Even as it enters its second decade of production, the 2012 Toyota Highlander manages to earn an appealing Total Car Score.
Among its high points are a refined V6 powertrain that delivers both strong acceleration and healthy fuel economy. Reviewers also had positive things to say about the Highlander's smooth ride and nimble handling. The comfortable seven-passenger interior with a sliding and reclining second-row seat and removable center section only adds to its family-friendly nature.
Among the negatives reviewers pointed out is the fact that the Highlander's interior doesn't offer as much passenger and cargo room as many of its competitors. The third-row seats are particularly short on leg room, which means they're really only suitable for youngsters.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander returns unchanged, but an all-new version is expected to be in dealer showrooms within the next year or so.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander is a large crossover that's offered in base, SE and Limited trim levels.
Buyers have a choice of two different powertrains, starting with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. A 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 270 hp and 248 lb-ft is standard on Limited models and optional on the base and SE. The V6 comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
The entry-level Highlander's standard equipment list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 split-folding second-row seat, a 50/50 split-folding third-row seat and a CD stereo with six speakers. SE models add fog lights, a sunroof, power liftgate, roof rack side rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a back-up camera, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone and streaming audio capability and a premium audio system with satellite radio. Moving up to the Limited brings 19-inch alloy wheels, power-folding heated outside mirrors, keyless ignition and starting, three-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, a power passenger seat and wood-grain interior trim.
EPA fuel economy estimates for front-wheel-drive versions of the 2012 Toyota Highlander are 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder and 18/24/20 with the 3.5-liter V6. All-wheel drive models with the V6 are rated at 17/22/19.
With the V6 engine and tow package, the 2012 Toyota Highlander is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
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