Toyota Sequoia Luggage Test: How much fits behind the third row?


Jan 25, 2022

As the above photo will attest, Autoblog's Advanced Institute for Luggage Testing has moved, dear readers. No longer will I need to worry about shooting in the rain or worrying about my frozen fingers being smashed by bags during the winter in Portland. Instead, I'll need to worry about blazing heat at 8:30 in the morning or catching on fire, as we've relocated to Southern California. This isn't the permanent spot (the new house, I mean Institute, is being renovated), but don't worry, I made sure that the trusty collection of bags stayed with me. Priorities, eh?

Anyway, let's talk about the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, because it sure is an interesting test case. All-new for the first time since George W. Bush was president, the Sequoia's cargo situation is truly unique, and not necessarily in a good way. The specs say there is between 11.5 and 22.3 cubic-feet of space behind the raised third row. What's up with the range rather than a single number? The Sequoia uniquely has a sliding third-row seat, which is a commendable feature in theory. Trouble is, you have to slide it all the way forward to achieve that maximum 22.3 number. You have to do no such thing in the Sequoia's American rivals to achieve comparable on-paper cargo volumes: Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon (25.5), Ford Expedition (19.3) and Jeep Wagoneer (27.4). The Sequoia's minimum number, 11.5 cubic-feet, would theoretically be worse than a Kia Sorento, which would be pathetic.

Alas, the Advanced Institute for Luggage Testing exists for a reason: Numbers don't really tell the whole story. And rarely has that been more true than with the 2023 Toyota Sequoia.

So yeah, while Toyota certainly went to great lengths to engineer clever workarounds, they are nevertheless workarounds. The new Sequoia has less cargo space than its predecessor, and far less space than its rivals. Add in its smaller passenger accommodations and you have a full-size SUV that in terms of interior packaging, just isn't competitive.