Consumer Reports: The Lexus GS AWD = Below Average

The Lexus GS

The news today is that the AWD versions of the Lexus GS, along with two Toyotas, have been dropped from Consumer Reports’ 2007 Recommended list. The net result, Toyota as a whole (including Lexus and Scion) has dropped from first overall to third, behind Honda and Subaru.

What were the problems with the AWD GS, which now ranks Below-Average? Consumer Reports asserts that the drop is due to the “accessories and audio system in the all-wheel-drive Lexus GS sedan”, which makes very little sense, as the AWD and RWD both share the same components. For some background, the prevailing complaint among Club Lexus GS owners is of creaks and rattles, as well as overall interior material quality, but nothing to add any weight to CR’s reasoning.

What I found startling is that Consumer Reports was essentially giving all Toyota models a free-pass to their Recommended list until now:

Still, because of these findings, CR will no longer recommend any new or redesigned Toyota-built models without reliability data on a specific design. Previously, new and redesigned Toyota models were recommended because of the automaker’s excellent track record, even if CR didn’t have sufficient reliability data on the new model. If Toyota returns to its previous record of outstanding overall reliability, CR may resume this practice. Typically, CR will only recommend a vehicle if the magazine has at least one year of reliability data for that specific model.

Seems like a bad practice to me, recommending any car on reputation alone, and I’m glad to see them discontinue this behavior.

[Source: Consumer Reports]