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We are going to trade in a '05 US spec 2.4 L, for a '16 Russian Rav (they started assembling Ravs in St. Petersburg this year). I've made a choice, but my mind is still not made up between the 2.0 L with CVT, or 2.5 L with automatic.

The 2.0 L has enough power I think, about the same as our 2.4 L Rav. My concern is the CVT on the 2.0 L. Am not concerned about different noises, just reliability. I have been leery of CVTs on anything but a snowmobile, but they seem to be proving themselves now in higher power applications. As far as I know Toyota is relatively new to CVTs in cars.

Any opinions, input, advice much appreciated. I could save some Rubles with a CVT if its reliable!
 

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Nobody here really has any knowledge of this "CVT" you speak of. Anywhere else you'd only get a eCVT in the hybrid models but that's a totally different machine.

So without knowing the actual design of that unit nobody can say much. Toyota has used a couple CVTs before with limited success. The Matrix comes to mind.
 

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As far as I know Toyota is relatively new to CVTs in cars.
Not exactly. My 2006 Lexus RX hybrid has a CVT transmission, (Lexus = Toyota, same company). That's an eleven-year old car now with just over 200,000 miles on it. Never a lick of problem with the transmission in that time. Can't say for sure, but I think all Prius have CVT transmissions. They've been around for twenty years now. Rarely do you hear about them being a problem. It is one of those things that you either love/like or hate/dislike. Myself, I like them.

An example of how strong they are, I've towed my Mercedes Benz coupé with the RX to my mechanic. The mechanic's shop is about fifty miles from home, and over some pretty high hills. Did the job well. (I trust this specific mechanic, hence my willingness to travel so far to have him 'baby' my coupé.)
 
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All that I can contribute is that my wife had a 2015 Honda CR-V which had a CVT to use while her older CR-V was having some recall work done, and she said that the CVT worked well even in our hilly and mountain driving which has many bends and twists.
 
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With some Googling, it seems like the RAV4 will have an 3ZR-FE engine with the K112 CVT transmission, which is a push belt design, not planetary gears like in the 2016+ hybrids.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_K_CVT_transmission

Seems like there are many millions of different model cars with these transmissions in the world. Never heard of Toyota making bad transmissions.:D
 

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Hybrid Toyota cvt's have two electric motors and a planetary gear set with no belts. The cvt combined with the 2.0 liter will be about the same as the Corolla and new C-HR has this same powertrain. Haven't had any known issues with them from the Corolla like Nissan and Honda have had. That's why Toyota spends nearly 10 billion a year on research and development, to ensure the end product is proven reliable.


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