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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Attila

19 years of experience
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Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
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Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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