The Redesigned 2023 Toyota Sequoia Is Equal Parts Old School and High-Tech

Toyota completely redesigned its full-size Sequoia SUV for the 2023 model year. This third generation of this third-row Toyota SUV introduces some technology (such as its standard hybrid engine) that plants it firmly at the head of its segment. But at the same time, the latest Sequoia brings back traditional solutions (such as a solid rear axle) that Sequoia fans missed .

The future of Toyota’s full-frame vehicles

White Toyota Sequoia 4x4 SUV off-roading through the woods.
2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro | Toyota

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Just a few years ago, Toyota was building dozens of different chassis and over eight-hundred engine options worldwide. The titan of auto manufacturing resolved to consolidate all its vehicles, and its considerable technological achievements, to just a handful of versatile chassis.

Toyota resolved that one of these chassis would be for full-frame vehicles. To engineer the Toyota Next Generation Architecture full-frame class (TNGA-F), Toyota had to reflect on the needs of full-frame vehicle buyers. The resulting TNGA-F chassis includes a fully-boxed frame to save weight, a solid rear axle riding on coil springs, and no V8 engine options. Toyota’s largest vehicles will all be powered by various tunes of the same twin-turbocharged, 3.44-liter V6.

Toyota’s first new vehicle on the TNGA-F chassis was the Land Cruiser 300 series (not available in North America). It was quickly followed by the 2022 Toyota Tundra and the new Lexus LX 600 SUV. For the 2023 model year, Toyota will be migrating its Sequoia SUV over to the same chassis.

Why buy a Toyota Sequoia instead of a Highlander?

An airstream camper trailer being towed down a rural road by a Toyota Sequoia SUV.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited | Toyota

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The Toyota Highlander is an incredible crossover vehicle. It offers a third row of seating and more horsepower (295) than the Toyota 4Runner (270). Why would buyers bother with the objectively outdated full-frame Toyota SUVs?

There are several reasons some drivers seek out full-frame, truck-based SUVs. One is a high payload and towing capacity. In addition, these SUVs often handle those heavy loads more comfortably. In addition, full-frame construction is very durable, easier to modify, and often makes for a longer-lasting vehicle because you can swap out a rusty frame.

A final reason some buyers opt for a full-frame SUV is tradition. Toyota seems to be recognizing this fact.

The previous generation of the Toyota Sequoia experimented with a Highlander-like independent rear suspension system. Toyota obviously recognizes this goes against the point of buying a full-frame SUV: the automaker is abandoning the independent rear suspension for the 2023 Sequoia. Every third-generation Toyota Sequoia will feature a solid rear axle riding on coil springs.

The Toyota Sequoia only offers advanced drivetrains

Closeup of a Toyota Sequoia SUV's engine bay with i-FORCE MAX hybrid engine visible.

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You can’t buy a 2023 Toyota Sequoia with the old, naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8. You also can’t order one with the entry-level 3.44-liter twin-turbocharged V6 available in the 2022 Tundra. Toyota will outfit every 2023 Sequoia with the top-trim Tundra engine: a tuned, hybrid version of the 3.44-liter turbocharged V6.

Toyota is branding 2023 Sequoia’s hybrid drivetrain as the i-FORCE MAX. It makes 437 horsepower and a dizzying 583 lb-ft of torque. That’s more torque than the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Just as important as the increased power and improved fuel efficiency of the new Sequoia, is how well it drives. With the hybrid powertrains electric motor/generator engineered to launch the SUV while its engine starts up, you might worry it will be jerky. But not so.

The reviewers at TFL Truck tried driving and towing with the new Sequoia. The publication said that, “this hybrid is just really powerful.” But in addition, the transition from electric to gas power was very smooth. In addition, the electric motor smooths out the transmission’s function and as a result, “the shifts are almost imperceptible.”

Next, see the full TFL Truck 2023 Toyota Sequoia review.

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