7-passenger shootout: 2023 Toyota Sequoia vs. the Grand Highlander

How many seven-passenger SUVs can one manufacturer make? Well, in Toyota’s case four, and soon five. Really. With the new 2023 Sequoia, 4 Runner, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid and the expected Grand Highlander coming, Toyota is making sure that everyone has a seat. But with the new Grand Highlander expected to arrive in 2023, will it cannibalize sales of the new 2023 Toyota Sequoia, or will it take on the Hyundai Palisade?

For 2023 the Toyota Sequoia will be redesigned

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is coming to replace one of the lowest-rated full-size SUVs in the market. But it could face the competition from the Grand Highlander.
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

The new Sequoia can actually be ordered as a seven-passenger or eight-passenger giant SUV. The Sequoia is more related to the full-sized Tundra truck, which means it’s big, brawny, and more capable than the 2022 model. It’s time for the new Sequoia. The 2022 Sequia is based on bones from 2008.

The 2023 Sequoia will lose its V8 and instead get big power from the new i-FORCE MAX hybrid system. The i-FORCE MAX is Toyota’s way to say “hybrid.” It’s a V6 with an electric motor that makes an impressive 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system debuted this year in the Tundra as Toyota’s most powerful engine option. It allows the new Sequoia to tow up to 9,000 pounds.

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia brings more than engine upgrades

The new-for-2023 Sequia will be impressive, but will it compete with the Grand Highlander for buyers?
2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro | Toyota

Speaking of the Tundra, the new Sequoia is channeling Tundra vibes with its new wide, flat, front grille. The 2023 will be the third generation of the Sequoia. It can be ordered in two-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive, which includes a transfer case with a low gear for stump-pulling and off-roading.

The new Sequoia will also have a new, modern, multi-link rear suspension. That new multi-link may not be the best for hard-core off-roading, but it will be a lot more comfortable for actual driving. Besides, if you want to go rock crawling, buy a 4Runner.

Passengers that way-back third row won’t feel like they’re sitting in a penalty box. Instead, they’ll get reclining seats (with power-folding available), sliding seats, and a new cargo shelf system that is removable.

The 2023 Grand Highlander will be big, but not as powerful

Side view of white 2023 Toyota Highlander, highlighting its release date and price
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2023 Sequoia looks to compete more with other full-sized- truck-based SUVs, like the Tahoe, Expedition, and Armada. The Grand Highlander will likely appeal more to families that need to carry a bunch of stuff but won’t need the extra towing and off-road ability of the Sequoia. The gas-powered Highlander has 295 horsepower, while the Hybrid has a combined 243 from its 186-horsepower gas engine and a 57-horsepower electric motor.

All signs point to the new Grand Highlander coming in 2023 as a lengthened version of the current Highlander. The 2022 Highlander acquits itself well with three spacious rows, modern driver tech, and a modern, comfortable interior. It’s also considerably narrower than the Sequoia, which means it’ll be easier to park.

The 2022 Highlander Hybrid is a separate vehicle

A silver 2022 Toyota Highlander
2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

Toyota lists the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a separate vehicle to the regular Highlander. It gets an impressive (for an SUV) 36 mpg. Hybrid also serves as Toyota’s technology showcase platform. It has, for example, a 1500-watt power outlet, and you can order Toyota’s latest Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system and another emergency systems.

The Highlander Hybrid, however, hops up the horsepower with Toyota’s clever all-wheel-drive system that adds an electric motor in the back. Instead of building a complicated transfer case and extending a driveshaft to the rear, Toyota simply gets all-wheel-drive by adding the motor to the back.

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