Fuel Economy / MPG » 7
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GREEN | 7 out of 10
2012 Toyota Highlander: 20/25 mpg
2012 Toyota Highlander V-6: 18/24 mpg, automatic/front-wheel drive; 17/22 mpg, all-wheel drive
2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 28/28 mpg
Three powertrains are available to those who like the Highlander's crossover credentials. Some offer good fuel economy for the size, but the most powerful version is just class-competitive.
In its least expensive version, the Highlander comes with a four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. That version rates 20/25 mpg in EPA tests, while opting for the front-drive V-6 drops fuel economy to 18/24 mpg. Upgrading to all-wheel drive on the V-6 pushes gas mileage down to 17/22 mpg, about what you'd get in a Ford Flex.With the changes to its gas engine, the Highlander Hybrid could have lost ground in the fuel economy standings--but it doesn't. Though it's bored and stroked out for 10 more net horsepower, the Hybrid's fuel economy actually increases to 28/28 mpg for the new model year. That's up from the 2010 ratings of 27/25 mpg.
While Toyota is working on an all-electric version of its seven-seat RAV4 crossover with Tesla Motors, it's not expected to build a Highlander EV.
The most powerful Highlanders don't get great gas mileage, but they're balanced out by four-cylinder and Hybrid versions.