’11 Toyota Sequoia DD & Tow Build

2011 Toyota Sequoia Build:

  • Platinum Trim
  • 5.7L V8 FFV, 6-speed automatic
  • 4WD with 4Hi, 4Lo, and center diff lock
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Grey Interior Trim
  • 7,100lb towing capacity with a 2″ receiver and 4-pin & 7-pin connectors

Maintenance & Modifications:

Yearly updates:

September, 2020: With priorities and needs changing, we decided that we no longer needed the Golf and that a large family & tow SUV would better suit our needs. We traded in the Golf for this car – a 2011 Toyota Sequoia. Our new-to-us 2011 Toyota Sequoia is a Platinum trim, the highest trim level. It came standard with heated & cooled seats, heated captains chairs for the second row, DVD player, sunroof & navigation, and radar cruise control. In particular, I love the cooled front seats. Standard for the Platinum trim was the 5.7L V8, which also had a flex fuel version, which we got.

The 5.7L V8 engine in the car produces 381hp and 401lbft of torque – even more than the Evo produces. This car is also the flex-fuel version of the car, meaning it can take E85 or any mix between regular and ethanol. This is particularly relevant for me, as the Evo now has a dual map between E85 and regular. If at any event I have E85 leftover in the fuel jugs, I could simply dump it into the Sequoia instead of letting it go bad.

This Sequoia also has Toyota’s part-time 4wd system. 99% of the time, car sits in 2wd mode, so only the rear wheels are powered. A switch on the console allows me to go from 2wd to 4Hi and 4Lo. What’s nice about this car vs other 4x4s is the torsen center differential. Rather than binding the front and rear wheels through a locked center differential, the torsen allows for the Sequoia’s 4Hi to actually be an AWD mode. You must be traveling in a straight-line, under 62mph to activate it, but once active the car can drive in any condition at any speed in this mode, regardless of whether or not it is dry or in corners or high speeds. It is recommended to activate 4Hi once a month or so. 4Lo is the get-out-of-trouble mode, and there is also an electronic center differential lock. The versatility of this car’s 4wd, to be able to switch between RWD, AWD, and 4Lo, is fantastic.

Being a bit of an old school SUV with a fairly standard (no cylinder deactivation, start/stop, etc.) V8 and 4wd, the Sequoia is rated for a paltry 13 city 18 mpg highway. On E85, that drops to 9 and 13 highway. Part of this is due to its mass – with the highest end Platinums tipping the scales at just over 6,000lbs. Saying this car is large is an understatement – I sit about as high as the Uhaul trucks we’ve been renting for our moves, and the width (79.9″) is also massive – 8″ wider than the M3, which I had considered very wide, and 10″ wider than the Evo. This makes driving the Sequoia somewhat difficult to get used to. The car sits on 275/55 Michelin Defenders wrapped in 20″ wheels.

This mass is part of what allows the Sequoia to tow so well – in my spec, rated to 7,100lbs. It’s not just rating that matters for towing, however. The mass, the body-on-frame design, and the long wheelbase all contribute to stability in towing. While many crossovers and smaller utility vehicles are rated to 5,000lbs, their actual towing will be much less stable than in the Sequoia. Trailers can act like sails in wind, and you need the mass of the car to keep the tail from wagging the dog. Platinum trims additionally come with auto-leveling rear ride height adjustment, which can mitigate the need for a weight distribution hitch by raising the rear that may have been lowered due to the trailer load. The Sequoia comes with both 4-pin and 7-pin connectors, and a 2″ receiver hitch. My Sequoia also came with a trailer brake controller courtesy of the previous owner, which will allow me to adjust how strong the trailer brakes come on.

For stopping power, the Sequoia has 4-piston fixed calipers in the front reminiscent of the Evo’s, wrapped around 13.9″ (354mm) rotors in the front, and floating calipers in the rear with 13.6″ (345mm) rotors in the rear.

In summary, I’m really excited about having this car. This car was on my all-time Top 10 list as a car I’d love to own, and it really opens up the possibility of traveling to different tracks across the US. At the same time, this massive interior makes vacationing and sight-seeing with the whole family a real possibility, especially with it’s surprisingly roomy 3rd row seating and cargo capability. More to come soon!