2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum SUV (Review)

The 2017 Toyota Sequoia is a large, full size, four door, truck-based SUV that is spacious enough to feel like a living room on wheels with ample room for up to seven passengers, plenty of cargo space, and an impressive towing capacity up to 7,400 pounds.

Even though the Sequoia has not had any major changes for 2017, it is still a practical choice for bigger families with great on the road performance, comfortable and spacious interior, advanced technology, and quick acceleration. In the previous model year, the Sequoia received an updated version of Toyota’s Entune Entertainment System, which features Siri Eyes and connected navigation. A Safety and Convenience Package is now available for the Limited trim and adds side mirrors, blind spot warning, lane change assist, and a driver’s side memory seat.

The Sequoia is available in three trims- SR5, Limited, and Platinum.  All trim levels come fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower, 401 lb. ft. of torque which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 4-wheel drive system is optional. Although there aren’t a lot of engines to choose from, the standard one is definitely not sluggish and delivers remarkable acceleration and the six speed automatic transmission performs perfectly, smoothly, and shifts gears with great ease and without hesitation.

The base SR5 trim comes equipped with standard features which include- fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a deicing windshield wiper, heated mirrors, keyless entry, sunroof, roof rack, running boards, rear privacy glass, a power rear window, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat that can slide and recline, an 8-way power driver seat, 2nd and 3rd row side window sunshades, a 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a rearview camera integrated into the auto-dimming rearview mirror and an 8-speaker sound system with Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus with 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, Connected Navigation, Siri Eyes-Free smartphone voice controls, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. A sport package is available for the SR5 trim and adds second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, and a color-keyed grille.  The SR5 premium package adds a four way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, a powered reclining and folding third row seat, heated front seats, and a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment.

The Limited trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, a navigation system, Pandora and OpenTable apps, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, a backup camera, leather-trimmed doors, improved gauges, and a bigger 7-inch touchscreen display.  An optional Safety and Convenience includes a blind spot monitoring system, two-position driver seat and outside mirror power memory functions. A large 9-inch display, 14-speaker JBL audio system, and a rear seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray player is optional.

The Platinum trim comes equipped with all of the aforementioned features and adds heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive air suspension, a second-row center console, a premium JBL audio system, a power-adjustable driver seat with thigh support, adaptive cruise control, heated second row captain’s chairs, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and driver memory functions.

Fuel economy is good with the full size Sequoia SUV yielding an estimated 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, however, some competitors have better fuel ratings.

Standard safety features for all 2017 Toyota Sequoia trims include- front knee airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, and anti-lock disc brakes. Front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system are optional on the Limited trim, while adaptive cruise control and a blind spot monitoring are standard on the Platinum trim.

The interior of the Sequoia is very nice with a spacious front and rear cabin with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Seats in all three rows can recline in variety of ways, are comfortable, supportive, and feel ergonomic.

Even though the Sequoia is rugged, there are is an abundance of elegant interior features and materials that add a touch of elegance to the SUV. The gauges are easy to use, but the touchscreen controls are not easy to reach at times. There are many areas in the front cabin to store items with a big storage compartment directly under the front/middle armrest.

Cargo space is excellent with 18.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row when the seats are upright, 66.6 cubic feet of space when the third row’s seats are folded down, and an impressive 120 cubic feet of cargo space when both the 2nd and 3rd rows are down, which is more than the Chevy Tahoe.

On the road, the Sequoia provides excellent and smooth ride quality, which is much better than many others in its class. The Sequoia has a solid, planted feel when making sudden turns and on curvy roadways. It is more capable off-road than most big family vehicles, however, because of the Sequoia’s large size, maneuvering in tight spaces, can be difficult at times, but the rearview camera is very helpful.

In summary, the Toyota Sequoia remains a great choice for consumers with bigger families that want a large, reliable, and comfortable SUV with a spacious interior, luxurious features, and excellent towing ability.

To find out more about the 2017 Toyota Sequoia, please visit- www.Toyota.com

 

 

 

Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD (Review)

The Kia Sportage is a stylish compact crossover vehicle that offers a lot more than the average SUV. It has a luxurious flair with a distinctive exterior and excellent driving dynamics. It is fun to drive, stylish, spacious, and affordable with upscale interior details, high-tech features, and excellent fuel economy.

For 2017, the Sportage has been redesigned with a bold new look, a variety of interior cabin upgrades, a new exterior inspired by a modern jet fighter design, and features a new engine that yields better fuel economy, making the new and improved Sportage an excellent choice and a great alternative to its competitors.

The new look includes stylish suspended headlights, LED foglight clusters, and is 1.6 inches longer than earlier models allowing for more head/legroom, and more space for easier entering and exiting the rear cabin. Cargo space has also been increased to almost 31 cubic ft.

