2012 Toyota Highlander. Produced at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana, the Toyota Highlander is a three-row crossover that offers a choice between four-cylinder and V6 power, front-wheel drive (FWD) and full-time four-wheel drive (4WD). The Toyota Highlander Hybrid provides an exceptional blend of performance and fuel economy, with class-leading 28/28-MPG EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander is available in Highlander, SE and Limited grades with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or full-time four-wheel-drive (4WD). A 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is standard on the Limited grade and available for the others. All Toyota Highlander Hybrid models are equipped with four-wheel-drive with intelligence and are available in Highlander and Limited grades.
The Toyota Highlander offers three distinct levels of performance: The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces 187 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 186 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 RPM and offers an EPA-estimated 25 MPG rating in highway driving. The engine is equipped with a variable intake manifold and dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls phasing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize torque and fuel efficiency. The 2.7-liter engine is teamed exclusively with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid model’s Hybrid Synergy Drive gained a new, more powerful 3.5-liter V6 in the previous model year, replacing a 3.3-liter V6. The system pairs the gasoline V6 engine with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator for total system output of 280 net horsepower. A second rear-mounted motor provides automatic on-demand four-wheel drive traction.
The 4WD Highlander Hybrid uniquely generates rear-wheel power with a separate electric motor that provides additional drive torque on demand. Thus, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD-i system does not require power-transfer gearing or a driveshaft from the front. The system electronically varies front and rear torque distribution depending on traction conditions.
The Toyota Highlander continues to build on its strength of delivering one of the most capable, smooth and quiet rides in the segment. Four-wheel independent suspension is via MacPherson struts in front and a dual-link strut rear suspension system. Base and SE Highlander models are equipped with standard 17-inch alloy wheels with 245/65 R17 tires; the Limited features standard 19-inch alloy wheels with 245/55 R19 tires. A direct tire pressure monitoring system is designed to alert the driver if pressure in a tire drops to critical levels. All Toyota Highlander models are equipped with four-wheel disc brakes. On conventional Highlander models, full-time four-wheel drive is available on all V6 grades.
Designed at Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif., the second-generation Toyota Highlander conveys a contemporary, dynamic presence via clean, sculpted lines, a wide, stable stance and muscular contours. The Toyota Highlander grade could be mistaken for an upgrade model with its six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, color-keyed power remote outside mirrors, and silver-painted front grille.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is distinguished from the gasoline model by its own unique grille and bumper design, color-keyed rockers with chrome accents, plus vertically stacked fog lamps. The projector beam headlights and taillights feature blue lens covers.
The Toyota Highlander provides an open, airy and versatile interior with seating for seven or up to 95.4 cubic feet of total cargo capacity (94.1 for Highlander Hybrid). There are numerous storage compartments throughout the cabin, along with 10 cup holders, four bottle holders, two front and one cargo-area 12-volt auxiliary power outlets and cargo area tie-down hooks.
The Toyota Highlander and SE grades feature a center console, shift knob with silver-painted accents and front driver and passenger assist grips. The center console, shift knob and assist grip on the Limited grade feature wood-grain-style trim. Styling features on the inside of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid include silver and wood grain-style interior trim with chrome door handle accents, Optitron meters with blue graphics and a power meter with a hybrid system indicator.