2023 Toyota Sequoia Pros
– The new Sequoia gives the impression that Toyota skipped a generation – this is a good thing.
– Physically, it oozes power and presence, and loads of Toyota DNA.
– The i-Force Max hybrid powertrain is massively powerful.
– The base TRD Off Road has everything under one roof.
– The TRD Pro version is absolutely boss.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Cons
– The Canadian pricing structure is out of control – the base price is over $75,000!
– While GM’s finally figured out how to integrate the third row into the floor, Toyota’s gone back in time.
– The i-Force Max hybrid powertrain has nothing to do with efficiency.
It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to love a vehicle as much as I did, do, the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia, and yet I really don’t like it. I love it. Don’t. Damn.
It’s a simple case of being a fan of Toyota trucks for decades and firmly believing that they are cool, capable, and the only alternative to the American automakers. While it remains exactly this, the new Sequoia takes a few key elements for granted in the hopes that no one will notice.
Third-row faux pas
This snafu is the main reason why the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia dropped a few notches in the full-size SUV segment. After complaining about GM’s inability to get the third row to fold flat into the floor for seemingly ever, they finally got it right. At the same time, Toyota got full marks for enabling the third row to fold flat into the floor for the duration of the SUV’s second generation. But that’s in the past now.
Despite the use of the new TNGA-F architecture with a fully boxed frame, shared with the Tundra and Lexus LX, Toyota had little choice but to raise the third row out of the floor to fit various components including the hybrid system’s battery. The result is a compromised rear boot with an extremely high load floor. When in use, the third-row limits volume to a reasonable 632L and when folded, space increases to 1,388L, or about 40 fewer litres than what is available in the midsize Honda Passport.
Despite the fact that the Sequoia‘s third row can slide fore and aft (a largely useless feature serving only to distract from the compromised arrangement), the adjustable quasi-flimsy “cargo shelf” serves more to camouflage the trunk’s deficiency.
This is the result of Toyota opting to offer only a hybrid powertrain with the Sequoia, unlike the Tundra. The 1.87 kWh battery occupies the space that could have been reserved for the bench. Whether the third-row business is of any interest to you, the upside is that the i-Force Max hybrid version of the twin-turbocharged twin-intercooled 3.5L (3.445L) V6 is standard. With 437hp and a colossal 583 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the massive Sequoia gets out of its way with relative ease.
Four-wheel drive is included as is a 10-speed automatic transmission. Altogether, the 6,200-lb full-size SUV can tow roughly 9,000lbs with only one negative aspect, an expected one too. Toyota claims an estimated returned fuel consumption average of 11.7L/100km. Over a week’s time, in ECO drive mode, and terribly aware of fuel costs, I managed no better than 15L/100km. Let’s understand that the parallel hybrid system with an electric motor is in place more as a power booster than for efficiency. Regardless of my efforts, I only covered a few hundred meters all week with the V6 off.
Solid and substantial
Everything about the Sequoia’s driving experience is substantial. The power is remarkable and the way the 10-speed shifts is a comforting mix of determination and skill. Best of all however is the chassis. The TNGA-F enables the TRD Off-Road dampers to deliver a supple yet controlled ride which will probably only be matched by the TRD Pro version as it too has a dedicated suspension and rolls on 18-inch wheels.
On the road, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia feels unstoppable and unchallenged by the elements and other insignificant (to it) forces. Steering and brake feedback and performance are reassuring – it’s a really good driver for long hauls.
The look and the tech
In brief, the new Sequoia is a looker. Toyota made all the right moves by using the Tundra as inspiration and by ignoring the truck’s only eyesore, the handlebar mustache grille. Finally, the TRD Pro is by far the most handsome, over the Capstone by some margin, of the series. TRD Pro is always the answer even though it starts at about $91,000 over the $78,550 Limited trim.
Onboard, the big SUV starts out with an 8-inch display along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The former is somewhat pathetic for a $76,000 vehicle but know that it grows to a sizeable 14-inch infotainment touchscreen display for an extra $2,500 for the Limited. There’s loads of storage room throughout the cabin, as well seating is comfortable even over long drives in the first two rows. The third row is spacious though anyone taller than 5’10” will whack their heads on the headliner.
Big bottom line
In this full-size SUV segment, the finalists are any of the GM offerings or the 2023 Toyota Sequoia. The choice here comes down to powertrain and rear versatility. Although GM’s venerable V8 engines (especially the 5.3L) will likely be more reliable. They pale in comparison to Toyota’s V6 where power and sophistication are concerned. The GMs have the smarter third row.
Uniquely for the TRD Pro version, I’d opt for the Sequoia.