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For several years now, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) has been available in the Toyota Corolla. The design, which is very different from a traditional automatic, uses a set of pulleys and a steel belt instead of planetary gear sets.
During the last couple of decades, CVTs have become increasingly commonplace. Yet many consumers remain unfamiliar with the operating characteristics of these unique transmissions. Also, because automakers can’t seem to perfect the technology, the units tend to be more problematic than regular automatics.
The 2017 Toyota Corolla illustrates how CVTs fail to measure up to traditional automatics. Many customers complain of lack of acceleration, harsh shifting and other problems from thecar’s transmission.
For example, on Edmunds.com, one consumer complaint reads, “My family and I have been longtime Toyota lovers. From Camrys and Corollas to RAV4 and Tacoma’s, always swore by the brand. Toyota killed the Corolla this time with that awful, dangerous CVT transmission. I made the mistake of not test driving before buying when I bought the Corolla. Never again will I buy a Corolla unless Toyota goes back to the old transmission. When you look around for a 2017 Toyota Corolla you can find them by the dozens at used car lots. The car is a real stinker! I couldn’t give this car away the resale value is terrible. Everyone knows this car is terrible. My husband and I decided to look at Hyundai and bought the 2018 Elantra SE and it’s like night and day. The Hyundai is quiet and accelerates when you need to pass someone. Oh, and the car was a lot cheaper! It’s really sad, but Toyota is slipping with their quality! The 2017 Corolla needs to be recalled and they need to pay to change out the transmission. This car is dangerous with that slow acceleration!”
On the NHTSA website, another owner writes, “The transmission (CVT) doesn’t respond when accelerating leaving a stop sign causing a delay in moving and we fear one day will cause an accident as it won’t get out of the way of other traffic. It also doesn’t shift correctly (it revs too high before shifting) even though it’s an automatic. To us, it seems like a hazard to us and others on the road. Toyota maintenance says it is normal, but this is ongoing since we purchased the car.”
As the consumer mentioned above, Toyota insists lack of acceleration – and other unpleasant operating characteristics – are typical of a CVT. Despite the transmission being “normal”, however, the automaker has released a software update to improve performance.
Will the reflash fix the transmission’s lack of acceleration, slippage, etc.? Probably not.Such problems seem to plague nearly every CVT on the market these days.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Corolla Transmission Problems:
I JUST PURCHASED A 2017 COROLLA XSE IN FEB 2017. THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENED I HAD THE CRUISE CONTROL ON AND WAS TRAVELING TO WORK AT 05:15, AND I CAME TO AN OVERPASS AND ON THE WAY DOWN THE NORMAL OVERPASS OVER A CROSS STREET, I HEARD THE ENGINE REV AND I LOOKED AT THE TACH, AND IT WAS AT 5000 RPM. I WAS STARTLED. THE SAME THING HAPPENED AT THE NEXT OVERPASS. THIS TIME IT WAS 4000 RPM ALMOST AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS RATHER SHORT AVERAGE DOWNHILL. THIS IS STILL HAPPENING, BUT OCCASIONALLY IT DOES NOT. HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE CORRECT. I CAN CONTROL THE SPEED QUITE NICELY WITH MY FOOT ON THE ACCELERATOR WITHOUT HARDLY ANY VARIATION OF MY RPM’S. THIS JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT A LONG DOWNHILL ROAD THAT HAS A LANE FOR TRUCKS ON THE RIGHT, WHERE THEY WOULD HAVE TO DOWNSHIFT TO MAINTAIN A SAFE SPEED, THIS IS JUST OVERPASSES ON A FREEWAY SYSTEM. I ASKED MY SALESMAN, AND HE SAID THAT IT WAS PROBABLY NORMAL, AND I SAID HOW COULD IT BE NORMAL FOR THIS THING TO REV AT 5000 RPM ON A HOUSTON FREEWAY? I ONLY HAVE 5000 MILES ON THIS CAR. THIS WILL DEFINITELY AFFECT THE MILEAGE. I AM BESIDE MYSELF AT THIS POINT.
