I originally posted at Edmunds how I loved, loved, LOVED my Rav4 at time of purchase back in 2002. However, car started jerking last week, couldn't accelerate, so towed it to dealer, went online, and discovered the brain/transmission problem! Paid over $1300 to replace the brain, and have no faith in my car anymore. Dealer couldn't guarantee it won't start lurching again, so it's time to switch from Toyota, sadly. A company that doesn't stand behind a problem that it knows exists at least when I trade it in, I can show I paid to 'fix' the ECM, but I pray the car just gets retired rather than potentially hurting another soul!
None right now.
Toyota sent out a service notice to dealers back in 2006 about this issue and didn't notify customers. Sad! I am here to warn all of you to 1) not drive if the car starts lurching (I was able to save the transmission) and 2) be prepared for the ECM problem.
129,000 care-free miles and THEN transmission failure with an incredible lack of consideration by Toyota. ECU/ECM (computer module of automatic transmission) failure leading to destruction of tranny. Will cost $4- 5000 and Toyota has been aware of this via TSB (technical service bulletin) since 2006. Affecting years 2001-2003 with automatic. If your get a RAV-4 make sure it's got STICK!
A week ago I would've rated this car a 4 out of 5 stars. Yesterday driving home the transmission went out. I lost the Drive gears and made it home in Low 2nd. Went online and discovered it is a common problem with 2001-05 Rav4s and is actually caused by a bad ECM (Engine Control Module). I called the dealership in the morning and they said it would be nearly $5,000 to replace the ECM and transmission. This is really bad for a Toyota with only 72,000 miles. Found out later that I'm covered by a 'Federal Emissions Warranty' mandated by the government. Called Toyota back and yes, I am covered after all, but only for the ECM and not the transmission. How ridiculous is that?
Compact and easy to drive. Hardly any blind spots. Super easy to change the oil filter.
CONTINUED FROM REVIEW: If you own a Rav4, I highly recommend you take it to your dealer and get the ECM replaced BEFORE it destroys your transmission. Go into Google and type 'Rav4 Transmission Problems' to read more details. This is a huge problem that Toyota is once again covering up.
and your ecm WILL mess up your transmission... i wasted money on a new transmission and was told my ecm got reprogrammed but it still does the same stuff to me. its pretty scary when u drive across a four way and your car slows down and drags while you're inside being jerked around. will never buy a toyota EVER again. now im looking into other cars..... makes me mad because the car was perfect until this.
Purchased new in 2002. 56,000 miles today. The Good. Leather seats ergonomic with great back support. Removable seats. Great handling. No major engine problems The Bad. Wimpy 2.0 engine. Interior started rattling soon after purchase and was never properly fixed. Dealership (not toyota) recalled and reprogrammed the ECM (computer) for tranny but experiencing no problems as of today. Forums on RAV Transmission computer problems are scary. Thermostat needed replacement. Side crash tests do not inspire confidence. Rear suspension noise and corrosion of AWD system makes alignment nightmare. My 1995 Chevy Lumina feels it is of a higher quality and that should tell you something.
Removable seats fold and flip. Beautiful styling (except for rear spare tire tumor hanging off the end). A snap to park. Impulse purchase.
Spare tire on back with hard cover looks goofy. Audio system sounds like a tin can, not what i would expect from a $27,000 SUV. Rear wiper and sprayer useless. Bad Tire wear.