When Toyota axed the Land Cruiser from the U.S. market, we had questions about how the company was going to keep some of those fans loyal to the brand while also giving the ancient Sequoia full-size SUV some much-needed updates to help it stay in the fight against full-size SUV benchmarks. It appears that the company is attacking the situation from both angles with the introduction of the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia.
Bigger, Badder, More Civilized Sequoia
The Toyota Sequoia was in a very dire situation when Toyota chose to revamp it with the outgoing model being in production for over fifteen years. While it was lightly refreshed at various points, it still retained its 2008 roots and last year it only moved over 8,000 units. The 2023 Sequoia is rejecting this stagnation and is bringing some much overdue love to the nameplate. The stodgy exterior styling is gone, and in its place is a suit of clothes that’s heavily based on the 2022 Toyota Tundra with the front fascia being heavily based on that model.
Move to the side and rear of the new Sequoia and the Lexus LX DNA makes itself apparent in the revamped taillights and even the basic design of the liftgate. The Sequoia shares the Tundra’s fully boxed frame but it also goes in its own direction too. The TRD Pro model is expected to make up some of the ground that was given away by the Toyota Land Cruiser and it certainly looks the part thanks to a trim exclusive front grille, meaty off-road tires, and a centrally mounted grille lightbar. The range-topping Capstone edition is all-new for 2023 and this trim is the one to go for if you’re a buyer that likes having maximum amounts of chrome trim.
Tundra Interior Helps Sequoia Leap Into The Big Time
The interior of the 2023 Sequoia is virtually identical to the Tundra’s but that’s not a bad thing considering that the outgoing model’s cabin had fitments that made it resemble a time capsule with hard plastics and other cheap materials reminding you that 2008 was alive and well. The materials here are higher quality, and the Sequoia benefits from all of the Tundra’s upgrades.
That includes the all-new Audio Multimedia system that comes with either an 8 or 14-inch touchscreen that is crisper and has more colors to wow the eyes of those who see it. It also comes with a reworked voice command system that allows owners to access various menus by simply saying “Hey Toyota” and a subsequent command. The system is updated via OTA and even bundles Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. As expected, the Capstone version puts the proverbial cherry on top with semi-anline leather accents being accented with real splashes of open-pore American Walnut wood trim. Capstones also get acoustic deadening glass which aims to reduce the amount of outside noise that enters the Sequoia’s cabin.
The seats in the Sequoia can all recline now and the third row even has the ability to have up to 6-inches of adjustment. This handy feature not only allows passengers to have maximum amounts of legroom but it also allows the Sequoia to swallow more cargo. A removable cargo shelf system adds flexibility and Toyota reps claim that it can hold a decent amount of stuff.
Sequoia Embraces The Green Side Of Life
The Sequoia was once known for being a V8 only offering, but the 2023 version pitches the fuel-guzzling 5.7 liter and instead replaces it with the Tundra’s 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that now produces 437 hp (a gain of 56) and 583 lb-ft of torque (a staggering increase of 182.) A 10-speed automatic is also shared with the pickup, and the duo is paired with a small electric motor that not only helps provide the bulk of the torque boost, but also a boost in fuel economy that Toyota claims will be extremely competitive with rivals.
Speaking of that, the company is not quite ready to talk about that just yet, but the company did reveal that the 2023 model can tow up to 9,000 lbs which is more than the 8,000 lb limit that defines the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban. The Ford Expedition still outshines it by 300 lbs, but the Ford can only do that when it’s equipped with the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package.
When Can I Buy One?
Toyota didn’t release pricing information, but look for the 2023 version to be a noticeable increase over the outgoing model. Two-wheel drive is standard on the bulk of Sequoia models, but the TRD Pro model will have all-wheel drive standard (the system is otherwise optional in the rest of the trim family.) We look forward to seeing if these changes can help make the Sequoia a bigger sales threat when compared to domestic rivals, but if you’re a buyer who’s willing to give the Sequoia a chance, you’ll be rewarded with the best iteration of the model yet.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.