Interior features of the 2017 Sportage are very nice with better, high quality materials and technology, comfortable seats, wireless phone charging, upscale trim elements, and more insulation to subdue road noise. The panoramic sunroof is broader and there is better visibility due to thinner supporting pillars.

The Sportage is available in three trims: LX, EX, and SX and comes equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower, 177 lb. feet of torque, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good for the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model and yields an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, whereas the all-wheel-drive (optional) yields an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available and delivers 241 horsepower and 260 lb. feet of torque.

The base LX trim comes fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, 5 inch touchscreen display, cruise control, automatic transmission, streaming audio, Bluetooth, reclining rear seats, power windows/door locks, a tilt-telescoping steering column, rear privacy glass, USB/iPod interface, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, and air conditioning.

The Sportage EX trim adds additional features, such as- rear spoiler, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a cooling glove box, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch touchscreen, rear backup sensors, one-touch driver’s window, fog lights, keyless entry, sun-visor illumination, Infinity audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, trip computer, heated front seats, a rear backup camera, UVO infotainment system, a power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, WiFi hotspot connectivity, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The top-of-the-line SX trim comes equipped with a more powerful turbocharged engine that produces 260 horsepower and 269 lb. ft. of torque, HID headlights, push-button start with Smart Key, power-folding exterior mirrors, LED daytime running lights and rear taillights, better 19-inch alloy wheels, and voice-command navigation with a larger 8-inch color touchscreen.  An automatic opening liftgate, heated front seats, and a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are optional.

Additional features can be added to each trim level with certain packages. The Popular Package can be added to the base LX trim and adds a trip computer, rear spoiler, roof rails, a rear backup camera, UVO system, and rear backup sensors. The EX Premium Package adds leather seating, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, ventilated front seats, power-folding outside mirrors, and keyless entry with push-button start. The SX Luxury package adds ventilated front seats, a garage door opener, a panoramic sunroof, and leather interior.

The SX trim’s turbocharged engine is what makes it an ideal choice in my opinion, because it delivers an impressive amount of power on the road that is similar to higher priced luxury crossovers, but at a more affordable price.

Standard safety features for the Sportage include- standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 6 airbags (front, front-side, full-length side curtain), and active front head restraints.

On the road, the Sportage delivers a smooth ride, handles extremely well on various terrains, and feels nimble, even when travelling in heavy traffic and on busy highways. The interior is very quiet and spacious with ample head/legroom for taller passengers in both the front and rear cabin seating areas. The seats are supportive, comfortable, and provide enough cushioning for longer trips on the road.

Due to its firmer suspension and responsive steering, the Sportage is very engaging and with new interior features, smoother chassis, and a turbocharged engine on the SX model, it is even a more fun driving experience.

If you have been looking for a crossover vehicle that is stylish, spacious, inexpensive, fun to drive, offers a great value, and is versatile with solid on the road performance that is on par with many of its higher priced competitors, then I highly recommend taking a look at the new 2017 Kia Sportage.

To find out more information about the Kia Sportage, please visit- www.kia.com

2016 Toyota Sequoia Platinum SUV (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Sequoia is a large, full size, four door, truck-based SUV that is spacious enough to feel like a living room on wheels with ample room for a lot of people (seven passengers), plenty of cargo space,  and an impressive towing capacity up to 7,400 pounds.

Even though the Sequoia has not had any major changes for 2016, it is still a practical choice for bigger families with great on the road performance, comfortable and spacious interior, advanced technology, and quick acceleration.

The Sequoia is available in three trims- SR5, Limited, and Platinum.  All trim levels come fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower, 401 lb. ft. of torque which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 4-wheel drive system is optional. Although there aren’t a lot of engines to choose from, the standard one is definitely not sluggish and delivers remarkable acceleration and the six speed automatic transmission performs perfectly, smoothly, and shifts gears with great ease and without hesitation.

The base SR5 trim comes equipped with standard features which include- fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a deicing windshield wiper, heated mirrors, keyless entry, sunroof, roof rack, running boards, rear privacy glass, a power rear window, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat that can slide and recline, an 8-way power driver seat, second and third row side window sunshades, a 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a rearview camera integrated into the auto-dimming rearview mirror and an 8-speaker sound system with Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus with 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, Connected Navigation, Siri Eyes-Free smartphone voice controls, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. A sport package is available for the SR5 trim and adds second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, and a color-keyed grille.  The SR5 premium package adds a four way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, a powered reclining and folding third row seat, heated front seats, and a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment.

