Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

Does your 2013-2015 Rav4 experience harsh 4th gear downshifts at highway speed?

  • Yes

    Votes: 16 43.2%
  • No

    Votes: 20 54.1%
  • I don't understand the question.

    Votes: 1 2.7%
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been doing some research on this topic and the general consensus is that the odd highway behavior of this vehicle is completely normal.

The highway behavior I am referring to is the downshift from overdrive to 4th gear when trying to maintain speed on a hill or if you are trying to increase speed to pass another vehicle. During this downshift to 4th gear the gear change is noticeably harsh and uncharacteristic of how the transmission shifts in any other scenario.

I would like to take a poll to see just how normal it really is.

Thank you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,974 Posts
Mine doesn't do harsh downshifts going up a hill, but it does going down when using cruise control, apparently the programming makes the transmission hold the set speed even if it has to drop a gear or two(6th to 4th) if throttle reduction alone doesn't decrease speed enough. It's done it since new on the same hills every time I travel them, I disengage cruise at the top of the hill to avoid the downshift. I forgot to ask about it at the 5k service, but will next month on the 10k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
I just took a 240 mile trip through rolling hills. As I started up a hill it would shift to 5th but wouldn't be there but about a second and then it would shift to 4th. I thought it should have stayed in 5th longer, but the shift from 5th to 4th was not harsh. Could it be that yours is shifting from 6th directly into 4th?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I posted about this "problem" 'way back in 13 about my '13 Limited. 'Got the same "It's Normal" response then. I've seen several similar threds since then and all sound about the same. that shifting briefly from 6th to 5th then harshly to 4th Gosh, I'm beginning to think that IT'S NORMAL. !!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I just took a 240 mile trip through rolling hills. As I started up a hill it would shift to 5th but wouldn't be there but about a second and then it would shift to 4th. I thought it should have stayed in 5th longer, but the shift from 5th to 4th was not harsh. Could it be that yours is shifting from 6th directly into 4th?
No, it first goes from 6th to 5th, which you cant even feel. Then it slams into 4th. Oddly enough, if you smash the pedal to the floor it goes from 6th to 4th or 5th to 4th smoother than you can imagine. Its only harsh under light throttle condition.

Also, the 4th gear kickdown is smooth at speeds under 75mph. Im wondering if the people who answered "no" are people who never do more than 75mph?

Thanks guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
If the kick down to pass is urgent enough, it will down shift to 3rd. Some of these shifts can be firm, but unless it bangs clunks or makes some other noise its most likely normal. When shifts are made under higher loads they have to be made quickly to prevent undo wear on the clutches from slipping under load.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
If the kick down to pass is urgent enough, it will down shift to 3rd. Some of these shifts can be firm, but unless it bangs clunks or makes some other noise its most likely normal. When shifts are made under higher loads they have to be made quickly to prevent undo wear on the clutches from slipping under load.

Thats almost exactly my point, the hard downshift literally only happens under extremly LIGHT load. Its only doing it in a situation where it has to downshift to maintain speed, not under acceleration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Can't use cruise control.

I'm almost 60 and this is the first automatic i've ever owned. I bought this car because I would be driving across the country and then would need AWD to get around California chain controls near the ski areas. I knew that going up and down steep mountains was going to be a problem because I couldn't hold a gear like you do in a manual. I did a pretty good test drive around some small hills and was Ok with the kickdowns. On the highway test I realize now that I didn't use the cruise control when approaching a rise. I hadn't done very much highway driving until I drove from CT to NV a month ago. I'm pretty frustrated with this transmission. I've never driven anything to 5,000 or 6,000 rpm ever. For me the cruise control is unusable. That,s saying a lot when you consider that I will be doing this round trip every year.

Has anyone noticed that it won't kick down if you just add a little throttle to maintain your speed? I can go up a steep grade and stay in 4 th gear if I just add or take away the gas pedal smoothly. In cruise control it would be jumping all around. I wouldn't say that it is slamming into the lower gears but it is definitely doing it too much.

I mentioned I'm normally driving a manual. I don't know what other cars have this transmission, but I'm doing some reliability testing on the shiftable for Toyota. I am rarely in "D" and use the shiftable constantly. Hope I get the 150,000 miles out of this that I'm expecting.

I'm pretty happy with this car but this is almost a deal breaker with me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Of the people who are anwered yes to the survey, which plant did your Rav4 come out of?

Answered Yes....Manufactured in Canada....flawless other than this downshift issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yes. Canada. 2013 Limited. Posted about this back in '13.
It seems to have been an issue for a while, i am just trying to get as much info as possible. How has your 2013 model held up over the years? Has the issue gotten worse or unchanged with mileage?

Mine also came from Canada. Im interested to see if the japanese built models are the ones who dont experience the issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Mine is from Japan and I haven't noticed the issue but I only have about 800 highway/freeway miles on it so far so it might be that I just haven't noticed it yet(which is why I haven't voted).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,580 Posts
Mine is from Japan and I haven't noticed the issue but I only have about 800 highway/freeway miles on it so far so it might be that I just haven't noticed it yet(which is why I haven't voted).
While the vehicles are assembled in Canada and Japan (I have a J VIN myself), I believe that the transmissions are manufactured in Japan. I am not sure where the engines are manufactured.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
While the vehicles are assembled in Canada and Japan (I have a J VIN myself), I believe that the transmissions are manufactured in Japan. I am not sure where the engines are manufactured.
I have no idea if there's any difference but TN Cruiser asked about it so I shared my personal experience. Honestly it wouldn't surprise me much either way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
While the vehicles are assembled in Canada and Japan (I have a J VIN myself), I believe that the transmissions are manufactured in Japan. I am not sure where the engines are manufactured.
Correct, but i dont believe this is an issue with the mechanics of the transmission but perhaps with how the transmission is controlled. Im looking for any similarities i can find. If we can determine that only the ones that act funny all come out of the same plant then we are one step closer to the answer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Correct, but i dont believe this is an issue with the mechanics of the transmission but perhaps with how the transmission is controlled.
I already forgot how I voted. I wouldn't go as far as to say "slams into 4th" but it is way too aggressive. I've always thought this was a software issue and have checked in here occasionally to see if anything has been done about it. Doubt that 12 poll #'s will get us anywhere with Toyota but i'm dreaming that I'll be offered an update during one of my free service visits.

Canada build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I already forgot how I voted. I wouldn't go as far as to say "slams into 4th" but it is way too aggressive. I've always thought this was a software issue and have checked in here occasionally to see if anything has been done about it. Doubt that 12 poll #'s will get us anywhere with Toyota but i'm dreaming that I'll be offered an update during one of my free service visits.

Canada build.
Thanks Will, I definitely agree that i think this could be fixed with a software tweak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
R4 has held up GREAT for last 3 years and about 25k miles. Harsh 4th gear shift is unchanged. First time I experienced it was fall of 13 in Tenn & Alabama going from MIch to Fla. Happens in the mountains using cruise ctrl. Rarely happens on flat roads in Mich & Fla. It's so rare and mild that I've adapted a live-with-it attitude. The good in the R4 far outweighs the bad.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top