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Consumer Reports Issues 2010 Lexus GX 460 Safety Warning

Consumer Reports has issued a safety warning on the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after standard testing revealed the SUV’s electronic stability control struggled to keep the vehicle from sliding during high speed cornering—this video illustrates the consumer magazine’s findings:

Here’s details on the test and the potential safety risk:

In the test, as the vehicle is driven through a turn, the driver quickly lifts his foot off the accelerator pedal to see how the vehicle reacts.

In real-world driving, lift-off oversteer could occur when a driver enters a highway’s exit ramp or drives through a sweeping turn and encounters an unexpected obstacle or suddenly 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.

Either of those scenarios can cause a vehicle to roll over. And because the GX is a tall SUV with a high center of gravity, our concern for rollover safety is heightened.

Lexus has issued a statement regarding the Consumer Reports findings:

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.

There have been no reported accidents or injuries related to this issue—as the video demonstrates, it would not be a common occurrence for drivers of two-and-a-half-ton SUV to barrel into a corner at 60mph.

Consumer Reports is suggesting that a software update and/or tire change should fix this issue. As always, we will keep you updated with information as this story unfolds.

Update 1: The Miami Herald is reporting that Lexus was on hand at Consumer Reports’ second testing last week, where the results in the video above could not be recreated due to weather:

Lexus spokesman Bill Kwong said it had rained at the Consumer Reports proving grounds, so another test could not be replicated for the engineers. Kwong said the company has been working to replicate the tests since that time and was instantly in contact with teams in Japan via video conference. He said the company was very concerned about Consumer Reports’ tests and that “all hands are on deck” to reproduce the problem and fix it if found.

He explained that the tests Consumer Reports and Toyota run are very similar but have slightly different speeds and approach angles.

[Source: Consumer Reports, Lexus & The Miami Herald]

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