2023 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

Toyota’s 2023 Sequoia is an exceptional full-size SUV that comes packed with a hybrid powertrain – one that’s shared with the Tundra full-size pickup truck. The Sequoia, which hasn’t had a makeover since 2008, is the biggest passenger vehicle in Toyota’s fleet, and it contends with other mammoth three-row SUVs like the Nissan Armada, Ford Expedition, and Chevy Tahoe.

EXTERIOR/INTERIOR

Previously mentioned, the redesigned eight-seater now rides on a new platform shared with the Tundra, bringing enhancements such as increased torque, power, towing capacity, and efficiency, as well as additional standard safety and convenience features and an advanced infotainment system.

The front of the Sequoia mimics the Tundra with a broad mesh grille and LED running lights that divide down the fender in a luminous brace. Its chunky hood and big blocky fenders give it a bold appearance, while its chrome window trim and roof rails add a touch of elegance to the vehicle. Wrap-around taillights embrace the rear, and an integrated roof spoiler creates a smooth appearance. 

With the aim of facilitating entry, Toyota designed the doors to open wider, albeit at the expense of the window line which doesn’t seem to blend well with the rear quarter windows. The Sequoia is also equipped with 20-inch dark-painted alloy wheels and fixed running boards that simplify boarding.

Featuring a 14.0-inch touchscreen, the Sequoia’s dashboard is designed with vents flanking the sides of the display like ears. A distinct section for climate buttons and towing and drive modes, located in the lower band, makes the touchscreen exclusive to multimedia, navigation, and other advanced settings.

PERFORMANCE

During our testing, we had the opportunity to drive a Sequoia equipped with four-wheel drive, which is optional on most versions and standard on the off-road-oriented TRD Pro model. When it comes to the Sequoia’s drivetrain, it comes with the same 10-speed automatic transmission that is found in the Tundra pickup truck. The 10-speed transmission operates smoothly and is responsive to throttle inputs.

In addition to its powerful 10-speed transmission, the Sequoia’s i-Force MAX hybrid powertrain is a major standout feature. The combination of the twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 engine and electric motor results in an impressive 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. When driving the Sequoia, this powertrain feels smooth and responsive, providing ample acceleration and power when needed.

On our first test drive, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the Sequoia’s quiet cabin and cushy ride. However, we quickly discovered that this big rig wasn’t without its quirks. For starters, the Sequoia felt exceptionally wide on the road, making it tricky to maneuver precisely within a lane. This wasn’t a problem unique to the Sequoia, as other plus-sized SUVs suffer from this issue too.

Additionally, the steering effort was noticeably light, making it feel a little too sensitive and twitchy when cruising around. Although the Sequoia offers an exceptional driving experience with a formidable performance, its on-road manners may need some adaptation, especially for drivers used to more agile cars.

FUEL ECONOMY

The rear-wheel-drive Sequoias have been rated by the EPA at 21 mpg for city driving, 24 mpg for highway driving, and 22 mpg combined. The four-wheel drive versions of the Sequoia lose 2 mpg in all categories. However, the Sequoia’s twin-turbo V-6 hybrid powertrain is a significant upgrade from its predecessor, which had a woeful combined rating of only 15 mpg.

COMPETITION

The Sequoia, Tundra, and new Lexus LX all share a common platform, but the LX stands out with its off-road capabilities and three-row seating, yet it lacks a hybrid powertrain.

Nissan’s Armada boasts great standard safety and convenience features, making it a compelling full-size option. However, the big V-8 engine remains the only available choice.

GM’s Tahoe and Yukon have grown increasingly alike over the years, resulting in larger and more spacious SUVs.

Ford opts for a twin-turbo V-6 engine in the Expedition, although it falls short of the power and efficiency delivered by Toyota’s powertrain.

Conclusion

We drove a Sequoia for a week priced at $73,900. Adding options like a 10-inch color heads-up display with speedometer, navigation, and hybrid system indicator for $600, and a few others, the total cost reached $79,089. See our video review of the Sequoia Platinum at this link.


Photo Credit: Copyright 2023 Angel Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog

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