Reviewed by: CAPTAIN MIKE SCHOONVELD
For us guys with boats which sit on trailers between fishing excursions, the major “toy” between the boat and the lake is the vehicle to which the trailer connects. The size of the boat dictates what size of tow vehicle is required, of course, but for most Great Lakes work, the vehicles need to be somewhat substantial.
The Toyota Sequoia I used to tow my boat through four states last May was substantial. We traveled in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio on roads which varied from gravel to six-lane expressways The Sequoia Toyota furnished me for this test was the Limited version, fitted with a 5.7L V8 engine and 4WD to pull my boat up algae-coated boat ramps. Equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission this full-sized SUV ran through the “gears” effortlessly whether going uphill or down, on the highway or in stop and go traffic on Chicago’s Fullerton Avenue heading for Diversey Harbor. (Long story why that trip was included.)
As are most vehicles these days, the Sequoia is fully equipped with more bells and whistles, lane change alarms, driving sensors to detect if you are driving unsafely or the guy in front of you is driving unsafely, bluetooth connections – in short, more on-board “toys” and other features than I was able to figure out how to use during my trip. I was more interested in how it handled my 5000 pound boat (and how my 5000 pound boat handled it) in real life driving conditions. It’s rated to tow more than 7000 pounds.
I was also more interested in how it handled the gear and luggage I needed for extended trips away from home, especially when three other anglers were along with me. One of the coolers we hoped to fill with salmon and walleye fillets went in the boat. The rest of our duffle stored inside with a small bit of planning. The second row bucket seats added some interior room since we could stow items between the seats. I didn’t even realize the truck came with a third row seat until my wife pointed it out and our whole group of six (sans boat) headed to the Brat Stop in Kenosha for dinner.
All in all, the Sequoia is certainly a viable tow vehicle any on-the-go Great Lakes angler should consider when it’s time to upgrade. I certainly will. Rated 13 to 17 mpg on the mileage meter, it’s in the same league as other comparable brands and models.
If there was one item to pick at on the Sequoia I tested it was the gas-gauge – gas tank capacity. For one, the tank capacity is 26 gallons. Pulling the boat, my instant mileage read out on the dash varied from 9 to 14 mpg depending on conditions and speed so about 10 to 12 actual. With that size tank, regular stops for gas is going to be required. (My regular tow vehicle gets the same mileage but has a 42 gallon tank.)
On my trip to Ohio, I knew the next travel plaza was just ahead and a few miles before getting there, the low fuel warning light came on. We made it more than easily. The pump kicked off when 20 gallons were added. I’m sure once I got used to how to gauge the accuracy of the fuel level indicator the smaller tank would be less disconcerting.
You can check out the Sequoia online (in various editions) at: http://www.toyota.com.