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I am looking to replace a 2011 Forester.

I don’t like the CVT on the Subarus. I would like to evaluate the transmission on the Rav4. The Toyota web site doesn’t have much information. I want to know how the 6 speed auto trans works. It is a planetary system with Torque converters? If yes does it lock up only in top gear. I am looking for information like gears, shafts clutches. Is it by any chance a dual shaft, dual clutch system like the VW 6. Anyone have a source of technical information where I can start. I stopped in a dealer last week and my God, all they know about is leather seats and other fluff I don’t care about.
 

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You might have to find a copy of the transaxle factory service manual to get all the technical details. Most of the stuff readily available online will not give your those hard numbers. That said, the 6-speed in both the FWD and AWD 4th gen RAV4, I believe, are the U760E/F series of transaxles (for I4 engines) - a conventional planetary gearset automatic transaxle. Very similar to the previous 4-speed automatics, in terms of overall weight and packaging - just with two more gears. This is not a fancy DSG (direct-shift gearbox) like you'd find in a VW or similar german offering - just a conventional automatic - torque converter, planetary gearset, electronically shifted hydraulic valvebody, standard clutchbands. Uses Toyota WS ATF like the previous generation.
 

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As fishexpo said, it's a "conventional" planetary gear transmission with torque converter.

Few additional details. It's a a Ravigneaux planetary gear transmission (Google it for more info) to allow more gears in a compact design. It can lock-up in 4th, 5th and 6th gear, from 25 mph up (although in practice it only does it under VERY light load, normally it will lock-up somewhere 35 mph under normal driving conditions).

Shifting is usually very smooth, but it tends to "hunt" for gears under heavier loads (hard acceleration or going up-hill). If you come for an older 4-speed transmission the first impression is that it shifts a lot.

It's a fairly conservative design that has been around for 8-9 years, so it's proven to be relatively reliable and durable.

Finally, it does not have a dipstick and changing ATF is a somewhat complex procedure - better leave it to the dealer. Toyota does not specific fluid change interval, but common sense dictates that it probably should be replaced every 60k miles if towing, and somewhere between 75 and 100k miles under normal use.
 

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it tends to "hunt" for gears under heavier loads

Finally, it does not have a dipstick and changing
Thanks for the replies. Our Forester has a 4 speed auto (I actually hate autos and alway buy manual but, my wife wants auto). We live in the mountains of Utah up around 8000 feet. It's almost a 15 mile grade to get home. The 4 speed Sub is always hunting for a gear it does not have. While I don't like teh hunt shifting, it the high RPM I don't like. CVT might be better but I have ruled out CVT for many reason. The big problem is that 4 speeds are not enough. The 4 cylinder will often drop down into 2nd and the RPM is way too high. A 6 speed trans should be much better.

Next,,,, this dip stick issue,,,,, even with a rock solid design and road history this issue alone could be enough to send send me to VW for the dual clutch system. Just who comes up with this stuff? Special tools to find the fluid level depending on the temperature when tested, having to get under the car and remove a plug then thread in the tools, this is totally lame. Note to auto companies if you are listening. If it's not broke don't fix it.

Another question is about the AWD drive on the RAV4. I do like the lock up option. In addition, I assume it has traction control like on the Subarus. Does it have an option to turn it off? I have a mountain side home and my driveway is 23 percent grade, when snow covered at times the Subaru will not make it up the drive way with the traction control on. As soon as it detects any wheel slippage it cuts power before I get to the top of the driveway.

Anyway, I still like Toyota, I ran my T100 truck for 18 years and it was 100 percent reliable.

It't clear that the modern auto is not something most owners can service. The days of simple are gone.
 

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Like the car but the transmission makes me nuts.

Thanks for the replies. Our Forester has a 4 speed auto (I actually hate autos and alway buy manual but, my wife wants auto). We live in the mountains of Utah up around 8000 feet. It's almost a 15 mile grade to get home. The 4 speed Sub is always hunting for a gear it does not have. While I don't like teh hunt shifting, it the high RPM I don't like. CVT might be better but I have ruled out CVT for many reason. The big problem is that 4 speeds are not enough. The 4 cylinder will often drop down into 2nd and the RPM is way too high. A 6 speed trans should be much better.
This is my first Auto transmission although I have driven plenty in rental cars or fleet cars. This transmission makes me crazy mostly about the cruise control but in another way also. I think the gearing and shift points are set up for the EPA fuel economy test. I've never driven an Auto that will shift up into 4th gear when the car's hardly up to highway speed and then if you add even a touch of throttle it will downshift to 3rd.

I just drove from NV to CT and the mountains of the West were tough to take with the cruise control set at 75. Go to the Mechanical section for the lowdown on this. But never mind the mountains, in totally flat terrain if the highway rises to cross another road the car will briefly downshift to 5th and then will quickly shift to 4th sending the engine screaming on up to 5000 RPM.

I dumped a VW Jetta Sportwagen for this car pre emissions scandal and I would never buy VW again. DCT or CVT I would never buy one again.

Yes you can turn off the traction control.

I suggest you drive any one of the cars you are considering up the mountain grade you drive home on. After this rant you might think I'm steering you toward a different brand but I'm not. The RAV4 in manual mode of 4th gear might be your best option. It won't hunt that much but you have to be OK with the fact that you are not getting the fuel economy that you might get by being in "D" and sometimes being in 5th gear.

During my test drive I did not go over a rise with the cruise control on. I may still have ended up with the RAV4 but I would have test driven some other cars to see if I could find one that wasn't going around town at 1500 RPM and downshifting for every little rise or speed limit increase.

I've had the car almost 2 yrs. now and it's doing every thing I want it to. Just wish Toyota could flash my transmission with a software that held the gears more. ( BTW, SPORT mode isn't good enough for this.)
 

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......
I've had the car almost 2 yrs. now and it's doing every thing I want it to. Just wish Toyota could flash my transmission with a software that held the gears more. ( BTW, SPORT mode isn't good enough for this.)
I agree with the above, the tranny on cruise drives me nuts sometimes. For that reason alone I am considering a Hybrid with the CVT, but I haven't driven one yet so that may not come to be as I am not a fan of CVT's in general.

EDIT: I have read that the 2016 RAV transmission shifts smoother than the older of the same generation.
 
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