Toyota’s Biggest SUV Is Struggling to Sell

Toyota isn’t just one of the most popular and respected automakers in the United States. It’s also one of the best-selling auto brands in the world, thanks to models like the RAV4 SUV and the Corolla sedan. Toyota offers other great vehicles in almost every segment, including the oft-forgotten minivan class with the Sienna.

Still, even with Toyota’s reputation for reliability, not all of its cars resonate with consumers. The year 2022 was one of the worst years yet for the Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV. Is there a reason this model isn’t selling well?

Toyota Sequoia sales for 2022

A 2023 Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV in Platinum Silver parked outside a luxury brick mansion
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to GoodCarBadCar, only 1,745 Toyota Sequoias were sold in November. With 2022 now over and the rest of the sales data on the way, it looks like the Sequoia will sell less than half the units it sold in 2021.

Granted, the Toyota Sequoia is doing better this month than it was in 2021. Around this time last year, Toyota only managed to sell around 704 units. The Sequoia has also moved many more units in November compared to some of its siblings, like the Avalon and CH-R.

However, besides a few exceptions, the Sequoia is way behind the rest of the Toyota family. The Toyota Highlander managed to sell over 20,000 units in November 2022 alone. The Toyota RAV4 remains the most popular option amongst consumers, with over 333,000 units sold this year.

How much has the 2023 Toyota Sequoia improved?

Before the 2023 model’s release, the Toyota Sequoia hadn’t been redesigned since the 2008 model year. The 2023 model year received an all-new hybrid powertrain capable of 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the outgoing Sequoia had a standard gas-operated V8 that makes 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque.

Besides the modest power increase, the Toyota Sequoia has also been redesigned inside and out. However, since the 2023 model was released late this year, most of the Sequoia’s 2022 sales have been for its previous generation. 

The old interior features plenty of drab black plastic and an outdated center stack layout. While it has a lot of large physical controls, the distant driver’s position puts them out of reach. 

The infotainment interface’s graphics are also low-quality compared to what you’ll find in other 2022 Toyota vehicles. While the 2022 Toyota Sequoia has many standard tech features, they’re not always easy to use on the grainy 7-inch touchscreen. 

The Highlander is selling much better than the Sequoia

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Drivers clearly love the 2022 Toyota Highlander, even though it has a weaker engine compared to the 2022 Toyota Sequoia. Its V6 makes just 295 horsepower, but critics still usually have no complaints regarding acceleration.

Additionally, a Toyota Highlander with FWD gets 21/29 mpg city/highway. Meanwhile, the 2022 Sequoia’s fuel economy is estimated to be 13/17 mpg city/highway. 

The higher trims of the 2022 Toyota Highlander feature fancy design elements like chrome or wood accents. It’s also easier to reach the infotainment controls in this car, plus you’re surrounded by more padded surfaces. 

The updated 2023 Toyota Highlander also received a few improvements, including a new 265-hp turbo-four engine. Like the Toyota Sequoia, it received an infotainment interface update featuring better graphics. The standard touchscreen is smaller compared to the outgoing model, but it still has an available 12.3-inch screen.

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is actually superior in that regard, offering a 14-inch touchscreen. Considering its refreshed modern styling, we’d say the Toyota Sequoia is a much better car now. However, only time will tell if a major redesign is enough to put it on equal footing with its siblings and rivals.