From the umbrella holder in the B6 Volkswagen Passat to the soda can chiller optional in several Cerberus-era Chrysler products, I love it when a car offers an unusual feature. The new-for-2023 Toyota Sequoia recently piqued my curiosity thanks to an unusual set of appendages that make it the only new full-size body-on-frame SUV available with factory-installed tow mirrors.
We’re all familiar with the concept of tow mirrors, right? Larger side mirrors so you can keep an eye on your trailer and everything offside of it. While virtually ubiquitous on full-size pickup trucks, tow mirrors aren’t a common option on full-size SUVs. The Ford Expedition, Jeep Wagoneer, and GMC Yukon, and Chevrolet Tahoe don’t offer massive fold-out mirrors from the factory, which seems shortsighted given the towing capacities those vehicles are rated for. However, Toyota is offering the new Sequoia with a set of tow mirrors, and the design is interesting to say the least.
Ram truck owners like to flip their tow mirrors up (they’re flippable from horizontal to vertical) and make their trucks look like moose, but at least those mirrors can be folded back into a slimmer profile that’s more practical in parking lots and less dorky. GM uses big vertical mirrors but the bases are below the greenhouse to minimize blind spots, while Ford uses vertical mirrors with two thin supports each. In contrast, the optional tow mirrors on the Sequoia are always enormous, and that applies to the supports as well.
Just look at these mirrors. It’s like the whole SUV is doing a Cornholio impression, and that’s even with the mirrors retracted. They actually whir out on electric power to extend even farther from the door for visibility around really big trailers (as seen above), or to signal that a particular Sequoia needs TP for its bunghole. Is it an effective design? Absolutely. Is it elegant? Not exactly, but it’s a case of function over form, especially when you go further up the range.
Play around with Toyota’s configurator by loading up a high-spec Sequoia and you’ll realize that these optional tow mirrors aren’t painted or chrome-trimmed on any trim level. You can pay an extra $290 on the top Capstone trim Sequoia for power tow mirrors and still get black mirror caps. While the bare black trim attempts to hide the sheer bulk of the mirrors, it’s still incredibly odd that a top-trim full-size SUV is available with unpainted mirror caps.
For reference, here’s what the optional tow mirrors on a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country look like. Sure, they aren’t painted, but they do feature partial chrome caps to emphasize the cowboy Cadillac status of the High Country trim level.
This lack of adornment on the Sequoia’s tow mirrors might explain why a set of tow mirrors costs the same on every trim from the base SR5 to the flagship Capstone. No matter which Sequoia you choose, you’ll have to pay an extra $290 to get tow mirrors. On the plus side, they are powered and come with integrated lighting, so they should be able to help illuminate a campsite.
How’s this for a useful piece of consumer advice? If you want your full-size SUV to have comically-large mirrors, go with a Sequoia. It’s not the most practical full-size SUV nor the most efficient, but it should do the trick for mirror fetishists. While I can’t speak to how the mirror supports impede forward visibility, you’ll certainly know what’s behind you with that much reflective glass hanging off the sides of the vehicle.
(Photo credits: Toyota, Chevrolet, Jason Torchinsky)
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