The latest Toyota Sequoia is Toyota’s biggest SUV yet. It comes with a 5.7L V8 under the hood and optional 4WD, so it’s a good choice for those looking for comfort and versatility. But when it comes to towing, the Sequoia isn’t the first to come to mind. So, how well does it fair in this category? Let’s find out.
What Is The Toyota Sequoia’s Towing Capacity?
The Toyota Sequoia can tow 7,400 pounds in a rear-wheel-drive configuration and 7,100 pounds in four-wheel drive. In the Platinum trim levels, these numbers are 7,200 pounds and 7,000 pounds, respectively.
Toyota offers several versions, in both RWD and 4WD, and each has specific pulling capacities.
Currently, the Sequoia comes with one powerplant, the 5.7L V8, and one transmission, the 6-speed automatic. It puts out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. But, this SUV is hefty, with a Curb Weight of 5,730 pounds. So, performance figures like towing capacity and payload suffer.
The combination of limited engine and transmission options with several trim levels can be hard to follow. The following table shows how much each Toyota Sequoia version can tow and the drivetrain options.
|Trim level||RWD||4WD||Towing capacity in pounds|
There is a clear difference in towing capacity between the RWD and 4WD models. There are two main reasons for this to occur.
First, 4WD vehicles have more mechanical components to move the front wheels. These include a transfer case and front axles and differential, which translates to more weight. Secondly, the engine has to divide the power amongst four wheels instead of two. More wheels moving means more friction, which, in the end, means less towing capacity.
With so many SUVs out there, this performance might put off some potential buyers. So, let’s find out how the Toyota Sequoia fare against the competition.
Can The Toyota Sequoia Tow More Than The Competition?
The Toyota Sequoia is a full-size SUV that faces a lot of competition. Not only do American manufacturers offer similar vehicles, but European brands as well.
It’s also important to mention that, though the Sequoia is Toyota’s biggest SUV, it’s not the only full-size in its lineup, for now. Up until 2021, Toyota also offers the Land Cruiser, which we’ll mention below.
The following table presents most of the Sequoia’s direct competitors and their maximum towing capacity, including towing packages where applicable. If you want to find out each model’s performance figures in detail, check out the manufacturer’s specifications.
|Brand||Model||Maximum Towing Capacity (pounds)|
|Range Rover||Range Rover||7,716|
As you can see, the Toyota Sequoia is the least capable full-size SUV on this list. The body-on-frame construction and aging engine do little to help it. The 401 lb-ft of torque is one of the lowest in this list.
But, the other Toyota, the Land Cruiser, has a respectable 8,100-pound towing capacity. The difference is due to a leaner body and less luxurious interiors. Its Curb Weight is 5,302 pounds, 400 pounds less than the Sequoia.
The Sequoia’s Achilles’ heel is the aging engine. For example, the Lincoln Navigator is considerably heavier, with a Curb Weight of 6,142 pounds. But its twin-turbo V6 produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft for a respectable 8,700 pounds of towing capacity.
The latest Suburban is the biggest Chevrolet has ever made, with a Curb Weight of 5,824 pounds. But, thanks to its 5.3L V8, it can tow 8,300 pounds. Finally, the Ford Explorer takes the cake. Its 3.5L twin-turbo V6 produces 375 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque, and, when mated with a tow package, allows it to tow an impressive 9,000 pounds.
This information concerns the latest Sequoia, but this SUV exists since 2001. So, how do the past models perform in this category? We’ll answer this question next, covering significant engine changes throughout its history.
Toyota Sequoia Towing Capacity By Year
The first Toyota Sequoia came with a 4.7L V8 producing 235 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. These initial models came with a 4-speed automatic transmission and both RWD and 4WD options.
The combination of an underpower V8 and body-on-frame construction meant unimpressive towing numbers. The RWD version pulled 6,500 pounds, and the 4WD did away with 6,200 pounds.
By 2005, Toyota took the aging V8 engine and implemented their latest VVT-i system. This variable-valve timing control meant increased efficiency and reduced emissions. It increased the power to 282 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
But, the improved engine did very little to increase towing capacities. The difference was so small that Toyota rated this version with the same towing performance: 6,500 pounds for the RWD and 6,200 for the 4WD.
Because the V8 was still proving inefficient, Toyota tried to improve it once more. This time, their focus was to meet stricter emissions standards, so the power went down to 273 hp and 330 lb-ft.
With such numbers, the improvements proved uneventful. So, the towing numbers remained 6,500 pounds for the RWD and 6,200 for the 4WD. By 2008, Toyota knew it had to improve on the engine catalog.
By 2008, facing tough competition, Toyota offered another powerplant as an option. The 5.7L V8 put out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. It still provided the aging 4.7L V8 as standard.
The engine wasn’t the only change; the Sequoia went through an entire redesign. The new model offered upgraded interiors and, most importantly, a new transmission. Also available as a tow package that included a bigger radiator and a dedicated hitch.
The numbers showed the improvements worked. With the tow package, the 4.7L V8 Sequoia finally increased its towing capacity to an impressive 7,800 pounds for the RWD version and 7,500 pounds for the 4WD version.
The 5.7L V8 RWD Sequoia towed an impressive 10,000 pounds with the tow package. The 4WD version pulled an equally respectable 9,600 pounds. Without the tow package, the numbers were 8,100 pounds and 7,800 pounds, respectively.
2010 marked the first year of Toyota’s improved 4.6L V8, which would replace the 4.7L option. This engine produced 310 hp and 327 lb-ft, and the performance numbers were respectable but not impressive.
With this new powerplant, the Sequoia towed a maximum of 7,300 pounds in the RWD configuration and 7,000 pounds in 4WD.
The 5.7L V8 RWD Sequoia maintained its 10,000 pounds of towing with the special package and 9,600 for the 4WD version. Without the tow package, the numbers were 8,100 pounds and 7,800 pounds, respectively.
In 2013, Toyota dropped the 4.6L V8 and offered only the 5.7L V8 producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. Interestingly, they also stopped offering the tow package. With the improved interiors adding weight and no upgrades to increase pulling abilities, the Sequoia had lackluster numbers.
In the RWD version, the Sequoia tows a maximum of 7,400 pounds, which drops to 7,100 pounds in the 4WD version. The following table summarizes the towing performance of the Toyota Sequoia throughout the years.
|Year||Engine options||RWD towing capacity||4WD towing capacity||RWD towing capacity with tow package||4WD towing capacity with tow package|
Towing With A Toyota Sequoia
This article aimed to explain in detail the Toyota Sequoia’s towing capacity. Currently, the RWD Sequoia can tow 7400 pounds, and the 4WD limits out at 7100 pounds. The Platinum trim level tows 7200 and 7000 pounds, respectively.
Due to its heavy interior and construction, the Toyota Sequoia isn’t an SUV designed for hard work. Compared to its competitors, it underperforms and leaves a lot to be desired in the towing department. This performance is due mainly to its aging 5.7L V8, unchanged in almost ten years.
We also detailed how the Sequoia’s towing performance changed over the years. Some years showed impressive numbers, especially with the tow package.
But Toyota shifted the Sequoia to other markets, more in line with luxury and comfort. Towing became a secondary objective.
As Toyota works hard to remain competitive in the full-size SUV sector, it has improved the interior and provided more luxurious trim levels. But it translates to a heavier Sequoia, something that won’t help it win any towing competitions.