There are many midsize crossover SUVs at Toyota dealers in Orange County that are worth owning. However, when you incorporate the 2012 Toyota Highlander’s vast model range, remarkable resale value, and capable owner satisfaction numbers, it gets a little easier to make your decision!
 

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Driving 

 

When you purchase a 2012 Highlander, you are spoiled for choice with two available engines. If you go for the base engine at a Toyota dealer in Orange County, it will come equipped with a 2.7-liter inline 4 engine that pumps out 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. All this muscle is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Also, if you were wondering (and nowadays everybody asks), the EPA fuel economy estimates 20 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined for this engine type. 

 

On the other hand, the 3.5-liter V6 is an option for the base as well as the SE model, and it comes as standard for the Highlander Limited. The sales reps at Toyota dealers in Orange County say that it turns out 270 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. 

 

Also, a five-speed automatic and front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. When the Highlander V6 is equipped with front-wheel drive, it returns EPA estimates of 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. When all-wheel drive is added, these numbers dip to 17 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. When the Highlander V6 is adequately equipped, it returns EPA estimates of 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. Also, it is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. 

 

The 2012 Toyota Highlander provides some great driving dynamics. For instance, when you go for a test drive at Toyota dealers in Orange County, you will find that the SUV has good handling thanks to the completely independent suspension, and the ride quality isn’t affected by any nasty bumps. It is just smooth sailing all the way! 

 

The fact that the Highlander is slightly smaller than the other larger crossovers is an advantage since it makes it easier to maneuver, especially in tight parking lots. Furthermore, the vehicle’s effortless steering comes to your rescue as well.  

 

You will love the Highlander to the moon and back because of its 3.5-liter V6 since it provides a powerful acceleration. The V6 can transport the 4,000-pound crossover SUV with a hurry and a hustle that makes this vehicle seem smaller than it actually is. Also, this powertrain is one of the most fuel-efficient in its category. 

 

Technology

 

The base Highlander has 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 split-folding second-row seat that both reclines and slides, a 50/50 split-folding third-row seat, air-conditioning (with rear controls), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a six-speaker CD sound system with an auxiliary audio jack.

 

Advance to the SE and you avail yourself to a sunroof, a power liftgate (with a separate glass hatch), roof rails, fog lamps, windshield wiper de-icer, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo area-mounted releases for folding down the second-row seats, a back-up camera, upgraded audio system (optional on base) with satellite radio, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio.

 

The Limited adds 19-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome exterior trim and power-folding/heated outside mirrors with puddle lamps. Additionally, the cabin gets upgraded leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a 10-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat and wood-grain accents.

 

The Highlander's options list differs by trim level and region, but those available include a towing prep package, an upgraded JBL sound system (with six-disc CD changer and subwoofer), a navigation system (includes the JBL sound system but with a four-disc CD changer), and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

 

Comfort

 

The 2012 Toyota Highlander has the best looking cabin compared to all other vehicles in the same segment. This is particularly the case for the unmatched Limited model. The vehicle’s gauges and controls attract the driver’s attention forward and it has an easy-to-read layout. Also, the SUV’s cabin provides amazing visibility from many different angles.

 

There is ample space for adults in the front and second-row seats and the third row is perfect for younger children. However, the Highlander’s second-row bench slides from one end to another to change the ratio of legroom to cargo capacity, and the seat goes back for better comfort. The seats have a special 40/20/40 split design, which also is equipped with a removable center section that tucks neatly in a unique compartment underneath the center console. This makes it easier to access the way-back bench even with a few child car seats buckled into the second row. 

 

When you have to haul your shopping bags and other essentials, you will be glad to know that the Highlander can provide you with 95.4 cubic feet of space with the second and third-row seats folded down. 

 

You can stay rest assured that the 2012 Toyota Highlander is a safe vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Highlander a four-star overall rating and a five-star score for side impact protection. 

 

The Highlander has a long list of standard safety equipment that consists of the following: dual front, side, and curtain airbags, as well as a driver knee airbag, daytime running lights, downhill assist control on 4WD models and hill-start assist. A rearview camera is standard on the SE, Limited and both Hybrid models, and it's an option on the gas-only base Highlander.

 

Overall

 

The 2012 Toyota Highlander is an exceptionally reliable SUV. It has a well-furnished and quiet interior as well as comfortable seating that will serve short or long journeys. Also, how can we forget all the cargo space in the back that can easily transport all your gear! It is the perfect family vehicle!

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