The 2012 Toyota Highlander is still seen as one of the best utilities available in the United States. Offering seating for seven adults, the Highlander is surprisingly versatile. When properly equipped, the upper-end Highlanders can tow up to 5,000 pounds. MSRP starts at $28,000. Estimated mileage is 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for the base 4-cylinder trim. The hybrid version starts at around $38,000 and is capable of 27 mpg in the city.
The 2012 Highlander sees no significant changes from last year's model.
Toyota's 2012 Highlander is available in base, SE and Limited trims. A 2.7L 4-cylinder engine that makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque is standard on the base trim and available on the SE. A 3.5L V6 engine making 270 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque is the optional powertrain. The 4-cylinder engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 versions get a 5-speed automatic. V6-equipped models can be equipped to tow up to 5,000 pounds, while the 4-cylinder is rated to pull up to 3,500 pounds. Toyota also offers a hybrid version of the Highlander. All hybrids come with a 3.5L V6 engine and integrated electric motor/generator system that's able to make a combined 280 horsepower. The Highlander Hybrid has an EV mode for driving short distances at low speed on electric power only, and the driver-selectable ECON mode limits acceleration to further conserve energy. 4-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission are also standard. Inside the Highlander, there's seating for up to seven, with a third-row seat that folds and stows away and a 40/20/40-split folding second row that slides fore and aft and also reclines. Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, front side air bags, roll-sensing side-curtain bags and a driver's knee bag. Hill start assist and downhill assist control are optional. The hybrid also includes the VDIM (vehicle dynamics integrated management) system, which integrates all of the safety electronics--including throttle and brakes--to more seamlessly intervene when a potential loss of vehicle control is detected. An electric power steering system is standard on all trims and provides many important safety functions. The non-hybrid Highlanders feature 'straight-line steering,' a system that uses the power steering mechanism to offset pulling to one side due to uneven surfaces or hard braking. All Highlanders also feature a corner braking feature whereby the power steering assist helps the driver regain and maintain vehicle stability. The Highlander's standard feature list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control and power accessories. The fold-flat third row of seating is standard but can be removed. The SE adds a standard sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and a power passenger seat. At the top of the line is the Limited, which adds leather upholstery and Satin Mahogany interior trim, an upgraded sound system with a 6-disc changer, Smart Key entry system, heated power mirrors and a heated windshield, along with a host of upscale cosmetic details. Major options include a power door in back, voice-activated navigation, leather upholstery with multi-stage heated seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 3-zone air conditioning, a tow package, a moonroof and a JBL premium audio system with Bluetooth. Available individual options will vary depending on trim level and region.