Toyota Sequoia In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

With three rows of seating and a cavernous cargo hold, the Toyota Sequoia is perfect for hauling family members on everyday drives.

However, you may want to know if this big SUV can get you safely through winter.  We discuss the ability of the Toyota Sequoia to drive in snow and winter below.

Here is the short answer about whether the Toyota Sequoia is good for winter and winter driving:

The Toyota Sequoia has 4WD capability, and a pot-pourri of features geared towards improving performance on snow and ice. It comes with Traction Control, Stability Control, and an advanced brake system. Get the TRD Pro variant for more confident driving in winter.

Is a Toyota Sequoia Good in the Snow?

This burly SUV, the largest in Toyota’s lineup, is a mean beast in snow. With close to 10 inches of ground clearance, the Sequoia’s assured handling of snowy terrain is hardly surprising.

When you have an SUV that high, navigating unplowed roads becomes easier than ever.

More importantly, the enormous ground clearance prevents your vehicle from getting stuck in snow. Because the vehicle is high above the ground, snow won’t fill the wheel wheels and halt the car.

Four-wheel-drive capability on the Sequoia means driving on snow is easier and safer compared to other models. All wheels will get equal power, allowing them to maintain traction even when thick snow threatens road grip.

A big V-8 engine further provides incredible power enough to propel the Sequoia through deep snow and slush.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

That the Toyota Sequoia is a capable performer in winter driving conditions is undoubted. Here are features that help this big SUV handle well on snow and on ice.

Improved Brake System

Anyone who has driven in winter will agree that braking, on either ice or snow, has an element of risk attached to it. If you brake too hard, the excess brake force will lock the wheels up.

Brake softly and you may not stop on the road as quickly as you want. These contribute to the perilous nature of braking in winter.

The Sequoia’s advanced braking system mitigates the previously discussed problems. For example, the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) will ensure your wheels don’t lock because of hard braking.

The Electronic Brake-force Distribution feature also works to protect the wheels from locking under hard braking.

The brake system of the Sequoia also has a feature called Brake Assist that enables your vehicle to halt faster on wet surfaces. It maximizes brake power and contributes to significant reduction in stopping distances.

Traction Control

With slick surfaces covered with snow and ice, winter driving makes it easy to lose traction while driving. And you know what losing traction means? Steering loss, potential crashes, and so on.

The Toyota Sequoia’s Traction Control feature ensures your wheels are getting proper traction needed for vehicle stability. If a tire is losing its grip, Traction Control will automatically bolster traction in that wheel.

It will reduce vehicle speed so the wheel(s) can make adequate contact with the pavement, thus increasing its road grip.

Stability Control

Also included in the Toyota Star Safety suite, the Stability Control helps your vehicle to maintain stability in slippery winter driving conditions.

This feature will monitor input from the wheel speed sensors and the steering sensors to detect if the vehicle is about to lose control/traction.

Should it discover the possibility of either scenario, the SC feature will slow down the engine so the wheels can recover traction. This is also to prevent the vehicle from totally going out of control by giving you time to take over.

Also, it will pulse the brakes on either side of the vehicle to reduce vehicle speed.

Four Wheel Drive

4WD capability is a boon for vehicles in winter where drivers have to navigate low-traction conditions. With 4WD, you can send power to all four wheels simultaneously, which increases the traction available.

The extra traction can be the difference between a safe drive or a mishap where your vehicle skids off the road.

Higher Sequoia trims, including the TRD Pro model, have electronic limited differential.

ELD helps in situations where your rear wheels need extra torque, e.g., in deep snow, to make winter driving safer. Overall, 4WD on the Sequoia allows you to travel safely in harsh winter conditions.

Make sure to also read our article about driving the Ford Expedition in snow and winter.

Does a Sequoia Have Snow Mode?

The Snow Mode feature helps by reducing the torque and power required by a vehicle to accelerate in snow. This prevents excessive wheelspin, which might cause the vehicle to lose control.

From our research, you cannot get the Snow Mode feature on the Sequoia, even on higher trims.

Does this mean the Sequoia drives horribly in snow? Not in any way.

