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I’m not sure if the 2023 sequoia has the same type of 4wd system as the tundra, or if it similar to the previous model sequoia with a center locking differential in the transfer case. From what I can find, it’s like the tundra with a standard 2HI/4HI/4LO transfer case.

I also live where we get snow several months out of the year. It piles up and stays cold, but sometimes it sticks to the roadways for weeks at a time before slowly evaporating from sunny days. I’ve always owned a 4wd and haven’t liked my Auto4wd GM type systems. They are wonky to engage and have always caused issues with the transfer case, front driveline, or front diff. I don’t leave my vehicles in 4wd all the time but have it when I need it. The only issues with the traditional 4wd system in my 2nd Gen tundra is turning in to parking spaces in patchy or partly dry pavement. But I find it to be a very minor inconvenience.

We also have a 2nd Gen sequoia for the family trickster with the locking center diff and it’s the bee’s knees. You can just leave it in 4wd all the time (even if it’s not snowy, but I don’t) and engage the center diff lock when there’s enough snow to warrant it. It is far superior to the domestic brands’ Auto4wd systems (happy to elaborate, but they are VERY different systems than the 2nd Gen sequoias). I honestly stopped using the auto4wd in them since I felt that they made the vehicle handling more unpredictable and either left it in 2Hi or just went straight to 4 hi. Even many AWD systems on midsize SUV’s are just front wheel drive that will engage the rear tires occasionally. The sequoia, on the other hand, never leaves me guessing. While I wish the tundra had the same system, I don’t find the tundras system to be lacking or problematic or inconvenient. Perhaps a 2022 or older Sequoia would be a better fit for you?

So I understand your dilemma. It doesn’t take much effort to learn how to use a standard 4wd system effectively - you do, however, need to be thinking a step ahead for when you think you might need it. Well, kinda, anyways. Also, Toyota’s Nannie’s - as intrusive and cursed as they can be - are very effective at keeping your vehicle pointed the right direction in inclement weather. Almost all of the other rear wheel drive platforms that I’ve driven like to kick out sideways on snowy or icy roads, requiring driver input. This sometimes even happens with constant throttle input and speed just driving straight down the road. But I’ve seen and felt the traction control/stability control engage several times in very similar conditions to keep my truck going straight down the road with very little - if any - input or correction from the driver. It’s kinda spooky how fast the computer will cut power and apply a brake at the correct tire to maintain control. It’s the cutting power part that aggravates most folks, but once you figure out what it’s doing you learn how to use it effectively.

If safety is your concern, then a great set of tires (think snow tires for the winter) and good driving habits make a much safer ride than auto 4wd. Whatever vehicle you choose, familiarize yourself with its driving characteristics in all weather (empty parking lots with traction control disable will tell you heaps :) ).
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