2023 Toyota Sequoia Review: Big and Beastly But Not Quite Perfect

2023 Toyota Sequoia Review: Big and Beastly, But Not Quite Perfect

Verdict: Big, bold and super comfortable, the tank-like Toyota Sequoia 2023 is a tough, family-friendly SUV with a pair of quirky quirks.

Against the competition: It’s as big as its rivals from Ford and General Motors, but the Sequoia’s hybrid powertrain spoils the two main reasons for having a full-size SUV, resulting in a truck with less third-row comfort and cargo space.

The Toyota Sequoia 2023 is new from the ground up – a full-size SUV that’s bigger, brighter, and more sophisticated than the one it replaces. Sharing its fat parts with the Toyota Tundra Pickup and Lexus LX luxury full-size SUVs and the latest Toyota Land Cruiser, which are no longer sold in the US, this means Sequoia benefits from all the significant improvements in the Tundra and LX, including new and more powerful engines. Efficient and more elegant interior. It sounds like a sure winner on paper, but how does Toyota’s new big SUV perform in the real world?

2023 Toyota Sequoia Review: Big and Beastly, But Not Quite Perfect

Excellence in the crowd

There’s nothing wrong with the new Sequoia with anything but Toyota, given its close family resemblance to the new Tundra. It’s big and bold and is exactly what most full-size SUV buyers want and expect from such a hefty ride. However, it’s tank-like too, inside and out—the beltline is high, with squat windows throughout and a low-feeling roof, along with chunky fenders and a massive grille.

There are five trim levels for the Sequoia, ranging from the base SR5 to Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and top of the line luxury Capstone. My test model was a limited trim with all-wheel drive. It’s second from the bottom in terms of cost but still loaded with a lot of equipment; It might be the best value in the lineup.

The look will or may not appeal to you, but it certainly won’t be overlooked. Personally, I find it attractive in an off-road futuristic way—something new in a sector that hasn’t seen a really new style in quite some time. The most dramatic-looking entries in this category are GM-finished, as newer/and offering smoother aesthetics than the panels. It still looks pretty much the same as ever, albeit with a few aerodynamic changes to the grille and headlights.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Review: Big and Beastly, But Not Quite Perfect

Whatever you think of its appearance, there is no denying that Sequoia has movements that make it considered one of the best in its class. That starts with the powertrain: the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 iForce Max that debuted as a luxury option in the Tundra pickup. It brings 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque to the Sequoia – a truly amazing amount of grunt thanks to its electric motor assistance. Power is channeled through a 10-speed automatic transmission designated to the rear wheels in all trims except the TRD Pro, which gets all-wheel drive as standard; It is optional on all other models.

What all that power means is that acceleration is fierce and instant whenever you dial it, accompanied by a roar that’s real part and part delivered via the audio system. Regardless of the level of authenticity, there’s no arguing with the results: There’s plenty of power to the freeway maneuvers and highways on the slopes, but things feel docile and easy if you’re just taking the kids to the grocery store, not the speedboats to the dock.

The downside to this powerful powertrain is the fuel economy which is not what one would expect from an electrified powertrain. My week on the Sequoia test achieved 15 mpg combined—well below the 19/22/20 mpg city/highway/EPA combined estimate. By comparison, my week with a 2022 Expedition Limited Stealth Performance AWD averaged 19 mpg — and this truck is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharger. non-hybrid V-6; It is rated 16/22/18 mpg with all-wheel drive. Considering how much Sequoia loves trying to stay in electric mode, I found its poor fuel economy performance surprising.

However, if the gasoline mileage disappoints, the rest of the driving experience does not. The trip is great. It is very well wetted and well controlled, even on rough and broken pavement. The steering is very light – a bit dope, but that’s the norm for any full-size SUV today. It was accurate and tricky to use, keeping track on long sweeps and empty highways without much involvement on my part. The brakes are strong and consistent, and despite decent body roll and descent in quick maneuvers, the Sequoia simply delivers an excellent driving experience likely to satisfy while navigating through town as well as eating miles of highway.

Even more surprising, this excellent handling is achieved despite Toyota ditching the latest generation of truck independent rear suspension for a solid, multi-link rear axle. It could potentially help improve Sequoia’s towing capacity and keep development costs low, but it requires a compromise in the cargo room — more on that later.

