The 1957 Land Cruiser, a bare utility machine, was among the first Toyota vehicles sold in the United States. This model year, the 8-person SUV features the advanced Toyota Safety Sense-P system as standard equipment. Updates for 2018 include standard swing-away exterior mirrors that automatically activate when the vehicle is keyed on/off. Metro News Service photo

Land Cruiser, Sequoia have big followers, big commitment from Toyota

Toyota is one of the few brands left that has a full line of vehicles. They certainly have something for everyone when it comes to their product line.

One area that often gets overlooked when people discuss Toyota is their big SUVs. Toyota has the Land Cruiser, an SUV that defies definition and though, not a Lexus, is really in a luxury category all by itself. They also have the Sequoia, which, in today’s world of smaller crossovers, is kind of a dying breed. Both of these big SUVs warrant consideration and have merit.

For 2018, neither SUV has many new updates. But it had been a while since I was behind the wheel of either, so they both felt new and exciting to me. The Land Cruiser shows that Toyota hasn’t abandoned the off-road segment. That’s still where the Land Cruiser excels, and given its name similarity to the Land Rover, that’s the targeted market. For that it certainly hits the mark with a comfortable, luxurious ride that can go over any terrain.

The Sequoia draws a different market. It targets families who may also have recreational vehicles to tow. And, like the Land Cruiser, it hits the mark in this regard. The Sequoia is big and hulking. There’s nothing athletic about it. In fact, despite its V8 engine, the Sequoia lumbers along. It’s not slow, but it’s also not spry. It gets off the line quick enough, but with the weight and frame, there’s just something that feels underpowered about this large SUV. The 381 horsepower even seems small when compared to what is needed to move a vehicle of this girth. But the 7,100-pound towing capacity is why the Sequoia is a popular option.

Meanwhile, the old school vibe of the Land Cruiser still resonates with a devoted fan base that adores this boxy SUV. It has the same 5.7-liter V8 engine that powers the Sequoia. Unlike the Sequoia, which has an outdated six-speed transmission, the eight-speed transmission in the Land Cruiser feels capable. The Land Cruiser can tow even more with a rating of 8,100 pounds. Both SUVs are more than capable of helping a family’s weekends with recreational towing.

Inside, the two diverge. The Sequoia’s interior feels stale and dated. There’s some hard plastic material, and the overall flow and design of the dashboard and center stack feels so last decade.

The back seat of the Sequoia is one its best features. The legroom and headroom are ample. The third row is even comfortable enough for an adult.

The Land Cruiser, with a steep price tag and luxury bent, has a quality interior. Though it’s been years since the Land Cruiser has seen an update, it still feels modern and current, although the infotainment system is dated and clunky. The eight-passenger Land Cruiser needs to step up the game to truly be considered a luxury vehicle as there are equally priced, or even less expensive, luxury brands with higher quality interiors. That being said, comparing the Land Cruiser interior to the Sequoia’s is night and day. You can see why the Land Cruiser carries the heftier price tag.

My Sequoia was the SR5 trim with a starting price of $51,225, which is quite competitive in the full-size SUV segment. With options like leather, heated seats, fold-flat third-row and reclining second-row seats, my tester had a final MSRP of $56,995. The Land Cruiser, on the other hand, has only one trim, and a shockingly high price of $83,665. With a few options, the final MSRP was a sticker-shock-inducing $85,185.

Fuel economy is practically identical in both SUVs, with the Land Cruiser edging out one extra mile on the highway, thanks in part to the better and more efficient transmission. The all-wheel drive Sequoia has an EPA rating of 13 mpg/city and 17 mpg/highway, while the AWD Land Cruiser has an EPA rating of 13 mpg/city and 18 mpg/highway.

So many car companies are getting rid of their full product lines, so it’s nice to see Toyota still committed to offering a vehicle for everyone’s taste. That includes the big, hulking Sequoia which is so appropriately named, plus the big-priced Land Cruiser with niche appeal in the Toyota family.

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