The Limited trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, a navigation system, Pandora and OpenTable apps, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather-trimmed doors, improved gauges, a backup camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen display.  An optional Safety and Convenience includes a blind spot monitoring system, two-position driver seat and outside mirror power memory functions. A large 9-inch display, 14-speaker JBL audio system, and a rear seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player is optional.

The Platinum trim comes equipped with all of the aforementioned features and adds heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive air suspension, a second-row center console, a premium JBL audio system, a power-adjustable driver seat with thigh support, adaptive cruise control, heated second row captain’s chairs, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and driver memory functions.

Fuel economy is good with the full size Sequoia SUV yielding an estimated 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, however, some competitors have better fuel ratings.

Standard safety features for all 2016 Toyota Sequoia trims include- front knee airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, and anti-lock disc brakes. Front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system are optional on the Limited trim, while adaptive cruise control and a blind spot monitoring are standard on the Platinum trim.

The interior of the Sequoia is very nice with a spacious front and rear cabin with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Seats in all three rows can recline in variety of ways, are comfortable, supportive, and feel ergonomic.

Even though the Sequoia is rugged, there are a lot of elegant interior features and materials that add a touch of elegance to the SUV. The gauges are easy to use, but the touchscreen controls are not easy to reach at times. There are many areas in the front cabin to store items with a big storage compartment directly under the front/middle armrest.

Cargo space is excellent with 18.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row when the seats are upright, 66.6 cubic feet of space when the third row’s seats are folded down, and an impressive 120 cubic feet of cargo space when both the second and third rows are down, which is more than the Chevy Tahoe.

On the road, the Sequoia provides excellent and smooth ride quality, which is much better than many others in its class. The Sequoia has a solid, planted feel when making sudden turns and on curvy roadways. It is more capable off-road than most big family vehicles, however, because of the Sequoia’s large size, maneuvering in tight spaces, can be difficult at times, but the rearview camera is very helpful.

In summary, the Toyota Sequoia remains a great choice for consumers with bigger families that want a large, reliable, and comfortable SUV with a spacious interior, luxurious features, and excellent towing ability.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Sequoia, please visit- www.Toyota.com

2016 Toyota Highlander LE Plus (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Highlander is a midsize 8-passenger, three-row crossover vehicle that has not undergone any major changes from the previous model year, but it is still is a top choice among consumers seeking a crossover SUV that is both spacious and economical.

The Highlander is available in five trim levels- LE, LE Plus, XLE, Limited, and Limited Platinum and in either front or all-wheel-drive with a choice of a 4-cylinder or V6 engine that is able to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

The base LE trim comes fitted with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces 185 horsepower, 184 lb. ft. of torque, and yields an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. A more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine is standard for the other trims, but optional for the LE and produces 270 horsepower, 248 lb. ft. of torque, and can be paired with either front or all-wheel drive. The front-wheel-drive V6 arrangement delivers an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while the all-wheel drive V6 yields slightly less fuel efficiency at 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

The LE trim comes with- automatic headlights, cloth seats, a rearview camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, heated exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, manually adjustable front seats, sliding and reclining 60/40-split second-row and third-row seats, CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 6-speaker sound system with voice controls, Bluetooth, a 6.1 inch touchscreen, and an iPod/USB port.

The LE Plus Package adds an 8-way power driver seat with power lumbar, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a flip-up rear hatch window, foglights, tri-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and HD radio, an adjustable-height power liftgate, a larger 8-inch display, and better upholstery with SofTex synthetic leather accents.

The XLE trim adds heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a sunroof, roof rails, an upgraded driver information display, a 110-volt power outlet, Driver Easy Speak which is a driver voice amplification system to communicate with rear seat passengers, smartphone app integration, retractable second row sunshades, an 8-inch central touchscreen, and a navigation system. A rear-seat entertainment package for the XLE and Limited trims is optional and include wireless headphones, a bigger 9-inch display, RCA jacks, and a Blu-ray player.

The Limited adds heated and ventilated front seats, LED running lights, 19 inch wheels, LED ambient interior lighting, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, second-row captain’s chairs, driver memory functions, a 12-speaker JBL sound system, a 4-way power passenger seat, and rear parking sensors. A Driver Technology Package offers frontal collision warning, automatic high-beam control headlights, a frontal impact crash mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and a safety system which includes-emergency assistance, automatic collision notification, and a stolen vehicle locator.

Lastly, the top-of-the line Limited Platinum trim comes fitted with all of the aforementioned features, but also adds rain sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and heated second row seats.

On the road, the Highlander is a strong performer and delivers effortless acceleration that makes it one of the quickest large crossovers available. The Highlander provides a smooth and enjoyable driving experience on a variety of terrains with responsive braking and handles sharp corners with ease, just like more expensive luxury vehicles that I have previously tested.

