After repeatedly teasing the launch of an all-new Sequoia over the past several weeks, Toyota has finally lifted the covers on the new SUV — and filled in a number of blanks.
The third-generation Sequoia gets a complete, ground-up makeover in line with the expanded role the utility vehicle will play in the Toyota line-up. It will now serve as an option for those who previously might have gone for the big Land Cruiser, Toyota recently ending that model’s long run in the U.S. market.
“There will be a portion of Land Cruiser buyers who won’t be back. They just want a Land Cruiser,” Joe Moses, general manager, Toyota Marketing, Vehicle Marketing and Communications, told TheDetroitBureau.com, adding the automaker hopes with the new line up “it expands Sequoia” and gives it “more breadth. That’s why Capstone is so important for us. We can still attract some of the Land Cruiser buyers.”
Buyers will have more options with the launch of the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, including a new premium edition, the Capstone. A Sequoia TRD Pro package will be the alternative for those looking for serious off-road capabilities.
For those U.S. buyers who might lament the loss of the Land Cruiser, the good news is that the 2023 Sequoia shares the same underpinnings as the redesigned Land Cruiser still sold in overseas markets. With minor modifications, the body-on-frame platform also underpins the new Lexus LX 600, as well as the completely updated 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup.
“We’re calling this the second brother (to the Tundra),” said Sequoia Chief Engineer Mike Sweers, because it’s “the third model off the new platform.”
One of the bigger surprises is the decision to power all versions of the 2023 Sequoia with the new twin-turbo V-6 hybrid i-Force Max powertrain. Initially introduced on the news Tundra, it’s a hybrid package producing 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque.
Toyota hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for the new Sequoia but claims the SUV “is expected to be extremely competitive at the top of the segment — and a huge improvement over the previous generation.”
The Sequoia becomes the fourth all-hybrid Toyota model line, following the introduction in 2020 of the latest Sienna minivan and Venza crossover, as well as the familiar Prius model.
The drivetrain is paired with a 10-speed automatic. Both rear- and four-wheel-drive versions will be available on most of the new Sequoia trim packages. The exception is the TRD Pro which will come with part-time 4WD and a two-speed transfer case.
Depending upon the package, the new SUV will offer a towing capacity of up to 9,000 pounds — a 22% increase compared with the previous model.
Available only in a three-row configuration, the looks of the 2023 Sequoia won’t come as a shock to previous owners. It offers a more classic SUV shape than crossover-based Toyota models, such as the Highlander. But it does deliver a bit more of a modern, streamlined appearance, capped by a more massive grille and headlamps that flow into the front quarter panels.
“Our primary design goal for Sequoia was to create a sophisticated, yet tough and active lifestyle SUV that looks capable of handling a diversity of big adventure needs,” said Calty President Kevin Hunter. “That holds true whether it’s a night out on the town with friends, towing a boat to the lake with family, or taking a more extreme off-road adventure.”
Moving up the trim ladder
As with most of its competitors, Toyota moves even the base SR5 version of the Sequoia more up-market with features like a moonroof and heated seats and a range of advanced driver assistance systems. SR5 buyers can opt up to the Premium package which adds a 14-inch multimedia display, a hands-free liftgate and 120-volt power outlets.
The SR5 and Limited 4X4 models can be configured for off-roading with a TRD package that includes Bilstein monotube shocks and other useful features.
But the TRD Pro is the trim level for serious off-roaders. It gets a buyer Fox shocks, an aluminum front skid plate, a selectable locking rear differential, Downhill Assist Control, Multi-Train Select — a one-touch system that instantly adjusts a variety of vehicle functions for specific road conditions — and more.
At the other extreme, the new Sequoia Capstone edition lets buyers move up from the previous top-line Platinum package, adding a variety of luxury-level features. These include standard 22-inch wheels and tires, semi-aniline perforated leather seats, power running boards and open-pore American walnut veneer in the cabin.
Tech, safety and pricing
Base Sequoias come with an 8-inch touchscreen. The upgraded 14-inch infotainment system features the new Toyota Audio Multimedia system with its Amazon Alexa-style voice assistant. Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and a WiFi hotspot also are available. Toyota also offers an optional 14-speaker JBL audio system and wireless phone charging.
Other high-tech features include active cruise control and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite of digital assistance systems. The cabin also features an industry-exclusive cargo storage system with shelf that can be raised or lowered.
The new 2023 Toyota Sequoia will reach U.S. showrooms this coming summer. Pricing will be announced closer to that launch. The current model starts at $50,500 before delivery fees. Expect an increase to reflect the added features on the new model — and the overall climb in new vehicle prices over the last several years.