2012 Toyota Highlander: Video Road Test and Review
The Toyota Highlander is a four door seven passenger crossover, offering standard third row seating, available four wheel drive and even a 28 MPG Hybrid version. The entry level power train consists of a 2.7 Liter VVT-I four cylinder that produces a total of 187 HP and 186 lb-ft of torque mated to a six speed ECT-i transmission which is good for an estimated 20 MPG in the city and as much as 25 MPG on the highway. The next step up is the 3.5 Liter V6 that sends 270 HP and 248 lb-ft of torque via a five speed ECT-i gearbox and returns an estimated 18 MPG around town and up to 24 MPG at speed. The greenest of the options is a Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive 3.5 Liter V6 Hybrid combined with a Nickle Metal Hydride battery and an electric motor to produce a net output of 280 HP being sent to all four wheels through an Electronicaly Controlled continuously variable transmission to Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand 4WD System with Intelligence and is good for an estimated 28 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. The Japanese automaker offers the family friendly highlander in five trim levels: starting with the Base, next is the well packaged SE, followed by the luxurious V6 only Limited, and then come the Hybrid and Hybrid Limited.
The base Toyota Highlander rides on a set of 17 inch seven spoke wheels and comes equipped with projector beam headlamps, a dark silver grill with contrasting chrome trim beneath, color matching side mirrors, door handles and rear spoiler as well as a skin safe UV reduction glass. Other standard features include remote keyless entry, power windows and power locks, chrome accents on the shift lever, a six speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, center console with six cup holders and two 12 volt outlets and one in the trunk as well as front and rear air conditioning for the cloth covered 40/20/40 split second row and 50/50 split third row. Starting at $28,240 for the front wheel drive four cylinder and $29,395 for a V6 while the four wheel drive six cylinder starts at $30,845.
The next step up the Highlander line is the SE model that comes complete with integrated fog lamps, heated power folding side mirrors, a power tilt/slide moon roof, windshield wiper de-icer, lift up glass hatch, glass AM/FM antenna, power lift gate with jam protection and pair of black roof rails. On the inside, the Highlander SE gets leather upholstery with leatherette covering the fold flat third row, a leather trimmed tilt/telescoping steering wheel with metallic inlays and matching interior trim as well as a leather trimmed chrome accented shifter, auto dimming rear view mirror with compass, dual extendable sun visors, cargo area tonneau cover, one touch fold flat second row with reading lamps and a 3.5 inch TFT multi information display. Entertainment duties are handled by a six speaker AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary and USB inputs for mobile media devices as well as Bluetooth hands free connectivity; while the V6 models can upgrade to the voice activated touch screen DVD navigation system. The Toyota Highlander SE starts at $32,845, while six cylinder models begin moving at $34,000 and $35,450 to get all four wheels spinning.
The Toyota Highlander Limited is exclusively available with a V6 and is easily distinguishable by a set of 19 inch five spoke alloys. The Limited also gets color matching heated power folding side mirrors with integrated puddle lamps, chrome door handles with matching roof rails, three zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, wood grain style trim with chrome door pulls and Toyota’s Smart Key System with push button start and remote illuminated entry. Optional equipment includes the nine speaker six disc AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 JBL premium sound system with subwoofer and Bluetooth wireless music streaming as well as the rear seat DVD entertainment system consisting of a 9 inch flip down display and a pair of wireless headphones to keep things quiet. The Highlander Limited starts at $35,745 and goes up to $37,195 for the four wheel drive model.
All of Toyota’s Hylander Hybrid options come standard with the 280 HP gas/electric motor as well as four wheel drive. The base Hybrid starts at $38,540 and comes with a unique hybrid grill, bespoke Hybrid Synergy Drive blue accent headlamps and tail lamps, 17 inch seven spoke rims with optional 19 inch 10 spokers, metal door handles, black roof rails, easy clean fabric with available leather for the interior and last but not least remote keyless entry.
The Hybrid Limited gets upgraded with puddle lamps in the side mirrors, chrome exterior door handles, 19 inch rims, a power lift gate with jam protection, chrome roof rails and a Smart Key System with push button start and remote illuminated entry all standard. On the inside occupants can enjoy three zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery and wood grain style trim. All of the optional JBL stereo voice activated touch screen navigation and rear seat DVD entertainment system with a 9 inch display and a pair of wireless headphones are available as well starting at $44,195.
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