Standard safety features for all 2016 Toyota Highlander trims include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a driver knee airbag, front seat side airbags, a front passenger seat-cushion airbag and full-length side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera.

The interior of the Highlander is quite nice with soft touch materials and a contemporary looking dashboard area with a multifunction touchscreen display, which is available in either a 6.1 or 8 inch size.  The 8 inch display in the LE Plus has better graphics, functionality, and is more enjoyable to interact with. In the front and rear cabin, there is plenty of head/legroom for taller passengers and the seats are comfortable, ergonomic, and supportive, however, the third row is a little cramped for adults.  There is a special built-in shelf on the dashboard area that can be used to put small items, such as keys or a cell phone and there is a big storage area below the console armrest that is large enough to store an iPad, purse, or a large tote bag.

Cargo space behind the third row measures almost 14 cubic ft. and when the rear seats are folded down there is an impressive 83.7 cubic ft. of space.

If you have been looking for a crossover SUV that looks beautiful inside and out with a comfortable interior, strong on the road performance, advanced technology, and high end features that are usually only available in more expensive luxury vehicles, then I highly recommend taking a look at the 2016 Toyota Highlander.  The Highlander has a starting MSRP of $29,990 and in my opinion; it is well worth the price.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Highlander, please visit- www.toyota.com

2015 Toyota RAV4 LE Crossover SUV (Review)

The Toyota RAV4 is a 5-passenger compact crossover with distinctive styling that makes it stand out more than some other Toyota vehicles with the new 2015 model gaining a more aggressive frontal structure and sleeker profile, which makes it more attractive and contemporary than the previous year’s model.

With the ability to park in smaller spaces than an SUV can and the ability to haul larger amounts of cargo, the RAV4 has become a popular choice among consumers seeking a crossover vehicle that not only is stylish, but also offers incredible versatility, which is one of the RAV4’s greatest strengths.

The 2015 RAV4 LE and XLE trims with front-drive yield an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.  The Limited trim yields 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the all-wheel drive models deliver 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The interior of the RAV4 is very nice and spacious with plenty of head/legroom in the front and rear cabin to accommodate taller passengers. The seats are comfortable, supportive, and have an ergonomic feel to them. Cargo space is also abundant, measuring an impressive 73.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down, which is among the best in its class. The dashboard and console areas have a more upscale and streamlined appearance than previous generations, however, there are still a lot of hard plastic elements on the dashboard.  The touchscreen is easy to use with a direct list of options.

The 2015 RAV4 is available in three trims- LE, XLE, Limited and comes equipped with a 2.5-liter engine that produces 176 horsepower and 172 lb. feet of torque and is matched to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations.

Driving performance is good with enough power to make quick turns and navigate through heavy traffic with ease. The RAV4 handles rougher road surfaces very well and there is not a lot of body roll when cornering with the vehicle consistently maintaining a composed demeanor. On the road the RAV4 delivers a smooth and quiet ride on a variety of terrains and is a solid performer.

The LE (base) trim comes equipped with air-conditioning, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, full power accessories, keyless entry, rear privacy glass, 17-inch steel wheels, power-folding mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split and reclining 2nd row seat, CD player, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an auxiliary audio jack, a 6-speaker sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, and an iPod/USB interface.

The XLE trim adds a sunroof, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, roof rails, extendable sun visors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a cargo cover, and sportier front seats. A navigation system, Toyota’s Entune smartphone app integration, and a height-adjustable power liftgate, and are optional.

The top-of-the-line Limited trim comes fitted with all of the aforementioned features as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, premium faux leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-way power adjustable driver seat with memory settings, keyless entry and ignition, and heated front seats.

Standard safety features for the 2015 Toyota RAV4 include- a rearview camera, traction control, antilock disc brakes, stability control, whiplash-reducing front head restraints, driver knee airbag, front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. A Technology Package is available on the Limited trim and offers lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The RAV4’s 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine produces enough power to handle a variety of road conditions and is great for every day driving. The LE trim with 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, steering is sharp, and handles well when making sharp turns and on curvy roads. On the road, the RAV4 provides a comfortable and smooth ride and the seats are supportive for longer trips.

The Toyota RAV4 has continually improved since its 1996 debut and has a lot of dedicated fans, but new compact SUV’s have been introduced by other manufacturers, creating some competition. Even though the 2015 Toyota RAV4 is not as fancy as some of its competitors, it definitely embodies a special style that is unique with a host of technologically advanced features, high efficiency, a spacious interior, and solid every day utility making the RAV4 still one of the best compact SUV’s available today.

To find out more about the 2015 Toyota RAV4, please visit- www.Toyota.com