Consumer Reports has found what it says is a flaw with the emergency trunk release handles in certain Lexus models. During testing, the organization found that the federally mandated emergency handles on new Lexus ES and GS sedans can easily break if pulled toward the user (presumably a person trapped inside the vehicle's trunk). Once broken, the handles no longer function, creating a safety hazard. CR also checked other vehicles in its fleet, but found no such similar defect. As a result, the watchdog alerted both parent Toyota, which has launched its own internal investigation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the issue. Both the automaker and NHTSA are currently determining whether further action needs to be taken.

As you may recall, this isn't the first time Consumer Reports has blown the safety whistle on a Lexus model. In 2010, CR discovered a flaw in the stability control system of the Lexus GX SUV that lead to increased rollover risk during evasive maneuvers. In that case, Toyota quickly issued a recall, complete with a software update to take care of the problem. Watch the video below for a full explanation of the trunk release issue.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 63 Comments
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      My favorite glow-in the dark trunk release handle is in the briefcase holder above the engine in Lotus Elise. If the mob slices you into filet-size bits and stacks you in the 'trunk' of the Elise, you can let yourself out.
        canuckcharlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        Where's the common sense nowadays in terms of safety features and warning labels?
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @canuckcharlie
          Common sense is a fallacy passed down from one generation to another. You can find Greek philosophers complaining the 'people just don't 'get it' anymore...'
        Kip
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        I was going to comment on the same thing. Right up there with the tag placed in the cockpit of the same Lotus, the tag that's federally mandated, that states the safest place for a child under 13 is in the backseat.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Willie
        • 2 Years Ago
        I'm guessing the middle child, right? Willie <-------A middle child
      Phillip
      • 2 Years Ago
      I remember when we used to put 3 teenagers in the trunk to get in the drive in movies cheaper. Fix for trunk release: Use the same plastic they use for anything you buy that's sealed in plastic, you know that will never break even if you want it to.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Phillip
        [blocked]
      v
      • 2 Years Ago
      I take it Consumer Reports didn't manage to get their 'Pay check' from Toyota for keeping quiet. The legislation in the US is ridicules, We in Europe don't even have these releases and its not like we care. If someone is going to stop buying a quality car over this plastic handle (which I am sure is made buy a third party company) then good luck to them.
        whatamooseiam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @v
        Consumer Reports doesn't get any paychecks from any manufacturer. They are independent and purchase all their tested products at retail prices.
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @v
        do cars in Europe even have trunks? and is there room for a person in them?
          Phillip
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icon149
          Elephants have trunks, cars have boots. Unless you go to the beach, then you have swimming trunks.
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icon149
          ever heard of something called british english?!
        fefifofum
        • 2 Years Ago
        @v
        Pretty much everything in that, or any car is made by a third party, I'm sure you are so forgiving when a company that you don't worship designs a crap part.
      carfan
      • 2 Years Ago
      cheap asian imported krap...good for the median income American sucker
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      consumer reports is such a joke
      chickenflauta
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm certainly glad they found the defect... but does anyone else think Consumer Reports has it out for Toyota and gives their products a lot of extra scrutiny ever since that whole acceleration recall mess a while ago?
        icemilkcoffee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chickenflauta
        Actually most people think Consumer Report slavishly sucks up to Toyota and Honda, especially in the predicted reliability ratings.
          fefifofum
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Yup, they sure do.
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          icecreamcoffee just replied to chickenflauta's comment. I love this place.
          Nemebean
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Predicted reliability ratings based on actual owners? That's a neat trick.
      Car Fan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is CR for real? Don't they have anything better to do? And why would a child be in the trunk in the first place!??!
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Fan
        It's pretty ironic that just a couple weeks ago there was an article about a woman making her son sit in the trunk of her Lexus ES so he wouldn't get her seats wet (they were at a waterpark). There are lots of ways kids can find their way into the trunk.
          Homestar1217
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          That's exactly the same thing I thought of when I saw this headline. Might explain why the boy was still in there when she dropped him off... The other thing about that article, what about his parents?? Didn't they perhaps question her when they saw their son get out of her freaking trunk??
      Phillip
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only safety feature my 1956 Morris Minor has is a horn, to worn you to get out of my way when my brakes fail.
      willied
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can see Toyota has no interest in safety if they don't think they'll get caught.
      Willie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are some of you that simple minded you don't realize the purpose of safety features? Sure no one wants to have their airbags deployed or get into a car accident but IF it happens these features are available to potentially save your life. Making statements like "don't put your kid in the trunk" is like saying don't get into a car accident or don't let a tree fall on your house. You all were children at one time. A 5 year old may not understand why you should not close yourself in the trunk. Expand your minds a little more.
        David
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Willie
        Somehow I don’t think the comments like "don't put your kid in the trunk" are to be taken literally! I do object to the government mandating things like this (add weight and cost) to a new car because some careless parent is not watching their child! Please don’t reply back that the feature is important if a kidnapper grabs someone and locks them in a truck! I suspect that anyone committing such a heinous crime would just cut the cable to the safety release before they tossed someone in the trunk! I bet you were a boy scout?
          clquake
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David
          Weight of a handle and cable are inconsequential when a six yr old can climb into the trunk while it's A)100 degrees or B)10 degrees. I seriously doubt this adds more than $10 to the bottom line.
        James
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Willie
        And yet, I drive defensively and have never been in a car wreck, even though some people have almost hit me. I have cut the trees away from my house so they won't fall on to it. And, I keep track of the kiddies to make sure they don't get in to trouble. Besides, what's the worst that could happen? They lock themselves in the trunk, I notice 2 minutes later I can't hear him, I go looking, and eventually hear him in the trunk? ... Things don't 'happen' to me, I don't understand why they 'happen' to others, constantly.
        johnnythemoney
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Willie
        I wonder why this isn't mandatory on... I guess any other market in the world? I know for a fact Europe doesn't. I'm not saying it's not useful, I bet that the moment you find yourself trapped in the trunk (yes, but how did that "happen"?) you're going to thank all Gods and Devils for it, but really, mandatory? I could come out with a load of other dangerous situations avoidable with mandatory devices. Like, BMW introduced on their previous 7 Series (don't know if it was an industry first, not the point) a door mechanism that would block the door in any position, and would prevent the door from being shouted. No more cracked fingers! Then again I don't think it can really come cheap, and that you can really consider it something you do need.
          digiboi
          • 2 Years Ago
          @johnnythemoney
          Europeans don't have sensational news to cover carjackings.
      Dvanos
      • 2 Years Ago
      DAmn Lexus did drop the ball on that.
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