2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

There is more than one reason for the 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to succeed among vehicles with a 3rd row seat. It offers ample space for up to 7 passengers, pleasant drive, better fuel economy by the V6 engine and a bunch of features that every parent wants – all this and more for below $30,000 price tag.

Undoubtedly, the competition in the segment of crossover SUVs is tough. So, how far does versatility of 2012 Toyota Highlander take it to stand out amongst the likes of Dodge Durango, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9 or Buick Enclave? Let us find out in this 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid review.

2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features

Trim Levels and Exterior/Interior Features

Currently the 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is available in base model and Limited model. The base model sports 17-inch alloy wheels, 40/20/40-split-folding 2nd row seat that slides as well as reclines, 50/50-split-folding 3rd row seat, cloth upholstery, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 6-speaker sound system and air conditioning.

2012 toyota highlander hybrid

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Further, 19-inch alloy wheels adore the Limited models. In addition to this, the Limited models sport chrome trim on the exterior, heated outside mirrors, leather upholstery, keyless ignition, keyless entry, tri-zone climate control (automatic), navigation system with JBL sound system, 4-way passenger seat, 10-way driver seat and wood grain accents.


2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is powered by 3.5L V6 engine and three electric motors. The V6 engine comes as an option for both the base model and SE model. The V6 engine renders 248lb-ft of torque and 280 horsepower. This model sports 5-speed automatic transmission and has standard front-wheel drive.

2012 toyota highlander hybrid engine

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EPA estimates of fuel economy for the 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid stand at 28mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, thereby scoring a combined value of 28mpg. It takes 7.5 seconds for the Limited version to touch the 60mph mark.

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Safety Features

The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers a bunch of standard safety features such as antilock disc brakes, side-curtain airbags in full length, knee airbag for the driver seat, side-impact airbags and head restraints.

2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid features

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While Hill-Start Assist is standard feature in all modes, Hill-Descent Control comes into play for all-wheel drive. Scoring a 4/5 in Government road safety tests, the 2012 Highlander Hybrid is tagged as ‘Good’ in terms of frontal as well as side protection.


The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is pretty decent in terms of driving dynamics. An independent suspension results in decent handling as well as smooth riding. Besides, 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid takes lesser effort to sneak into a tight parking spot because of its smaller size.

2012 toyota highlander hybrid price

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The V6 engine does a commendable job in briskly moving this 4000-pound crossover. Also, CVT (continuously variable transmission) guides the Highlander Hybrid throughout. At times when extra acceleration is needed, the extra electric motor powers rear wheels. The driver can switch to EV mode to run the Highlander on electric power. Further, the Econ mode enhances fuel economy.


The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is priced at $38, 540.


If Camry is the frontrunner amidst mid-size sedans, 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the frontrunner among 3rd row seat crossover SUVs. Although Toyota has not shown much interest in giving the Highlander Hybrid an all-new look, the smooth and safe driving makes it lovable.