2012 Toyota Highlander

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

Toyota Highlander highlights

Customer rating


  • Powerful but fuel-efficient engines
  • User-friendly interior and good third-row seat access


  • Slightly smaller inside and out than many rivals
  • Steering is numb and uninspiring

Mileage (EPA estimate)

17 city, 22 highway, 19 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)


2012 Toyota Highlander is a strong seven-seat crossover pick for families

The 2012 Toyota Highlander delivers family-friendly attributes of ample passenger space, plenty of utility, and smooth driving characteristics. With three rows, it can seat seven comfortably. And although the third row is a bit more cramped than those in the Highlander's biggest rivals, it is really easy to access thanks to a folding, reclining, and sliding 40/20/40-split second row of seats (the middle seat can be removed for a handy walk-through six-seat setup), which really counts in the Highlander's favor. So too do the two engine choices, which provide decent power mated with good EPA-estimated economy. The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine has 187 hp, and the optional 3.5-liter V6 ups the output to a stouter 270 hp. Both use automatic transmissions, a six-speed for the base engine and a five-speed for the V6. Front-wheel drive is standard, but if you want added traction, all-wheel drive is an option. There's also a hybrid option that delivers 280 hp from a combination of a 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors; it comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Trim levels are base, SE, and Limited, and the Highlander Hybrid is offered in base and Limited trims. The base model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, air conditioning with rear controls, a six-speaker audio system, and three-row seating with those clever second-row seats. The SE builds on the base model's impressive standard equipment, gaining a sunroof, power tailgate with a separately opening glass hatch, heated front seats, a backup camera, and upgraded audio system with Bluetooth® connection and a USB port. The Limited ups the luxury with chrome outside, upgraded leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat. On the road the Highlander is smooth, capable, and refined, which is about as much as you can ask for in a seven-seat crossover. The 2012 Highlander is a competitive family-friendly choice for a fuss-free large crossover.

All Toyota Highlander years

What is new for the 2012 Toyota Highlander?

  • The SE trim now comes with Rear Air Conditioning as standard equipment.
  • The Base trim now comes with Rear Air Conditioning as standard equipment.

Shop with your budget in mind

Getting pre-qualified lets you shop with personalized monthly payments, and it doesn't impact your credit score.Get Pre-qualified

Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2012 Toyota Highlander is a reliable car that has a smooth ride. Customers like the car because it has a lot of space and is comfortable.

RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota Highlander 6th out of 32 among Midsize SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander features and specs

Limited 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cruise Control
  • Fold-Away Third Row
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Leather Seats
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Quad Seats
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Sunroof(s)
  • Third Row Seat
  • Traction Control
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Full Roof Rack
  • JBL Sound System
  • Navigation System
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Remote Start
  • Running Boards
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 43.2"/M 38.3"/R 29.9"

Head room

F 39.7"/M 40.1"/R 36.3"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

200/2000 lbs.



2012 Toyota Highlander FAQ

Research other vehicles

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.​

We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.