The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV models come with their own interior livery scheme, with all of its gauges trimmed in a soothing blue shade, with a power meter instead of a tachometer.
In the 2012 version and for the first time, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is available in two trim versions - the Basic which comes equipped with air conditioning, satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and audio streaming, and a USB port, ear privacy glass and 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with P245/65R17 all season tires.
With the Limited edition, as well as these standards comes heated front seats, a 10-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control, Smart Key System with push-button start, active anti-whiplash front head restraints, a power rear lift-gate, power moonroof, a rearview camera monitor and 19-inch aluminum wheels with P245/55R19 all weather tires.
If all of these goodies are still not enough, then the Highlander comes with a long list of optional extras ranging from a state of the art navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a rapid hitch tow bar.
Other unique Hybrid features, appearing as insets on the Highlander's navigation screen, are Consumption and Energy Monitor screens that constantly update vital information that a Hybrid driver will need to know. For example the Consumption screen will display fuel consumption in real time as well as in five-minute increments, while the Energy Monitor screen updates the driver on the drive status, displaying when the gas engine and electric motors are in combined use, or when either one of the possible single configurations are powering the vehicle.
Safety features on the Highlander Hybrid version takes in a full complement of airbags: dual-stage front airbags, a driver's-knee airbag, upper body-protecting side-impact airbags for front passengers, and head-protecting side air curtains for the front and rear seats. All models come with anti-lock brakes (ABS), which are designed to enhance steering control during an emergency stop situation. The ABS features Brake Assist, which applies the brakes more forcefully and consistently in an emergency stop situation as well as electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which balances brake application front and rear for optimal stopping distance. A tire-pressure monitor is standard, as well as a Vehicle Stability Control feature.
Fuel consumption for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV, according to the US EPA, averages at 28 miles per gallon in two wheels drive, both in the city and on the highway.
The 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comfortably fulfills its role as a middle of the road crossover SUV providing high standards of safety, operability, maneuverability as well as outstanding fuel economy for a vehicle of its size and power. The Highlander can hold its own both on and off road, and, as most reviews report, providing excellent value for money as far as purchase outlay and upkeep costs are concerned. Toyota continues to lead the way in the mid-size crossover SUV niche with the Highlander, despite some strong opposition both from the US as well as the Far East.