In a dog eat dog crossover world, sometimes the array of choices can be overwhelming. Here’s something easy then: Toyota’s 2012 Highlander is a great choice if you don’t have to haul Hulk sized items around every day.
Don’t believe me? OK, here’s a little more to help you make up your own mind. Or if your mind’s already made up, configure a Highlander on CarWoo! now.
Toyota Highlander Trims and Features
2012 Highlanders come in base, SE, and Limited trims. Toyota also offers 2 hybrid trims: Highlander Hybrid ($38,140) and Hybrid Limited ($43,795).
Base Highlander (from $28,090) features include a 4-cylinder engine, with 17” alloy wheels, front and rear A/C, 6-speaker sound with CD player and MP3 capability, cloth interior, and keyless entry.
SE Highlanders offer a V6 engine option, foglamps, heated, folding outside mirrors, roof rails, XM radio with ipod & Bluetooth capability, a 3.5” MID display with back-up camera (this feature is optional for base Highlander), and leather trim with heated front seats.
Top Limited Highlander adds 19” wheels, chrome roof rails, 3-zone climate control, perforated leather seating, voice controls on a leather trimmed steering wheel, and woodgrain interior trim.
A rear seat entertainment system, and touchscreen navigation display are also available for SE and Limited trims.
Toyota Highlander Performance
Drivers get one of two engines depending on trim and choice. Base Highlander and SE option engines are 2.7 liter 4-cylinders, capable of 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4-cylinder Highlanders come with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. A V6 is the other option, and comes standard with Limited trims. It’s 3.5 liters and 270 horsepower with 248 lb.-ft. of torque. V6 Highlanders get a 5-speed transmission and front-wheel drive standard with the option of all-wheel drive.
Toyota also offers a Highlander Hybrid option: 3.5 liter V6 gas engine paired with front and rear electric motors that combine for 280 net horsepower. Highlander Hybrid gets an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission and 4WD-i (4-wheel drive) that gives the back wheels up to 96 lbs. of additional electric motor torque when warranted.
Highlander can also tow up to 5,000 lbs. (3,500 for 4-cylinder models) with the Towing Prep Package.
Toyota Highlander Fuel Economy
4-cylinder Highlanders achieve an EPA estimated 20/25/22 (city/highway/combined) MPG while V6 front-wheel drive Highlander gets 18/24/20. All-wheel drive V6’s drop to 17/22/19 and Highlander Hybrid sits at 28 MPG across the board.
Critics love Highlander’s cabin- it’s spacious and features high quality materials that get better with each trim level. Standard seating fits 7, and 3rd row access is made easier by a 40/20/40 split 2nd row that slides forward, and flat for added versatility. 2nd row dimensions are 38.3” for legs, and 59.5” for shoulders- enough for comfort for adults. The 50/50 folding 3rd row is predictably smaller, but is kid friendly, offering 29.9” of legroom and 55” of shoulder room. Cargo room is big, at 95.3 cubic feet with both back rows down; it’s 42.3 behind the 2nd row and 10.3 with all seats in use.
Toyota Highlander Safety
Governmental crash tests give 2012 Highlander 4/5 stars overall by way of 4/5 for frontal impacts, 5/5 for side crashes, and 4/5 for rollover accidents. Standard safety features include anti-lock disc brakes, Brake Assist, Smart Stop (helps stop Highlander when both gas and brake are applied), stability/traction control, and side curtain airbags for all three rows- as well as driver’s knee bags. All-wheel drive Highlanders gain Downhill Assist control, while all models have hill-start assist.
Critics tend to agree that, while the 2012 Highlander offers upscale features and 3 rows of seating, its overall utility and space are lacking when compared to competition. That said, if you’re not trekking soccer teams across the country, Highlander’s cargo room should be enough to haul your average family just fine. Plus, it’s easier to justify a bit of compromise in space when you’re relaxing in an upscale cabin. There isn’t just one crossover choice out there, but Highlander offers enough good stuff to make drivers want it to be the one. Ready for a Highlander of your own? Buy one on CarWoo! today.