2001 Toyota RAV4 AWD from North America


Love my Rav but anyone thinking of purchasing should research known issues (ECM)


170,000 km - Had ECU (computer) sent away for fixing ($500 US).

Other than that, normal stuff, replaced battery, oil changes, etc.

General Comments:

Rav4's from this timeframe (01-03) have a known issue with the ECM causing problems shifting (ie: double-shifts, hard shifting, etc). I knew it had a tranny problem when I purchased it, and I was able to research and get a quick fix for it (ECM repair on eBay). Tons of people have this problem and when it's fixed it causes the shiftpoint to be increased.

Great vehicle - absolutely love it. Tons of space, excellent handling and fuel economy. Burns less fuel driving long distances on the highway than making short trips into town.

Cons: (other than known ECM issue)

1) Mine is slow to accelerate, especially up hills. But since I live in the country it's no problem. I've had it on very long trips (halfway across Canada) and it drives & handles great at highway speeds.

2) Find handling in deep snow/slush horrible without studded tires. It's like being on ice, but you don't lose control, you just feel like you're moving all over the place. I got 4 studded winter tires and now I have no problems.

3) I know a couple people had this problem too. Brake dust from pads makes tire squeal when moisture is present. Pressing hard on the brakes when leaving driveway helps this go away quickly.


Absolutely love my Rav! Wouldn't want anything else.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2010

2001 Toyota RAV4 from North America


This type of problem should not occur when a car is properly maintained


Slippage of the automatic transmission when shifting first gear.

General Comments:

Everything else on the car works fine, and have done previous maintenance regularly. The car has never been abused in driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th February, 2010

7th Jul 2010, 10:44

This is a known issue for 01-03 Rav4s. Your ECM (computer) could be malfunctioning. Do a search online for 01 Rav4 ECM or check out www.rav4world.com to read about people's experiences.

24th Apr 2012, 22:01

Toyota was well aware that the ECMs were a problem, as they issued an in house dealer report stating they were. When my transmission malfunctioned last year due to the ECM, I contacted Toyota stating that they knew they was a problem, yet continued to pass the cost on the the consumer. Toyota replaced my transmission under an extended warranty they offered to me through my dealership. I've had other problems with the Rav 4 since, but it is getting older and things do go.

2001 Toyota RAV4 from North America


Check engine light turn on and off.

Took it to the dealer at 60000 miles and they told me there was a recall on the onboard computer. It gives faults positive error codes. After they re-program the onboard computer the car was fine for another 10,000 miles. The light has come on again. This time a error code P0161 Oxigen Sensor (Bank 2 sensor 2). I'm getting quotes of around $320.00 (if I'm lucky and this is the only problem). Also, at 75000 miles had to replace the brake caliper on both tires, since the brakes keep getting stock. one night I saw my disk breaks red hot and smoking. I heard of cars caught on fire because the brakes got stock.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd April, 2008

2001 Toyota RAV4 NRG 2.0 diesel from UK and Ireland


Great when the engine management warning light is not on!


Engine Management Warning Light comes on on the dashboard. Very erratic, mainly when heavy on the accelerator to overtake or build up speed quickly.

Very dangerous as engine will not rev at all once the light appears. Have to pull over, turn off the ignition and restart the engine.

Have taken the car to the dealer for a diagnostic check, but they appear unable to find the cause. Have changed meters, valves, etc. cost €700 up to now, and the fault is still not fixed.

The problem seems now to be worse than before I took the car in to the garage. They have advised me the problem may be an ECU or turbocharger fault. I said I would not be willing to pay any further costs until they could guarantee the fault would be fixed.

Have contacted Toyota Ireland, but they can only speak to Garage Repairer to try to get them to sort it out. Seems that Toyota Customer Care is not a priority once the warranty period is over, even though car is very low mileage (29,000)

Am awaiting call from Garage following the Easter holiday. Watch this space!!!

General Comments:

I love the RAV4 but if the problem can't be fixed easily, it will have to go!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th April, 2007

27th Jul 2007, 07:37

I have the same fault on a Nissan X-Trail. I wonder if they have the same management unit?