Available in 9 different colors, able to get 25 MPG highway and starting at $28,090 MSRP, the 2012 Toyota Highlander is sure to please most who get behind the wheel. The 2012 Highlander would be a great vehicle for the soccer mom type, or someone similar, but doesn’t have the durability to serve as a true off-road vehicle. Some of the test drivers also feel that consumers would be better off spending much less money for a used 2009 or 2010 Highlander, than to spend the base $28,090 for this year’s highlander.
The exterior lines are soft and many consider the front end of the car to be visually unattractive, with the shortened hood. However, the grill comes standard in dark silver, with chrome accents on all models. 17” alloy wheels, a UV reducing windshield and privacy glass on all but front windows come standard on the 2012 Toyota Highlander.
The Highlander comes with a 2.7-liter Dual Overhead Cam, 4-cylinder, 2-wheel drive engine with 187 horsepower and Dual Variable Valve Timing. However, if this doesn’t satisfy consumers, the Highlander is also available in a 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 engine with 270 ponies under the hood. This is available either in 2WD or 4WD. Even the 2WD versions have show that they are quite adept at towing smaller loads, like small boats or dirt bike trailers.
Inside the 2012 Highlander, consumers will tend to be less than impressed. The driver’s seat offers 8-way adjustable settings, while the front passenger seat offers 4-way adjustable settings. There is also a decent-sized Center Stow console, big enough to hold the average purse. The rearview mirror also automatically adjusts to daytime or nighttime conditions and decreases bright lights in the reflection at night. According to test drivers, the 3rd row seating is especially cramped, even for children. However, they were quite impressed with the second-row seat design as well as the overall appearance of the cabin.
The engineers at Toyota chose to make safety a top priority, and didn’t skimp out on anything. The Highlander is equipped with Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Brake Assist, Antilock Brake System, Smart Stop Technology, which aids the driver in bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, sooner than they normally would. The car is also packed chock-full of airbags, with seat-mounted side airbags, knee airbags, roll-sensing side-curtain airbags and frontal airbags. The idea is in the unfortunate event of a collision, to pad the driver and passengers on all sides with cushioned airbags.
All-in-all, while the 2012 Toyota Highlander certainly isn’t going to win a variety of best-in-class awards, it likely won’t let you down, if you don’t mind shelling out around $30,000 for something you won’t exactly be thrilled with. Check one out if you want, but you’ll likely be wanting a great car, not just a good one, like the Highlander.