’Tis the season to dream of sunny weather and ice-free roads.
Dreams that often include boats and RVs and the rigs needed to tow them.
As evidenced by the town’s two dueling RV shows, the RV lifestyle has a strong hold on our collective imagination.
The National RV Show wraps Monday, Jan. 20, at the Spokane Convention Center, while The Inland Northwest RV Show stages its four-day run at the Fairgrounds, Jan. 23-26.
And there’s more. The Fairgrounds hosts The Spokane Boat Show (Feb. 5-9), followed by the Spokane New Car Dealers Auto Show (Feb. 14-16).
It happens that Toyota has recently sent us a pair of its most capable haulers, the 2019 Sequoia and the 2020 Land Cruiser.
Both are large, truck-based SUVs powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 that makes 381-horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.
The Land Cruiser has an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Sequoia’s automatic has six cogs.
The big eight is enough engine to power the rigs swiftly and smoothly. Each runs the 0-60 sprint in the mid-6-second range, with enough mid-range torque to make effortless passes on two-lane roads.
Both rigs also tow big loads. The Land Cruiser maxes out at 7,499 lb. of tow capacity, the Sequoia is good for 8,100 lb.
But neither rig has been made over since 2008 and their cabins, though roomy and comfortable cabins, are dated in appearance and functionality.
The engine, too, shows its age in subpar efficiency. Though none of their competitors are truly thrifty, the big Toyotas are especially thirsty. The EPA rates the Land Cruiser at 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway) and the Sequoia at 14 (13/17).
2020 Land Cruiser
- $85,415 - $87,745
- tow rating: 7,000-7,499 lbs
- EPA rating: 15 combined/13 city/18 highway
The Land Cruiser is the flagship of Toyota’s SUV fleet. It is large (5,800 lb.), luxurious (ultra-luxe leather is standard) and remarkably capable off-road.
Sold only with a sophisticated full-time four-wheel-drive system, its 8.9 inches of ride height and assorted computerized off-road aids (including a super-low crawl mode), the Land Cruiser has been a favorite of off-roaders since its debut in 1951.
On pavement, the Land Cruiser is quiet and composed and it handles as well as you’d expect, given its size and off-road-ready suspension. Aggressive cornering provokes plenty of body lean, but its traction control system keeps the Land Cruiser steady as she goes.
Steering feel is numb and incommunicative, but the Land Cruiser tracks true and steady.
The Land Cruiser is ostensibly a three-row rig, with seating for seven. But the third-row seats fold away against the cargo area sidewalls, where they consume precious real estate.
There’s now a two-row version called the Heritage Edition, but at $87,745, it’s pricier than the standard model.
- $49,980 - $69,245
- Tow rating: 8,100 lbs
- EPA ratings:
- 2WD 15 combined/13 city/17 highway
- 4WD 14 combined/13 city/17 highway
It lacks its sibling’s luxury cachet and extreme off-roadability, but the three-row Sequoia SUV trumps its costlier sibling with respect to towing capacity, general utility and even the rigors of the daily commute.
The Sequoia is nimbler in traffic and more manageable in parking lots. Cabin design is fresher and the infotainment system more modern; Toyota’s Entune system is standard.
Sequoia’s third row is a kids-only zone. When not in use, it folds to enlarge the already-generous cargo hold.
A 7-inch touchscreen includes smartphone compatibility and Toyota’s Safety Sense-P system — adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning — is now standard. Also standard are blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Its part-time 4WD system includes low- and high-range gearing and can be locked for challenging conditions. A new TRD Pro trim adds cosmetic upgrades and boosts off-road capability, with the addition of skid plates and upgraded shocks. Ground clearance measures 9.9 inches.
Based on Toyota's Tundra pickup, the Sequoia exhibits truck-like handling. Ride-quality doesn’t fully transcend its body-on-frame architecture and at speed the big fellow can feel unsettled.
A trailer sway control system is standard and the automatic transmission has a tow/haul mode and a manual override.
Neither rig is the freshest face on the block, but both are exceptionally capable. With the open road beckoning, Toyota’s big fellas are at the ready.
Questions or comments? Contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.