2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Review: A Family Hauling, Off-Roading Jack Of Most Trades

There’s something about the 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro that catches everyone’s attention. Actually, it’s a lot of things—the fender flares, the chunky tires, and if it’s orange, the paint. The once-subtle SUV that mostly blended in with other three-row family haulers is now aggro and hardcore, garnering second looks and Instagram likes in droves. Still, it’s supposed to be more than a showpiece. It’s built to haul you and six other people wherever you tell it to go.

Sure, most are told to go to the grocery store, but the TRD Pro trim is capable of a lot more if you’ll just trust it. It’s tied for the most powerful brute in Toyota’s lineup thanks to its standard hybrid twin-turbo V6, and because it shares so much with its Tundra sibling, it’ll even tow another toy behind it. The important part to remember is that it’s a mix of Toyota’s greatest strengths, and because of that, it’s an exceptional all-arounder.

Caleb Jacobs

Just don’t expect it to be the best off-roader, the best workhorse, or the best value. Because it combines so much into one, it makes slight compromises in each area while boasting a mighty price tag. That said, if you absolutely have to shuttle seven people at all times, it’s a premium pick that outperforms its domestic competition in both tangible and intangible ways.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Specs

  • Base price (as tested): $77,660 ($80,591)
  • Powertrain: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid | 10-speed automatic transmission | four-wheel drive
  • Horsepower: 437 @ 5,200 rpm
  • Torque: 583 lb-ft @ 2,400 rpm
  • Curb weight: 6,150 pounds
  • Max towing capacity: 9,020 pounds
  • Off-road angles: 23° approach | 20° departure
  • Wheelbase: 122.0 inches
  • Ground clearance: 9.1 inches
  • EPA fuel economy: 19 mpg city | 22 highway | 20 combined
  • Quick take: A do-it-all rig for those who believe that more is more.
  • Score: 7.5/10

The Basics

Toyota knows the 2023 Sequoia has a ton of potential to make a ton of money. Americans especially are buying up three-row, body-on-frame SUVs like crazy as we become increasingly obsessed with having everything we may ever want, rather than what we actually need. Still, neither Toyota nor I are here to tell people they shouldn’t do that, and as proof, the automaker developed the Sequoia TRD Pro with just about every option you can imagine.

The exterior has been restyled to match the also-new Tundra pickup at the front, and I’d say it works even better on the Sequoia. It was polarizing when it launched, but most folks have had time to adjust to it by now. People either love or hate the pumped-up styling of the TRD Pro with its digital camo details and fake plastic hood vents—I could live without ‘em—but that’s the direction new car design is headed in.

It’s a similar story inside where you’ll find a 14-inch infotainment screen running Google everything, a crispy 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and chunky controls all around. Some Sequoia TRD Pro interiors are red, which would be way too much with the Solar Octane exterior on my tester, but thankfully they also come in black. The second-row captain seats are super comfy while still allowing enough room for a pass-through in the middle. And despite the hybrid battery sitting underneath the floor, it doesn’t feel cramped for headroom or legroom.

The powertrain makes an even bigger statement than the TRD Pro’s styling, which is saying something. It combines a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with a 1.87-kilowatt-hour battery and an electric motor to produce 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. All that comes on in a hurry, but maybe the best part is that it only comes on when you need it. The 2023 Sequoia moves in silence at drive-thru speeds, then when it’s time for the internal combustion engine to kick in, it fires up and sends power through a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s four-wheel drive, clearly, and it makes use of a two-speed transfer case.

Driving the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

It’s wise to expect that everyone will look at you as you unlock the bright orange thing and climb in. That’s what you sign up for when you drive something with this many tacticool styling cues, wide fender flares, and a sport exhaust. I tested a $300,000 Bentley shortly after this and got fewer glares than I did in the Sequoia. Thankfully, there’s no complicated startup procedure, even though it looks like there might be. You just press the brake and bright red start button, then go on your way—far from anyone who questions your financial decisions.

The 2023 Sequoia glides around town and on the interstate, even though it switches back to a coil-sprung solid rear axle from the previous model’s independent rear suspension. The ride is smooth—almost numb, as is the steering—which is what most folks want from their daily drivers. You don’t really notice the transmission either, but there are plenty of turbo whooshes and exhaust noises that get piped into the cabin. I wouldn’t say it’s artificially sporty, but Toyota takes every opportunity to augment the performance driving experience.

