As the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger vehicle on the market, the midsize Highlander Hybrid fills a unique niche. Its gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain turns in EPA mileage estimates that are roughly 50 percent better than comparable non-hybrid crossovers and 25 percent better than the only other seven-passenger hybrids on the market. And if you do most of your driving in traffic, the Highlander Hybrid's EPA estimate of 28 mpg city should get your attention.
Just as important, the Highlander Hybrid's powertrain puts out a combined 280 horsepower, which gives it remarkably good acceleration and decent towing capacity, two things hybrids typically lack. Other strengths include a smooth ride, a comfortable interior and styling details like a distinctive grille and blue-tinted light surrounds that help set it apart from the conventional Highlander.
The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV offered in two trim levels: base and Limited.
The base model's list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning (with rear controls), an eight-way power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a removable center section, a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, a trip computer, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Options for the Highlander Hybrid base model include 19-inch alloy wheels and a power liftgate. The Leather package includes leather upholstery (vinyl third row), heated front seats, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded trip computer. The Cold Weather package adds a windshield wiper de-icer and heated mirrors.
All of the above options are included on the Limited trim along with 19-inch wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, keyless ignition/entry, tri-zone climate control, 10-way power driver seat and a four-way power passenger seat. Both trims can be equipped with a nine-speaker JBL sound system (includes a six-CD changer), a navigation system (includes a touchscreen interface, real-time traffic and the JBL sound system) and a rear seat entertainment system.
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