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How The 2023 Toyota Sequoia Justifies Its Huge Starting MSRP

HotCars logo HotCars 7/1/2022 Philip Uwaoma
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You’d never miss it in a large parking lot full of SUVs. Sequoia’s monumental profile is even more majestic now that the full-size luxury SUV is redesigned for the model year 2023. It’s a tireless King Kong always ready and fully capable to carry you safely around and across towns in the most sophisticated and comfortable manner.

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Right from conception, the Toyota Sequoia has always been a full-size, 3-row SUV, and yes, there are plenty of other spacious 3-row you can get brand new for far less than $53,000, such as the 2022 Hyundai Palisade, an eight-passenger full-size SUV built for utmost comfort and luxury, and a $33,600 starting price and the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, a compact crossover with 3rd-row seating, up to seven passengers seating, and a drool-worthy $26.095 starting price.

However, hardly any of the competition can match the Toyota Sequoia’s grit and overall capability. Here’s the American SUV that’s always accommodated seven to eight people more comfortably than you can rarely have it elsewhere. While a starting price of nearly $60,000 is competitive pricing, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia can prove tooth-for-tooth what all that money gets you. Let’s take a quick look.

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An Overview Of The 2023 Sequoia

SUVs are more expensive than cars by default. As you know by now, the average price of an SUV depends on both the model and class. We have compact SUVs, midsizes, and full-size SUVs. And then we have luxury SUVs that can fall in any class with examples including the 2022 Lexus NX (compact SUV), the 2022 Acura MDX (midsize SUV), and of course, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, which is the most luxurious in the marque’s portfolio.

The only other Toyota vehicle surpassing Sequoia’s size was the Hummer-like military-focused Mega Cruiser, a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive SUV introduced in 1995.

Sequoia was, from the beginning, targeted at the North American market. Toyota based the large SUV on the Tundra pickup truck, and the model has been sold in America since 2001. It isn’t the best-selling Toyota SUV (that title would go to the Toyota RAV4) as of today, but it has remained an important nameplate in the Japanese automaker’s inventory since the 2000/2001 model year when it sold 78,499 units in total.

Sales peaked the following year (2002), with Toyota selling 70,817 units of the SUV in America alone. Between 2003 and 2021, Toyota sold 415,745 Sequoia models and counting in America. As is the case with most Toyota-branded vehicles, Sequoia has been a successful nameplate, even though it's gone almost 15 years without a full redesign.

The model scored 3.5 out of 5 in RepairPal’s Reliability rating, placing it 5th out of 14 full-size SUVs polled. The yearly average repair cost of $642, according to RepairPal, reinforces Sequoia as an SUV not exactly meant for the impecunious. The data shows that while the frequency of repairs is average, the problems, when they do arise, have a higher chance of being severe compared to similar brands.

Ultimately, Sequoia is more American than any other Toyota product, which isn't surprising considering that the development of the very first generation Sequoia, under the direction of chief engineer Kaoru Hosokawa, was aimed directly at the Ford Expedition and similar American full-size SUVs. The SUV made Toyota the first Japanese automaker to enter North America’s mainstream full-size SUV segment.

Sequoia’s place in Toyota’s lineup is even more elevated now that sales of the Land Cruiser in North America have ceased from the 2022 model year onward, making Sequoia a flagship Toyota SUV for the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica.

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Can Toyota Justify Sequoia’s $58,300 Starting Price?

As much as we would like to avoid it, compare-and-contrast is one of the clearest ways to determine the value of a product, especially automobiles. So, which are the 2023 Sequoia’s biggest contenders? Ford Expedition would top that list, followed by Nissan Armada, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon. A fair judgment in a head-to-head comparison of the 2023 Toyota Sequoia and the 2022 Ford Expedition would consider multiple areas, including performance, towing capacity, off-road capabilities, interior and technological features, safety features, and of course, pricing.

Starting with performance, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia comes out on top of the 2022 Ford Expedition. That includes the Sequoia base model, essentially justifying its nearly $59,000 starting price. How so? An iForce MAX hybrid powerplant comprising a 3.4L twin-turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 24-valve V6 engine come standard in all 2023 Sequoia trim levels. The system can generate a combined output of 437 horsepower and 583 pound-force feet of torque.

Compared to the Ford Expedition's twin-turbo 3.5L V6 engine producing 380 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, Sequoia is the clear winner despite Expedition's over $70,000 starting price. Consider that even Expedition’s top dog boasts 440 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.

In terms of doing the grunt work, Expedition boasts a max towing weight of 9,300 lbs. Compare that to Sequoia’s 9,520 maximum towing strength, and you are more than happy to fork over the $60,000. Sequoia’s grunt work prowess doesn’t come as a surprise when you remember the SUV is based on the Tundra pickup truck.

The next box to tick is off-road capabilities. Sequoia wins again, thanks to its TNGA-F body-on-frame platform shared with the Land Cruiser. If we place side-by-side both brand's off-road-focused variants – the Sequoia TRD Pro and the Expedition Timberline - Sequoia still comes out on top, thanks to its wider array of offroading features such as the 2.5-inch Fox dampers, CRAWL Control, a selectable locking rear differential, a Multi-Terrain Monitor, Multi-Terrain Select, Downhill Assist Control, and last but not least, the 33-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires.

Safety-wise, both brands match each other’s hi-tech safety features. Both equally stand shoulder to shoulder in respect to interior and technological features such as heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, multi-zone climate control system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and more.

All things considered, Sequoia is the clear best-buy among the class of full-size SUVs. Not only does it beat its peers in power and performance, but it is also competitively priced, considering the comparatively less-performing Ford Expedition touting a starting price of $68,150. Summarily, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia is an entirely new generation of its bloodline, complete with a new Capstone top trim.

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