The Toyota Sequoia 2023, a corpulent three-row SUV, has perennially been situated upon the foundation of the Tundra pickup truck. However, with the inception of the 2023 model year, this foundational framework remains unscathed whilst the remainder has undergone a comprehensive modernization. Indeed, the nascent iteration is conspicuously more au courant in comparison to its predecessor, the outmoded second-generation Sequoia, which had been in service for over a decade.
The novel Sequoia now boasts the Tundra’s iForce MAX hybrid powertrain as standard. This amalgamates a 3.4-liter V-6 engine with an electric motor, thereby furnishing a staggering 437 horsepower.
As far as the interior is concerned, it is equipped with a gargantuan touchscreen, updated software, and a spacious three-row cabin that accommodates up to eight passengers. Nevertheless, despite these advancements, the Sequoia’s interior space and cargo area remain an impediment to its practicality, especially when juxtaposed with its competitors, the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.
2023 Toyota Sequoia – What’s New for 2023?
The Sequoia has undergone a metamorphosis of design for the year 2023 and rides upon the same foundational structure as the recently unveiled Tundra, Land Cruiser, and Lexus LX600. The mode of propulsion for this vehicle is exclusively a hybrid and the visual aesthetics have undergone a transformative overhaul.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The inquisition of pricing and selecting an optimal option can be a daunting task, however, the Toyota 4Runner offers a selection of exorbitant trims to alleviate this ordeal. The SR5, Limited, Platinum, Capstone, and TRD Pro are some of the available options, ranging from $59,960 to $77,660.
In the quest for the ideal 4Runner, one may question which tier offers the most value. It is concluded that the Limited trim is an impeccable choice, as it encompasses a plethora of lavish features that surpass the basic SR5, which includes a commodious 14.0-inch touchscreen, an effortless power liftgate, 20-inch mag wheels, cozy heated-and-ventilated front seats, and a mechanically folding third row.
Engine and Performance
The Sequoia boasts the iForce MAX hybrid powertrain, a veritable gem that one can find as optional in the Tundra pickup. Within this sophisticated mechanism lies a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 engine and an electric motor, working in tandem to generate a mammoth 437 hp and an equally impressive 583 pound-feet of torque.
It is noteworthy that the Tundra’s 10-speed automatic transmission also adorns the Sequoia, with rear-wheel drive coming as standard and four-wheel drive offered as an option for most versions, with it being a mandatory feature on the TRD Pro model – an off-road-centric variant.
During our trials, we assessed the four-wheel-drive Sequoia Capstone and were left awestruck by its acceleration prowess, enabling it to reach 60 mph within a mere 5.6 seconds and cover a quarter-mile in a commendable 14.3 seconds at 94 mph. It is pertinent to mention that it outranked the GMC Yukon Denali in our assessments, albeit falling slightly behind the Ford Expedition Timberline.
Furthermore, the TRD Pro offers some additional off-road perks, such as a front skid plate, 18-inch forged wheels with 33-inch tires and upgraded Fox dampers. While we did enjoy the Sequoia’s smooth and serene cabin, we encountered some difficulties during its on-road driving experience, with its relatively excessive width being a significant obstacle to placing the vehicle on a lane – a point of concern for us, as we have witnessed similar issues with other massive SUVs in the past.
Additionally, the Sequoia’s lightweight steering may lead to undesirable jitters while cruising. We plan to conduct more exhaustive trials of the Sequoia, examining its capabilities at our test track, and will update this account with the results.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The nascent Sequoia’s hybrid configuration renders it conspicuously more efficacious than its antecedent iteration. The rear-wheel drive variants are encumbered with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 21 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined.
The aforementioned numbers are ever so slightly mitigated in four-wheel drive derivatives, registering at 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. We intend to assess Sequoia’s fuel economy in a bona fide setting with our 75-mph highway fuel economy test. Kindly refer to the EPA’s website for further details regarding Sequoia’s fuel economy.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Sequoia, ever grandiose and ostentatious, boasts a capacious interior that remains impressively voluminous in this latest generation. A third row of seats comes standard, elevating the model’s passenger capacity to new heights. The standard second-row bench setup accommodates eight individuals, although optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Regrettably, headroom in both rear rows is meager, particularly if one opts for the panoramic sunroof upgrade.
