in 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $29,990 - $34,695
Original MSRP: $38,715 - $44,370
MPG: 28 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers appreciate the Highlander Hybrid's cabin, which is mostly well-built, though it features some sub-par materials. Overall, most of its gadgets are easy to use, and passengers in the front two rows will be comfortable, though if you plan to put adults in the third row, they’ll be cramped and uncomfortable.

  • ­"The Base model's interior is fitted with above-average-grade plastics and comfortable cloth upholstery. Only the fuzzy headliner feels cheap. Most other Highlanders have good-quality leather and metal-look trim throughout the cabin. The Limited's interior adds some unconvincing faux wood.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Life inside the Highlander Hybrid is about as comfy as it gets. Though the materials don't seem as fine as in past models, the leather seats are still soft and heated in the front row.” -- Cars.com

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Pictures

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The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid can seat up to seven people. The second row's Center Stow seat can be converted to a center console or stowed to create two captain's chairs in the second row. Base hybrid models come with cloth upholstery and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, while Hybrid Limited trims add standard leather upholstery and a heated 10-way adjustable driver’s seat. Test drivers note that the front two rows are fairly comfortable, and although the back seat is definitely not adult-sized, it will likely be fine for small children.

  • "Highlander's seats are nicely supportive, and there's ample headroom and legroom. Forward visibility is good thanks to its elevated seating position. Rear visibility is impaired by 2nd-row headrests and thick rear roof pillars. Entering Highlander requires only a modest step up.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The third row is really only fit for kids or short trips. With the second row as far forward as possible, I still felt squished sitting back there. The kids don't seem to mind, though, even if their knees are touching the seats in front of them.” -- Cars.com

Interior Features

The Highlander Hybrid comes standard with an average number of features, most of which are easy to use. The base model comes with a six-speaker CD player, a rearview camera and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio and Bluetooth controls and cruise control. The Highlander Hybrid Limited adds a standard power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control and keyless entry. Navigation is optional on both trims.

Reviewers seem to have few complaints about the Highlander Hybrid’s interior features, though some mention that other navigation systems on the market are easier to use. 

  • "All versions have large, easy-to-read gauges and high-mounted audio and climate controls. The available navigation system is fairly intuitive but absorbs and complicates some audio-system adjustments.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The (electronics) systems take some getting used to, but it's not impossible.” -- Cars.com


Behind the first row of seats, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid provides an impressive 94.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and behind the second row of seats there’s still a decent 42.4 cubic feet of space. However, those class-competitive numbers shrink to a less-than-adequate 10.3 cubic feet with all three rows of seats in use. That’s barely enough space for a few bags of groceries.

  • “We've always liked the Highlander's 40/20/40 second row. It reclines, it slides back and forth, and the central ‘20’ section is removable (and stowable onboard) to create a center aisle and separate buckets with fold-down armrests. There are lots of clever ideas in here.” -- Edmunds
  • "Storage up front is sufficient but not impressive. While there are four cupholders in the center console area, the console's bin itself is rather small. The bottleholders in the doors only fit a small bottle, and the door bins are narrow. It's not unworkable; it only meant that I had to manage my clutter.” -- Cars.com
  • "There's only grocery-bag space behind the 3rd-row seat, but it stows quickly to create a flat floor. The split 2nd-row seat backs are more cumbersome to fold and don't lay quite flat.” -- Consumer Guide

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