- Daring, stately appears to be like
- Good energy
- Towing capability
- Cramped third row
- Compromised storage
Typically you have a look at a automobile and have a look at the identify of the automobile and also you’re left with the sensation that the designers and engineers and product planners have been fairly far down the listing earlier than everybody lastly determined what to name the factor. That’s not the case with the Toyota Sequoia, which for the 2023 mannequin yr will get a much-needed full redesign.
The sequoia is a tree, in fact, however not simply any tree. Sequoias are the tallest timber on the earth. If that weren’t sufficient, they’re additionally the heaviest. Apt, then, that Toyota selected that specific stoic woodland fixture for the identify of its greatest SUV, a titanic, three-row machine that can stand giant and proud in any firm.
How massive is it? Effectively, it’s simply 7 cm shorter than Chevrolet’s titanic Tahoe, three cm shorter, and a mere three cm narrower. So, yeah, fairly massive, however it fills these proportions nicely. It appears to be like stately and complicated, particularly within the Wind Chill Pearl white that my check automobile you see right here was painted.
The Sequoia has all the time taken styling cues from the Tundra upon which it’s based mostly, and fortunately the edgier front-end on Toyota’s redesigned full-sized truck works nice right here on this full-sized SUV. Massive creases within the fenders result in the headlights up entrance and the taillights out again, whereas extra creases down low on the doorways make sure the factor doesn’t look too slab-sided.
These creases are highlighted with a little bit of brightwork on this, the top-shelf Capstone trim, which pairs properly with the huge chrome grille out entrance. (Lesser trims get slightly extra refined black grilles, both with horizontal bars or the identical honeycomb mesh you see right here.) The wheels, too, are polished, measuring an enormous 22-inches in any respect 4 corners, whereas the chromed mirror caps guarantee there’s loads of shine all through.
The inside, too, has a light-weight and vibrant feel and appear to match the outside. That’s helped by the cream-colored leather-based, which the designers thoughtfully included solely on the higher parts of the seats. It is a sensible transfer, avoiding the gloomy doldrums present in so many automotive interiors but additionally maintaining the high-wear areas of the upholstery darkish, so that you gained’t have to fret about stains from blue denims or brown canines or anything that’s liable to return involved.
That’s typical Toyota household friendliness, which is instantly discovered on even this massive, luxurious rig. There are sufficient cup holders scattered about right here for even the thirstiest of little ones and USB charging for each seat, even within the way-back. There’s no in-cabin, middle-seat leisure provided, however since everyone brings their very own media for highway journeys nowadays that looks like a wise transfer.
Beginning on the again, the third row is definitely fairly straightforward to get into due to second-row seats that fold ahead. However, as soon as these seats are clipped again into place there’s not a variety of room left for luxuries like toes or knees. That is, then, a spot greatest reserved for little ones. Once more, a pair of USB-C ports again right here will hold their units charged up, whereas handbook window shades hold them out of the solar.
Or, if you happen to’re rolling with fewer people, these seats fold down on the contact of a button. They don’t, nonetheless, fold flush with the ground, which makes loading longer cargo a bit awkward. Toyota designers tried to handle this with a moveable rear shelf that may be lifted after which expanded to fill the hole. It’s purposeful and sturdy, however it’s additionally heavy and cumbersome to fit into place.
Second row seats are lots comfy, with sufficient head and leg room to go well with adults. Center passengers have their very own USB-A and C ports, together with discrete HVAC controls and even a bit of plastic storage cubby between the seats.
Up entrance, although, is in fact probably the most comfy place to be. The heated and ventilated seats are plush sufficient for longer journeys and large sufficient for squirming round when these journeys get to be a bit of too lengthy. These heaters are additionally extraordinarily efficient; you’ll by no means endure from a cold posterior right here. Visibility is nice and, with the huge panoramic sunroof, there’s by no means any scarcity of sunshine. That mentioned, the view out the again is proscribed, whether or not you employ the normal rear-view mirror or the digital one. The digital mirror has the benefit of not forcing you to look previous a truckload of passengers, however the flat colours and lack of distinction simply make every part look awfully muted.