An impressive range of trim levels renders the Sequoia a versatile specimen. The interior trimmings are at once sumptuous and opulent, varying from cloth to leather upholstery, with levels of wood and chrome trim that increase with the ascent up the price ladder. The pinnacle trim levels offer luxuries including but not limited to heated and cooled second-row seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a premium stereo system that will leave audiophiles utterly enraptured.
One drawback, however, is Sequoia’s cargo area, which may prove substandard when compared to its rivals. With the rear seat in use, a measly 12 cubic feet of cargo space remains available, while folding the third row down fails to yield a level load floor, ultimately rendering it an inconvenient proposition.
2023 Toyota Sequoia – Infotainment and Connectivity
The antiquated touchscreen configuration of the elderly Sequoia has been supplanted with the grandiose and colossal 14.0-inch touchscreen, which is ubiquitous in the Tundra. This ostentatious screen is included in all models, except for the base SR5, and will harness Toyota’s cutting-edge infotainment software, which proffers an array of smartphone-mirroring and other connectivity alternatives, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and sundry music-streaming options.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Sequoia’s profuse driver-assistance features are universally included in its configuration. To glean additional insight into Sequoia’s vehicular crash-test evaluations, do not hesitate to peruse the authoritative National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Prominent safety facets incorporate customary premonitory indications for impending front-end collisions and automated emergency braking, customary lane-divagation admonitions, and customary lane-keeping assistance, as well as customary adaptive cruise control.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The circumscriptive and dynamical warranties proffered by Toyota are not dissimilar to those put forth by its peers within the grandiose full-size SUV realm. Yet, Toyota bestows the added boon of gratuitous scheduled maintenance to its discerning consumers.
The delimited warranty entitles the holder to a triennial, or 36,000-mile temporal constraint. In parallel, the durational parameters of the powertrain warranty embrace a lustrous quinary or 60,000-mile radius. Furthermore, the compendious servicing of the vehicle is subsumed within a two-year, or 25,000-mile, imperviousness.
The 2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone is a marvel of modern engineering, embodying a front-engine, rear/all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon. At an impressive base price of $80,095, the Capstone model is not for the faint of heart nor the modest of wallet. Remarkably, this impressive vehicle offers no optional features for further customization.
Equipped with a twin-turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 24-valve 3.4-liter V-6, generating a substantial 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft, along with an impressive AC motor producing 48 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, this vehicle offers an impressive combined output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft. The 1.9-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack is an innovative addition to this powerhouse of an engine.
A 10-speed automatic transmission effortlessly delivers power to the wheels of this magnificent beast.
Underpinning this vehicle is an exceptional chassis, complete with control arms on the front suspension and a live axle on the rear. The braking system is equally impressive, boasting 13.9-inch vented discs at the front and 13.6-inch vented discs at the rear. The tires are no exception to this, with Bridgestone Dueler H/T 265/50R-22 112H Extra Load M+S rounding out the spectacular chassis.
The 2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone boasts impressive physical attributes, with a wheelbase measuring a formidable 122.0 inches and a length of 208.1 inches. Additionally, it stands at a commanding height of 74.5 inches with a passenger volume of 157 cubic feet. As for the cargo space, it offers a generous area of 89, 49, and 12 cubic feet behind the first, second, and third rows, respectively.
Moving on to the vehicle’s performance, the results obtained in the C/D test are nothing short of awe-inspiring. The 60-mph speed was reached in a swift 5.6 seconds, with the quarter-mile record standing at 14.3 seconds at 94 mph.
