Even as novices like the Ford Traveler as well as Dodge Durango challenge versus the Highlander and also the Honda Pilot, I still locate the Highlander a qualified underdog. If you choose the V-6 engine, it executes as well as the remainder, too.
I evaluated a new 2011 version with just 65 miles on it, yet the 2012s are already on sale and are equipped and also priced virtually identically.
2012 Toyota Highlander Limited
While many family members would be well-served by virtually any type of three-row crossover on the market, the Highlander has some remarkable features that set it apart.
The front seats of my tester were comfortable on a long-haul journey from Chicago to Wisconsin. The second-row seat has lots of assistance, also, and all seats have sufficient upper leg support. The second row can move forward and back, which is most useful for third-row travelers.
A 3rd row is basic even on the base Highlander. With the second row moved right back, there is hardly any space for third-row travelers. Move the second row up even slightly, however-- regarding two notches-- as well as third-row passengers must be as comfy as I was at 5-foot-10. It's the sliding 2nd row that makes this crossover as useful an option for bring seven individuals as much larger crossovers, like the Chevy Traverse and Ford Traveler. The Honda Pilot is sized in a similar way to the Highlander and also offers seating for 3 in the 3rd row. That gives it an optimum seatsing capacity of 8, unlike the remainder of the class at seven.
The center area of the Highlander's 2nd row can be eliminated totally, transforming the bench into two captain's chairs with a pass-through to the 3rd row. The pass-through is a preferred attribute of minivan owners, and while various other crossovers could provide a choice in between a bench or 2 chairs, just the Highlander provides owners both in the very same lorry.
On the whole, I discovered products quality to be excellent, however various other editors as well as a family members involved in a contrast examination assumed the Highlander seemed cheap. Nevertheless, as equipped, our tester was valued thousands less than much of the competition. Besides some rough finishes on the plastic around the door pockets, I found the interior on the same level for the price. My wife also liked it, recommending it's a step up from her 2010 Subaru Outback.
In regards to safety and security attributes, a backup cam is conventional on the Highlander SE and also greater trim degrees, or it can be had as part of an optional Tech Plan, which was consisted of on my base tester. On versions without navigating, there's a small screen on top of the control panel that reveals journey details while driving, after that changes to the rearview screen when the transmission is put into Opposite. Navigation-equipped versions reveal the rearward view on their larger touch-screen.
If there was something my better half appreciated concerning the Highlander, it was the 4 cupholders in the center console between the traveler and also vehicle driver, with one more in each of the four doors and 4 more for second-row travelers. Every other crossover consisted of in our current contrast test featured just 2 cupholders around.
If you have actually ever before dealt with the sippy mugs, water bottles and also soda coulds a family members of simply four requires for a Saturday out on the community-- which for us involves hitting an interior play area with huge inflatable bounce-houses, lunch and also either a bookstore or library stop-- you realize beverages build up.
For 2012, the Highlander comes standard with a 187-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a six-speed transmission, for gas mileage rated at 20/25 mpg city/highway. The engine is quite anemic; the version I drove this time had the V-6, however in previous tests I have actually found that the four-cylinder-powered Highlander feels like an underpowered lummox. Four-cylinder versions come equipped only with front-wheel drive.
There's a hybrid version with a 3.5-liter V-6 and an electrical motor that make a combined 280 hp, good for 28/28 mpg city/highway. The crossbreed comes geared up just with all-wheel drive, that makes those gas mileage figures quite excellent.
My test car-- as do the mass of sales-- featured the 270-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine teamed with a five-speed transmission, good for 18/24 mpg with front-wheel drive and 17/22 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Mileage gets on par with the rest of the section, with many gamers score just 1 mpg over or below the Highlander.
Power was plentiful in my front-wheel-drive Highlander, which scooted from a stop with gusto and also passed mightily at freeway rates. Guiding was light and a bit obscure, as it remains in the majority of crossovers. The trip fit, the engine peaceful and also wind noise virtually nil, which made for pleasurable driving and also the capacity to listen to every cry, complaint as well as periodic track from my rear seat passengers.
Braking was the real issue I had with the Highlander. Even after a week and thousands of miles of driving, I had a hard time evaluating the brake reaction. I continuously snagged my other half ahead in her seat when I needed to include even more pressure than expected near a stop. This is an attribute of numerous Toyota cars, as well as it's one I don't specifically delight in.
There's just 10.3 cubic feet of freight room when the 3rd row is up. The Honda Pilot has substantially more, at 18.0 cubic feet. The Traverse, with 24.4 cubic feet, is significantly larger.
With the 3rd row down, freight room broadens to 42.3 cubic feet, as well as for my use that was plenty large sufficient. I stuffed a 32-gallon trash bin in the back-- really two piled right into each other-- and those in shape lengthwise with the second-row seats just slightly ahead. The Pilot is rated at 47.7 cubic feet, so the difference between both versions there is less significant than it is behind the 3rd row. I favored the Pilot's under-floor storage, however.
Features & Prices
For 2012, the Highlander starts at $28,090 for the base four-cylinder with front-wheel drive. That doesn't obtain you a lot in terms of functions, yet it does include 17-inch alloy wheels, colored rear home windows, remote access, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping wheel and 2 12-volt power electrical outlets.
My test cars and truck was a base V-6, however I didn't feel like I was missing a lot in regards to attributes since it likewise had the $1,835 Technology Bundle, that includes a USB port, Bluetooth for phones and music streaming, and a great trip computer. While I delight in elegant entertainment systems as high as the following man, this is the type of function established that most families will require, for an affordable as-tested price of $32,845. All-wheel drive is just $1,450 even more. In this sector, it typically sets you back $2,000 to go up to all- or four-wheel drive.
SE versions begin at $32,695 for four-cylinder, front-drive models, including a power moonroof, a rear home window that opens independent of the liftgate, roofing system rails, fog lights and also a power liftgate. Warmed leather front seats, HomeLink, a leather steering wheel with sound as well as Bluetooth controls, and all the features in the Tech Plan are additionally consisted of. For a comparable cost, I 'd choose the V-6 version instead of the SE four-cylinder.
The state-of-the-art, all-wheel-drive Restricted V-6 Highlander starts at $37,045 as well as is loaded: 19-inch wheels, three-zone environment control, keyless ignition and also entrance, and higher-grade leather seats.
The Highlander Crossbreed comes in 2 trims: a base design for $38,140 and also a Minimal version for $43,795, with similar devices offerings as V-6 gas designs.
Prices resembles the Traverse, Pilot and the rest of the class. Toyota likewise offers 2 years of totally free maintenance with new-car purchases, which none of its rivals in the segment deal.
Safety and security
The Toyota Highlander is an Insurance Coverage Institute for Freeway Safety Top Safety Pick; that's the institution's greatest award. To gain the rating, cars must receive top ratings of Excellent in front, side and back crashes, as well as pass roof-strength examinations that gauge rollover defense.
The Highlander gained a four-star general ranking from the National Highway Web Traffic Security Administration. Five stars is the highest rating, which the Chevy Traverse made.
Highlander out there
If it weren't so darn practical with a wonderful engine, it would certainly be very easy to mark down the Highlander in an area that contains some splashier brand-new versions. But there are just too many things in the Highlander's favor to rule it from your shopping plans. Due to their smaller impact in your driveway and garage, the Highlander and Pilot are extra available for more family members.