Thegoods Thebads

• Big engine power

• Lack of traction

• Tight steering

• Lack of clearance

• Nice family wagon

• Overabundant body

On the road the Sequoia feels the way it looks—big. Though powerful and very manageable, the girth of this truck isn't lost in translation and can be felt wallowing no matter what mode the suspension is in. A canyon carver it's not. But for a long haul with every kid in the Cub Scout troop and with your boat in tow, it fits the bill.

The dirt didn't diminish the overall dimensions of the truck. On tight trails it felt even bigger, but the one saving grace was the excellent steering, which could spin the truck around in amazingly tight spaces. Of course, steering doesn't equal ground clearance, and those darn rock slider—err, step boards— didn't always win the granite wrestling match. To add to that fact, many of these newer Toyotas have giant rear bumpers that wrap around and over the whole back side like a baby's giant diaper, and many times that diaper can snag on trail obstacles.

The hillclimb found the brake-based traction control working, but the street tires on 20-inch rims not so much. Toyota deviously calls the traction control "limited slip," though the diffs are actually open. The sand revealed that if you shut off all the nannies (stability control, active traction control, and so on), you could have a good time in this brute. One judge was able to turn the nannies back on, while another literally had the rear tires smoking in the sand with a 381hp burnout.

The Sequoia has may great features for the family looking for a big people-mover. It can get power to the ground, weave through tight turns, and be more fun than a gasoline bonfire in the sand, but does this lumbering giant have what it takes to win off road?

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