The 100-mph milestone was achieved in a paltry 16.4 seconds, while the rolling start of 5-60 mph was a breezy 6.3 seconds. Its top gear, 30-50 mph acceleration time was an impressive 3.4 seconds, and the 50-70 mph time clocked in at 4.3 seconds.
The top speed of the Toyota Sequoia Capstone is limited to a decent 107 mph. In terms of braking distance, the vehicle took a measured 194 feet to come to a halt from a 70-mph speed. Finally, its road-holding capacity on a 300-ft skidpad is commendable, at 0.76 g.
The fuel economy of the vehicle is also noteworthy, with an observed rate of 16 miles per gallon. As for the EPA fuel economy ratings, the combined, city, and highway rates are an impressive 20, 19, and 22 miles per gallon, respectively.
Standing Out in a Crowd
The distinctive familial resemblance to Toyota’s new Tundra cannot be mistaken, as the new Sequoia emanates an air of grandeur, attuned to the desires and expectations of full-size SUV buyers. A colossal ride with a tank-like appeal both inside and out, featuring a lofty beltline, stumpy windows, and a domineering grille accentuated by robust fenders.
Comprising five trim levels, starting from the base SR5 model and escalating to the summit Capstone luxury trim, the Limited trim with four-wheel drive was the subject of my testing, offering an impressive range of high-end features, rendering it the most cost-effective option in the lineup.
The Sequoia’s appearance will elicit either attraction or revulsion, though it certainly won’t go unnoticed. Personally, I find it appealing in a futuristic off-roader guise, constituting a novel addition to a segment that has long suffered from a dearth of genuine stylistic innovation. The most striking designs in the category are available at GM, where the latest Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon present smoother, blockish aesthetics. The Ford Expedition, however, still retains its original look, albeit with some aerodynamic tweaks to its grille and headlights.
Indubitably, regardless of your aesthetic preferences, the Sequoia is a force to be reckoned with and must be acknowledged as one of the finest specimens in its class.
This is due in no small part to its Herculean powertrain, which boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 iForce Max hybrid-electric powertrain that made its debut as a luxury upgrade on the Tundra pickup.
The Sequoia is fortified with an impressive 437 horsepower and 583 pounds-feet of torque, a breathtakingly formidable amount of brawn thanks to its electric motor assist. This potency is transmitted through a 10-speed automatic transmission, and is directed towards the rear wheels on all trims, with the exception of the TRD Pro, which boasts standard 4WD; this option is available on all other trims.
This abundance of power equips the Sequoia with a merciless and instantaneous acceleration, accompanied by a growling rumble, the authenticity of which is debatable, as it may be piped in via the audio system.
However, regardless of the level of sonic verisimilitude, there is no disputing the outcome: the Sequoia possesses ample power for swift passing maneuvers and for taking on highway on-ramps while remaining docile and affable when one is merely ferrying progeny to the local grocery store, rather than piloting speedboats to the pier.
The peccadillo of this audacious powertrain is the deficiency of fuel economy that fails to meet the expectations of an electrified powertrain. My week-long test drive of the Sequoia left me with a mere 15 mpg combined, which is quite incongruous with the EPA estimate of 19/22/20 mpg city/highway/combined for the 4WD version.
By contrast, my week-long drive of the rival 2022 Expedition Limited Stealth Performance AWD boasted a superior 19 mpg, despite its power source of a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter non-hybrid V-6 and the 4WD rating of 16/22/18 mpg. The Sequoia’s predilection for electric mode rendered its suboptimal fuel economy an anomaly.
If fuel economy falls short of expectations, the driving experience does not. The ride quality is exquisite with exceptional damping and control, even on battered and uneven roads. The steering is light with a modicum of insensitivity, which is parred for the course in any full-size SUV these days.
It was accurate and effortless to navigate, maintaining its trajectory on long turns and empty highways with minimal effort on my part. The brakes are robust and unwavering, and despite some body roll and pitching in swift maneuvers, the Sequoia offers a stupendous driving experience that is bound to delight on local commutes as well as extended highway drives.
