Consumer Reports Lifts Warning On Lexus SUV

We’ve been following news on Consumer Reports Magazine’s “don’t buy” and “unacceptable” warnings it issued earlier this month on the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV. Now, The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the magazine lifted the recommendation that resulted from a failed emergency handling test.

The magazine just announced that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV passed the test following a dealership update to the software that operates its electronic stability control system. The magazine said it took the GX-460 it purchased for the original test back to a dealership to receive the software update, following the update with another test, wrote the AP.

“This time, the ESC system intervened earlier and its rear did not slide out in the lift-off oversteer test,” the magazine said, quoted the AP. “Overall, CR did not experience any safety concerns with the corrected GX 460 in CR’s handling tests,” the magazine added. And, although the fix has restored the vehicle’s handling, the magazine maintains the vehicle remains “ponderous and ungainly,” a general complaint with “traditional body-on-frame SUVs,” said the AP. Because of this, carmakers are building crossovers that are built on car underpinnings, explained the AP.

Consumer Reports suggests owners of the recalled GX 460 see their dealers to have the recall work completed, saying the repairs should take about 1 ½ hours, reported the AP.

Last month, Toyota Motor Corporation—maker of Lexus vehicles—recalled about 10,000 of the SUVs in the United States following the magazine’s rare warning, said the AP, which noted that Toyota also ceased selling the vehicles at that time. The recall also included the Land Cruiser Prado, which is sold overseas. A total of 34,000 vehicles were recalled worldwide, 9,400 in the U.S.

Prior to today’s Consumer Reports Magazine warning lift, Toyota resumed sales of its Lexus GX 460 SUV. The warning was issued on April 13 over problems with the stability control and followed with an April 19 recall. The carmaker said it knows how to reprogram the stability control so that the skids that led to the Consumer Reports warning are prevented, said USA Today, previously. Lexus owners were contacted by dealers and were asked to bring in the vehicles for the needed programming changes, explained USA Today.

Consumer Reports issued the rare “not acceptable” rating after its tests determined that the GX 460 SUV was prone to slide when driven in sweeping turns. According to the report, this could cause rollover accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Ideally, the vehicle’s electronic stability control system would stop such a slide. The “not acceptable” rating is extremely rare. In fact, the last time Consumer Reports concluded that a vehicle was “not acceptable” for consumers to buy was in 2001.

Hours after news of the Consumer Reports rating broke, Toyota announced it was suspending sales of the Lexus GX 460, which could not come at a worse time for Toyota. Since last fall it has recalled more than nine million cars worldwide because of faulty floor mats, sticking accelerator pedals, brake issues, and other problems.

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