which ones would those be? Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix, Nissan Xterra, Ford Escape, Saturn Vue and Toyota RAV4 to name but a few.
The Competition: * (in order of ranking)
(1t) Toyota Sequoia $31-43,000, (1t) Chevrolet Tahoe $34-36,000, (2) GMC Yukon $34-37,000, (3) Ford Expedition $31-41,000.
* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.
Luxurious comfort with all the conveniences the world has to offer for up to 8 people.
Burns gas like we didn’t need oil from Iraq and Sons, painful entry and exit in this, you got to love it, Behemoth.
4.7 liter V8, four speed auto trans, 4-WD, 4-wheel vented ABS disc brakes, aluminum alloy wheels, power steering, dual air bags, power heated mirrors, fog lights, leather faced power front seats with heaters, 2nd and 3rd row leather faced seats, power windows and door licks, stereo with cassette, CD and 10 speakers, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 10 cup holders, auto headlights, anti theft system and immobilizer, digital auto climate control and keyless entry.
14 City and 17 Highway MPG.
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