This is a better vehicle than its predecessor in every way.
Like the second-generation Tundra and the current 4Runner, Toyota kept the outgoing Sequoia on the market for longer than it should have. Reliable the previous Sequoia may have been, but any car that stays on the market for 15 years is bound to have fallen behind the pack in a few areas.
Fortunately, an all-new Toyota Sequoia has just begun rolling off the production line in Texas. Armed with a far more efficient hybrid powertrain, the new Sequoia benefits from a $391 million investment that Toyota made in the Texas facility in 2019. When we drove the new Sequoia, we were extremely impressed with its refinement and power, and it instantly put to rest any concerns about the departure of the V8.
The upgraded Toyota Texas facility required 3,800 employees and 5,300 on-site suppliers just to prepare for the debut of the Sequoia hybrid, a process that took "thousands of hours."
New manufacturing techniques like laser welding technology and a new production process that will stamp the largest sheet of metal in the manufacturer's history were among the changes introduced.
"The third-generation Sequoia marks a new era of electrified vehicles that will help move us closer to carbon neutrality while delivering on and exceeding customer expectations for this iconic SUV," said Kevin Voelkel, president of Toyota Texas.
While a hybrid Sequoia may move Toyota closer to achieving carbon neutrality, that won't appease Greenpeace. The environmental organization recently ranked Toyota last amongst the world's largest automakers for its efforts to combat climate change. While Toyota still invests heavily in hybrids, it has been far slower to introduce fully electric vehicles.
Still, the new Sequoia is a notable improvement over its predecessor and we prefer it to its Chevrolet Tahoe rival. The i-Force Max powertrain combines a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with an electric motor for outputs of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. When we drove it, we found that the V6's smoothness and the new multi-link rear suspension combine to make this one of the more refined large SUVs around.
Inside, the new Sequoia has also taken a giant leap forward. Quality is much better than before and an available 14-inch touchscreen interface brings the SUV into the 21st century. The range-topping Capstone trim boasts semi-aniline leather upholstery, and seat heating/ventilation for both front rows.
Not only is the new Sequoia a greener, more efficient vehicle than before, but Toyota has commemorated its new base in Texas by donating a combined $100,000 to the San Antonio River Foundation and San Antonio Parks Foundation. This donation will support various environmental initiatives in the area.
"We are truly excited that the new Toyota Sequoia is being manufactured in San Antonio at the company's upgraded facility. This is another welcome milestone demonstrating Toyota's confidence in our city and workforce," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
The new Sequoia will start arriving at dealerships next month.