2023 Toyota Sequoia: A Full Redesign 15 Years in the Making

Toyota has just unveiled the all-new, third-generation Sequoia. Unlike its 15-year-old predecessor, but similar to the Venza crossover and Sienna minivan, the Japanese automaker’s full-size SUV will now come exclusively as a hybrid.

The new i-FORCE MAX powertrain, also available with the redesigned Tundra pickup, combines a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine with an electric motor for a class-leading 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque.

An equally new 10-speed automatic transmission and slightly revised all-wheel drive system are part of the equation, too. While fuel consumption ratings have yet to be announced, Toyota is talking about a “huge improvement” over the current V8 engine and six-speed transmission (16.4 L/100 km). Drivers will have several modes to choose from including Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom.

Photo: Toyota

There’s also a Tow/Haul mode. The 2023 Sequoia, by the way, can tow as much as 4,080 kilograms (9,000 pounds), up 22 percent from the outgoing model. The available Tow Tech Package offers a suite of features that include Trailer Backup Guide to aid in backing up the SUV with a trailer, and Straight Path Assist which helps provide steering control to keep the trailer straight on its intended path when backing up.

Cameras all around the vehicle display multiple exterior angles that are viewable from the centre touchscreen or the available digital rear-view mirror. Those trailering will appreciate the Panoramic View Monitor, which displays a top-down view of the SUV and the area around it. And for the first time on the Sequoia, power folding, extending and retracting tow mirrors are available.

Photo: Toyota

Upgraded Chassis, Smarter Cabin

The new body-on-frame chassis is shared with the Tundra and the Sequoia’s luxury cousin, the Lexus LX 600, in an effort to improve rigidity, stability and ride quality. The Sequoia also features an independent front suspension and adopts a new rack-mounted electronic power steering system for improved steering feel, Toyota claims. A multi-link rear suspension is employed out back and can be paired with the available Load-Leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) for those looking to tow regularly.

Inside, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia can once again accommodate seven or eight passengers depending on the configuration. Second-row passengers get bench seating or captain’s chairs. Material selection is improved, but one of the most notable new features is the segment-exclusive Sliding Third Row with Adjustable Cargo Shelf System. It allows the third row to slide with 150 millimetres (6 inches) of adjustment range or fold down to complement the different storage positions of the new removable shelf.

Photo: Toyota

Five Trim Levels

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia lineup consists of five trim levels including TRD Off-Road, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro (the most rugged and capable one) and Capstone (the most opulent). The last two particularly stand out with unique grilles, bumpers, exterior accents and wheels. The result is pretty sharp as far as we’re concerned and also even more Americanized than before.

Standard features include a moonroof, 18-inch wheels, heated seats and steering wheel, Softex synthetic leather, the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite of driver assistance systems, Multi-Terrain Select and Monitor, Crawl Control and more.

Photo: Toyota

At the top of the range, the Sequoia Capstone impresses with 22-inch chrome wheels (the largest ever fitted to this SUV), many chrome accents, power running boards, semi-aniline leather in a black and white combination along with real American Walnut wood trim with an open-pore finish. It’s the only one to feature acoustic glass in the front doors for more exterior sound deadening.

Last but not least is the new Toyota Multimedia System, which we first saw on the 2022 Tundra. The centre touchscreen is either 8 or 14 inches in size, the graphics are much more attractive, the system has five times the processing speed of the old one, and an intelligent virtual assistant plays a big role (it comes alive when you say “Hey Toyota,” for example).

With Toyota Connected Services activated and the available Drive Connect Cloud Navigation, there’s no reason to turn to Google Maps via your smartphone, the company promises. Still, if you prefer to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both are supported wirelessly as standard.

Photo: Toyota

A Battle of New Titans

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is projected to hit the market this summer. Pricing will be announced just before launch, but expect some significant increases due to the standard hybrid powertrain. For the record, the outgoing model starts at $70,850.

In addition to the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, the Sequoia will have to contend with the all-new Jeep Wagoneer, remember. The latter is slated to add a plug-in hybrid variant in the near future.

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