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Consumer Reports has judged the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk because of a problem we experienced during our standard emergency-handling tests. When pushed to its limits on our track’s handling course, the rear of the GX we bought slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control.

We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a rollover accident, which could cause serious injury or death. We are not aware, however, of any such reports.

All four of our auto engineers who conduct the test experienced the problem in an exercise used to evaluate what’s called lift-off oversteer. In the test, as the vehicle is driven through a turn, the driver quickly lifts his foot off the accelerator pedal to see how the vehicle reacts.

We perform this evaluation on every vehicle we test, which includes the 95 SUVs in our current auto Ratings. No other SUV in recent years slid out as far as the GX 460, including the Toyota 4Runner, which shares the same platform as the GX.

To confirm our results, we paid for the use of another GX 460 from Lexus and experienced the same problem.

In real-world driving, lift-off oversteer could occur when a driver enters a highway’s exit ramp or drives through a sweeping turn and encounters an unexpected obstacle or suddenly finds that the turn is too tight for the vehicle’s speed. A natural impulse is to quickly lift off the accelerator pedal. If that were to happen in the GX, the rear could slide around far enough that a wheel could strike a curb or slide off the pavement.

Either of those scenarios can cause a vehicle to roll over. And because the GX is a tall SUV with a high center of gravity, our concern for rollover safety is heightened.

Like almost all current SUVs, the GX has standard ESC. That system is designed to prevent a vehicle from sliding out in a turn and has generally worked very effectively in the vehicles we’ve tested. It does that by applying individual brakes and cutting engine power to help keep the vehicle on its intended path. But the GX’s system doesn’t intervene quickly enough to stop the slide, and the rear end swings around too far.

As a result, we are urging consumers not to buy the GX 460 until the problem has been fixed. The GX 460 has been on sale for about three months and about 5,000 vehicles have been sold. We have notified Toyota, Lexus’ parent company, of the problem. We urge the company to develop a remedy as quickly as possible and implement it in new vehicles produced at the assembly plant and those already purchased.

In an e-mail response, Toyota spokesman Joe Tetherow said, “We're concerned with the results of Consumer Reports' testing of the Lexus GX 460 and the suggested buyer recommendation. Our engineers conducted similar tests during the development of the new GX and had no issues. However, we will try to duplicate the Consumer Reports test, quickly evaluate the results and determine what appropriate steps need to be taken. It's important to remember that the 2010 GX 460 meets or exceeds all Federal Government test requirements. Customer safety and satisfaction are our highest priorities. We are taking this very seriously and appreciate Consumer Reports bringing it to our attention.”

We have also informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The designation is rare for Consumer Reports; the last time we judged a vehicle’s performance not acceptable was with the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited in the August 2001 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
 

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the way i figure it....if you go too fast on a corner in ANY vehicle, there is a risk of spinning out and/or flipping...the media is just sh*tting on toyota some more
 

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Sales


WASHINGTON – Toyota Motor Corp. is temporarily halting sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after Consumer Reports issued a rare "Don't Buy" warning amid concerns the large SUV has handling problems that could cause it to roll over during sharp turns.

The Japanese automaker said Tuesday it had asked dealers to temporarily suspend sales of the SUV while it conducts its own tests on the GX 460.

"We are taking the situation with the GX 460 very seriously and are determined to identify and correct the issue Consumer Reports identified," said Mark Templin, Lexus vice president and general manager.

The decision to stop selling the SUV is the latest blow to Toyota's tarnished safety reputation after the recall of millions of cars and trucks over gas pedals that are too slow to retract or that can become stuck under floor mats. The GX 460 is not covered by the pedal recalls.

Toyota said about 6,000 have been sold since the vehicle went on sale in late December.

Consumer Reports is closely read by many car buyers before choosing a new car or truck. In January, it pulled its "recommended" rating on eight vehicles recalled by the automaker due to faulty gas pedals.

The magazine said the Lexus problem occurred during tests on its track. In a standard test, the driver approached a turn unusually fast, then released the accelerator pedal to simulate the response of an alarmed driver. This caused the rear of the vehicle to slide outward.

In normal cases, the electronic stability control should quickly correct the loss of control and keep the SUV on its intended path. But with the GX 460, the stability control took too long to adjust, which could cause a rollover accident if one of the sliding wheels were to strike the curb or another obstacle, said Gabriel Shenhar, Consumer Reports' senior auto test engineer who was one of four testers who experienced the problem.

The magazine said it is not aware of any reports of the GX 460 rolling over. It tested two separate vehicles, both of which experienced the problem, but neither rolled over.

The warning label on the model will remain until Toyota addresses the handling issue with the seven-seat SUV.

Templin said in a statement he was "confident that the GX meets our high safety standards" and said Toyota's engineering teams were testing the GX using Consumer Reports' specific parameters. Lexus will provide a loaner car for any customer who bought a 2010 GX 460 and is concerned about driving the vehicle, Templin said.

Customers who have questions or concerns about the GX 460 can call Lexus at (800) 255-3987.

The "Don't Buy" label is unlikely to hurt Toyota's broader sales since the GX 460 accounts for a fraction of its total, said Erich Merkle, president of the consulting company Autoconomy.com in Grand Rapids, Mich. However, it comes at an unfortunate time as the automaker tries to move beyond the recalls.

"I think it will have a bigger impact from a negative-PR perspective than from an actual sales perspective," Merkle said.

The GX 460, which starts at about $52,000, is built on the same platform as the Toyota 4Runner. However, Consumer Reports said the problem did not occur during similar tests on the 4Runner. According to Toyota's Web site, both vehicles are about six feet tall but the GX 460 is about 3 inches taller.

Consumer Reports said the last vehicle to receive such a safety warning was the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited, a large SUV. In that case, testers said the wheels lifted off the road during standard avoidance-maneuver tests, which also posed a rollover risk.

At the time, Mitsubishi disputed the magazine's findings and did not make any modifications to the vehicle, Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin said. The designation appeared to have little effect on the Montero's sales, which increased overall during the second half of 2001.

The Montero remained on sale in the U.S. until 2007 and continues to be sold overseas as the Mitsubishi Pajero.
 

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the way i figure it....if you go too fast on a corner in ANY vehicle, there is a risk of spinning out and/or flipping...the media is just sh*tting on toyota some more
:werd: they always try to find someething against them.
 

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didn't consumer's do the same thing with the suzuki SUV a few years back
 

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"The magazine believed that "the GX’s system doesn’t intervene quickly enough" and "the rear could slide around far enough that a wheel could strike a curb or slide off the pavement," leading to a rollover accident"

Sounds like oversteer that majority of RWD cars would have. Are we going to stop sells on all RWD cars as well since there's a chance it will drift into a curb?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Recall


Washington -- Toyota Motor Corp. this afternoon will announce a recall of its 2010 Lexus GX 460, after it suspended sales last week on the heels of a rare "Don't Buy" rating from Consumer Reports.

Last week, Toyota was able to replicate a test conducted by the influential magazine that raised rollover concerns on the luxury SUV.

The recall of about 5,000 vehicles is expected to include a software upgrade to address concerns about the electronic stability control; another 1,000 affected vehicles were sold outside the country.

The company stopped production of the vehicle in Japan through April 28 and suspended sales worldwide.

Today's recall follows Friday's call-back of nearly 600,000 1998-2010 Sienna minivans to address potential corrosion in the spare tire carrier cable in cold weather states.
 
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