• May 7th 2010 at 10:59AM
  • 37
According to Consumer Reports, it's officially safe to wade back into Lexus GX waters. The luxury SUV has been removed from the infamous "Do Not Buy" list after Toyota solved the handling issues that landed the high-riding people mover in time-out. The Japanese automaker has corrected a software issue that allowed the vehicle to lose control during emergency braking maneuvers. All new models will be sold with the fix, and current owners have been asked to bring in their vehicles so that the repair can be made free of charge.

About a month ago, Consumer Reports found that during testing, the stability control on the new GX failed to reign in wild slides, thereby creating a potential recipe for a roll-over. The magazine's testing resulted in an internal investigation at Toyota that eventually produced the software fix. To date, no one has been injured due to the glitch.

While the Lexus GX is officially back in the game, it may take some time before buyers stop associating the truck with the Consumer Reports black list.

[Source: Automotive News]
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Consumer Reports is lifting the Don't Buy: Safety Risk designation from the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV after recall work corrected the problem it displayed in one of their emergency handling tests.

CR's engineers originally experienced the problem in a test that they use to evaluate what's called lift-off oversteer. In this 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. When testers did this with their GX 460, its rear end slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways. Although the GX 460 has electronic stability control, which is designed to prevent a vehicle from sliding, the system wasn't intervening quickly enough to stop the slide. CR considers this a safety risk because in a real-world situation this could cause a rear tire to strike a curb or slide off of the pavement, possibly causing the vehicle to roll over. Tall vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as the GX 460, heighten CR's concern. CR is not aware, however, of any reports of injury related to this problem.

Lexus recently duplicated the problem on its own test track and developed a software upgrade for the vehicle's ESC system that would prevent the problem from happening. Dealers received the software fix last week and began notifying GX 460 owners to bring their vehicles in for repair.

CR contacted the Lexus dealership from which they had anonymously bought the vehicle and made an appointment to have the recall work performed. The work took about an hour and a half.

Following that, CR's engineers again put the SUV through the full series of emergency handling tests. This time, the ESC system intervened earlier and its rear did not slide out in the lift-off oversteer test. Instead, the vehicle understeered-or plowed-when it exceeded its limits of traction, which is a more common result and makes the vehicle more predictable and less likely to roll over. Overall, CR did not experience any safety concerns with the corrected GX 460 in CR's handling tests.

CR urges all affected GX 460 owners to have the recall work performed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, repaired GXs have gone back on sale.

With the fix, the GX 460's handling is ultimately secure but is still ponderous and ungainly, as is common with traditional body-on-frame SUVs. In addition, the vehicle rides comfortably, has a plush, quiet, interior, and provides quick acceleration, but its third-row seat is cramped. Overall, there are better choices if you're looking for a seven-passenger SUV, including the Acura MDX and Buick Enclave. To help buyers see how the GX 460 compares with competitive vehicles, CR is also posting its ratings and full road test of it today (available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ok, but it remains on my "Do Not Buy It Because It Is Ugly" list, though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was never on your "buy" list because you don't have 75K to buy one with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, of course you should know. But, although I sold my apartment in Dubai (for a third of what i've paid for, still, managed to get 750k), I still will not buy this fuc King ugly car.
        And I see you are still using your uncle's laptop with your neighbour's wifi connection to get here. Fine, huh?
      • 5 Years Ago
      But the front end is still rated "Don't Look At".
      • 5 Years Ago
      I prefer the 4Runner to this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just the looks alone should put this GX on the "do not buy list."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was wondering what was up with the throngs of people clogging the streets around the local Lexus dealer this morning waving wads of cash.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know you're joking but the HS actually has pretty good sales. It's sales only look bad compared to Toyota's own hybrids but it sells pretty darned well compared to literally every single hybrid out there that isn't a Toyota. In fact it sold about the exact same number of units as Ford Escape Hybrids last month, and actually outsold every GM hybrid combined (although this is mostly a reflection of how few hybrids GM manages to sell).
        Seriously, it's sales are only poor if you benchmark it to Toyota's own insanely high sales goals but considering how insanely overpriced (in my opinion) the car is, the sales are pretty damned good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about not buying top heavy, soft suspension vehicles. Roll-over problem solved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A lot of people won't drive top heavy SUV's becuase of the roll over concerns but that does not mean Toyota can get away with an unsafe product.
        • 5 Years Ago
        tranceformer110: What part of "other trucks and SUVs pass this same test" don't you understand? Manufacturers can (and do) build top-heavy, softly sprung vehicles that don't exhibit trailing throttle oversteer. Designing a vehicle to understeer under trailing throttle is not rocket science.

        From Consumer Reports:

        How do other SUVs perform in this test?

        Over the years we have tested many SUVs with and without stability control, and we have not experienced such an abrupt and severe oversteer situation. Usually the front tires lose traction first.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This whole situation is messed up. A car is put on a 'Do not buy list' because it can't correct all the mistakes of a bad driver?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was put on the do-not-buy list because it was dangerous.

        Very few vehicles have trailing throttle oversteer. And that's true even for vehicles without electronic spin control.

        While oversteer, within limits, can be amusing in a sports car, it simply isn't safe for a top-heavy, softly sprung SUV. Porsche spent many years eliminating trailing throttle oversteer on the 911, and they did that for a reason. A top-heavy, softly sprung SUV is far more likely to rollover if you get it sideways than a low, tightly sprung sports car.

        Rollovers and side-impacts are far more dangerous than frontal collisions, which is why statistics show that ESC greatly reduces fatalities.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right, meanwhile no other SUV has failed the same test for years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i know! it's not like other automakers do with their systems, psch. clearly biased against poor innocent toyota who only wants to bring us the highest of quality and engineers their amazing products with a spare no expense approach.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, it definetely won't enter my "buy list" since it's ugly as hell.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should rename it "Squid" or "Blowfish" - or just scuttle the lot and turn 'em into a barrier reef.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It may be off the 'do not buy' list, but dang this thing is still too ugly to consider purchasing. Lexus did not progress their styling theme with this vehicle. The grille looks like it came off of a Toyota Avalon, and those oversized cheap looking taillights seem like an afterthought.
      If they stuck a simplified Toyota grille on the front and downsized the taillights, this would actually look more like what the new 4Runner should have become.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Boooo. I want my Toyota SUV Hoon-mobile.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Alright, so the 35 people that were waiting to buy one of these this year, can now go out and get one.
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