Toyota just revealed its totally redesigned third-generation Sequoia, which will go on sale this summer as a 2023 model.
The new Sequoia is once again based on the Tundra pickup truck, a vehicle that was all-new last year for this 2022 model year. The 2023 Sequoia shares some styling elements with its more utility-oriented partner, but is for the most part its own design.
To be specific, the new Sequoia’s grille isn’t as bold, and arguably better for it. It shares more cues with the highly popular Tacoma, plus the RAV4, and doesn’t visually stray too far away from the Highlander and new Corolla Cross either. No doubt the new Sequoia’s look hints at the upcoming 4Runner, an SUV we should also see in updated form this year.
All in all, the new Sequoia looks tough and rugged, yet refined enough for both dad and mom. Flowing rearward from the big, bold grille is a hood that domes powerfully at centre, and further features heavy-duty, matte plastic, louvre-like garnishes on its rear corner edges when upgraded with “TRD PRO” trim. In fact, the latter trim makes itself known on the sides of those garnishes, in place of smaller, chromed “i FORCE MAX” signage in the same spot for other trims. Visually separating the new Capstone trim line are chrome embellishments on the doors above the rocker panels. Those sides are now more deeply sculpted than before, while the Sequoia’s rear styling certainly won’t offend traditional SUV buyer’s tastes.
A total of five trims will be available upon launch, including TRD Off-Road, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and Capstone, the latter introduced with the latest Tundra. Capstone represents an even more luxurious level above Platinum, boasting a unique black and white motif inside, much of which is covered with high-quality semi-aniline leather, while Toyota has improved soundproofing as well.
Incidentally, the i-Force Max engine, which is available as an option in the new Tundra, comes standard with the Sequoia. What’s more, it isn’t a V8, but a 3.5-litre hybrid V6 capable of a whopping 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. It feeds all that muscle down to a four-wheel drive system through a 10-speed automatic gearbox that comes fitted with Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes.
The hybrid component is a generator motor positioned between the internal combustion portion of the drivetrain and the transmission. This is a well-tested solution, so we can expect Toyota’s legendary hybrid reliability and longevity included with this powertrain’s improved fuel economy.
Being that all Sequoia trims will get the same engine, performance differences come down to the suspension. Some will be optimized for handling and comfort, while others will prioritize off-road capability, but all should provide ample handling chops and overall stability to keep all that engine power in check on when the road starts to wind.
To achieve the new Sequoia’s manoeuvrability, the already improved Tundra chassis design received fine tuning, particularly to the independent front suspension setup and rack-mounted electronic power steering system, that latter reportedly enhancing feel. A multi-link rear suspension has also been added, improved over the previous Sequoia’s, while buyers can also add an adaptive variable suspension to the mix, which includes Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom settings to the Drive Mode Select system’s menu. A height-adjustable air suspension with load levelling is optional too, this feature particularly helpful when loading and unloading.
Hauling in mind, the new Sequoia is now capable of towing up to 9,000 lbs (4,080 kg) of trailer, which is nearly 22-percent more weight than today’s version. Backing this up (literally) is a Tow Tech Package that was first offered with the new Tundra, featuring a Trailer Backup Guide and Straight Path Assist, the latter automatically using the steering system to keep the trailer straight when reversing. The power mirrors also include powered extensions for seeing around the sides of wider loads.
Standard Sequoia features include a heated steering wheel and front seats, Toyota’s breathable Softex leatherette upholstery, a large panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and the TSS 2.5 suite of safety features.
A 14-inch centre touchscreen is available, improving the Sequoia’s digital experience with features like a Panoramic View Monitor to ease parking, while a digital display rear view mirror is available as well, as is a colourful digital driver’s display.
The new 2023 Sequoia’s interior is laid out much like the outgoing model. It comes standard with three rows including a middle bench, with second-row captain’s chairs being optional. New is a third row that not only reclines, but slides back and forth up to 150 mm (6.0 in), while a handy adjustable hard-shell parcel shelf improves cargo area flexibility. It can be expanded to cover the rear seatbacks when folded, resulting in a completely flat loading floor. The shelf can be fitted back into the floor for carrying taller cargo, or alternatively it acts as a cargo cover when raised higher.
As far as sales go, Toyota is likely looking to loyal 4Runner, Highlander, and of course Sequoia owners as buyers for the new SUV, plus ex-Land Cruiser owners in the U.S. News about the new model will definitely cause some buzz here in Canada, but Sequoia sales have been so few and far between that it may take some time to raise awareness.
Toyota Canada sold 418 Sequoias last year, which was less than half of its all-time Canadian high of 912 unit-sales in 2010. Comparison to General Motors’ Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon success hardly seems relevant at this point, with the two brands’ collective deliveries totalling 15,307 units, or roughly 36.5 times as many full-size SUVs than Toyota. On a more positive note (to Toyota), that’s a lot of market share for the Japanese brand to nibble away at, and this new Sequoia should make a significant dent.
Something domestic SUV shoppers should consider is retained value, which was highest for the Sequoia in the Canadian Black Book’s “Full-size Crossover-SUV” category, while Toyota’s largest SUV also owned the top “Large SUV/Crossover” spot with Vincentric’s Best Value in Canada Awards. Additionally, the Sequoia earned a best-possible position in J.D. Power and Associate’s 2021 Initial Quality Study.
We should expect to see more Sequoias on the road starting this summer.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Overview | Toyota (7:07):
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Undeniable Capability, Unmistakable Presence | Toyota (2:17):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Toyota