Consumer Reports: Lexus SUV is rollover risk
NEW YORKj - April 13, 2010 -- Consumer Reports has given a rare "Don't Buy" warning to the new Lexus GX 460, saying the large SUV has handling problems that could cause it to roll over during sharp turns.
The warning is Toyota's the latest rebuke from the magazine, which is closely read by many car buyers and in January pulled its "recommended" rating on eight vehicles recalled by the automaker due to faulty gas pedals. The magazine said during a routine test of the SUV's performance during sharp turns, the rear slid outward until it was nearly sideways before the electronic stability control system kicked in.
The warning label will remain until Toyota addresses the issue with the seven-seat SUV. About 5,400 have been sold since late December, Consumer Reports said.
The magazine said the problem occurred during runs on its test track. During the test of what's known as "lift-off oversteer," the test driver approaches a turn unusually fast, then releases the accelerator pedal to simulate the response of an alarmed driver. This causes 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.
Toyota said it is concerned about the findings, adding that its engineers will try to duplicate the magazine's tests to determine the next steps. The GX 460 still "meets or exceeds" government testing requirements, Toyota said.
"We take the Consumer Reports' test results seriously," the automaker said.
Full Toyota statement:
We're concerned with the results of Consumer Reports testing on the Lexus GX 460 and their suggested buyer recommendation.
Our engineers conduct similar tests and we feel these procedures provide a good indication of how our vehicles will perform in the real-world; however, we will try to duplicate the Consumer Reports' test to determine if appropriate steps need to be taken.
Please keep in mind that the 2010 GX 460 meets or exceeds all federal government testing requirements. Customer safety and satisfaction remain our highest priorities.
We take the Consumer Reports' test results seriously and appreciate Consumer Reports bringing it to our attention.
Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact the Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800 25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.
toyota, consumer news
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