A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Toyota Highlander

While the original Highlander was more of a wagon than an SUV, the 2012 Toyota Highlander is an entirely different beast. It’s large enough to compete with the cargo and passenger capacity of a Honda CR-V, but it’s small and light enough to feel like you’re driving a car around town instead of an SUV. It also shares a lot of its design and structure with the luxury Lexus RX 350, which gives it even more of an advantage over other crossover SUVs in its class.

Key Features

If you’ve ever felt like you were sweating bullets trying to start a heavily loaded SUV on a hill without rolling backward, you’ll appreciate one of our favorite features on the 2012 Toyota Highlander. The hill-start assist prevents rollback and gives you more control as you get started. Additionally, the downhill assist control also helps keep your speed at a reasonable rate when you’re descending, too.

Changes for 2012

Because 2011’s model represented a refresh for the Highlander, 2012 didn’t see any major changes or new features.

What We Like

The 2012 Toyota Highlander has higher resale values and better owner satisfaction reports than just about any other crossover SUV in its class. Plus, it has a wide range of trim levels to choose from to suit anyone’s needs and tastes.

What Concerns Us

If you’re looking for a vehicle with good towing capacity or one that’ll stand up to really rough terrain, the Highlander is not the car for you. It’s more of an around-town crossover SUV than an adventure machine.

Available Models

All trim levels of the 2012 Toyota Highlander have the same engine under the hood:

  • Engine – 2.7-liter 4-cylinder
  • Power – 187 HP at 5800 RPM
  • Torque – 186 kb-ft at 4100 RPM
  • Fuel economy (MPG city/highway) – 20/25

Major Recalls

There have only been two recalls on the 2012 Toyota Highlander. One was to resolve an issue with the calibration on the occupant sensing system. The other was to correct an inaccurate load carrying capacity label.

Common Issues

There have been very few problems with the 2012 Toyota Highlander, but some owners have reported issues with using their rear lift gates and a few problems with the air conditioning shutting off while the vehicle was in motion. Most owners, though, are highly satisfied with their Highlanders.

toyota highlander 2012 interior


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