Early downshifts on slight inclinations


#1

I have a 2012 Camry with the 4 cyl. engine & auto transmission and get 33 to 35 mpg on trips, runs fine, smoothly and good power. The only downside about the car is that it will downshift one gear an what I consider to be very minor rises, and if a bit steeper will downshift another gear. This occurs when I am using the cruise control, when not using the cruise control I can easily maintain speed without the downshift. I assume that it causes no harm, at least I hope so, but it is very annoying and disconcerting to me. Can this be rectified by recalibration of the cars computer? Any suggestion, Thanks


#2

Normally aspirated four cylinder engines tend make most of their power at mid to high engine speeds, they usually aren’t torque monsters so, when one is loafing around at 1500-2000 RPM and there is load put on the engine, like going uphill, it’s going to downshift more often than a torque-laden typical V6 or V8 engine would. What you’re experiencing is normal, and there’s not much you can do about it.


#3

My 4-cyl Rav4 also does this. It is the nature of a smaller engine in a larger car. The V6 version doesn’t do this.


#4

It’s normal. Drive without the CC if the downshifting bothers you.


#5

It may not actually be downshifting. It may only be un-locking the torque convertor clutch allowing the engine to rev a bit more so the car can climb the hill. No worries, this is partly why your car gets good gas mileage.

As @missleman suggests, drive without cruise. You may also find your mileage improves. YOU can anticipate the hill and and allow the speed to drop a bit as it climbs the hill so there is no shift or unlock while your cruise control can’t! You can overspeed a small bit to anticipate the next hill while your CC can’t.


#6

You didn’t say how many miles you have on this car, but of you’re over 60,000 it can’t hurt to put some new plugs in. I strongly and emphatically suggest using only NGK or Nippon-Denso plugs with iridium tips. That’s what your car came with. NGK and Denso are the OEM suppliers to Toyota.

However, I agree that it is absolutely normal. The Camry is geared for mileage, and you’re clearly getting good mileage. That 4-banger with that gearing is adequate, but only by making the best use of the gears. That’s what your car is doing.

I strongly , absolutely , and emphatically recommend against trying any of the aftermarket products that claim to “remap” or to “trick” your car’s computer. These things are junk and some can be damaging. And do not believe anyone who says you can reprogram your computer. If you could, it would come with a tradeoff. Lower mileage, rough operation, maybe even engine damage.

It ain’t broke. Don’t fix it.


#7

My mom has the same car and it has done that since new. I asked about it on the toyotanation forums and the general consensus is that it is normal.


#8

In the old days you control your fuel consumption using a combination of throttle and gear. These days you use your right foot to tell the computer how fast you want to go and the computer does whatever it does with the entire propulsion system. If you want that level of control you had before, you should have bought a manual. Better get used to ignoring what your transmission does as your next car may have an 8 speed auto and you won’t be counting what gear it’s in.