Toyota Lexus SUV Deemed Unsafe

The nonprofit, but influential magazine, Consumer Reports, has just urged consumers not to buy the Toyota Lexus GX 460, calling the vehicle a “safety risk” over its stability control system, said ABC News.

According to Consumer Reports, the Lexus GX 460 can slip during large turns, according to ABC News. In response, Toyota issued a statement saying it was “concerned” with the warning and was looking into the issue and would attempt to replicate the results to “to determine if appropriate steps need to be taken… “We take the Consumer Reports’ test results seriously,” the auto giant responded, quoted ABC News.

Consumer Reports also pointed out that the sliding could lead to rollover accidents, which could lead to significant injury and fatalities, although it was not aware of any such accidents, reported ABC News. “CR is urging consumers not to buy the GX 460 until the problem has been fixed,” the magazine said, explained ABC News.

According to ABC News, Consumer Reports last issued such a warning regarding a vehicle being “not acceptable” for consumer purchase, in 2001, wrote ABC News. Consumer Reports issued that warning about the Mitsubishi Montero Limited.

Regarding the GX 460, Consumer Reports explained that rollover risks are of concern because the SUV is particularly tall and also has a “high center of gravity,” wrote ABC News. The magazine also explained that no other SUV, including the Toyota 4Runner, slid as far as the GX 460 in its testing, said ABC News.

The Lexus GX 460, a luxury SUV that starts at costs of over $50,000 is similar to Toyota’s 4Runner, noted ABC News. Also of note, Consumer Reports helped Toyota’s sales in the United States over the past 15 years, said ABC News, significant because Toyota has been in the midst of a media frenzy over acceleration problems and a number of recalls, totaling over two million vehicles. Toyota is the world’s largest automaker and is the maker of the Lexus brand.

Toyota and Lexus vehicles have been making headlines over issues with unintended acceleration problems that were initially blamed, by the carmaker, on floor mats. The problem caught national attention following the deaths of a California Highway Patrol officer and three family members when a floor mat in his Lexus sedan was believed caught in the gas pedal. The accident took place near San Diego on August 28 when Officer Mark Saylor was driving a loaner from a Lexus dealership, according to Toyota.

The fatal crash involved Saylor (45); his wife, Cleofe (45); Mahala, their 13-year-old daughter; and Chris Lastrella (38), their brother-in-law; all four perished, said Detroit News previously. Details of the chilling accident that prompted the NHTSA to investigate the crash include the 2009 Lexus plummeting over an embankment and bursting into flames. The family was able to contact a 911 operator, saying they were unable to stop the ES 350; Lastrella advised the operator that the Lexus had no brakes. Most poignantly, the 911 tape, now public, included the family asking one another to pray at the recording’s end, just before their deaths, said Detroit News.

Federal highway safety inspectors recently released details of that deadly crash including a finding that, reported the LATimes, involved a gas pedal design in the Lexus ES 350 sedan that actually increases the likelihood of the pedal being “obstructed” by a car’s floor mat. Including the California fatalities, the NHTSA received 100 complaints involving 17 crashes and five deaths, said Detroit News previously. One-third involved the Lexus ES 350, the Free Press said earlier.

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