Astounding is the fact that Toyota has managed to achieve such superlative control even after relinquishing the erstwhile truck’s autonomous rear suspension, in favor of a multi-link solid rear axle. This move doubtless enhances Sequoia’s prowess in towing, while simultaneously curbing development expenditures. Nevertheless, it does necessitate a concession in terms of cargo capacity, as we shall elucidate henceforth.
Packaging Hits and Misses
When addressing the topic of “packaging,” we must take into account the configuration of the vehicle’s interior layout. This includes the precise placement of the seats in relation to the doors and surrounding panels, the ergonomic positioning of seatbacks and storage compartments, as well as the intelligently organized distribution of buttons and controls.
The Sequoia, for all its imposing stature, disappointingly fails to convert its exterior dimensions into interior spaciousness. The front seats, though sizable and agreeable, are overshadowed by the high, blocky dashboard and the wide, somewhat intrusive center console.
The vehicle’s low-lying windshield only exacerbates this claustrophobic atmosphere, leaving drivers and passengers feeling as if they are trapped in a confining bunker rather than a capacious cabin.
While the second row boasts ample room for both hip- and legroom, the third row regrettably falls short in this regard. We must direct our frustration toward the packaging, specifically, the unique sliding mechanism atop a rear axle and a hybrid battery pack. This design flaw drastically limits the space available in the back and even prevents the seats from being able to fold flat.
Verily, the Sequoia lacks a level and even cargo floor, rendering even the simplest of trips to the superstore a veritable conundrum. Transporting copious quantities of baggage or lengthy objects is also an arduous and formidable task, thereby constituting Sequoia’s most prominent drawback.
For a full-sized SUV that cannot readily accommodate either full-grown individuals in the tertiary seating area or even modest amounts of provisions, the incentive to acquire such a vehicle is bereft of logic.
This is not a flaw that afflicts rival vehicles like the Expedition or Tahoe, as both of these SUVs possess rear suspensions that operate independently, thereby allowing for a lower seating profile in the third row. Neither do they confront the quandary of a hybrid battery pack, thus enabling them to competently ferry seven full-grown adults, not just five adults, and two juvenile passengers.
Shapes and Materials
In the event that you do not hold third-row and cargo capacity in high regard, the Sequoia’s interior harbors many appealing attributes. The disparities from its predecessor are akin to night and day: The caliber of materials has undergone a massive augmentation, with even the lower-spec Limited that I had the privilege of testing leaving an indelible impression of fine textures, top-tier leather, and buttons and switches that manifest an invigorating degree of solidity.
Distinct disparities also exist between the varying trim levels; the quality ascends progressively higher as you move up the line-up, culminating in the sumptuous Capstone edition, which flaunts bona fide wood trim. Given that the Sequoia boasts a certain cachet as a premium product, it starts off with finer components than its Tundra pickup platform and it unequivocally shows.
Notwithstanding, there persist some dubious elements, commencing with the digital gauge cluster. Laden with multifarious readouts, gauges, and meters, the cluster confounds, especially in the glare of the sun. In contradistinction, the Expedition’s digital gauge cluster is prodigious, resplendent, and easily legible, unencumbered by any of the Sequoia’s ocular vexations.
All Sequoias proffer a touch screen situated in the center console. The base SR5 trim features an 8-inch system, while all other trims feature a gargantuan 14-inch unit, a commendable upgrade. The Toyota Audio Multimedia system, which sports a 14-inch screen, surpasses its antiquated counterpart, the Toyota Entune system, with its lucid graphics, vivid displays, and increased functionality.
However, it remains somewhat disconcerting to utilize, lacking a home screen that can exhibit multiple functions. This implies that a single function is only viewable at one time on a colossal screen, and even then, the screen does not enthrall unless the user is perusing the navigation function.
The system relies on cloud computing, necessitating a data connection to operate at optimal capacity. Although brand-new to Toyota, the multimedia system pales in comparison to those of Ford, Jeep, and Hyundai/Kia, flagging in performance.
