2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone 284 1668525228

2023 Toyota Sequoia Looks More Modern, Still Needs Polishing

11/17/2022 Update: This review has been updated with test numbers for the 2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone.

Few new vehicles have had as long a gestation period as the Toyota Sequoia’s. The outgoing generation of Toyota’s largest SUV arrived for 2008 and languished for 15 model years as the rest of the full-size competition advanced at a frantic pace in refinement, drivability, technology and desirability. But a redesigned Sequoia is finally here for 2023, sharing its platform with the equally fresh Toyota Tundra pickup and Lexus LX600 SUV. Its platform also serves as the basis for the global Toyota Land Cruiser, which was unceremoniously dropped from the North American market. Given all the burdens the new Sequoia has to carry, our expectations were understandably high when we first got behind the wheel.

On paper, Toyota’s third-generation Sequoia is a solid package. Three rows of seats are standard, as is a hybrid twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 powerplant that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy figures of 19 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the four-wheel-drive Sequoia are much improved over the outgoing model, which carried EPA estimates of 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. The rear-wheel drive Sequoia is rated at 21 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Maximum towing capacity varies with vehicle weight, ranging from 8980 pounds for the heaviest four-wheel-drive Capstone to 9520 pounds for the lighter two-wheel-drive SR5. Between these points is a wide range of beautifully styled trim levels, including an off-road-oriented TRD Pro model with an electronically-locking rear differential, Fox dampers and 33-inch off-road tires. The more luxurious Limited, Platinum and range-topping Capstone models should appeal to the mall-driving crowd.

However, the new Sequoia feels only moderately competent on the road. The hybrid drivetrain and its accompanying 10-speed automatic transmission are very smooth and powerful when you press the accelerator. At our test track, we recorded a brisk 5.6-second run to 60 mph in our all-wheel-drive Sequoia Capstone. That’s faster than the GMC Yukon Denali we last tested, which needed 6.0 seconds, but behind the Ford Expedition Timberline’s 5.1 seconds. The Sequoia’s quarter-mile result likewise falls among those other SUVs at 14.3 seconds at 94 mph.

HEIGHT: Quiet cabin in high-end models, modernized design, perky hybrid powertrain.

But the rest of the Sequoia’s handling makes it feel like the shipping container-sized SUV it is—in other words, unwieldy. It feels extra wide, making it harder to lane than we’d like, a trait exacerbated by steering that’s fairly light effort. Angular grip is relatively high. The Sequoia stuck to our skidpad up to 0.76g, which is more than we can say for the Ford and the GMC, but subjectively the Toyota feels less planted than those other SUVs. Its brake pedal also feels soft on initial application, which isn’t a boon to driver confidence, and the Sequoia needed 194 feet to stop from 70 mph.

The Yukon and its twin, the Chevrolet Tahoe, are the current benchmarks for large-SUV dynamics, what with their firm brake pedals, relatively communicative steering and greater sense of what’s appropriate for agility in this segment. With the Toyota’s Platinum, Limited and Capstone trims, we were impressed with their isolation from the road, and except for a bit of wind whistling around the large exterior mirrors, their cabins remained quiet and peaceful. As an option, rear air springs and adaptive dampers can replace coil springs and passive dampers on Platinum and Capstone models, though they mostly serve a load leveling function. On the open road, we couldn’t detect any significant difference between the two setups.

The Sequoia’s comfortable front seats flank an extra-wide center console with plenty of storage cubbies. A sprawling 14.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on all but the base SR5 trim, which makes do with a smaller 8.0-inch screen, but can be optioned with the big one. However, the second and third row seats are not as accommodating. Headroom is limited in the back seat, and it’s tight even in the second row, especially when the Sequoia is equipped with the optional panoramic sunroof. Legroom is particularly short in the third row, in part because, unlike some of its rivals, the Sequoia has a solid rear axle rather than an independent rear suspension. This layout takes up valuable underfloor packaging space, relegating the Sequoia’s rear quarters to a place best left to children.

2023 Toyota Sequoia capstone

marc urban|Car and Driver

As is often the case in three-row SUVs—unless they’re of the extended-wheelbase variety, like the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition Max—cargo space is limited (12 cubic feet) when the Sequoia’s third row is in use. Although the rear row can move forward up to six inches, increasing available space to 22 cubic feet, it does so at the expense of third-row legroom, and it doesn’t fold flat into the floor when you lower it to increase available space to 49 cubic feet. foot. An accessory shelf can be fitted to create a flat cargo floor, but to do so requires dealing with a chest-high lift height that will not make it easy to load bulky items.

LOW: Unwieldy handling, disappointing braking performance, poorly packed second and third rows.

We’d be more willing to overlook some of the new Sequoia’s shortcomings if it were still 2008, but given the power of today’s full-size SUV market, we wish Toyota had put more effort into its packaging and handling. While the new Sequoia is a marked improvement over the outgoing model in all the ways current owners are sure to appreciate, its shortcomings are likely to temper its appeal to more discerning buyers.



2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone
Vehicle Type: Front Engine, Rear/4 Wheel Drive, 7-Passenger, 4-Door Wagon

Base/As Tested: $80,095/$80,095
Options: none

twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.4-liter V-6, 389 hp, 479 lb-ft + AC motor, 48 hp, 184 lb-ft (combined output: 437 hp, 583 lb-ft; 1.9 -kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Suspension, F/R: control arms/live axle
Brakes, F/R: 13.9-in ventilated disc/13.6-in ventilated disc
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T
265/50R-22 112H Extra Load M+S

Wheelbase: 122.0 inches
Length: 208.1 inches
Width: 79.6 inches
Height: 74.5 inches
Passenger volume: 157 feet3
Cargo volume, behind first/second/third rows: 89/49/12 feet3
Curb weight: 6179 lb

60 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4-mile: 14.3 sec @ 94 mph
100 mph: 16.4 sec

Results above omit a 1-foot deployment of 0.3 sec.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.3 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 107 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 194 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-foot skid road: 0.76 g

Observed: 16 mpg

Combined/City/Highway: 20/19/22 mpg


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