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2012 Toyota Highlander

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
2012 Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander highlights

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5

RepairPal reliability rating**

4 out of 5


  • 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)

20 city, 25 highway, 22 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

Distance from

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

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.
5 Stars19
4 Stars9
3 Stars2
2 Stars0
1 Star0

RepairPal reliability rating**

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 3rd out of 31 among Midsize SUVs.
View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota Highlander

**RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select 2006-2020 vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features. RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of 09/01/2021. Learn more about RepairPal reliability ratings

Explore Toyota Highlander details

(no trim) 2WD 4D Sport Utility

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