My rant on my 2019 Lexus RX 350

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Apr 22, 2018
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My wife drives the RX 350 and when I do drive it I'm usually driving around town. Last weekend, we drove to Montreal through Vermont and the Green Mountains and I seriously hate the 3.5L V6/8-speed combination. While the V6 is very smooth and refined, it has no torque and with the programming of the 8-speed, the transmission constantly hunts gears going up long grades at highway speeds.

If you want to maintain 75mph going up a long hill the moment you hit 75 and back off the accelerator even just a little bit it upshifts. You then start losing speed and if you tap the accelerator just a little bit, it again downshifts until you reach 75mph, just to upshift again and lose speed again. This behavior also happens with cruise control. Generally speaking, it behaves fine around town.

I also hate the 8-speed because there is a shutter when in drive and not moving that all RX 350s have from day one. If you put it in park or neutral the shutter goes away but the second you put it in drive it's back. It is significant enough to rattle change in the cupholder and can be felt through the brake pedal, steering wheel, and shifter knob.

This is the best Toyota could do for its best-selling Lexus and an engine/transmission found in a majority of its vehicles? I'm just glad I don't drive it FT. Ok...rant over!
 
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Cincinnati, OH, USA
You need to try the 10 speed that Ford puts in our Transit 250s-thing literally NEVER stops shifting! Mine just passed 36K, it’s never going to make 50K without breaking.
 
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Jun 8, 2022
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It is in fact the same 3.5 that is in a ton of vehicles - camry, highlander, tacoma

And its the same 8 speed also in a ton of vehicles - camry, rav4, even some BMW's and volvo's

The implementation / shift points etc may very well be different by application.

We have the 8 speed connected to a I-4 in our Rav. It hunts on occasion. I have yet to hear anyone with a 8+ speed transmission that doesn't think it shifts more often than needed.

Bring back the 4 on the floor and be done with it already!
 
Joined
May 17, 2009
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In the HP race, low end torque is gone. Actually it should still have some with VVti
maybe yours is unhappy for some reason. There is a lot of garbage fuel in our area. Wife may have it carboned up and its pulling timing. My car has been sluggish lately and I have had to manually shift it and keep it in lower gears.

The GM 3800 in the big Olds and Buicks were great in making usable torque and still having "adequate" power.

Now to be a dweebo dink ...

SHUTTERS
shutters-white.jpg


SHUDDER
seizure.jpg
 
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I have yet to hear anyone with a 8+ speed transmission that doesn't think it shifts more often than needed.
I have zero complaints about the ZF8 trans in wife's Q5. It is very well sorted and does not hunt around. And if you don't want it to shift early (which is no big deal because the engine has plenty of torque down low), then just switch it to sport mode. Honestly, the best auto trans I have ever driven, not that I've driven that many, but I have had my fair share of rentals.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
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Pennsylvania
Our 2018 Sienna has the same powertrain combo. It's extremely frustrating how little torque it has to make it up hills and exhibits the same behavior as your RX. I swear some hills in local driving it upshifts and downshifts at least 3 times before making it to the top.

The older 3.5 with the 6 speed felt like it had a lot more power.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2019
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UR
My wife drives the RX 350 and when I do drive it I'm usually driving around town. Last weekend, we drove to Montreal through Vermont and the Green Mountains and I seriously hate the 3.5L V6/8-speed combination. While the V6 is very smooth and refined, it has no torque and with the programming of the 8-speed, the transmission constantly hunts gears going up long grades at highway speeds.

If you want to maintain 75mph going up a long hill the moment you hit 75 and back off the accelerator even just a little bit it upshifts. You then start losing speed and if you tap the accelerator just a little bit, it again downshifts until you reach 75mph, just to upshift again and lose speed again. This behavior also happens with cruise control. Generally speaking, it behaves fine around town.

I also hate the 8-speed because there is a shutter when in drive and not moving that all RX 350s have from day one. If you put it in park or neutral the shutter goes away but the second you put it in drive it's back. It is significant enough to rattle change in the cupholder and can be felt through the brake pedal, steering wheel, and shifter knob.

