2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone 4WD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Hybrid, SUV, Test Drives, Toyota

2023 toyota sequoia capstone 4wd

The world of body-on-frame large SUVs has gained a newfound love as we inch towards an electrified future. Until that time arrives, Toyota puts their best efforts forward to bring us hybrid vehicles, even in the new Toyota Sequoia, which makes for an interesting package for the latest large SUV from the brand.

In my previous first brush with the newly redesigned 2023 Toyota Sequoia, I walked away pleased with all that they had to offer in the TRD Pro trim. Now, I get my hands on the new Sequoia Capstone trim, the highest trim level that brings some premium content attempts to offer a luxury theme, but I’m not so sure there’s enough here to warrant its price of admission. However, there’s a lot to like in the new Sequoia and eventually appreciate with the generous interior proportions that match its large-and-in-charge exterior that’s adorned with 22-inch dark chrome wheels, body-colored wheel arches, and a unique grille.

Performance and Driving Character

The new Toyota Sequoia gets only one powertrain across the lineup, a hybrid setup featuring a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and an electric motor to produce a total of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Power is directed through a 10-speed automatic transmission where you only have two-wheel-drive to do the business out on paved roads while there is a four-high or four-low setting that’s designated for off-road adventures, all part of a part-time 4WD system.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone side

You never miss the old V8 in the new Sequoia as the twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain provides a substantial amount of power and pulling power to tow as much as 8,980 pounds for my Capstone 4WD-trimmed test vehicle, or as much as 9,280 pounds if you opt for a 2WD version. Power comes on smoothly, with the hybrid powertrain having a seamless transition of power from the electric motor to the gas engine. Just like in a Prius, Toyota has nearly perfected the hybrid drive system, and the Sequoia, with its substantial power output, never misses a beat for delivering the power that you demand.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone rear

Acceleration is strong, and you’ll get up to 60 mph in about 5.6 seconds, which is substantially quicker than the outgoing V8-powered Sequoia. The way in which the Sequoia Capstone handles the road feels almost like the Tundra, in which many components are shared. However, there’s a bit more smoothness to the ride quality in the Sequoia Capstone, but you still get some of the rugged feeling and seldom jiggles of the body going over aggressive road imperfections. Overall, the ride quality is good, and there’s a welcoming sound that’s emitted from the turbo V6 that doesn’t sound all that bad but still not as good as the old V8’s rumble.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone

There’s an inviting feeling to how the Sequoia drives in its surprising stability for such a large SUV where it never feels floaty or too much to handle out on the road. The suspension tuning is spot on for such a vehicle, even with the large 22-inch wheels wrapped with P265/50R22 all-season rubber. The braking feel is good and assuring as well, where you cannot tell where the braking regen for the hybrid system transitions to the friction brakes. The hybrid management is excellent as it steps in with added power from the electric motor to virtually fill areas where the gas engine may be in a lower RPM where it needs a bit more grunt to get the large SUV moving.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone front

Fuel Economy

Being a hybrid, the new Sequoia offers a rather consistent level of fuel consumption that allows some drivers who are more conscious of how the hybrid system works to muster out better mileage numbers than the EPA estimates. Such a situation can be done mostly in heavy traffic, where I saw as much as 24 mpg over the course of about 8 miles. However, driving normally around town and on the highway, you’ll nearly match the EPA estimates of 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. Here you may fall a bit short, as I did during most of my time with the Sequoia Capstone 4WD getting an average of 18.2 mpg in the city and about 21.5 mpg on the highway driving slightly above the posted 70 mph speed limit. Filling the 22.5-gallon fuel tank will yield you a range as high as 495 miles if you match the 22-mpg figure.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone gauge cluster

Interior and Technology

The latest infotainment unit using a large 14-inch touchscreen is a decent system in the Sequoia and other Toyota vehicles that I’ve grown to really appreciate because of its simplicity. The only issue I have is I wish that Toyota made better use of the large screen area to offer split-screen functions rather than core functions taking up the entire area all at once. Otherwise, the wireless and USB-connected integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work flawlessly as the system is very responsive and straightforward.

The cabin of the new Sequoia is huge, and there are a lot of conveniences that go the distance to make the interior an inviting space. For the Sequoia Capstone trim, the interior is leveled up a bit for more of a premium feel but doesn’t do as much as I would have hoped for, considering the Sequoia’s competitors do it better for their top-trims.

There’s still an abundance of hard plastics throughout, and the white soft-touch surfaces, along with the upper soft-touch dashboard and a small amount of wood trim, only go so far to separate the Capstone trim from other trim levels. Fundamentally, I could do without the Capstone add-ons and opt for a lower trim level where you can save a substantial amount.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone front seats

The unique parts of the Sequoia Capstone include the premium leather upholstery along with the contrasting colors of the perforated leather seats that are ventilated and heated for both the front and second-row captain’s chairs. The color head-up display is also a nice touch but is something that has become somewhat commonplace for competitors, even on lower trim levels. To round up the unique bits of the Sequoia Capstone you get sound-insulated windows and all of the equipment that you find on the Sequoia Platinum trim.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone 2nd row seats

Seating areas are huge and prove to be surprisingly comfy despite the initial look of the seat’s bubbly bolstering. The second-row captain’s chairs are comfy as well, while the third-row seating for three people is large and wide, but taller individuals over 6 feet may want to skip the row as the roof is not as high from the seat bottom as I would have thought. Also, the third-row seating can power-fold but not completely flat to the floor – the seats folded rise above the floor a few inches where you don’t have a flat loading floor in the Sequoia, even though you have just over 22 cubic feet of storage with the seats in place and nearly 87 cubic feet with both rear rows folded.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone 3rd row seats


Toyota’s latest Safety Sense 2.5 suite for the new Sequoia includes all of the expected active safety features highlighting full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, front pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert/keeping with steering assist, road sign assist, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning and emergency braking, and automatic high-beams. The 360-degree camera system is pretty good, providing multiple angles and zoom views to help prevent curbing those 22-inch wheels or keeping the stylish chiseled body panels free from dents.

2023 toyota sequoia capstone cargo


Where things start to make you scratch your head is the price of the Sequoia Capstone at $80,900 as tested (includes a $1,595 delivery, processing, and handling fee). Such a price level seems a bit high considering competitors with comparable equipment. However, the Sequoia Capstone does undercut other higher-trim and premium-themed vehicles like a new GMC Yukon Denali that’s fully loaded. But you get a bit more content in a loaded Yukon Denali, and Toyota seems to hope that buyers will pay the admission for the long-touted reliability of the brand.


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