The Sequoia models have an automatic slip- differential feature that has a similar function to the Snow Mode feature. It prevents wheels from spinning excessively, protecting your car from loss of traction in snow.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Sequoia?

Aftermarket snow gear including snow socks, snow chains, and snow tires can help with improved driving in snow. If you feel you need such items, you can fit them on your Sequoia SUV.

However, we advise you to do the following before installing additional snow gear on your Sequoia:

1. Check local regulations: States and other local areas (counties, municipalities, etc.) have varying regulations guiding the use of snow gear.

For example, some regions permit the use of snow socks, while some refuse to allow it. Also, some areas have regulations on what vehicles can use snow chains.

2. Inspect your vehicle’s dimensions: It’s important to get snow gear that complements your vehicle’s dimensions. If your snow gear doesn’t fit your Sequoia SUV, it may affect performance negatively.

For instance, using oversized snow chains or snow tires will worsen handling and drive quality.

How Much Snow Can a Sequoia Handle?

The Sequoia is perhaps the best vehicle we can recommend for navigating deep snow. With close to 10 inches in ground clearance, the Sequoia can handle extremely thick snow.

The generous ride height means your vehicle can move through deep snow without getting stuck like smaller vehicles.

Ground clearance isn’t the only thing responsible for the Sequoia’s impressive snow driving capabilities. A powerful V-8 engine gives you enough power to punch your way through packed snow.

If you commute in an area with extremely thick snowfall, consider buying a Sequoia SUV.

Please also read our article about driving the Toyota Land Cruiser in snow and winter.

How Do Sequoias Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Being a fuel-injected vehicle, the Sequoia is more than able to handle subzero winter temperatures. So, even in freezing temperatures, you can count on your Sequoia to start on the first attempt.

But there are certain issues that may force your Sequoia not to start in winter:

  • Dirty/failed spark plugs: Dirty spark plugs cannot provide enough spark to fire the ignition, which means you cannot start the vehicle. In the same vein, worn spark plugs can’t create the spark needed by the ignition to start the vehicle.
  • Blocked fuel lines: Fuel lines clogged with debris won’t supply the fuel your engine needs to run. Thus, your engine won’t start when you crank the starter.
  • Dead battery: A dead battery cannot power the ignition, which means you cannot start your Sequoia no matter how much you try. Leaving your battery unused in winter for long periods can cause the battery to degrade and die.
  • Low battery power: Failure to start in winter may mean your Sequoia lacks enough battery power. We advise checking your battery level every morning and charge it if it’s too low.

Can a Toyota Sequoia Drive on Ice?

The Toyota Sequoia can drive on ice. Its combination of four-wheel drive and a larger-than-average size guarantee stable driving on icy roads.

4WD increases traction, while the enormous weight of the Sequoia means it’s more balanced on ice and is less likely to skid and crash.

But there are few issues that come with driving a Sequoia on ice-covered roads, one of which is the risk of rollover crash.

The Sequoia’s high center of gravity makes it susceptible to tumbling over and crashing on slick, icy surface. However, this isn’t particularly peculiar to the Sequoia, and affects similar large-sized SUVs.

Does the Sequoia Have 4WD?

The Sequoia uses a multi-mode 4WD system, which allows you to switch between 2WD and 4WD as you see fit. This means you can use 4WD only when needed (in deep snow, for example), which helps improve fuel efficiency.

What About Older Sequoia Models and Winter Driving?

Many of the older Sequoias are suitable for winter driving because they have features that guarantee safe driving in low-traction conditions, including ABS, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, and 4WD. 

The first ever Sequoia model had 4WD and ABS, with Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control becoming standard equipment on later models.

Also read our article on driving the Ford Explorer in snow and winter.

Do Sequoia Need Snow Tires?

Snow tires are the recommended tires to use for winter driving. All-season tires can be crappy in summer and worse in winter, which would exacerbate the risks associated with winter driving.

Here’s why you should choose snow tires over all-seasons:

  • Quicker stopping times
  • Improved traction
  • Removes the risk of hydroplaning or crashing

Can You Mount A Snow Plow on A Sequoia?

You can install a snow plow on your Sequoia. The enormous engine output means the Sequoia can handle the rigors of snow plowing. Ensure you get a snow plow that fits your vehicle’s size.

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