This is the best Toyota could do for its best-selling Lexus and an engine/transmission found in a majority of its vehicles? I'm just glad I don't drive it FT. Ok...rant over!
Some can dog CVTs all day long, but never gear hunting is a main reason I like mine. What you describe is a solid reason why I don't miss the typical automatic at all with any car I've had over the yrs.
 
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I have the 8 speed in my Camry. If you drive it like you stole it it will behave better for a while while it relearns the shift points. It does love to upshift.
Mine does the same thing. I don't beat on it, and it upshifts just fine. If I stand on it it will hold the gears much longer..... Like it's supposed to. The only flaw is, if you roll through a stop sign, and don't come to a complete stop. When you accelerate it will drop down into first hard.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
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RX is an SUV. You might be thinking of ES 350 which would be the Camry's cousin.
technically speaking, before modular platforms became marketing buzzwords/industry popular, Toyota K platform was the modular platform that helped them create alot of mid size segements.

Camry
Avalon
ES
RX/highlander (closest in terms of design)
Venza
Sienna

list goes on and they now are based on their next gen TGNA-K. Hence they can be lumped into the same bucket.
 
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For drive-ability, the best transmission I ever owned was a VW 6 speed DSG. That thing had perfectly selected shift points whether you were in drive cruising around or tearing around in sport. Shifts were lightning fast as well.

You get more than 6 (almost all now) and they shift too much for my liking. The 8 speed in my Jetta is definitely tuned for fuel economy over everything else. I am forced to drive in sport at all times and it still shifts more than I like, with 1-4 sometimes being downright annoying. I've learned how to drive to get around it most of the time but it still can be annoying, but 8 plus is the new normal. (n)
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2022
Messages
257
My wife drives the RX 350 and when I do drive it I'm usually driving around town. Last weekend, we drove to Montreal through Vermont and the Green Mountains and I seriously hate the 3.5L V6/8-speed combination. While the V6 is very smooth and refined, it has no torque and with the programming of the 8-speed, the transmission constantly hunts gears going up long grades at highway speeds.

If you want to maintain 75mph going up a long hill the moment you hit 75 and back off the accelerator even just a little bit it upshifts. You then start losing speed and if you tap the accelerator just a little bit, it again downshifts until you reach 75mph, just to upshift again and lose speed again. This behavior also happens with cruise control. Generally speaking, it behaves fine around town.

I also hate the 8-speed because there is a shutter when in drive and not moving that all RX 350s have from day one. If you put it in park or neutral the shutter goes away but the second you put it in drive it's back. It is significant enough to rattle change in the cupholder and can be felt through the brake pedal, steering wheel, and shifter knob.

This is the best Toyota could do for its best-selling Lexus and an engine/transmission found in a majority of its vehicles? I'm just glad I don't drive it FT. Ok...rant over!
Theres a huge thread about this on the RX forums regarding transmission shift logic. My personal take on multi gear transmissions from Toyota is that it needs to be driven hard or left in sport modes. They tend to hang, shudder etc if driven like a granny. Toyota hybrids seem to be better suited for a driver who drives like a granny.

Even the 6 speeds have the same issues.
 

OVERKILL

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I know @StevieC had similar complaints (and others) about the 8spd in his Highlander that bothered him so much he got rid of it.

I've been extremely happy with our ZF8's, it seems to be the best sorted transmission on the market.
 
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Apr 29, 2003
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Southern Vermont
I actually live in southern Vermont in the Green Mountains, and a couple of months ago, we acquired a 2019 RX350. My impression of it is that the top gears are meant for non aggressive interstate driving for fuel economy. The car has a fairly high compression ratio, but calls for 87 octane. So it is my impression that part of the downshifting is to avoid lugging and pinging on regular fuel.

I find myself using the manual shift gate a lot on our hills. My trip to the post office involves a 1000 foot elevation change in under 2.7 miles.
 
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