Toyota’s full-size, three-row SUV enters its third generation this week with the debut of the 2023 Sequoia. Based on the same body-on-frame platform as the Land Cruiser, the new Sequoia hits the road with a bold new look, hybrid power and a new, luxurious Capstone trim level at the top of the lineup.and
Bold new look
The broad strokes and details of the Sequoia’s new look are familiar from the new Tundra, from the general shape of the grille to the T-shaped headlamps with their integrated intakes. Personally, I think the Sequoia’s fascia looks much better with a more conservative grille treatment that avoids the elements of the Tundra’s design that I find most upsetting — the way the pickup’s grille flows over the front bumper and the awkward silver handlebar ‘stache it creates for upper specs.
Overall, I’m not recoiling from the Sequoia in the same way I initially did upon meeting the Tundra, and I’m actually digging the squared-off profile and strong shoulder details created by the front and, particularly, the rear fender arches with their deep, dramatic undercuts. The tail end is a bit bland; the new horizontal tail lights look nice enough, but it feels like Toyota’s designers didn’t really know what to do with such a large canvas and my first act as an owner would be to debadge the “S E Q U O I A” that stretches awkwardly across the liftgate.
For Limited or better trim levels, that liftgate features hands-free power opening and reveals a power-folding third row with sliding adjustment and a new adjustable cargo shelf system. The Sequoia is available in both seven- and six-seat configurations, depending on whether buyers choose the second row bench or captain’s chairs. Toyota’s announcement doesn’t include details for passenger or cargo capacity, but we’ll update this space when the numbers are published.
Standard i-Force Max Hybrid
The Sequoia comes standard with Toyota’s new i-Force Max Hybrid powertrain, which we’ve seen previously in the Tundra pickup. This setup sandwiches an electric motor into the bell housing between a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and its 10-speed automatic transmission. All in all, Toyota estimates a system peak of 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque — 56 ponies and 182 lb-ft more than the current generation’s 5.7-liter V8 — which makes its way via a two-speed transfer case to either the rear wheels or an available 4WDemand part-time 4WD system. The hybrid powerplant elevates the Sequoia’s towing capacity to 9,000 pounds, but should also boast a huge fuel economy improvement over the previous generation. Final miles-per-gallon estimates haven’t been stated, but it shouldn’t be too hard to beat today’s 15 mpg combined.
Drivers will be able to customize the Sequoia’s performance with Eco, Normal, Sport and Tow/Haul settings for the new Drive Mode Select system, adjusting the electric motor’s behavior. When equipped with either the Load-Leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension options, Comfort and Sport Plus suspension settings also unlock. An optional Tow Tech Package is also available, rolling in the automaker’s Trailer Backup Guide and Straight Path Assist features.
The Sequoia’s massive dashboard features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, but is dominated by an appropriately massive 14-inch display that’s standard on Limited and up trims or as an optional upgrade for the base SR5 model’s standard 8-inch screen. Either way you go, wirelessand are also standard, as is Toyota’s new Intelligent Assistant that lets you give voice commands by saying, “Hey, Toyota.” The new tech also features a 4G data connection (via subscription) that powers a Wi-Fi hotspot, gives over-the-air updates for its cloud-based navigation with Google point-of-interest data and enables native Apple Music and Amazon Music streaming.
On the safety side, all 2023 Sequoia models will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 driver aid suite, which means dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams and an advanced precollision braking system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as detection of oncoming traffic during left-hand turns. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and parking speed automatic braking features round out the Sequioa’s safety suite.
The most luxurious Sequoia yet
New Sequoia shoppers will have five grades to choose from, including the base SR5, the more feature-rich Limited and more luxurious Platinum models. At the top of the line is the new Capstone trim, which Toyota calls the most luxurious Sequoia to date. It’s nigh fully loaded and outfitted with chrome accents, standard 22-inch chrome wheels, power running boards, a more luxurious semianiline leather-trimmed interior with a black-and-white theme and open-pore American Walnut wood trim. Even the glass on the Capstone model is unique, with acoustic panes in the front doors to further quiet road and wind noise.
TRD Sport, Off-Road and Pro
The hybrid-only strategy jibes with Toyota’s more family-friendly, road-focused offerings like the hybrid-only Venza and Sienna. That said, the Sequoia should still be plenty capable when it comes time to leave the beaten path.
SR5 models can be upgraded with a TRD Sport package, swapping from 18s to 20-inch matte black TRD wheels and Bilstein monotube dampers with TRD springs. Aluminum pedals and a red TRD start button add a bit of sporty bling to the cockpit.
For more trail-ready performance, a TRD Off-Road package is available to SR5 and Limited 4×4 models. Checking this box adds a locking rear differential, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bilstein/TRD monotube dampers and springs and a red front axle driveshaft, because a little more bling never hurt anybody. Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, Downhill Assist Control add much needed control and sure-footedness on the trail, while a Multi-Terrain Monitor is added to help drivers precisely navigate obstacles.
The most “adventure-minded” Sequoia offering is the TRD Pro, which is not just a package, but a whole trim level unto itself. The Pro beefs up with TRD-tuned Fox shocks, a quarter-inch TRD aluminum front skid plate and unique 18-inch black TRD alloy wheels with increased offset for a wider stance. TRD Pro also comes standard with a roof rack, a Toyota heritage grille with marker lights and an embedded light bar and, like the Off-Road kit, also features a lockable rear differential and Toyota’s various trail control and assist systems.
Summer 2022 availability
It’s about time Toyota got around to updating the Sequoia. The current generation has been around since 2007 with only minor updates, and in those 15 years, the competition from Ford, Chevy and now even Jeep has gotten a whole lot tougher. The all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia steps back into the fray, arriving at dealerships this Summer. Pricing has not been announced. The current $51,525 SR5 to $67,575 Platinum range is a good jumping-off point for estimates, with the new Capstone grade likely stretching the upper limits of that envelope.