2023 Toyota Sequoia: The 8-Seat Hybrid SUV You’ve Been Waiting For?

  • By: Sean Cooper
  • Date: September 2, 2022

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is the first model year of an all-new third-generation of the full-size SUV that certainly lives up to its full-size billing. This three-row, eight-seat SUV significantly departs from the previous second-generation model, so could the 2023 Toyota Sequoia be the 8-seat SUV you’ve been waiting for?

What is the 2023 Toyota Sequoia?

If you’ve been waiting to see what three-row SUVs arrive for the 2023 model year and you’re looking for something hybrid and substantial, it’s hard to think of too many models that fit the bill better than the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia.

The Sequoia shares a platform and running gear with the Tundra full-size pickup truck, so you know this is a three-row, eight-seat SUV that could outlive you and your children as long as you look after it. The new Sequoia competes against the likes of the Nissan Armada, Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, and others, but the Toyota looks like it could be setting a new standard for the rest to aim for.

It’s not a luxury model in the same sense as an Escalade or a Lexus LX, but the only thing that would stop you from mistaking a high-spec Sequoia for a luxury model would be the Toyota badges on the front and back.

How does it look?

I’m not a huge fan of most three-row SUVs because I don’t need that third-row seat, and I also don’t like the elongated silhouette of this type of vehicle that’s required to accommodate those extra seats. Normally.

In this case, I think the new Sequoia looks sensational, but I like SUVs that look as though they could work part-time as a military transporter.

You can use big, tough, rugged, and macho as words to describe the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, but I don’t think any of those go far enough to describe this brute of a ute adequately.

What’s powering the 2023 Toyota Sequoia?

There’s so much that’s “all-new” about the 2023 Toyota Sequoia that it’s hard to know what features are the most important, but I think the standard powertrain will grab a lot of the headlines in the not-too-distant future.

Powering the 2023 Toyota Sequoia is a powerful twin-turbo V-6 hybrid i-FORCE MAX powertrain. If it sounds a little familiar, that’s because the same hybrid powertrain can also be found under the hood of the new Tundra pickup truck. This exceptional hybrid powerplant develops a whopping 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque, which is the power you need for an SUV of these proportions designed to haul up to eight people and their stuff.

All that power gets sent to the rear or all four wheels through a standard 10-speed automatic transmission.

The i-FORCE MAX powerplant isn’t just big on power. This innovatively engineered powertrain features a unique motor generator inside the bell housing between the twin-turbo engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission for maximum performance and superb efficiency.

The whole unit is designed and built with heavy-duty performance and demand in mind, although fuel economy ratings are not yet available. However, the i-FORCE MAX’s output is sure to be supremely competitive at the top of the segment and a significant improvement over the previous generation of the Sequoia.

How much can the 2023 Sequoia tow?

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia has a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,000 pounds, a nearly 22% or 1,900-pound increase over its predecessor, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia.

It’s not long ago when commentators insisted that full-size, truck-based SUVs were past their sell-by dates and that unibody crossovers were the future. Crossovers are that offer more car-like driving characteristics are clearly big business these days, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Still, models like the all-new Sequoia are breathing new life into the segment as they meet an ever-increasing thirst for these thirsty but capable SUVs.

It’s almost as if people have started to appreciate that a ladder-frame construction delivers more strength and capability than a unibody crossover platform. Who knew?

Trim levels

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia will be available in five different trim levels: the SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and the new-to-Sequoia Capstone range-topper. Can the “Capstone” trim bury its way into our consciousness as an opulent, luxurious trim in the same way as “Denali” has done for GMC? We’ll have to wait and see.

A feature-rich offering

The Capstone version of the new Sequoia will have to be impressive to justify its range-topping status, especially when you learn what standard equipment comes with the entry-level SR5.

SR5 versions of the 2023 Sequoia come with that hybrid powertrain and 10-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, a moonroof, and heated seats. SR5 will also feature a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument display and Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), but adding the SR5 Premium package can add the 14-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia display, a power third-row, a hands-free liftgate, Softex seats, and cabin and cargo 120-volt power outlets.

The TRD Pro is sure to be a model in significant demand. It should be exceptional if the TRD Pro delivers anything like the off-road capability of previous Toyota models like the legendary Land Cruiser, which it undoubtedly will.

Should you buy a 2023 Toyota Sequoia?

With what we know so far, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia will be a contender to be reckoned with in the full-size SUV segment, especially with that standard hybrid powertrain. It’s hard to properly judge how it will measure up against the opposition until we get more details, especially the price and fuel economy ratings. But it’s fair to say it’s looking good.

If this American-built Toyota behemoth gets competitive pricing and lives up to Toyota’s usual high standards of capability, versatility, durability, and quality, nerves will be jangling in the boardrooms and showrooms of Ford, GM, Nissan, and others.

Should you hold off from purchasing something else and wait until the 2023 Toyota Sequoia arrives before making your final decision? I say you should, but there is a problem.

You can’t have failed to notice how automakers are struggling to meet the demand for new vehicles and have been for some time now. That’s not going to alleviate anytime soon, so the chances of you walking into a Toyota dealer and driving away in one this year are slim.

You might have to wait until the complete specifications are released and see how the new Sequoia stacks up against whatever other full-size, three-row, eight-seat SUVs are around. I suspect it will compare very favorably, especially if you’re determined to have a fuel-efficient hybrid.

I also suspect that if you decide you want one, a factory order will be required to secure one if you want it with you within the next 12-18 months. And if you want to know how much you can get one of these or any of its competitors for in your area, check out the free tool below to get live quotes from top dealers where you live.