Toyota buyers are among the most loyal in the industry. Still, those who drive a Sequoia SUV haven’t had much reason to buy another until the recently introduced and completely redesigned 2023 Toyota Sequoia.
The new version will go on sale and will replace a vehicle that is primitive compared to the current competition in the big SUV market.
The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is better in just about every way. It has a much improved powertrain that promises to be far more fuel-efficient. The engine is stronger and the driving experience more refined. Technology now matches what a buyer expects in a new vehicle. And the cabin is comfortable and quiet.
Still, a few quibbles will be detailed later in the review.
One of the top improvements is the new hybrid powertrain. Like many components, this one comes from the complete redesign of Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup truck. They share the motor and hybrid system.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Powertrain
The new powertrain uses a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 and an electric motor. Toyota calls it the hybrid i-FORCE MAX powertrain and links it with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque.
Even though it is top of mind, with regular grade gasoline prices hovering around a $5 a gallon national average, Toyota has yet to release fuel economy ratings for the 2023 Sequoia. The current model is awful, yielding just 13 mpg in city driving, according to the EPA. However, the new Sequoia will perform much closer to the Tundra, considering they sit on the same platform and share much of the same styling and components.
The hybrid version of the rear-wheel-drive 2022 Tundra has an Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in city driving, 24 mpg on the highway and 22 combined. So shoppers can expect about a 50% improvement over the old Sequoia.
A first drive of the new Sequoia found that it is planted on the road and has plenty of acceleration for a big vehicle.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Towing And Payload Capacity
Its towing and payload credentials are more than enough for most uses. The 2023 Toyota Sequoia has a towing capacity of roughly 8,980 to 9,520 pounds. The limit changes between four-wheel- and rear-wheel-drive configurations of the SUV because of the weight of the 4WD system. Additionally, the extra content in the higher trim levels also reduces the limit. But even the low end allows plenty of room to pull a 5,000-pound trailer, a boat or other equipment. The payload ranges from 1,435 to 1,730 for the same reason for the towing capacity variations.
Hauling people and gear and towing are what buyers value most in a Sequoia, but some will want to take the SUV deep into the dirt. Toyota has an answer for that, offering a TRD Pro configuration or a TRD off-road package for other four-wheel-drive trim levels. A romp through the dirt and mud in the Texas hills near Denton proved those versions up to the task. But there are better off-road vehicles for those who really want to hit the dirt, mostly smaller SUVs like the Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Technology
Technology was another area where the old Sequoia lagged rivals. The old version had a 7-inch touchscreen that wasn’t as good as what comes on most telephones. Now the base SR5 trim level comes with a standard 8-inch version that at least matches a phone. The other trims have a giant 14-inch horizontal touchscreen that is easy to read and reach. Toyota also is adding the other technology that is in the new Tundra. That includes a Google cloud-based multimedia and navigation system drivers can access through a “Hey Toyota” voice command. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Safety
Toyota also has packed the new Sequoia with automated safety features. These include forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians and bicycle riders. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control also are on every Sequoia.
Despite the upgrades, there are still a few kinks. A tall person, for example, might not be comfortable in the second row of seats because the moonroof mechanism intrudes too far into the headroom.
Cargo space is limited by the placement of the battery used for the hybrid powertrain. And most won’t find the third row useful for seating when in the most forward position to provide the most cargo space.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Price
The new Sequoia goes on sale later this summer. The two-wheel-drive version starts at $58,300 for the SR5. The choices rise to $78,300 for the luxury Capstone version. All of the models carry an additional $1,495 delivery fee.