Skip to main content

“It’s Useless Offroad” Why Highlander Owners Are Not Switching Over to The New Sequoia

With the release of the new Sequoia to the market being right around the corner, why are Highlander owners not willing to trade in?


The new 2023 Toyota Sequoia has won my title of “most anticipated Toyota” this year. Of course that title from me means absolutely nothing but other than the bZ4X and the new Crown, the new Sequoia has been the most anticipated for me. The new 2023 Toyota Sequoia is being marketed as a family hauler/off-roader for certain trims. Is I spent $90,000 (market adjusted number) on a new Sequoia Capstone; I probably wouldn’t want to get it too muddy? However, a TRD trim of Sequoia would make me way more comfortable to take in the mud than a Capstone.

Now here’s the question, why are current generation Highlander owners less likely to switch over to the new Sequoia? True it is more expensive and less fuel efficient but when commenters on a Facebook group post explained why, these were none of the options. On Facebook’s 2023 Toyota Sequoia group, Greg Marich asked, “Does anyone currently own a highlander in here that plans to purchase a Sequoia?”

“It’s Useless Offroad” Why Highlander Owners Are Not Switching Over to The New Sequoia

Now the average owner of a brand-new Toyota Highlander would probably be financially stable to afford a base model Sequoia. Of course, every individual or family is different but for most, it’s just a few thousand more on a trade in. In fact, if you do decide to trade in your brand-new Toyota Highlander, you would probably get pretty close to the number you paid for. For once in history, some non-supercar owners like 2022 Toyota Tundra owners are able to trade in their new Tundra for more than MSRP. Let’s take a look and see what some owners had to say.

Amie Goddard said, “I want to, but after some of the posts regarding the cargo space in the rear I don’t know now.” I believe you can fold down the seats in the new Sequoia and also in the Highlander as well. Now if you own a pet and you plan to maybe take them on trips in the new Sequoia, then that might result in some cramped space because of the low roof line towards the trunk if you fold the seats down. Especially if you have a big dog.

Bill Altermatt said, “We had a 2021 Highlander and were planning to make the switch to a Sequoia TRD Pro; however, after the demos started coming out and we see how useless they would be off-road we started to rethink the decision.” They ended up going with a 4Runner which honestly, is not a bad decision.

So, whether or not you plan to trade in your brand-new Tundra or Highlander or even 4Runner, (which I don’t see why you would trade in a 4Runner, those are literal tank.) Remember that this new Sequoia is going to be in it’s first year of production, so we don’t know if it’ll follow the same problems as the Tundra in terms of wastegate issues or rear axle issues. But given Toyota’s strive to make better cars, I could also see them improving these issues for the next platform they put it on.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun and on YouTube at Toyota Time for daily Toyota news.


Daniel Herman (not verified)    July 25, 2022 - 8:36AM

These are speculations, Sequoia it’s not available to be purchased yet, why Mr Hareyan come up with this BS? They better report something real.
I just purchased the new Tundra and I’m thinking purchasing the Sequoia too for my wife.

Harutiun Hareyan    July 27, 2022 - 5:34PM

In reply to by Daniel Herman (not verified)

Hello Daniel,
Thank you very much for the comment. I did not say that my opinion was that the Sequoia is a bad car to take off road. I simply reported that prospective buyers of this car would not take it off-road as I have quoted int he article. Feel free to click on the link and take a look at that Facebook post. Almost all of them said they wouldn't. Thank you very much for the feedback.

Chris (not verified)    July 25, 2022 - 11:16AM

You're asking the wrong question. You should be asking why 4Runner drivers are not switching to a Sequoia. If you want 7 seats and a 4x4 Toyota, your already driving a 4Runner. A Highlander is not an off-road vehicle.

I wouldn't go to the Sequoia because it's so expensive and gets pretty bad gas mileage. The highlander gets 21 the hybrid gets 35. That's a HUGE difference. Give me a large vehicle that's more affordable AND Hybrid or... even better a PHEV and we'll talk. But this would be the Grand Highlander that there is talk of releasing.

A Sequoia would be purely luxury item - OR for people who own show horses.

MFA (not verified)    July 26, 2022 - 3:13PM

I think this is a very funny post. Most of us have four wheel drive vehicles and never take them off-road or very seldom. If that's your primary criteria, I doubt you'll spend $90,000 on a Toyota Sequoia but you will spend that for a great family car for trips to the snow and to the beach and everywhere else that you actually go. We have a four-wheel drive Sequoia and a full-time four-wheel drive Toyota Land cruiser and admittedly as much as it sounds macho, they almost never see off-road

Leo Chen (not verified)    July 26, 2022 - 7:57PM

The Sequoia and the Tundra and the Land Cruiser all have full frame on body construction.

I'm pretty sure that they don't have rear independent suspension, but I could be wrong.

So they're heavy but more robust than uniibody cars.

Charles (not verified)    July 26, 2022 - 9:31PM

After owning a 2017 Highlander SE awd and currently a 2022 Highlander limited awd. There is no way a sequoia could replace either.. The Highlander for me has tackled sand dunes… Snow.. mud with no issues.. very light and agile

Willie (not verified)    July 27, 2022 - 1:25PM

I think the writer is not good at his job. He makes an assertion that he doesn't defend in the text. Problem with logic?

Harutiun Hareyan    July 27, 2022 - 5:35PM

In reply to by Willie (not verified)

Hello Willie,
Thank you for your comment. I simply reported what prospective buyers said about the vehicle. I personally would take it off road but the real people who would buy it say they would not. That is my point. Thank you for your feedback.

Tom Oertel (not verified)    July 28, 2022 - 7:58AM

I purchased one of the 1st Sequoias in New England in 2000, it had its share of rusting frame issues and 14 yrs later, at 244,000 miles Toyota replaced the frame allowing the vehicle to pass inspection and be sold. I bought a used 2010 in 2014 with 105k miles and it’s been great. I take it to camp on gnarly roads and the best feature is still the power rear window that allows me to slide my heavy kakak inside instead of hoisting it onto the roof, a 2 person job vs solo.I have built a plywood platform after removing rear 3rd row seats and now store outboard motor and heavy duty fish boxes under that and lighter fishing and camping gear on top of the platform, given the spacious room once seats removed, Sadly, the new Sequoia is being marketed at the Lux demographic and offers Outdoors folks like me none of the options above I require. For that reason, when my Seq hits 250k I need to look elsewhere. Toyota could have done a much better job recruiting their Seq installed base but blew it with one segment except the carting-kids to games one. Too bad they didn’t make my needs options on the “new and improved” boat.

Howie (not verified)    December 31, 2022 - 11:00PM

I've had 2 4runners, 2 Tacomas, 2 Tundras, and a Highlander. I'm offroad 30ish weekends a year if not more. As an example, it's new years eve, I've been living out of my truck (tundra) 4 days a week since deer season started in Oct.
We always wanted a Sequoia for my wife, but we don't want a turbo six. She'll stick with her na 6 cyl Highlander. I'd buy another 5.7, but as it stands, when I'm done with my current Tundra I'll probably buy a pos power stroke Ford.
Toyota held mastery over trucks that did truck things. Those days are over. I don't need a dash full of gadgets. I need a truck that does truck things.