2012 Toyota Highlander Consumer Review: 2012 highlander

2012 Toyota Highlander - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

29 Total Reviews

Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L V6 AWD 5-speed Automatic)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
13 of 47 people found this review helpful
2012 highlander
By kingsford1 on


2012 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)


I had a 2007 Rav4 which I liked very much.
The new Highlander has a nicer, quieter ride it does not has as much power-pick-up as the rav 4.
I hope that the reliability is as good as the Rav. I like my highlander thank you toyota.

Best Features

Navigation, quiet ride, sound system including the USB for my IPod

Worst Features

Air cooled seats, heated steering wheel
Recommend (13) (34)

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By damado
on 11/07/11 07:57 AM (PST)

As a 2011 fully loaded limited owner, I agree with everything rfcheapcar says. Overall I'm happy with my highlander, mind you, but the navigation system is absolutely horrible. There's a $275 aftermarket workaround for not being able to use it while moving, but that still doesn't fix the bad resolution and sometimes poor routing. Honda, Ford, etc have MUCH better nav systems. If I could only change two things about the vehicle it would be the navigation unit and the plastic used. The plastic scratches extremely easily with grey turning into white scratches. Besides those two things, I love the car and after having gone to the auto show this weekend in my city, I wouldn't change it for any other so far.

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By rfcheapcar
on 09/21/11 11:19 AM (PDT)

2011 Highlander V6 Limited Review Drive is not that much different from the Camry. It feels too insulated and not connected with the road. Fit and finish is good on looks but not to the touch. Except for the elbow rest trim on the doors, all surfaces are grained hard plastic. There are mold lines in numerous places. The fake wood accents are not to be desired. The headliners, along with the sun visors, have a cheap look and feel-- at least compared to those in my 2006 Toyota Camry. Seats are comfortable but could be better. As with other late-2000s models, this vehicle has anti-whiplash headrests that are permanently bent forward further than it used to be. So the front seat occupants may often find their shoulders away from the seat. The second-row middle seat, when in use, instead of the middle seat compartment/cup holders attachment, is not that comfortable. The third row seat is neither too small nor too big. Only problem is, with the third row seats up, rear-cargo area is almost non-existent. I will need a net to keep the cargo in place back there. The glass-door hatch that opens is a very nich touch. I just think that it should be a standard feature across the board. The SUV looks modern. However, it's already showing age in its 2008-era design and technology versus the competition. Case in point: missing side markers on the side mirrors, or even auto-folding side mirrors. Another item, which is actually a big booboo is the GPS NAV/Radio/CD Player unit. Made by Denso for Toyota, it is still DVD-based. The resolution is extremely low for the price, as is the functionality. The optional $2500+ GPS/Bluetooth/radio/cd player does not display maps in 3D, just the regular 2D. Toyota employs a safety feature that restricts operation of certain navigation functions when the car is in motion. I think, however, that they have gone too far on this as described below: 1. The feature can never be turned off, not even for a front passenger to operate it. 2. The only ways to enter a destination while in motion are via voice or manual entry for POI Categories. When searching by voice, the layers of prompts make the entry process a daunting task. Moreover, search is either by address or by Point of Interest (POI) only. None by name. So for example, if I'd like to go to "Ray's Pizza", I have to say either its address (which I might not know because I may be in an unfamiliar place) or look it up using the POI list ? not ?Ray?s Pizza?. Then when a result is shown from a POI search (say "Pizza"), only 3 entries are shown, even if it is almost impossible to have just 3 pizza places in any given neighborhood I visit. And guess what, since "Ray's Pizza" starts with "R", chances are, I won't see it in the list. My $200 Garmin GPS shows as many as it could find. For the Manual Entry, address is not allowed. Within POI, only categories are allowed. No search by name either. Fortunately, the results list is much longer during this search method. 3. Most phone features are disabled too. I just use my actual phone, seating on a cradle on the dash, to dial when necessary. 4. Ironically, when an ipod is connected via USB, the driver/user is allowed to operate it even when the vehicle is moving. The problem is, you have to page down to your desired song/artist/album each time the list is displayed. THERE is NO FIND/SEARCH feature. Toyota never tought that ipod users typically have thousands of songs in their devices. So, for example, if I'm finished playing Sting's entire album and would like to back to the list, I start again at the top to select another artist, not at "S"... And Toyota thinks this is safe to do while driving! Also, ipod song/artist/album selected cannot be operated via voice. Bluetooth connection is ok and reliably connects to the headunit when needed. Speakers are great. Toyota maintains the 9-speakers-in-7-locations configuration. I think it should have been 9 locations, instead of 7. The third row should also get speaker outputs. The USB does not work on my droid x. I can only use this droid x via bluetooth or the headphone jack. There are two power connectors on the dash and one in the third row area. I just which they had one of the dash power connectors INSIDE the storage compartment between the two front seats. The push button start is very convenient. It gets annoying though when turning off the engine because, from Engine on, a push of the button also causes the radio/nav to switch off. So the work-around is to keep the shifter in gear before turning off the engine. That way, the radio will stay on after the engine is turned off. I like the keyless proximity entry configuration. Unlike the configuration from other manufacturers, the driver need not to push the button to unlock. Just grab the front door handles and the door will unlock. There are three unlocking methods to configure to: driver side only, driver and passenger, and all doors unlock, the latter being a perfect setup for families with kids to sit in the back. Smartkey replacement is not cheap at more than $200 per unit + the fee Toyota charges to program it.

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By wahooslayer
on 10/16/11 23:24 PM (PDT)

I find rfcheapcar's comments very helpful and IMO these restictions are very critical and make me reluctant to purchase a Toyota (I am also considering a Venza and the same limitations apply). I enjoy a vehicle with an up to date infotainment system and a nav that is archaic and difficult to use is a potential deal breaker for me.

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By bigdave5
on 10/12/11 11:32 AM (PDT)

You sound very upset about something .... and drone on about things that have little significance. The Highlander is an awesome vehicle, hands down.

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By hondaowner56
on 10/27/11 08:24 AM (PDT)

Please watch this video on the ipod connectivity. Again it focuses on the infotainment. Particularly the ipod connectivity. The video made an observation on feature that is listed on the manual but does not work on the unit itself -- Album advance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEUZF9vbUQ4 Thanks again for your feedback.

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By damado
on 11/07/11 08:20 AM (PST)

Oh and another note, at the car show, the 2012 highlanders there seemed to have a higher resolution navigation system display than the one in my 2011. Other than that it looked seemed identical.

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By 1ptbijou
on 05/10/12 10:57 AM (PDT)

My wife was going to buy one and at the last moment. she found out that the driver's airbag does not deploy properly allowing the driver's head to hit the stering and potentially causing injuries. Now the Vensa has the same problem. How on earth can Toyota with all of their resources have such a flaw this according to the IIHS report?????

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By bigljb
on 10/19/11 23:28 PM (PDT)

rfcheapcar Although some of what you say has merit (yes the tech should have been improved especially in light of the new tech in the camry), stuff about the wood grain and hard plastic is unfounded. Also, I'm 6'4" 225 and I fit in the driver seat comfortably. I test drove the egde, explorer and the CX9 and they all have better "wood grain" expecially the fords. They are nice but they cost more than the highlander with comparable features. Moreover, none of those other vehicles keep their value as well as the highlander.I think it boils down to you get what you pay for... and in this case you are paying for the toyota name and supposed quality. That said I would stand in line with you to get them to swap out my nav for their new HDD based nav which will probably be on next years model.

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