The opposite shows within the cabin fare higher, notably the 14-inch heart show. It sits up excessive in the midst of the dashboard, up above a complete set of HVAC controls — and a USB-A plug that appears a bit of bit randomly tacked on there. Toyota’s new (and cunningly named) Toyota Multimedia System is stripped down fundamental to the acute, with few controls and menus, however regardless of that it really works nicely. All the things is simple to seek out and every part is extraordinarily snappy. Even the voice recognition is near-instantaneous. Total, it’s an enormous improve over earlier generations of Entune.
However, in fact, you may supplant all that with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, wirelessly right here, with a Qi wi-fi charger able to maintaining your cellphone charged whereas it drives the in-dash expertise.
One other show lives behind the steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that shows all the knowledge you want, with configurable shows displaying every part from enhance strain to pitch and roll. If that’s not sufficient, a 10-inch heads-up show beams intel onto the windscreen, too.
So that you gained’t be missing data, nor energy. Each Sequoia trim will get Toyota’s i-Drive Max V6, with 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque thanks not solely to a pair of turbos but in addition a hybrid system. Make no mistake: Toyota’s probably not making this out to be a cheap alternative. In actual fact, the default gauge configuration reveals the facility from the hybrid system proper subsequent to the turbo enhance strain. This, then, is solely an influence transfer, and the EPA figures present it: 20 mpg is the mixed score on 4WD Sequoia, 19 within the metropolis and 22 on the freeway. I didn’t come wherever close to these figures, scoring 16.5 in my testing.
So sure, it’s a hybrid, however not the type which you could count on to cowl any miles in emissions-free. In actual fact, I struggled to hurry to greater than a crawl earlier than the three.445-liter engine spun to life. Even pretending there was a recent egg between my foot and the gasoline pedal didn’t assist. When it does fireplace, you’ll hear it. Even in Eco mode that V6 is kind of loud. It sounds good to my ear, however it may are inclined to drone after longer stretches on the highway.
Acceleration is robust and towing wholesome, the Sequoia, with its Class IV hitch, is rated to tow 8,980 kilos in Capstone trim, 9,520 if you happen to step all the way down to the SR5. Dealing with, in the meantime, is tolerably good however with some unmistakeable, truck-like vibes that harken again to its Tundra underpinnings. It’s calm and easy on the freeway and offers with minor highway imperfections with out an excessive amount of grievance, however greater bumps positively upset issues.
For anybody coming from a truck, just like the aforementioned Tundra, this may all really feel very acquainted and the Sequoia is kind of comfy for probably the most half. However, if you happen to’re stepping up from a smaller, crossover SUV, the driving dynamics will really feel harsh. Par for the course for one thing that may tow this a lot or, certainly, maintain its personal after the asphalt ends. I sadly didn’t have an opportunity to correctly check the Sequoia’s off-road chops, however with its two-speed switch case and limited-slip differential on the rear, it ought to deal with itself simply high-quality within the tough stuff.
Choices and Pricing
In case you are extra fascinated with difficult ruts and rocks, the TRD Professional trim could be extra your type, with its locking rear differential and a pair of.5-inch Fox coilovers. What you see right here is the Capstone trim, with a extra luxurious intent. It’s priced to match. Toyota lists a present base value for the Sequoia SR5 at $56,365. This 4X4 Capstone trim, with about $1,000 in choices and a $1,595 vacation spot cost, got here in at a slightly extra expensive $80,906. For that you simply get all the additional flare on the skin, plush posh, multicolor ambient lighting inside, nicer supplies, and auto-leveling air suspension.
Capstone doesn’t actually get you a lot past the Platinum trim, which begins about $5,000 cheaper. That looks like the best place to begin.
So it’s massive, succesful, has loads of room in and out, and wraps all of it up in a stately look that offers it the presence to match its quantity. It’s, in different phrases, an ideal alternative for individuals who need to haul a lot of people, tow a lot of issues, and go to a lot of locations that aren’t essentially paved. Toyota’s refreshed massive boy delivers.