This is the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, potentially the best full-sized SUV on the market today. Our $77,784 MSRP test vehicle boasts power from the optional i-FORCE MAX twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, this Toyota tank hits a sweet spot between traditional Yankee utility and modern efficiency. Like previous generations, the Sequoia is based on the Toyota Tundra Pickup truck and excels as a main battle tank, but I suppose it could be used as a family vehicle or motivated people mover. The base trim sequoia SR5 starts at $59,865.
Before I begin with the exterior features, we should talk about the Easter egg on the passenger side windshield. If you look closely at the windshield stippling, there is a line of Morse code near the Toyota Truck logo in the bottom corner. This reads “Badass Trucks” and is something you can find on the Toyota Tundra as well. Our Silver Metallic Sequoia has aggressive butch styling, with 8.6 inches of ground clearance to provide 15/20 approach departure angles in the event you want to go off road. In front, the Platinum features trim with a dark accented chrome mesh grille with chrome surrounding it. Just behind the grille are active grille shutters, a cool piece of technology to improve vehicle operating temperature characteristics and aerodynamics. You’ll also find auto leveling LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. A standard feature on the Platinum Sequioa, that comes optional on the Limited trim, are the sequential turn signals on the front and rear that are a pleasant cosmetic addition, though admittedly, not necessary. The Platinum features 20-inch dark painted alloy wheels, but if you want them even bigger, opt for the top-tier Capstone trim’s 22-inch wheels. This Sequoia features the $1,000 extra power extending running boards over the fixed boards, which is up to personal preference, but the power folding boards could also slightly improve aerodynamic efficiency. As with most manufacturers, you’ll also find an array of color keyed or piano black options which vary on trim level to provide a premium appearance.
As a full-size SUV, it comes as no surprise that the interior is spacious but done well with a variety of functionality. The Platinum features seating for seven thanks to the second-row captain’s chairs over a standard bench, and there are eight seat options available in other trims. All the seats are trimmed in leather, yes, that includes the third row. The Platinum trim features heated and ventilated front AND rear seats, which is impressive, along with three zone climate control, split for the front and universal for the back seats. For the technology, the Platinum features a massive 14-inch multimedia display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto funneled through a 14-speaker JBL audio system. The driver gets a 12.3-inch gauge cluster display which has adjustable multi-information displays for your preference, and additional options include a $6,000 heads-up display that Toyota implements well.
Power and Performance
Pop the hood and you will find an engine, but more Easter eggs as well. The passenger side headlight features an outline of Michigan with the letters “R&D” for Toyota’s research and development headquarters. There’s also an outline of Texas with the word “Born” signifying the Toyota factory where it’s built alongside the Toyota Tundra. Power comes from an i-FORCE MAX twin turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 hybrid, the optional Tundra powerplant which produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift. The hybrid powertrain is standard across all trim levels and comes as a huge improvement over the previous generation Sequoia V8. The Sequoia’s standard drive mode is two-wheel drive but can be kicked in to 4WDemand (part-time four-wheel drive) thanks to an electronic transfer case and even offers a limited slip differential. Weighing in at 5,855 pounds, the Sequoia achieves 0-60 in just 5.6 seconds, an impressive feat for such a massive vehicle. All that grunt also presents towing capabilities with a max towing capacity of 9,310 pounds for the platinum along with drive mode select and tow/haul modes. All this power comes with a cost and an EPA fuel rating of 19 mpg city / 22 mpg highway / 20 combined, with the 22.5-gallon fuel tank, this gives you an estimated 450 miles of range. If you stay out of the turbocharged boost. Not bad when you consider the size of the vehicle, but it’s not good fuel economy either.
The Sequoia drives like a tank. You have the benefit of high-up visibility through an upright windshield and massive tow mirrors, but a glimpse in the rearview mirror reminds you of the sheer size of the Sequoia. Thankfully the Platinum has a digital rearview mirror that I find helps improve visibility. Under-accelerating and braking the Sequoia exhibits a fair amount of body roll forwards and backward but seems mitigated in lateral movement relatively speaking when turning. The acceleration is smooth with no shortage of power, and the brakes are strong as expected for such a heavy vehicle. The main note for driving is the massive size of the vehicle means you must pay more attention to keeping the vehicle in lanes and when parking, which can be a challenge and may not be suitable for less confident or less skilled drivers.
If you get anxious driving or have trouble parking this is not for you. There is an all-conquering presence that is hard to dispute, and the crazy amount of storage and compartments gives the 2023 Toyota Sequoia a great argument as a family hauler.