I OWN A TOYOTA COROLLA 2017 SINCE 1/14/17.CAR SHOWS 2 MAIN ISSUES: 1)- COOLING FLUID EVAPORATES CONTINUOSLY OR DECREASES FROM FLUID TANK AT ABOUT 1/4 OF IN. X MONTH EVERY TIME I’VE CHECKED IT IN. I,FIRST, REFILLED IT ONCE WITH CORRECT OR SAME FLUID.IT KEPT EVAPORATING AT THE SAME RATE.THEN,I REPORTED IT TO DEALERSHIP IT WAS SOLD. 2)- SHIFT LEVER OR GEAR CONTROL; THIS CAR COMES WITH CVT AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, EVERY TIME I SHIFT SPEED GEAR AND MOVE KNOB FROM PARKING TO DRIVE POSITION AND VICE VERSE, THE SHIFTING DOESN’T OCURRES CORRECTLY OR GOT STUCK IN THE PREVIOUS SPEED TEMPORARELY AND THEN IT MOVES TO POSITION I SHIFTED. WHEN CAR IS APPLIED BRAKE PEDAL TO PARK CAR IN PLAIN SURFACE AREAS(PARKING LOTS, CITY STREETS) AND SPEED GEAR KNOB IS PLACED IN PARKING POSITION, CAR MOVES BACK AND FORTHS 2 TO 3 TIMES AND THEN STOP COMPLETELY. BOTH ISSUES WERE REPORTED TO DEALERSHIP. IN A PROGRAMMED SERVICE CAR ASKED TO DEALERSHIP DUE TO MANUFACTURER’S CAR WARRANTY ON JUNE,11TH/17 BOTH ISSUES WERE REPORTED TO DEALERSHIP TECHNICIAN PERFORMING CAR SERVICES. ACCORDING TO TECHNICIAN’S REPORT AND WORDS, COOLING FLUID TANK WAS REFILLED TO CORRECT LEVELS, COMPUTER CHECKING WAS APPLIED AND FAILURES CODES WEREN’T FOUND EITHER ON THE COOLING SYSTEM OR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION SYSTEM.TECHNICIAN ALSO REPORTED THAT FARTHER OBSERVATION WOULD BE NEEDED IN CASE OF TRANSMISSION SHIFTING ISSUES,BUT IT WOULD TAKE MY CAR PARKED IN DEALERSHIP SERVICE AREAS FOR 3 HOURS BEFORE HE TRIES ANY ATTEMPT TO DISASSEMBLE ANY TRANSMISSION PARTS OR ANY FARTHER TESTING. UP TO PRESENT, EITHER ISSUES HAVEN’T BEEN ADDRESSED OR FIXED BY DEALERSHIP’S TECHNICIANS AND BOTH ISSUES KEEP HAPPENING.
If there’s one thing Toyota is known for – it’s dependable engines. The 2017 Toyota Corolla comes with two versions of the 1.8L four-cylinder: one tuned for everyday driving and the other designed for maximum efficiency.
While both variants are generally highly regarded, there are customer accounts of unexpected stalling.
“Car stalled while driving. Gave DTC P0113, P0013, P1603, P1605,” writes an owner on the NHTSA website.
Another consumer complains, “Vehicle is drive stopped and at idle the RPM will fluctuate between 800 to 400 RPMs almost stalling.
Are these instances flukes or is there a serious, underlying problem with the Corolla? So far, there have been no technical service bulletins or recalls from Toyota regarding the concerns.Of course, that doesn’t necessarily indicate the complaints are unwarranted; it just means the jury is still out on the matter.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Corolla Engine Problems:
BOUGHT THE CAR LAST APRIL, IT HAS GIVEN ME NO PROBLEMS, UNTIL NOW. THE CAR START TO LOOSE ACCELERATION WHEN DRIVING ALMOST GOT INTO TWO CAR ACCIDENT ON THE ROAD, CALLED TOYOTA BUT THEY WANT TO CHARGE ME TO INSPECT THE CAR, THE CAR SEEMS TO BE STUCK ON GEARS LIKE IF IT WAS ON NEATRUAL.
