Yonkers, New York – Consumer Reports has judged the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” due to a problem it said it experienced during its standard emergency-handling tests. In response, Lexus has asked dealers to temporarily suspend delivery of the 2010 GX 460 and will provide loaner cars to current owners if requested. The company has sold 149 of the vehicles in Canada.
Customers with questions or concerns can visit Lexus or call 1-800-265-3987.
The magazine said that when the vehicle was pushed to its limits on a track handling course, the rear of the GX 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,” the magazine said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Lexus Canada said that it is taking the situation seriously and is determined to identify and understand the issue Consumer Reports identified. “Lexus’ extensive vehicle testing provides a positive indication of how our vehicles perform and we are confident that the GX meets our high safety standards,” the company said. “Lexus’ engineering teams are vigorously testing the GX using Consumer Reports’ specific parameters to identify how we can enhance the GX’s performance.”
The magazine said that all four of the auto engineers who conducted the test experienced the problem in an exercise used to evaluate “lift-off oversteer.” In the test, as the vehicle is driven through a turn, the driver quickly lifts his foot off the accelerate pedal to see how the vehicle reacts. In real-world driving, lift-off oversteer could occur when a driver enters a highway exit ramp or drives through a sweeping turn and encounters an unexpected obstacle or 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,” the magazine said.
Consumer Reports said that it performs the evaluation on every vehicle it tests, and that no other SUV in recent years slid out as far as the GX 460, including the Toyota 4Runner, which shares the same platform. To confirm its results, the magazine paid for the use of another GX 460 from Lexus and experienced the same problem.
Consumer Reports is urging customers not to buy the GX 460 until the problem has been fixed, and has notified Toyota of the problem, urging it to develop a remedy and implement it in new vehicles produced at the plant and in those already purchased. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also been notified.
The magazine said that the last time it judged a vehicle’s performance “not acceptable” was with the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited.