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Check Out Line: Consumer Reports lifts warning for Lexus SUV

May 7, 2010

lexus1Check out Consumer Reports lifting its ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ designation for Toyota’s 2010 Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle.

The well-known consumer magazine said it was changing the rating for that SUV after recall work corrected the problem it displayed in one of its emergency handling tests.

Last month, Toyota recalled nearly 10,000 of the Lexus SUVs, which had only been on sale for a few months, after its engineers replicated the Consumer Reports test.  Two weeks later, Toyota, which has seen its reputation for quality tarnished in a series of recalls and incidents, resumed selling the SUV.

In a test called “lift-off oversteer,” as a vehicle is driven through a turn, the driver quickly lifts his foot off the accelerator pedal to see how the vehicle reacts. Consumer Reports said it found that the Lexus SUV’s rear end slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways, raising concerns of an accident including a rollover.

While Consumer Reports was not aware of any reports of injury related to this problem, tall vehicles with a high center of gravity like the GX 460 concern the magazine.

Dealers received a software fix for the vehicle’s electronic stability control last week and began notifying owners to bring in for repair their SUVs, which sell for $50,000 or more. Consumer Reports brought in its test vehicle and found the repair work took 90 minutes, after which the SUV passed the driving test it had previously failed.

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(Reuters photo)

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