February 26, 2024

The Toyota Sequoia enters its third generation for the 2023 model year with an all-new design. A hybrid system is now standard, and the V8 used previously is gone. Some of the usual problems with full-size Toyota SUVs persist, but the Sequoia is now much improved.

at first glance

  • New hybrid system called iForce Max
  • The list of standard features is long and comprehensive
  • Unstable third row still an issue

The upcoming second-generation Sequoia was introduced in 2008, so Toyota’s best-selling full-size truck SUV was in dire need of a change. This new design brings exterior changes, plenty of interior improvements, and the introduction of a hybrid powertrain by default.

The first thing worth noting is the exterior design of the 2023 Sequoia. It’s now more blocky and designed to fit within Toyota’s line of pickup trucks, rather than masquerading as a smaller SUV. The Sequoia is a big SUV, and it would be ridiculous to pretend it wasn’t one. Instead, Toyota’s design team seems aimed at emphasizing the Sequoia’s truck roots.

Roof tray added to 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is a dealer option
Roof tray added to 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro is a dealer option

Aaron Turpen/New Atlas

The headlights, grille size, and bodywork are very similar to those on the Tundra. A semi-trapezoid formed by lighting shapes and fender cutouts dominates the edges, while strong straight cuts at the bottom of the door panels emphasize the ground clearance below.

Inside, the Sequoia also borrows many of the Tundra’s traits, with big seats and spaciousness as the theme. The Sequoia’s seats, though, are more refined and more comfortable, giving those who sit in them a better feel, especially with the optional captain’s chairs in the front or second row. However, the third row still feels like an afterthought.

Like many past Toyota SUV models, the Sequoia’s third row is not comfortable and takes up a lot of valuable space in the trunk. They used to fold sideways, like the Land Cruiser and LX 450, but now they’re only 8 inches (20 cm) above the top of the cargo hold, disrupting the flat load floor. Children and child-sized adults can sit in it, but most won’t be happy to be relegated to this passenger space for long.

Big changes are happening behind the scenes, too. A 3.4-liter turbocharged V6 is paired with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on most models, with four-wheel drive optional. Our TRD Pro test model came standard with 4WD. This setup is the same as the Tundra’s iForce Max drivetrain, with which the Sequoia also shares a chassis platform. The hybrid powerplant delivers 437 horsepower (326 kilowatts) and 538 pound-feet (729.5 Newton-meters) of torque.

The electric motor helps achieve the power boost faster and compensates for the usual lag associated with turbo engines. They also improve some efficiency, allowing the Sequoia to achieve 24 mpg (9.8 L/100 km) on the highway and an impressive 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km) in the city. /100 km). That’s a huge improvement over the previous-generation Sequoia’s teens-and-teens mpg returns.

The 2023 Sequoia trim style starts with the SR5 model, which comes standard with a host of equipment. These include heated and power-folding mirrors, functional roof racks, three-zone climate control, 360-degree camera, 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a full suite of advanced safety equipment from Toyota’s Safety Sense system . The SR5 was followed by the Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and Capstone models. Each adds more and more comfort, convenience and aesthetic upgrades.

The biggest disappointment of the 2023 Toyota Sequoia is this wonky third-row setup
The biggest disappointment of the 2023 Toyota Sequoia is this wonky third-row setup

Aaron Turpen/New Atlas

The TRD Pro model, however, changes course by adding off-road gear instead of adding luxury. Wheel sizes have been downsized on all models except the SR5 from the standard 20- and 22-inch sizes to 18-inch wheels that can handle the more aggressive all-terrain rubber. The engine got some treatment, with better intake and exhaust flow, mostly to add more sound. Four-wheel drive is standard, and an electronically locking rear differential is also added.

The Sequoia TRD Pro also features Toyota Motorsport-developed skid plates, front stabilizer bars, and leather upholstery with improved support. Fox suspension shocks and remote reservoir shocks (rear) were also added. A black grille and integrated light bar are also added to the TRD Pro package.

While the TRD Pro upgrades don’t improve the Sequoia’s ground clearance or ride height, they do improve its off-road capabilities enough to make it an off-road SUV worthy of its name. The Sequoia TRD Pro is on par with most off-road-ready full-size SUVs on the market today. It won’t climb the rocks of Moab, and it won’t necessarily win the Dakar, but it’s better suited for tougher trails, mud, etc. than the standard Sequoia model.

We drove the 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro daily for about a week. It’s involved in household moves, grocery shopping, and short road trips. We also took it off-road at one of our favorite spots in Wyoming and found it to be quite capable.

With its strong towing capacity, roomy interior, and versatility, the Sequoia makes a great truck SUV. But its playing field has plenty of solid options. Most of them have better cargo space, a more useful third row, and similar off-road options. The wobbly third row of the 2023 Sequoia really messes up the top picks for large sports facilities.

Product page: 2023 Toyota Sequoia