Incorporating, one could posit, full-size Sports Utility Vehicles. The nascent 2023 Sequoia commences at a smidge beneath $60K, at $59,895 inclusive of the destination charge. This translates to a nearly $8,000 ascent from the inaugural expense of the 2022 iteration – a considerable augmentation, undoubtedly.
My experimental vehicle, a Limited 4×4 embellished with a superlative JBL audio system and assorted additional features, tallies up to a hair’s breadth below $72,000. It is an ample sum for any vehicle devoid of a luxurious emblem. However, it aligns with full-size SUVs crafted by Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep, and Nissan. In essence, if this is the sort of vehicle you aspire to own, the sticker shock will not dissuade you from procuring it. It is merely a requisite part and parcel of the modern epoch.
In summation, the new 2023 Sequoia constitutes a substantial advancement from its predecessor, flaunting more expanse, additional features, augmented potency, and increased capabilities – essentially more of everything Sequoia enthusiasts cherish.
Nevertheless, akin to the antiquated Sequoia, there exist some lapses in the SUV’s blueprint and assemblage, impeding it from becoming a preeminent offering in its class. If its imperfections do not impede you, the Sequoia is an exemplary choice. However, if you covet a full-size SUV that performs all that the Sequoia does, with equal finesse and without sacrificing stowage or third-row expanse, alternate options merit contemplation.
Driving The 2023 Toyota Sequoia
The propulsive powertrain of the 2023 Sequoia consists of a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter gasoline V6 and an electric motor that harnesses a robust 437 horsepower and a formidable 538 lb-ft of torque. At speeds up to 18 mph, the electric motor exerts a predominant influence, which augments Sequoia’s fuel efficiency in urban environments. However, in moments of exigent propulsion, the electric motor furnishes an additional surge of energy.
As previously mentioned, the 2023 Sequoia offers various driving modes, including Eco, Normal, and Sport, with the addition of Comfort and Sport S+ modes when equipped with a load-leveling rear air suspension or full adaptive suspension, as well as an adjustable user-customizable setting.
The base SR5 model of the 2023 Sequoia is available with a TRD Sport package that imbues a more athletic suspension. TRD – an acronym that denotes Toyota Racing Development – has also crafted a range of supplementary treatments for the new Sequoia. For instance, the TRD Off-Road package (compatible with the 4-wheel-drive versions of the SR5 and Limited trims) includes an alternative type of specialist suspension, a locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select, and Crawl Control.
For those who require the Sequoia’s maximum 9,000-pound towing capacity, the Tow Tech package provides assistance through a Trailer Backup Guide and Straight Path Assist. Additionally, for the first time in a Sequoia, power-extendable side mirrors are available.
The boundless expanse of the cosmos has, to date, never been a constricting factor within the cavernous confines of a Sequoia. Even the third row affords ample room for those of a more mature disposition. In this iteration, Toyota proffers the option of an adaptable, sliding third row to optimize legroom or, indeed, cargo capacity; with a copious six inches of scope in which to do so. In addition, the sequoia features a novel, customizable cargo shelf mechanism as a further selling point.
Akin to a seemingly inexhaustible cornucopia of luxuriousness, the 2023 Sequoia SR5 boasts a veritable plenitude of space for eight passengers. The second row boasts a trio of seats, yet this is superseded by a duo of captain’s chairs in the more elevated trims.
Representing the ne plus ultra of Toyota’s opulent output, the Capstone trim level is the most sumptuous Sequoia thus far. Such a specimen features an exclusive American Walnut wood paneling, as well as the sophisticated accouterment of perforated semi-aniline leather upholstery, resplendent in a black-and-white motif. A gargantuan infotainment touchscreen adds to the overall regality, whilst acoustic glass serves as a bastion of tranquility for those ensconced within the Sequoia’s lair.
The nexus between the Tundra and the Sequoia extends beyond their shared foundation, as evidenced by their stylistic congruity. Far from being reproachful, this design commonality bespeaks a novel approach, endowing the 2023 Sequoia with a robust and self-assured demeanor. Naturally, its stately proportions only serve to augment its authoritative bearing.