Everything is nice and quiet inside, so much so that I could whisper to my wife in the passenger seat and my four-year-old in the second row heard every word. That roof rack did make some noise at speed, which is enough to bug you on a long trip, but I mostly drowned it out by cranking up the 14-speaker JBL stereo system. It’s a drastically more refined experience in most ways compared to the old V8 model, and if it proves to be as reliable, that’s a big win.

Toyota

The TRD Pro’s on-road manners are nice—same as any other Sequoia trim—but it’s got so many off-road doo-dads that it has to perform away from the pavement. I was able to test it out at my family’s creekside property that had just gone through a flood, so there were plenty of obstacles for the Toyota to prove its mettle on. 

It’s great at getting traction, especially in 4LO which enables the 6,150-pound beast to conquer loose gravel inclines without headache. What’s great is that Crawl Control, which is Toyota’s version of off-road cruise control, has mercifully been updated. It’s finally usable (the old version wasn’t), so it allows you to focus on where you put your tires while you set the desired speed with a knob. Throttle modulation doesn’t have to be your problem if you don’t want it to be.

I expected the Sequoia TRD Pro to do well wherever it fit. I was mostly correct. It’s real darn long at 208.1 inches overall, and with a wheelbase of 122 inches, I surely tested those skid plates on steep rock ledges. Ground clearance is actually down for 2023 at 9.1 inches whereas the 2022 model had 10 inches flat, and I felt that as the underbelly brushed along the creek gravel in more than one spot. The Fox suspension with 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks provides a decent amount of flex, though it’ll go up on three wheels if the rut is too deep on one side, showing that this big boy isn’t the most dedicated wheeler. Instead, it’s a lifestyle statement that’s more than capable for what most will throw at it, though it requires some modification to be truly great when the going gets rough.

The Highs and Lows

It’s impossible for me to speak on reliability since I only tested the Sequoia for a week, but I reckon this is the best Toyota to do life with. It’s enabling in the sense that you can comfortably bring six people with you wherever, as well as all their stuff, while also pulling a trailer and then ditching it to go way out in the woods once you get to them. Like I said earlier, it’s not the best at any one thing but it’s the best at doing a little—or a lot—in each category.

Caleb Jacobs

The infotainment has a ways to go before it’s totally figured out. The 14-inch display is easy to read with a crisp resolution, and the Google integration is nicely done, but my tester’s screen was laggy at times and totally blank at others. It always reset, but that kind of bug is only amplified when the infotainment takes up so much real estate on the dash.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Features, Options, and Competition

Most everything on the Sequoia TRD Pro comes standard, save for a few features like the power tow mirrors ($290), panoramic roof ($500), and roof rack ($1,695). The Solar Octane paint job on my tester also cost an additional $425, though the other colors that don’t clash with the red TRD accents are $0 and look better.

Caleb Jacobs

It competes with the Ford Expedition Timberline and Chevy Tahoe Z71, both American models that are surprisingly more reserved than the Toyota in question. The Sequoia TRD Pro also has the highest starting price of the three, with the outdoorsy Expedition kicking off at $71,400 and the Tahoe Z71 at $65,295 with the 5.3-liter V8. (The more comparable 6.2-liter Chevy is priced from $73,895 but still, it’s cheaper). The Sequoia has the most torque of the three, the second-most ground clearance, and the second-highest max tow rating behind the Expedition.

If I were buying a Sequoia, I’d probably get the Limited trim and spec it with the TRD Off-Road package. That nets you the 4×4 goodies like an electronically locking rear diff, Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Bilstein shocks, and a skid plate for right around $72,000 with the 14-speaker JBL Audio system added on.

Fuel Economy

EPA

The Sequoia TRD Pro gets better fuel economy than its non-electrified competitors with 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. Not even the 6.2-liter Tahoe’s highway mileage can match the Sequoia’s city rating, which is no doubt due to the Toyota’s hybrid assist. Rest assured, it can be thirsty, especially if you’re goosing it constantly around town or on the interstate. That twin-turbo V6 loves boost and if it weren’t for the battery, I bet the Sequoia would be a lot closer to the Expedition.

Value and Verdict

It’s important to note that the TRD Pro is not a value model; it’s a premium trim. You can get more of what you need and less of what you don’t if you go with a lower-tier Sequoia. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the extra cash if you like the crazy looks and the added capability. 

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro appeals to a specific type of driver that wants more of everything. Wouldn’t you know it, there are more of those buyers out there now than ever. It has all the party tricks, from the huge center screen to the hybrid powertrain that’s silent at low speeds, and it’ll impress anyone the first time they ride in it. There are definitely worse ways to spend this much money, as long as you can stand the stares.

Caleb Jacobs

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