2023 Toyota Sequoia brings Tundra bones and hybrid V-6
Longtime veterans like the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Ford Expedition have laid claim to the bulk of America’s full-size SUV pie, but the Toyota Sequoia isn’t going anywhere. What we have here is the 2023 Sequoia, aimed squarely at the truck-based, body-on-frame behemoths from the likes of Detroit’s finest. Our recent California test of the outgoing Sequoia TRD Pro confirmed that this aging giant was overdue for a refresh, so news of the next-gen bruiser comes not a moment too soon. Let’s dig in.
As expected, the Sequoia will share its basic architecture with the all-new Tundra and the global Land Cruiser (which in the U.S. means only the Lexus LX 600). New welding technology better accommodates the fully-boxed frame’s mass and boost rigidity, which should help improve ride quality. The styling similarities between the Tundra and the Sequoia are apparent, from the wide, angular front end to flared wheel arches. This is intentional—it lets onlookers know you bought a truck minus the bed.
The Sequoia will utilize an independent front suspension coupled with a multi-link rear setup and solid axle. For frequent towers, a load-leveling air suspension in the rear will help mitigate the squat that often comes when you have a heavy trailer hooked up. Properly equipped, the 2023 Sequoia can pull up to 9000 pounds—a 22 percent increase over the outgoing model.
Power will come exclusively from Toyota’s new i-Force Max hybrid drivetrain, used in the Tundra, which pairs a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor placed in the bell housing between the gas engine and the gearbox. Output rings in at 437 horsepower and a whopping 583 lb-ft of torque. While fuel economy numbers are not available at this time, Toyota says that those figures are expected to “extremely competitive with the top of the segment” (currently that means the Chevy Tahoe with rear-wheel-drive and a 3.0-liter diesel, which manages a EPA-estimated 28 mpg highway) and much better than those of the outgoing Sequoia (EPA-estimated 17 mpg highway with a 5.7-liter V-8 and rear-wheel drive.) A console-mounted level will control the part-time four-wheel-drive system, which will offer high and low settings courtesy of a two-speed transfer case.
Inside, the three-row setup can be configured for just about any human-to-gear hauling ratio. Choose from a bench or captain’s chairs for the second row, and fret not for those stuffed in the way back—the third row features six inches of sliding adjustability and reclining seat backs. Those riding up front will be treated to a host of new tech and a roomy, commanding seating position. The central infotainment system will run on one of two touchscreens, measuring either eight or 14 inches, depending on your trim level. Standard equipment across all trims includes heated front seats, a moonroof, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for the driver, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Speaking of trims, you’ll have the choice between one of five, listed here in ascending order of cost: The SR5, Limited, Platinum, the off-road-oriented TRD Pro, and the ultra-lux Capstone trim.
SR5 models will get the aforementioned interior tech goodies as well as a few packages to spruce things up even further. The SR5 Premium package bumps that center screen from the 8-inch unit to the larger 14-inch one. It also scores you a power-folding third row, hands-free lift gate, SofTex seats, and a few 120-volt outlets in the cabin and cargo area. Meanwhile, the TRD Sport package tacks on matte-black 20-inch TRD wheels in place of the standard 18-inchers, as well as a set of Bilstein monotube shocks and new springs.
The Limited gets the 14-inch center screen as standard, plus it adds heated and ventilated seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Limited 4×4 models (and SR5 4×4 models) will get access to a Sequoia-first TRD Off-Road package. This option adds a selectable locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select (adjusts drivetrain settings to best grip underfoot terrain), downhill assist control, and crawl control (basically a cruise control for low-speed maneuvers on the trail). The package also nets TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks and new springs, as well as unique 18-inch wheels.
The Platinum trim is all about comfort, with second-row captain’s chairs now joining the heating and ventilation party. This is the first trim to net the 14-speaker JBL Premium Audio system, as well as a heads-up display and panoramic moonroof. Other standard niceties include rain-sensing wipers, high-grade LED headlights and taillights, and wireless charging for your phone.
For those seeking a trail-prepped mega-rig, the Sequoia TRD Pro is ready and waiting. This trim features all the necessary off-roading appointments, including Fox internal-bypass shocks, a quarter-inch aluminum front skid plate, and a standard selectable locking rear differential. Pro-specific TRD 18-inch wheels with an increased offset widen the rig’s stance, and special tips for the dual exhaust should provide an appropriately meaty soundtrack. There’s a roof rack up top for additional gear hauling, and interior creature comforts like heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel will come standard.
As on the Tundra lineup, the Capstone trim will be the one-stop shop for the best of everything that Toyota can throw at the Sequoia. Massive 22-inch wheels—a first on this model—and special chrome accents will seek to make the Capstone look like the jewel of the lineup. Inside, ritzy black-and white leather seats and open-pore American Walnut accents will do their best to blur the line between Toyota and Lexus. Capstone owners also get acoustic glass in the front doors to help mute the outside air as your rolling bunker punches a gaping hole in the atmosphere.
There’s no information yet available concerning pricing, but don’t expect this new flagship SUV to come cheap—especially in those top two trims. Despite all the buzz around the impending onslaught of EVs, customers keep showing up with their dollars in favor of massive, well-equipped SUVs for larger families. Be they campers, boaters, or the trail frequenters, plenty of outdoor enthusiasts value the rugged capability and dependability of these durable trucks. Toyota knows that it needs to bring its best to the segment that’s nearly as competitive as that of full-size trucks, and, at least on paper, this new Sequoia should hold a lot of appeal. The all-new 2023 Sequoia will be assembled at Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas, facility. Expect it to arrive on dealership lots later this summer.