The sun sets much earlier these days and we've been enjoying taking advantage of the unseasonably warm temps here in NYC. While wondering when the full-blown wave of chilly weather will hit, families like ours have been playing it safe by social distancing, quarantining, and getting tested in hopes of carving out some quality time with loved ones near and far. Excitedly, we figured we'd share our experience with the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro and some of our recent local day trips with the fam, to inspire your next adventure!
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with Toyota USA, our review of the Sequoia TRD Pro is 100% honest and our own.
Not all modes of travel are considered equal in terms of perceived safety during this crazy pandemic. As New Yorkers, families have become less comfortable with traveling on the MTA systems despite how much cleaner they seem to be these days. Mike and I have commuted via train a few times while standing for the entire forty-five minute or a longer commute. We'd end up Lysol spraying every inch of our body from our apartment hallway all in hopes of not bringing home the virus.
We've spent a good chunk of our time renting cars once or twice a month for weekends at a time just so our family of four, my sissy, and nephew could get out of Queens for some fresh air outdoors. Honestly, pre-pandemic I never really understood the big deal about owning a car within the city until the Coronavirus hit and I started to feel trapped in our apartment and missed seeing my parents on a weekly basis. Add on the idea of not being able to just pop in our car and pick up the family in the midst of any civil unrest or even crazier a zombie apocalypse (we've been watching a lot of Fear of the Walking Dead) and for a few months now I've been considering purchasing our own ride.
Those within multigenerational families are looking to protect their elders and loved ones with chronic illnesses while still being able to stay active, enjoy family experiences, and travel together, safely! Between my chronic autoimmune disease and our parent's pre-existing conditions, it's only made sense for us to start test driving a few vehicles as we reconsider the need to have our own.
The Pros and Cons of the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro
Named for California’s majestic redwood trees, the Toyota Sequoia has always been about family adventure. Now, for 2020, those adventures can be enjoyed farther off the beaten path with the first-ever Sequoia TRD Pro. Mike immediately named her 'Beastly" because it's truly one massive, full size SUV.
Ultimately we've been searching for vehicles that would not only fit our family of four, but that could comfortably seat our parents and extended family when needed. With my husband being the only one with a driver's license, and the grandparents recently retired we figured having a larger ride would allow us the space to bring them along on a few road trips in the tri-state area.
I'm not going to lie, secretly I was hoping (praying to the car gods) that the exclusive, gorgeous army green version of the TRD pro 2020 Toyota Sequoia would pull up into our driveway. If green isn't your style the other exterior color choices include Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and the Magnetic Gray Metallic that we rode around in.
The Sequoia is the latest in a line of TRD Pro vehicles that also includes Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner, providing Toyota with the unique position of offering a complete lineup of next-level off-road trucks and SUVs. Introduced in 2014, the TRD Pro line emerged from Toyota’s rich off-road racing heritage. The TRD Pro badge signifies a vehicle that’s capable of going where ordinary pickups and SUVs fear to tread, while still retaining comfort for daily driving. For the most part its a pretty smooth drive, occasionally we felt the bumps a bit more than we think we would have in a smaller model.
The look and style of a car may be the first thing to draw you in but at the forefront, especially with kids riding along, is car safety.
Toyota safety comes to the forefront in the Sequoia with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) standard on every grade. This advanced active safety suite bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, plus Automatic High Beams. In addition, all Sequoia grades come equipped with a standard Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The interior features a dual-stage, advanced front airbag system, seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and front passenger, roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all three seating rows, plus driver and front passenger knee airbags.
Cabin fever is no joke and the feeling of isolation that has lent itself to being safe during a pandemic can be mentally draining!
We didn't have any plans to do any major testing of its off-road capabilities but we figured it would be great to load up the family for some fun memory-making. During our two weeks test driving the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro we made a visit to see our boys' great grandmother who's turning 88 in January, celebrated our tween's birthday & enjoyed trick or treating in Long Island, took remote learning on the road to Central Park, the Liberty Science Center, and excitedly had our first family hiking trip.
With seating for up to eight (seven in TRD Sport, TRD Pro, and Platinum), the Toyota Sequoia makes a solid candidate for the ultimate family vehicle. It’s all there: roominess, luxury, off-road dexterity, high towing capacity, packaged in rugged yet elegant Toyota SUV design. In addition to the new TRD Pro, the 2020 Sequoia line includes the SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, and Platinum grades in two-wheel drive or Multi-Mode 4WD.
Blame the fuel consumption on it's V8 engine and be prepared to fill the tank on this big baby, often! At 14 MPG on city streets it's inevitable, especially if you're planning a lengthy road trip adventure. We'd only gone from Queens NY, to neighboring Long Island and on another occasion to NJ's Garrett Mountain, and hubby was less than thrilled with the many trips to the gas station.