How Much Does a Hybrid Drivetrain Actually Improve the 6,000-Pound Toyota Sequoia’s MPG?

Toyota shocked the automotive world when it announced that every single 2023 Sequoia SUV would feature a hybrid drivetrain. Few automakers offers a full hybrid option for a full-frame SUV, and no others make it standard. But with the upper weight of the Sequoia tipping the scales at over 6,000 pounds, some question whether the hybrid technology would do the big SUV any good. Here’s the truth.

The Toyota Sequoia has a lot of momentum

Promo photo of a red Toyota Sequoia hybrid SUV crossing a bridge under a row of birch trees.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone | Toyota

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A hybrid drivetrain captures the forward momentum of a vehicle as electricity stored in a battery to improve its fuel efficiency in stop/go driving. With a curb weight of 5,620 to 6,185 pounds, the Toyota Sequoia has plenty of momentum to capture.

The 2023 Sequoia’s new i-FORCE MAX adds a powerful electric motor/generator between the SUV’s 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. When you pump the brakes, this generator helps to slow the vehicle by creating drag and charges the nickel battery beneath the 3rd-row seat in the process. Then when you tap the gas, the electric motor actually launches the SUV and accelerates it up to 18 mph before the V6 must start up.

The i-FORCE MAX hybrid improves the Toyota Tundra’s fuel mileage

A red Toyota Sequoia hybrid SUV parked on a lawn, under a string of lights.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone | Toyota

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Because the third-generation Toyota Sequoia is only available as a hybrid, it’s impossible to measure how much the hybrid powertrain improves its fuel efficiency. But Toyota is offering the same powertrain in the Tundra as the i-FORCE MAX, alongside a non-hybrid 3.4-liter V6. The Tundra’s fuel efficiency numbers give us some idea of how much hybrid technology improves the Sequoia’s fuel mileage.

A 2WD 2023 Toyota Tundra with a standard gasoline-powered twin-turbocharged V6 gets 18 city/23 highway mpg (20 combined). The i-FORCE MAX hybrid version of the same 2WD truck earned an EPA rating of 20 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined).

As you’d expect, the hybrid technology helps the Tundra’s fuel efficiency most during stop/go driving, giving it a two-mpg bump in the city. What might surprise you is that though the Sequoia has about 200 pounds on the Tundra, this weight does not affect its fuel efficiency.

The EPA gave the 2023 Toyota Sequoia a fuel mileage rating of 21 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined). That’s actually one mpg better than the Tundra in the city.

There are other benefits of a hybrid drivetrain

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

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The 2023 Sequoia’s fuel mileage benefits from the hybrid technology Toyota used in its powertrain. But so does its performance. The 3.44-liter V6 in the Sequoia can make about 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. But combined with an electric motor, the Sequoia’s powertrain makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque.

What does this mean for the 2023 Sequoia? Well, first of all, MotorTrend estimates that the 3rd row SUV can reach 60 mph in 6.0 seconds flat. That is nearly a sports sedan time!

In addition, the 2023 Sequoia has one of the highest towing capacities in its class: up to 9,520 pounds. That’s second only to the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The Toyota Sequoia certainly owes some of its impressive performance numbers to the Toyota hybrid technology in its i-FORCE MAX engine.

Find out about upcoming hybrid SUVs or see the hybrid Sequoia reviewed in the video below:

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