Here’s Why the Toyota Sequoia Is the Best Hybrid SUV for Towing

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is one of the few hybrid suvs with a third row of seating and the only full-size, full-frame hybrid SUV you can buy. With Toyota’s return to a solid rear axle and upgrade to coil springs with its third generation of the Sequoia, it has built the world’s best hybrid SUV for towing.

Can you tow with a hybrid SUV?

A hybrid SUV‘s electric motor often adds loads of torque to its powertrain. For this reason, some hybrid SUVs are excellent tow vehicles. But make certain to double-check each manufacturer’s tow rating before relying on your hybrid SUV to pull a heavy load.

Red hybrid Toyota Sequoia SUV towing a boat trailer down the road, trees visible in the background.
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

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Ford’s flagship hybrid SUV is the Explorer with its V6 hybrid powertrain. The hybrid Explorer’s maximum towing capacity is 5,300 pounds while its mechanically identical Lincoln cousin, the hybrid Aviator, can tow up to 5,600 pounds.

How much can the new Toyota Sequoia tow?

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia’s new i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Its solid rear axle and coil spring suspension setup also contribute to the 2WD version’s 9,500-pound towing rating.

Promo shot of a black Toyota Sequoia hybrid SUV pulling an airstream camper trailer around a bend in a rural road.
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

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The Toyota Sequoia has the second highest towing capacity in its class, coming in a few hundred pounds behind the Wagoneer’s 10,000-pound tow rating. The Sequoia can tow much more than any other hybrid SUV. So what’s the secret to the Sequoia’s trailering capability?

Firstly, electric motors are especially torquey. The motor sandwiched between the Sequoia’s gasoline V6 and 10-speed automatic boasts 184 lb-ft of torque. And all of that grunt is available from a standstill.

Secondly, while the last generation of the Sequoia had independent rear suspension, this latest Toyota Sequoia returns to a solid rear axle. That makes it more stable while heavily loaded. While previous Sequoias may have been capable of towing thousands of pounds, they did so with less grace than the 2023 model.

Can a Toyota Highlander hybrid tow?

The Toyota Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds, but its hybrid drivetrain option limits its tow rating to just 3,500 pounds. The hybrid Toyota Highlander actually has the lowest tow rating of any Highlander configuration.

Black Toyota Sequoia Limited hybrid SUV parked on a dirt road with an Airstream trailer, trees visible in the background.
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

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If you are buying a Toyota Highlander to do a lot of towing, you should consider a different drivetrain. That said, the Toyota Highlander is a unibody crossover. That means it doesn’t benefit from body-on-frame construction, like the truck-based Sequoia. The Highlander also has independent rear suspension.

If you want a mid-size Toyota vehicle capable of towing a lot, make sure you also consider the 4Runner. The 4Runner’s towing capacity also maxes out at 5,000 pounds. But note that it is a full-frame SUV (based on the Tacoma). It is heavier than the Highlander and will feel more stable while pulling a trailer.

Next, read about how the Toytoa Sequoia can tow more than some Tundra pickup trucks or watch the Sequoia’s towing capabilities put to the test in the video below:

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