The Toyota Highlander sails into 2012 unchanged. Crossover SUVs like the 2012 Toyota Highlander owe their appeal to the canny mix of traits they present. The 2012 Toyota Highlander ranks 6 out of 23 Affordable Midsize SUVs. The best of the bunch handle like cars while delivering the family-friendly features and boundless utility that made their truck-based SUV forebears such hot tickets back in the day said Edmunds.
In many respects, the Highlander gets this formula just right. It feels spry on the road and is easy to drive, with especially brisk acceleration from the V6 engine. On hand are all the amenities you’d expect from a solid family hauler, starting with a quiet, roomy cabin that seats up to seven passengers. While the Highlander’s third row is less spacious than that of some rivals, it’s easy to reach thanks to a nifty 40/20/40-split second row with a removable center seat that facilitates walk-through access. This crossover also has fuel efficiency to its credit, with both the inline-4 and V6 delivering impressive mileage.
Still, this segment is highly competitive, and the 2012 Toyota Highlander isn’t the only pick to strike a compelling balance. General Motors offers a trio of crossovers — the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia — that have a size advantage. If you want a larger crossover with a roomier interior, any one of these three will be a better match. Other solid bets include the muscular Dodge Durango, the athletic Mazda CX-9, the distinctive Ford Flex and the upscale Ford Explorer. These rivals are certainly worthy, but for many shoppers, the Highlander’s versatility and friendly disposition will no doubt make it an ideal choice.
Standard features make every Highlander a good family vehicle, and V-6 versions can get quite entertaining. Since it’s pitched at families accustomed to a certain degree of convenience, the Toyota Highlander comes with a long list of standard features. All versions have power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; a tilt/telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary port.
On Thecarconnection, The Highlander SE adds on more audio functions–satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, a USB port–along with leather seats for first- and second-row chairs. It also sports a moonroof, a power tailgate, and a power driver seat, as well as a 3.5-inch LCD monitor in the dash that’s used to display vehicle functions.
Spend up to the ne plus ultra Highlander Limited, and the convenience scale tips with leather-trimmed power seats, 19-inch wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, dual power front seats, and the Center Stow Seat, as well as woodgrain trim.
It’s versatile and spacious, and the Toyota Highlander now has a standard third-row seat. If it’s people-toting size you’re after, the Highlander’s in the same league as the Ford Flex, Chevy Traverse, and most of the other big seven- and eight-passenger crossovers.
The Highlander’s front seats are easy to climb into–the so-called step-in height is at an ideal adult height–and the seats themselves are nice and wide, though they’re pretty flat, too. The Highlander’s head room soars, even in the second row where the roofline tapers ever so slightly, and leg room is ample too–the Highlander’s middle seat reclines, and can be configured with a “Center Stow” seat that provides a middle seat, or folds out of the way so parents can climb into the standard third-row bench to load in kidlets.
Until this year, the Highlander could be ordered as a five-seat wagon. The third-row seat is now standard, and it’s the usual mixed bag, compromised in the same ways other three-row vehicles are. No adult would want to sit on the vinyl-upholstered bench for very long; it’s roomy enough for kids who can entertain themselves, and small adults who don’t know any better.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander gets good safety scores from the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and similar 2011 models earned excellent scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In NHTSA testing, the 2012 Highlander earns top scores of five stars out of five in side crash tests, and four out of five stars in frontal and rollover tests, for an overall score of four out of five stars. The IIHS hasn’t tested the 2012 Highlander yet, but the similar 2011 Highlander earned the title of IIHS Top Safety Pick for its top scores of “Good” in frontal offset, side impact, roof strength and rear crash tests, and for its standard electronic stability control.
On Rankingsandreviews, The Highlander’s standard safety features are impressive and include three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag, which are rare for this class. Brake assist and hill start assist come standard on all models, while a backup camera is optional on SE and Limited models.
Gallery 2012 Toyota Highlander
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