Packaging hits and misses

When we refer to “packaging,” this journalist is talking about how the interior is designed: where the seats are in relation to the doors, the panels, how the seat backs fold, where the storage spaces are, and how the buttons and controls are placed. In this arena, Sequoia has some successes and some mistakes. While it’s a massive truck on the outside, that massiveness doesn’t seem to translate to interior space. The front seats are large and comfortable, but the dash is loud and full. The center console is wide and slightly intrusive, and the windshield is squat, giving the interior a taut, vault-like feel rather than the cavernous feel one would expect.

The second row has plenty of room, for both the thigh and the legs, but the third row doesn’t. Yes, blame on the packaging: The neat row slide post is located above both the rear axle that raises the cargo floor And the Hybrid system battery pack. This makes the space there very limited, and also prevents the seats from folding flat.

That’s right, there is no flat cargo floor on Sequoia, which makes the Costco trip somewhat challenging. Pulling a lot of luggage or long items is very difficult, and herein lies the Sequoia’s biggest drawback – a full-size SUV that can’t accommodate full-size adults in the third row or even moderate amounts of cargo doesn’t provide a good reason for it. buy one. It’s not a disadvantage that rival vehicles like the Expedition or Tahoe suffer from: Both of these SUVs have independent rear suspension, allowing for lower third-row seats, and neither has to deal with a hybrid battery pack. This makes them fully capable of transporting seven full-size adults, not just five adults and two children.

First-class shapes and materials

If third-row space and luggage aren’t important to you, there’s plenty to like about the Sequoia cabin. The differences versus the previous model are day and night: Material quality took a huge leap forward, even with the limited low-spec I drove impressive with sharp-looking textures, high-quality leather, and solid buttons and switches. There are some real differences between the trim levels as well; Things get progressively more beautiful as you advance through the lineup, culminating in the deluxe Capstone Edition, which features real wood trim. Since the Sequoia is such a premium product, it starts with nicer parts than the Tundra pickup it’s based on, and it shows.

However, there are still some questionable elements, starting with the set of digital scales. It’s full of different readings, scales, and meters, but it’s puzzlingly dim – especially in bright sunlight. The Expedition’s digital instrument cluster is relatively large, bright, easy to read, and doesn’t suffer from any of the distracting Toyota characteristics.

All Sequoia vehicles have a touchscreen display in the center console: an 8-inch system in the base SR5 and a massive 14-inch unit in all other trim. (The larger screen is optional on the SR5 and worth an upgrade.) The 14-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia system is a better sight than the old Toyota Entune, with crisp graphics, bright screens and much more functionality. But it is still a bit difficult to use, as it lacks the main screen that displays multiple functions. This means you can only see one job at a time on a huge screen – and even then, there’s not much that is visually interesting unless you’re in the navigation screen.

The system is also cloud based, which means that you will need a data connection for everything to work properly. It may be brand new to Toyota, but the new multimedia system feels like it lags behind the best available systems from Ford, Jeep, and Hyundai/Kia.


  • {price_badge()} dollars
  • ${cpo_badge()}
  • ${hot_car_badge()}
  • ${home_delivery_badge()}
  • ${virtual_appointments_badge()}
  • ${Award_badge()}
  • $ {href_to_vdp()}
Virtual appointments

You can get more information about this car from your couch with a virtual appointment! Use our agent contact tools to schedule a video consultation. A video of this vehicle may be available upon request.


MSRP $79,780

hot car

home delivery
Virtual appointments



not priced

home delivery
Virtual appointments

Everything is more expensive these days

Including, apparently, full-size SUVs. The new Sequoia 2023 starts at less than $60,000 and comes in at $59,895 including destination fees. That’s from the starting price of the 2022 model – a huge increase indeed. My test car, a limited-edition all-wheel drive with an excellent JBL audio system and a few other options, came in at just under $72,000. That’s a huge amount for any vehicle without a luxury badge, but it doesn’t line up with full-size SUVs from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep and Nissan. Suffice to say, if this is the type of vehicle you want and need, sticker shock is unlikely to stop you from getting one. Goes with the territory these days.

In the end, the new Sequoia 2023 is a massive improvement on the old model, with more space, more features, more power and more capabilities—more of everything old Sequoia owners would enjoy. But, like the old Sequoia, there are a few fumbles in the design and packaging of the SUV that prevent it from being the best-in-class offering. If its shortcomings do not interest you, then Sequoia is a first-class choice. But if you want a full-size SUV that does everything the Sequoia does, and does so, without compromising payload and third-row space, there are other options to consider.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button