In January 2017, the YouTube channel AutoVlog grabbed the motoring world's attention by posting a video with over 8 million views as of this writing. The clip showed what happened when a driver shifted the transmission of a 2015 Ford Fusion into reverse at 70 miles per hour (113 kilometers per hour), and the answer turned out to be underwhelming. The vehicle's computers were smart enough not to let the gearbox break itself, and the car continued driving normally. Now, AutoVlog is back with a 1998 Chevrolet Prizm and finding out how an older model withstands this torture test.
For reference, the Chevy Prizm was a very close cousin to the Toyota Corolla. The Prizm was part of Toyota and General Motors joint venture of building vehicles at the NUMMI factory in Fremont, California – now Tesla's factory. This third-generation model used a Toyota 1ZZ-FE 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and the automatic gearbox options were a three- or four-speed unit. AutoVlog doesn't specify which auto transmission that this one has.
The driver starts by finding out what happens when he shifts into reverse from 40 mph (64 kph). Like the Ford, Toyota's automatic gearbox is smart enough not to destroy itself because going into reverse just shuts off the ignition. The engine starts up immediately after the car comes to a stop.
The results are a bit more dramatic when shifting into park. Without spoiling what happens, just know that the transmission makes some very bad noises.
It's also worth noting that different transmissions react to this abuse differently. A video from earlier this year showed what happened when an old Ford Ranger pickup shifted into reverse at highway speed. The result was dramatic with a cacophony of metallic sound and quite a bit of smoke. The truck was still able to drive away afterward, though.
Source: AutoVlog via YouTube