With gas prices rising and jobs becoming less and less available, choosing a hybrid vehicle is the only way to go for some people. The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is simply one of the best crossover hybrids currently available. The starting MSRP of $38,540 may seem somewhat costly up front, but with all the money on gas you’ll save, this truly is a great economical choice. This year’s model is available in 6 colors, including Classic Silver Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, Black, Sizzling Crimson Mica, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Predawn Gray Mica. One of the only downsides to this hybrid is that the exterior design is somewhat dull and lacking in flare, visual appeal and aerodynamics. The automatic front headlights turn on and off according to the light/time of day. This helps conserve the battery so you won’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the lights off. The front end and grille are also fairly drab, but then again looks aren’t everything, are they?
On the interior, consumers will have two color schemes to choose from: Ash Easy-Clean fabric trim and Sand Beige Easy-Clean fabric trim. No leather is available on the Highlander Hybrid. Don’t fret though, that will save your bare legs from excruciating leather burns on summer days where the temperatures are in the triple digits. There is a small, 4-inch display mounted on the top of the dash, which provides GPS navigation. Although the screen is much smaller than that of almost any other modern car, the functionality is just the same. It also has steering wheel-mounted cruise control settings, allowing the driver to focus 100% on the road ahead. With three rows of seating, the 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid can comfortably accommodate 6 adult passengers, including the driver – just don’t expect much cargo room when you have the third row upright.
The Star Safety System installed by Toyota includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control, making driving in inclement conditions very safe. The driver and front passenger’s safety will also be secured with and Advanced Airbag system, completely unique to Toyota. This includes not only knee airbags for the driver, but also roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all passengers. The collapsible steering column helps to ensure that the driver doesn’t break their wrists/arms by holding onto the wheel during a collision.
Under the hood, this hybrid is surprisingly well equipped, with a 3.5-liter Dual Overhead Camshaft, 24-valve V6 engine, complete with Variable Valve Timing and an ECON mode for greater fuel efficiency. 280 horsepower will provide consumers with just enough power to make off-roading feasible. This car also has zero – that’s right, zero – smog emissions, making it a very “green” car. The transmission of this hybrid is an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission and it has 4-wheel independent MacPherson suspension. The front and rear suspension are also equipped with stabilizer bars, making the Highlander Hybrid a very smooth ride.
With the planet receiving more and more smog emissions and gas prices continuously rising, it’s important for consumers to choose an automobile that will provide clean emissions and create greater gas mileage. The 2012 Toyota Highlander does just that.