Model tested: 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid
Engine: 3.4-liter iFORCE MAX twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Torque: 583 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 19/city, 22/highway, 20/combined
Base price: $76,000
As tested: $80,291
Overview: The 2023, third-generation Toyota Sequoia is new from the ground up, boasting new but evolutionary styling, a new turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain, new independent front suspension, increased towing capability and an updated assortment of advanced driver-assist features. Toyota has done a good job upgrading its long-neglected big SUV, which competes against large three-row SUVs like the Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe and Jeep Wagoneer. The three-row 2023 Sequoia is available in five trim levels: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and Capstone. Our test-driver was the new TRD Pro and this review focuses on that model.
Walkaround: The Sequoia offered one of the oldest designs of any manufacturer, debuting the same year as Barack Obama’s first inauguration. However, at long last, the styling of Toyota’s three-row SUV has evolved — the key word — into the current age. At a glance, it’s easily mistakable for the same Sequoia as any time in the past 15 years, but there’s a new black TRD-exclusive trim — black grille with integrated LED light bar, auto-leveling LED headlights, cast-aluminum running boards, skid plate, 18-inch alloy wheels, power liftgate with flip-up glass and more. Utilizing the same body-on-frame architecture as the Tundra pickup, the styling changes are subtle, but real — and intentional for the TRD.
Interior: Compared to the previous Sequoia, the new interior is a major upgrade and includes a smart key, remote push-button start as part of an impressive list of new tech features. Those features include three-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant controls, 360-degree cameras and Toyota’s full safety suite of driver’s aids, among other tech upgrades. The first two seating rows are spacious and comfortable, with power-adjustable, heated and cooled front seats including power lumbar adjustments. However, the folding and sliding power third row endures tight headroom and awkward seating due to the high floor. The digital dashboard showcases a newly available 14-inch touchscreen and standard wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto — meaning no USB cable to integrate your phone with the touchscreen. There’s also Sirius XM played through a 14-speaker JBL audio system with subwoofer.
Behind the wheel: The new hybrid powertrain delivers quick and easy access to those 437 horses and 538 lb.-ft. of torque. Put the pedal to the metal, and the 10-speed transmission wastes no time kicking down to shoot the Sequoia forward — something exceptionally impressive for a vehicle this size — with an exhaust note so throaty, it’s easily mistakable for a big-block V8. The TRD ride is more comfortable than we expected. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all trims except the TRD Pro, which is four-wheel drive only and off-road ready.
Bottom line: The 2023 Toyota Sequoia has a higher starting price than its rivals, but delivers more power and better fuel economy, and comes standard with a number of advanced driving aids optional on its rivals. It may be somewhat late getting here, but the new Sequoia appears to be worth the wait.