2023 Toyota Sequoia three-row SUV goes hybrid

Toyota's reboot of its SUV and truck range continues, with the 2023 Sequoia promising more power and more efficiency from the three-row SUV. Completely refreshed, the third-generation Sequoia borrows some of the more memorable styling cues from its 2022 Tundra pickup cousin, not to mention the new twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-FORCE MAX powertrain.

If the old Sequoia was big but bland, that's not an accusation which could be leveled at this 2023 model. It's still large, but the styling is far more memorable, with a bolder grille, more stylized lighting, and emphasized wheel arches. Toyota is also better distinguishing its different Sequoia trims, too, with unique aesthetic treatments for the various grades.

For power, Toyota's new twin-turbo V6 hybrid gets a second outing. Debuted on the recently-revealed Tundra pickup, it'll offer up to 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Sandwiched between the V6 and the 10-speed automatic transmission is a motor generator, which can be used to add power as well as improve economy.

Exactly how much of an economy bump we're talking about, though, Toyota isn't saying yet. The automaker admits that estimates aren't ready yet, but says to expect "a huge improvement" over the outgoing 2022 Sequoia. Considering that was rated for a hardly-impressive 13 mph in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, that's probably a good thing.

There'll be a 2WD or optional 4WD configuration, with the latter offered on the SR5, Limited, Platinum, and Capstone trims. The TRD Pro trim will only come in 4WD form. A center console lever will switch between 2WD, 4WD High, and 4WD Low. Towing is rated at up to 9,000 pounds, compared to 7,400 pounds on the outgoing SUV.

The body-on-frame construction is, purists will be happy to hear, kept, though with a new fully boxed frame. That shares its architecture with the Tundra, the global Land Cruiser, and the well-received new 2022 Lexus LX. Rigidity and ride comfort are both improved, Toyota says, thanks to more targeted laser welding; there's also an independent front suspension system and multi-link rear suspension.

The latter can be equipped with Load-Leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), while a new rack-mounted electronic power steering system is standard. For towing, the Tow Tech Package – standard on TRD Pro and Capstone grades – incudes a backup guide and Straight Path Assist.

Also new is Drive Mode Select, a first for Sequoia. It offers Eco, Normal, and Sport as standard; SUVs equipped with the air suspension get Comfort, Sport S+, and Custom modes too. The various modes adjust, among other things, how the gas and electric parts of the hybrid system collaborate: in Sport and Sport S+, for example, the electric drive brings its immediacy to speeds up to 18 mph, before the gas engine weighs in with its greater power. Tow/Haul mode, meanwhile, combines the two elements constantly, for maximum control even with heavy loads attached.

On the inside there are three rows, with either bench or captain's chairs seating in the second row. Both can recline, or flip forward for more cargo space. The third row also reclines and can be had with power-folding; it can be optioned with the Sliding Third Row with Adjustable Cargo Shelf System, which has 6-inches of fore/aft movement and a removable shelf.

For tech, there's up to a 14-inch touchscreen, 360-degree camera, and power folding, extending, and retracting tow mirrors up for grabs. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is the new Toyota infotainment system with better voice control and real-time Google data; dual simultaneous Bluetooth phone connections are possible, too. The base SR5 has a 12.3-inch display, while the SR5 Premium bumps up the screen size, adds the power third row and power lift gate, Softex seats, and 120V outlets in the cargo area. Limited trim throws in heated/ventilated front seats with memory, and a heated steering wheel.

The TRD Off-Road package – offered on the SR5 and Limited 4x4 models – has a selectable locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select and Downhill Assist Control, Crawl Control, and the Multi-Terrain Monitor. It's also equipped with TRD-tuned Bilstein monotube shock absorbers and TRD-tuned springs, along with a red front axle driveshaft, and unique 18-inch wheels.

The 2023 Sequoia Platinum nudges up the creature comforts, with heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, second-row captain's chairs, a 14-speaker JBL audio system, and panoramic moonroof. It also has a head-up display, upgraded LED lighting front and rear, rain-sensing wipers, and Qi wireless phone charging.

The Sequoia TRD Pro keeps some of the comfort – like the captain's chairs and heated steering wheel – but also improves off-road performance. There are FOX internal bypass shocks, a 1/4-inch aluminum TRD front skid plate, selectable locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select, CRAWL Control. and Downhill Assist Control. Outside, there's a unique grille with an embedded TRD light bar and marker lights, Pro-specific black 18-inch TRD alloy wheels with a wider offset, dual TRD Pro exhaust tips, and a TRD roof rack.

Finally, top of the range is the 2023 Sequoia Capstone. Toting everything the Platinum grade gets, it throws in more exterior chrome including on the exclusive 22-inch wheels, power running boards, and semi-aniline leather seats. Real open-pore American Walnut is used on the dash, and there's LED mood lighting and acoustic front door glass.

All trims get Toyota Safety System 2.5, with blind-spot warnings, rear cross traffic alerts, and front/rear parking assist with automatic braking. There's also Adaptive cruise control and lane-tracing assist, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and emergency steering assist.

Pricing of the 2023 Sequoia will be confirmed closer to the SUV's arrival at dealerships. Toyota says that should happen in the summer of 2022.