Wheel dimensions run the gamut from 18 to 22 inches, with the Capstone variant boasting an opulent chrome finish. The standard palette includes the customary white, black, silver, and gray hues. Connoisseurs of premium shades will appreciate the Supersonic Red option, whilst the Solar Octane, an opulent deep orange, remains the exclusive preserve of the TRD Pro model.
The hybrid drivetrain installed in this gargantuan vehicle imbues it with a plethora of advantages beyond mere fuel economy. The characteristic low-end impetus emanating from the electric motor confers upon the vehicle an invaluable off-road proficiency. Toyota’s celebrated reputation in the realm of hybrid technology ensures that the 2023 Sequoia shall be endowed with unparalleled reliability.
In spite of the fact that a majority of families would eschew off-roading in their spanking new Sequoia, the four-wheel drive system imbues them with a sense of confidence in the face of inclement weather. For the daring few who do, the high/low transfer case and Crawl Control, a low-speed cruise control mechanism for rough terrain, endow the driver with the luxury of steering sans distraction.
In the offering of the 2023 Sequoia’s SR5 version, a limited number of packages are presented to the consumer. In the SR5 Premium bundle, one can avail themselves of an enlarged touchscreen, the convenience of power-folding third-row seats, hands-free tailgate operation, as well as the pleasure of simulated leather upholstery, all in conjunction with a 120-volt outlet in both the cabin and cargo area.
Should one desire a firmer ride and an aesthetic deviation, the TRD Sport package comes with a change in suspension to offer a more solid ride, while the wheels are upgraded to black-finished 20-inch alloys. Conversely, for the off-road enthusiasts who crave the taste of mud, the TRD Off-Road package is made available exclusively for those with a 4-wheel drive system, and it presents its own unique suspension setup. Interestingly enough, this package is also available for the next-up Limited trim.
Limited brings forth a cornucopia of features as standard equipment, including the added benefits of memory settings for the heated/ventilated front seats, an easy-to-operate powered tailgate, and a third row that effortlessly folds with the press of a button, which also comes with shades for the second and third rows.
The Platinum package makes a valiant effort to augment the Sequoia’s level of luxury by providing heated/ventilated second-row captain’s chairs, a panoramic moonroof, a wireless charging system, a head-up display, LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, a remarkable 14-speaker JBL audio system.
For those who yearn for further off-road supremacy, the TRD Pro version promises even greater sophistication with a specialized suspension in conjunction with underbody protection. It also boasts a TRD Pro roof rack, a heated steering wheel, and 4-wheel drive as standard equipment.
As for the Capstone version, it epitomizes a luxurious vibe with full leather and wood adornments, while the 2023 Sequoia offers supplementary features such as a load-leveling rear air suspension or an adaptive suspension to further improve one’s driving experience.
The hybridized powertrain adorning the 2023 Sequoia is not a mere choice, but an inherent characteristic that runs through the entire range. The internal combustion engine on display is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6, a component juxtaposed with an electric motor generator that resides between that and the illustrious 10-speed automatic transmission.
With an amalgamated output of 437 horsepower and an earth-shattering 538 lb-ft of torque, this powertrain is a clear improvement from its antecedent, which boasted 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The fundamental arrangement of the Sequoia is rear-wheel drive (RWD), although four-wheel drive (4WD) that comprises a high/low transfer case is a feasible option that is also included as a standard feature in the TRD Pro variant.
The Sequoia is not an adversary to the Prius in terms of fuel economy, but there is a noticeable upgrade in its fuel efficiency from its predecessor. The 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that has been enhanced with an electric motor churns out 437 horsepower and a colossal 583 lb-ft of torque. The estimated EPA city/highway fuel economy clocks in at 21 mpg city/24 mpg highway (4×2), whereas the 4×4 rendition is estimated to obtain 19 mpg city/22 mpg highway.