Solar octane Toyota Sequoia Hybrid brightens snow-white day

The 2023 Toyota Sequoia Hybrid gets first taste of snow near Kersey. (Bud Wells photo)

Wow! Two weeks after I revealed the newest Toyota color – solar octane (bright orange) – on the Tacoma pickup, the same hue showed up on the all-new 2023 Sequoia SUV delivered to me.

The blazing new color surprises me on the big, tough, Sequoia, but forget that flash for there are bigger, more important changes of far more consequence.

The ’23 model is the first real makeover of the Sequoia in 15 years or so, sending the new one into the modern automotive mix.

It’s now a hybrid. The only way you can buy it is as a hybrid. It’s gas and electric beneath the hood.

Its V-8 power is the past, it’s been replaced; the future is today with a twin-turbo V-6 engine and an electric motor generator housed between the V-6 and its 10-speed automatic transmission.

Instant response with excellent acceleration is delivered by the powertrain’s combined output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. All this and a jump in EPA-rated fuel economy to 19 city/22 highway from the former 12-16.

The Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid showed up in time to venture out into a storm as far as the Kersey area before blowing snow drove us back home.

Complementing the Sequoia’s tough-looking exterior is a comfortable interior with well-bolstered, leather front seats, large flat infotainment screen, switch for selecting 2 Hi drive, 4 Hi or 4 Lo, lots of cubby holes and bins for storing small items.

Toyota has replaced last year’s independent rear suspension with solid rear axles. The ’23 model is 3 inches longer in overall length to 208 inches, though it still rides on the same 122-inch wheelbase.

The Sequoia’s catback exhaust still emits a satisfying rumble and burbling sound out the rear pipes.

Built in San Antonio, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Hybrid lists sticker price at $80,291. Among features are multi-terrain selection, crawl control, Fox shocks, radar cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist, cast-aluminum running boards, auto-leveling LED headlights, aluminum skid plate, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, heated and ventilated front seats, power liftgate with flip-up glass and TRD roofrack.

Among other makes offering full-size, three-row SUVs with seating for eight are the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, the new Jeep Wagoneer and Nissan Armada.