The midsize crossover wars are fierce these days. Virtually every automobile manufacturer offers a crossover to meet the everyday needs of growing families. Although there are a lot of options for buyers, the Toyota Highlander combines all the essentials to provide the most outstanding crossover value going. As proof, IntelliChoice recently named the Highlander “2012 Best Overall Value of the Year.”
The 2012 Toyota Highlander (MSRP $28,240) – in Highlander, SE and Limited trims – offers standard three-row seating with rear climate control, two powerful and fuel-efficient gasoline engine options, a hybrid model and both front-wheel and four-wheel drive powertrains.
For 2012, the standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder generates a whopping 187 hp and 186 lb/ft of torque through a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Thanks in part to the Toyota-exclusive Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system, the four-cylinder Highlander returns an impressive 25 mpg highway.
For those seeking a little more muscle to tow as much as 5,000 pounds, the available 3.5-liter V6 delivers 270 hp and 248 lb/ft of torque through a five-speed automatic transmission with selectable manual sequential shifting for greater driver control.
The ultimate in fuel efficiency comes from the Highlander Hybrid, featuring Hybrid Synergy Drive, which offers 280 net hp through the combination of a 3.5-liter V6 and a high-torque electric drive motor. This seamless, efficient powertrain not only offers automatic, on-demand 4WD traction, it also delivers a class-leading 28 mpg combined.
Designed and assembled right here in North America, the Highlander boasts an interior that exudes quality and richness. With a total capacity of seven passengers and offering 95.4 cubic feet of total cargo space, the Highlander is as much a practical machine as it is a stylish one.
Second-row seating offers 40/20/40-split seatbacks and functions as either a three-person bench or a pair of captain’s chairs when the Center Stow seat is removed. The entire second row slides forward and back, and reclines, providing optimum comfort as well as easy third-row access. One-touch levers in SE and Limited trims fold second-row seats forward and flat for even easier access. The 50/50-split third-row seating folds flat into the cargo floor to maximize storage capacity and convenience.
Standard features for all trims include front and rear air conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and an essential feature now missing from most new vehicles – a full-size spare tire.
SE and Limited trims add features like a backup camera, power liftgate, 3.5-inch LCD multi-information display, Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and iPod/USB integration. Options include an eight-inch, voice-activated, LCD touch-screen navigation system with a JBL sound system, leather upholstery with heated front seats, and a power moonroof.
The Highlander also boasts an exceptionally quiet freeway ride, thanks to its four-wheel independent suspension, and a host of technologically advanced innovations are available on the Highlander to make driving safer and less stressful.
Take for instance the Toyota-exclusive Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, on Highlander Hybrid models, which combines handling, traction and braking control systems to prevent slipping, skidding and sliding. The Highlander lives up to its name with standard Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), to prevent roll-back when starting up on an incline, and Downhill Assist Control (DAC), standard on all 4WD models, to maintain speed, handling and steering control by preventing wheel lockup under low-traction braking on steep, slippery descents.
In addition to all these advanced dynamics controls, every Highlander also comes standard with the Toyota Star Safety System™ featuring seven airbags, Antilock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, Electric Power Steering, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control. These safety elements helped the 2012 Toyota Highlander earn the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2012 “Top Safety Pick” award for outstanding crash test performance.
The Highlander is the ultimate, do-all midsize crossover, the machine that redefined a segment by offering car-like performance, comfort and fuel-efficiency blended with SUV capability and roominess. Visit the showroom today and discover the 2012 Toyota Highlander.