Lexus GX460 SUV Problems Lead to Consumer Reports “Don’t Buy” Warning

Consumer Reports magazine has issued a “Don’t Buy” warning for the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after test drivers discovered that a trailing throttle problem could cause the SUV to fishtail, potentially resulting in a rollover or serious accident for drivers. The warning, which is the first time the magazine has recommended consumers not buy a vehicle in nearly 10 years, has led Toyota to halt all sales for the vehicle. 

The Lexus GX 460 problems are known as trailing throttle or lift-throttle oversteer. According to test drivers at Consumer Reports, if the driver takes his foot off the gas while the vehicle is driving through a sharp turn, the rear end of the vehicle may begin to slide. On most vehicles, the electronic stability control system would detect the slide and stop it from happening, but it does not seem to be responsive enough to the problem on the Lexus SUV.

Test drivers said that it is a common maneuver for drivers, like when they take an off-ramp too fast, or realize they are in a sharper turn than they expected. Testers at Consumer Reports said they wouldn’t allow their families to ride or drive in the vehicles in their current condition. Consumer Reports said that the problem could lead to Lexus rollover accidents and serious personal injury or death.

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The last time Consumer Reports issued a “Don’t Buy” warning was 2001, for the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited.

Toyota, which has sold 4,787 GX 460s in the first quarter of this year, quickly halted sales of the SUV after the Consumer Reports warning, and before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could become involved. The company claims that there have been no reports of Lexus GX 460 accidents related to the problem, and said they are determined to identify and correct the problem.

The NHTSA has said that it is in communication with both Toyota’s Lexus division and Consumer Reports about the problem. Toyota has said it has no plans to issue a Lexus GX640 recall for the vehicles sold, but will offer loaner vehicles to owners until they can fix the problem.

The problems with the Lexus GX640 are the latest in a serious of safety issues for Toyota, which has recalled millions of Lexus and Toyota vehicles in recent months over issues that may cause some cars to suddenly accelerate out of control.

Earlier this month, the government announced that it planned to fine the automaker more than $16 million for covering up the accelerator defects, which may have killed as many as 50 people. The company also faces a number of product liability lawsuits over the gas pedal problems, including several wrongful death claims and a number of Toyota class-action suits.

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