FROM A COMPLETE STOP WHEN ATTEMPTING TO ACCELERATE YOU CAN PUSH THE ACCELERATOR ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR AND IT WILL ACCELERATE EXTREMELY SLOW THEN WILL TAKE OFF CREATING ONE OF TWO SAFETY CONCERNS. EITHER YOU MUST FLOOR THE ACCELERATOR TO EVEN ATTEMPT TO KEEP UP WITH TRAFFIC OR FEATHER THE ACCELERATOR AND GET RUN OVER FROM BEHIND.
Toyota Safety Sense-P – a set of advanced driver assistance features – became standard fare on the Corolla starting in 2017. The bundle includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist and automatic high beams.
Obviously, the suite is designed to protect occupants and provide driving assistance. According to some customers, however, design flaws compromise the integrity of the system, making it more dangerous than helpful.
“The contact owns a 2017 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that while the cruise control was activated at 65 mph, the dynamic radar feature activated violently. There was no vehicle in front of the contact’s vehicle at that time that should have activated the dynamic radar,” reads an owner statement on the NHTSA website.
Another complaint states, “The contact owns a 2017 Toyota Corolla. While driving 40 mph, the crash avoidance sensor malfunctioned. The contact stated that the sensor did not apply the brakes or detect that the vehicle was too close to another vehicle. The dealer repaired the vehicle, but the failure reoccurred. The dealer refreshed the sensor software in the vehicle, but this did not correct the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 800.”
So far, Toyota has not come forward with any campaigns to address the Safety Sense issues.Eventually, the automaker– and consumers – will find out if the problems are widespread enough to cause concern.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Toyota Corolla Electrical Problems:
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2017 TOYOTA COROLLA. WHILE THE VEHICLE WAS STATIONARY AND WHILE DRIVING VARIOUS SPEEDS, THE REAR DRIVER SIDE SEAT FAILED TO LATCH CORRECTLY TO THE FLOORBOARD AND BECAME LOOSE. IN ADDITION, THE REAR PASSENGER SIDE SEAT ADJUSTMENT LATCH FRACTURED. HENDRICK TOYOTA SCION WILMINGTON (5640 MARKET ST, WILMINGTON, NC) WAS NOTIFIED, BUT THE FAILURES COULD NOT BE DUPLICATED. FURTHERMORE, THE CONTACT HAD TO REPLACE THE VEHICLE BATTERY SHORTLY AFTER PURCHASING THE VEHICLE. KENDALL TOYOTA (10943 S DIXIE HWY, MIAMI, FL) WAS ALSO MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURES, BUT THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURES. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 20,000.
WAS DRIVING MY CAR HOME FROM WORK AND ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER I STARTED IT AND BEGAN TO DRIVE, I WENT OVER A SPEED BUMP GOING 5MPH AND SUDDENLY MY THEFT ALARM SYSTEM STARTS GOING OFF AND INCESSANTLY HONKING. MY HAZARD LIGHTS ALSO BEGAN TO BLINK AND MY HIGH BEAMS TURNED ON. I PULLED OVER AND PRESSED MY SMART KEY ALARM MULTIPLE TIMES UNTIL THE ALARM STOPPED. EVERY TIME I WOULD HIT ANY SORT OF BUMP OR USE MY TURN SIGNAL SWITCH, THE ALARM AND HEADLIGHTS LIGHTS WOULD START GOING OFF. I TOOK IT TO TOYOTA AND THEY CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT’S WRONG. THEY SAID IT IS AN ELECTRICAL ISSUE, BUT NOT A TOYOTA ONE. THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE SINCE TOYOTA ENGINEERS THE ELECTRIC COMPONENTS.
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2017 TOYOTA COROLLA. WHILE THE VEHICLE WAS STOPPED, THE INSTRUMENT PANEL ILLUMINATED AND THE POWER SEIZED. THE VEHICLE WAS TOWED TO A DEALER WHERE THE FAILURE COULD NOT BE DUPLICATED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 841. THE CONSUMER STATED THE ERROR MESSAGES READ CHARGING SYSTEM MALFUNCTION AND OIL PRESSURE LOW, ALONG WITH A MESSAGE THAT READ CONSULT OWNERS MANUAL AND TO TAKE THE VEHICLE IN FOR SERVICE.
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