Six Good Vehicles for Families: Part 4 of 6

2012 Toyota Highlander

2012 Toyota Highlander

The 2012 Toyota Highlander is the best crossover for you if you want a seven-passenger wagon that’s cooler than a minivan and cushier than an SUV.

The 2012 Toyota Highlander should be a repeat of the 2011 Toyota Highlander. Available in front- and all-wheel drive and with gasoline and gas-electric hybrid power, the 2012 Highlander will continue to tread a line between minivan and SUV. It may not possess sufficient attributes of either to satisfy committed family types or image-conscious SUV fans. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you’ll find it an astute compromise.

Highlander is relatively easy to maneuver and garage because its body is no larger overall than the typical five-seat midsize crossover. Highlander, however, does squeeze in an available third-row seat. It’s tighter back there than in a minivan, but Highlander’s first- and second-row accommodations are as generous as any midsize SUV’s.

The 2012 Toyota Highlander will return with a choice of four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines and with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain.

The 2012 Highlander Hybrid will return with three unique features: an instrument panel display that monitors the flow of gas and electric power, an “EV mode” switch to lock in electric propulsion for a limited distance in certain low-speed conditions, and an “Econ-mode” switch that maximizes fuel economy by modulating throttle response during acceleration.

The 2012 Toyota Highlander will go on sale in autumn 2011

Part 1 – Chevy Suburban

Part 2 – GMC Yukon

Part 3 – Toyota Sienna

Part 5 – Chevrolet Tahoe

Part 6 – Cadillac Escalade