If there was ever a vehicle that needed an overhaul it was the Toyota Sequoia so it’s good to see it get one for the 2023 model year. With the official reveal of the full-size, three-row SUV, Toyota starts fresh with a ground-up overhaul. As such, the third-generation Sequoia is no longer outdated and now takes it place within the Toyota lineup of SUVs with a fresh, modern feel.
There is a new trim, as we predicted, along with the new i-Max powertrain and with that comes increased towing capacity and improved fuel economy. And, as you’d expect, there’s a more modern, updated interior featuring new technology.
Let’s look at five things to get excited about for the 2023 Toyota Sequoia.
It’s no surprise that the big, slothy V-8 is gone from the Sequoia. We already saw Toyota get rid of it on the 2022 Tundra too, so it only makes sense to include the i-FORCE MAX Powertrain on the next-gen Sequoia. This hybrid powertrain will be the only option offered in the Sequoia and it will produce 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. That’s a significant improvement over the bigger (and did I mention slower) 5.7-liter in the outgoing 2022 model which only made 381 horses and 401 pound-feet of torque.
While reliability remains a key question on this new powertrain, the specs make it appear to be a win-win over the prior-gen V8.
I touched on the fuel economy, but with the hybrid powertrain comes much, much better fuel economy ratings. Prior to the 23 model year, the Sequoia was one of the least fuel-efficient vehicles on the road and was categorized as a gas guzzler at 13 mpg/city and 17 mpg/highway.
While 2022 Sequoia fuel economy numbers are not yet available, and like the hybrid Tundra which is not available until February 1, we still expect a significant bump in fuel efficiency for the next-gen Sequoia. I would predict those numbers to be closer to 20/25 in some iterations of the Sequoia hybrid.
Sequoia will be offered in 2WD or the available part-time 4WD system on SR5, Limited, Platinum and Capstone grades. TRD Pro will be offered only in 4WD. The part-time 4WD system relies on a transfer case, controlled via a lever on the center console, to select between 2WD, 4WD high or 4WD low.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the 22 percent increase in towing capacity for this Sequoia over the previous generation. The 2022 Sequoia will have a 9,000-pound maximum towing capacity (from a hybrid).
I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. When I wrote five things we hope to see in the 2023 Sequoia, the stunning new high-end Capstone trim was one of them. We love it in the new Tundra and guess what, the Sequoia will have this swanky trim too.
The Capstone trim will be one of five offerings, and actually supplant the Platinum trim as the most luxurious trim offering. This was something needed for the Sequoia to compete against the likes the Yukon Denali and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Some of the highlights of the Capstone trim in the 2023 Toyota Sequoia include:
• 22-inch chrome wheels (standard)
• semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats
• American Walnut wood accents
• Capstone specific grille and interior
• LED mood lighting
Of note for more than just the Capstone trim, there are some new colors for the 2023 Sequoia: White Wind Chill Pearl, Celestial Silver, Lunar Rock, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Blueprint, Army Green, Midnight Black Metallic, Smoked Mesquite, Supersonic Red and the TRD-exclusive Solar Octane. Premium paint colors Wind Chill Pearl and Supersonic Red are available, and the premium color Solar Octane is exclusive to TRD Pro models.
New Toyota Audio Multimedia
Can we get a hallelujah? There will be a new and improved infotainment system in the Sequoia. Boy was that much needed (understatement of the year). There will be an 8-inch or available 14-inch touchscreen that will be similar to that found in the 2022 Tundra.
Of course we’ve done a lot of coverage on the nuances and annoyances with the system in publisher Tim Esterdahl’s 22 Tundra. Just check out this video for all the highlights (or lowlights). But nevertheless, the antiquated system in the previous generation Sequoia was so dated I was expecting there to be a tape deck or even an eight-track.
So it’s refreshing to hear that the Toyota Audio Multimedia system will bring an improved user experience thanks to new sight, touch, and voice integration. Plus, you can have simultaneous dual Bluetooth phone connectivity. And there’s Wi-Fi Connect which is part of Toyota’s subscription services.
I’m a little more connected to the automotive world than the average consumer, so sometimes small things stick out to me that bring out my enthusiasm. In addition to an overall improved interior cabin two things stuck out to me that might otherwise go unnoticed: acoustic glass and automatic high beams.
I love both of these features in today’s vehicles. Acoustic glass helps dampen road noise and provides for a much quieter cabin. In a vehicle this size with that kind of price tag, I want a quiet cabin. Also, automatic high beams are the best feature to have for any vehicle. When you’re on a dark road, you like to light up the road, but having to turn the high beams as to not blind an oncoming vehicle is annoying.
With automatic high beams it senses oncoming vehicles and adjusts them accordingly. Yes!
No we don’t know the pricing or the EPA rating yet. But everything we’ve seen shows Toyota has not abandoned this big SUV. That’s a good thing in our book. For those who need to tow or have a larger family and a truck just won’t work, there should be a large, comfortable and capable vehicle like the Sequoia.
And now it’s modern and updated with a hybrid powertrain.
I want one, and can afford it, but will not purchase until it has some form of automatic 4WD system. It is too important of a safety feature in variable road conditions here in the snow belt.