BEHIND THE WHEEL: Nine years with the same design means the Toyota Sequoia is a crowd pleaser

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Story and Photo by Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press

Got the urge for a sturdy, reliable, three-row SUV? If so, then consider the 2017 Toyota Sequoia, It’s unchanged for 2017, but the competition is still the same including the Ford Expedition SUV, the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and the Nissan Armada SUV.

Whether you are hauling a family of eight, taking the vehicle off road or needing to tow a load, this Toyota is all about functionality and turning heads.

While the Toyota folks do need to add some tech goodies next time they do a redesign, there is still absolutely nothing that won’t appeal on this sturdy choice for a transportation mode.

You can definitely expect a strong and easy ride in the Sequoia and as you move up the trim level designs it just gets better. From easy to enjoy at the bare bones level to a luxury package that goes all out, the 2017 Toyota Sequoia is an SUV choice worth considering.

Offered in three trims you can choose from the SR5, Limited and Platinum. Each one of the trims also comes with your choice of either rear or four-wheel drive.

On the SR5 and Limited trims you can fit eight passengers, but if you opt for the Sport Package with second-row captain's chairs you can only fit seven. On the Platinum trim the second-row captain’s chairs are standard with a reduction from eight to seven passengers accommodated.

On the SR5 base trim expect a pretty well-rounded list of standard features. That includes 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power rear window and power driver seat along with tri-zone automatic climate control and a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat. The second row seat also has sliding and reclining ability and the 60/40-split reclining means you can fold the third-row bench flat down. There are also sunshades on the second and third rows and there is a rearview camera as well as a 6.1-inch touch screen.

For the base trim you can add the Sport package giving you bigger 20-inch wheels, a color-keyed grille and the aforementioned second-row captain's chairs. For individual add-ons you might want to add the auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats or a power-reclining, folding third-row seat to the mix.

On the Limited trim its 20-inch wheels with auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and a power lift gate.

On the Limited trim there is a Safety and Convenience package that will give you blind-spot monitoring as well as driver-seat memory. The JBL sound system with 14 speakers is an option and so is a Blu-ray player.

For the high-end Platinum trim you get all the goodies from the two lower trims and add to that adaptive air suspension and cruise control as well as air-conditioned front seats and heated second-row captain's seats. You might also want to add a power-adjustable steering wheel and a second-row center console.

Under the hood the 2017 Toyota Sequoia has a six-speed automatic transmission with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that cranks out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.

The 2017 Toyota Sequoia safety features include a long list from a variety of airbags including the driver and passenger standard air bag with an on/off switch for the passenger’s side, a rear, side head, rear head, side and rear body air bags, 4-Wheel ABS, disc and drum brakes, front disc/rear drum brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, auto-on headlights, daytime running lights, child safety locks, a rollover protection system, front and rear tow hooks, traction control, emergency trunk release, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

Overall, the 2017 Toyota Sequoia is a comfortable ride with cushy seats and hardly any outside noise to disturb inside the cabin whether on the highway or running errands around town.

There is also plenty of room inside for you and all your passengers. If you opt for the second row captain’s chair you will find there is plenty of room to get comfortable and the head and leg room overall is more than enough for all but a very small percentage of tall passengers.

After all, this is one big vehicle and for the front seat driver and passenger there is so much room you find yourself having to navigate your way to the buttons that are just out of arm’s reach on the dash.

As for the dials and buttons located in the center console, these are easy to figure out and use without much prep time.

This Toyota sits pretty high too so it is a bit of a step-up to get inside, But there are easy handles that are positioned nicely to help you catapult your way inside.

There is also plenty of room in the cargo area if needed. With the rows folding down flat if necessary you will find more than enough hauling space. Behind the first row there is an impressive 120.1 cubic feet.

The 2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum I drove got 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 miles per gallon on the highway with a price tag of $68.947.

Overall, as your drive the 2017 Totoya Sequoia you will find this large vehicle handles very well with steering being near defined and near perfect as is the automatic shifting.

As for off roading if that’s your thing, again you won’t be disappointed since the Sequoia has a low-range transfer case with a clearance of 10 inches from the ground for hard driving.

You can also tow up to 7,400 pounds if you opt for the RWD SR5 trim.

Final answer, the 2017 Toyota Sequoia is well equipped for around town, on the highway and off road or, even in the case of an apocalypse you will surely be pleasantly surprised at the capability.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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