The all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia has a lot of work to do if it has any chance of catching up with the sales leaders in the full-size SUV segment. As is the case with the 2022 Toyota Tundra upon which it’s based, the Japanese automaker’s biggest vehicles just don’t come close to the sales figures of their American competitors.
With 8,070 units sold, the Sequoia sat beneath the Nissan Armada at the very bottom of the sales chart in 2021. To put things into perspective, last year Chevy sold over 106,000 Tahoe SUVs, plus another 48,000 Suburbans. The GMC Yukon is nearly the same thing, and that adds another 82,000 units to the tally. The Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator handily outsell the Sequioa. And the Jeep Wagoneer, which just went on sale at the tail end of 2021, more than doubled Sequoia sales in the month of December.
Those are some sobering stats, but so is this: The Sequoia was last redesigned for 2008 and was never significantly refreshed. That is ancient in automotive terms, and it shouldn't be surprising that its sales not only suffered, but that it had become uncompetitive in pretty much every statistic that matters to buyers. For example, the engine. Gone is the old 5.7-liter V8, which was well regarded for power and reliability, but returned 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway compared to 16 mpg city and 20 highway for the most popular Tahoe configuration with a 5.3-liter V8. That may not seem like much of a difference, but in terms of actual gasoline burned and money spent, it's enormous.
In the outgoing V8’s place is a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 437 horsepower (up 56 vs the V8) and 583 pound-feet of torque (up a staggering 182). This advanced new powertrain, which it shares with high-end Toyota Tundra models, includes a hybrid component as standard. In between the engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission sits an electric motor that provides a solid portion of that massive torque figure while also boosting efficiency. We don’t have estimated fuel economy figures yet, but Toyota says “it is expected to be extremely competitive at the top of the segment – and a huge improvement over the previous generation.” For reference, the best-in-segment fuel economy for 2021 was the Expedition at 19 mpg combined and the diesel-powered Tahoe/Yukon at 24 mpg combined.
The 2023 Sequoia can tow as much as 9,000 pounds, which is a 22% improvement over the prior model. The Tahoe/Yukon maxes out at 8,000 pounds, while the Expedition is 9,300 with the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing package.
A fully boxed frame is shared with the latest Tundra, and much of its structure can also be found underpinning the new Lexus LX 600 and its Land Cruiser sibling that won't be sold in the States. The new chassis is stiffer and stouter than before and benefits from a new rack-mounted electronic power steering system and multi-link rear suspension setup. Optional is a load-leveling air suspension with adaptive dampers.
Two-wheel drive comes standard on SR5, Limited, Platinum and Capstone (new for 2023, more on that below) trim levels while the TRD Pro comes standard with a part-time four-wheel drive system that’s optional on the other trims. A TRD Sport package is optional on the SR5, and it gets 20-inch matte black wheels, Bilstein monotube shocks and TRD-tuned springs. SRT and Limited 4x4 models can be equipped with a TRD Off-Road package that adds a locking rear differential, unique 18-inch wheels with aggressive all-terrain tires, Multi-Terrain Select, Downhill Assist Control, Crawl Control, a Multi-Terrain Monitor and specific Bilstein monotube shock. A red front axle driveshaft is another cool touch.
The TRD Pro model (above left) is geared toward off-road driving and gains Fox internal bypass shocks, a ¼-inch aluminum TRD front skid plate, a locking rear diff and all the electronic goodies from the TRD Off-Road edition. Inside, the TRD Pro gets second-row captain’s chairs and a bevy of TRD interior accents. A roof rack joins a unique grille with extra lights, 18-inch wheels and a specific exhaust tip to round out the package.
At the top of the heap sits the new Sequoia Capstone (above right). It stands out with chrome goodies outside along with massive 22-inch wheels. The interior is swathed in semi-aniline leather with unique black-and-white perforations, and open-pore American Walnut trim. The Capstone trim also gets acoustic glass in the front doors for more exterior sound deadening.
All three seating rows can recline in the new Sequoia, and the third row gets a new, unique feature: 6 inches of sliding adjustment to maximize either legroom or cargo space. A removable Adjustable Cargo Shelf System adds additional storage flexibility.
After 15 years with virtually the same interior (even the Tundra got a refresh in that time), there was nowhere to go but up with the all-new Sequoia. It's quite obviously a more modern environment, but it's also virtually identical to what you'll find in the Tundra. Maybe that won't matter to potential buyers, but for what it's worth, the Tahoe/Yukon have had a different interior design than their full-size truck siblings for three generations now. The Expedition cabin is unique for the first time for 2022.
Among the similarities to Tundra, the new Sequoia also features Toyota’s new Audio Multimedia infotainment system in either 8- or 14-inch sizes. Highlights of the tech include voice activation capabilities — “Hey Toyota, set the temperature to … “ — and cloud-based navigation and real-time Over the Air updates for mapping and Points of Interest. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.
Toyota's latest Safety Sense 2.5 suite of features comes standard on all Sequoia trim levels for 2023. Highlights include a new forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system with improved detection of pedestrians and cyclists in various driving scenarios. There's also a new Emergency Steering Assist system that will “detect pedestrians and stabilize the driver’s emergency evasive steering maneuvers and help prevent lane departure.” Also included is lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist.
We’ll have to wait a little while longer before we know how much the 2023 Sequoia will cost, but we’d guess it’ll be a reasonable increase from the current model to keep it competitive in its segment. We should get the rest of the details soon enough since the new SUV will hit dealerships in the U.S. this summer.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited Photo Gallery:
2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Photo Gallery:
2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone Photo Gallery:
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