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The 2023 Toyota Sequoia is large and in-your-face

What the Americans are getting since they won’t have the LC300

The new Sequoia in red is almost as big as Clifford. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

While most of the world is enjoying the full-size Toyota Land Cruiser 300, our friends in America will not be receiving it. You can argue that they are getting the Lexus LX 600 (which is essentially a posh Land Cruiser 300), but not everyone would want to use that to shuttle their families around.

Enter the Toyota Sequoia, the other full-size SUV offering from the Japanese automaker. You may have seen several older models here on our streets, dwarfing nearly every vehicle that pulls up beside it. Most of these models are of the XK60-generation, which was unveiled way back in 2007.

With its Tundra stablemate being refreshed last year, it was only a matter of time before the three-row SUV would receive its own update.

There are lots of bling to go around in the Capstone trim. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The latest iteration shares a strikingly similar design to its truck sibling, which is unsurprising. Hints of the Tundra’s imposing and macho design are seen in its front and rear fascia, and its boxy, flared-out quarter panels.

But the design has been refined and polished to cater to a slightly more reserved demographic (unless you get the TRD Pro). There are plenty of chrome accents going around, wheel options up to 22-inch, and even powered running boards (on the Capstone trim).

The Capstone cabin is borderline Lexus quality. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The interior receives a lot of changes that push it into Lexus territory. Depending on the model grade you get, the cabin gets features like a moonroof, heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, captain’s chairs, power-folding third-row seats, a power liftgate, and second- and third-row sunshades.

We've come to a point where screens in our cars are as big as an average laptop. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

Tech features also include a 14-speaker JBL premium sound system, a heads-up display, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. There is wireless charging and 120V power outlets. It also has a standard eight-inch screen, and there is an option for a 14-inch infotainment screen as well.

There's plenty of space in this luxurious interior. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The highest trim level has two-tone semi-aniline leather seats, with open-pored American walnut trim pieces, and ambient lighting. It even has acoustic glass to help with sound-deadening.

But if luxury is not your thing, there is the TRD Pro. It has the obvious TRD cosmetics like 18-inch black wheels, 0.25-inch thick TRD front skid plate, a heritage “TOYOTA” grille with amber marker lights, an embedded lightbar, and blacked-out accents. Performance-wise, it comes with TRD-tuned Fox shocks, a locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select, and dual TRD exhaust tips.

Want to bring your entire family off-road? Get the TRD Pro instead. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

There are five model grades: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and the top-of-the-line Capstone. It is offered either in 2WD or 4WD (with TRD Pro coming only in 4WD). All will use the i-Force Max powertrain (first seen in the refreshed Tundra).

This hybrid powertrain has more grunt compared to the outgoing V8. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

This powertrain combines a twin-turbo V6 engine with a hybrid system for a combined 437hp and 790Nm, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. There are no fuel consumption figures yet, but Toyota says that it is “extremely competitive.” It is also capable of towing a maximum of 4,082kg, which is 22% better than the last generation.

It also shares the same TNGA platform that underpins the new Tundra, the Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX. There is improved ride comfort and rigidity due to the new power steering system and the suspension improvements (multilink in the rear, with load-leveling air suspension and adaptive variable suspension to aid with towing).

Other benefits the Sequoia enjoys with this new platform are an adjustable cargo shelf and a sliding third row. The latter allows the third row to have 152mm of adjustment range for more legroom or cargo.

Like most modern Toyotas, it comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, which has all the usual features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. It can now also detect pedestrians and cyclists, and automatically brake and assist in steering in certain conditions.

Pricing has not been announced, but it will go on sale in the US this summer. Do not be surprised if you see several of these pop up for sale in the gray market toward the end of this year.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.