• Oct 12th 2012 at 12:30PM
  • 161
Since 2002, the trunks of cars have all come with a glow-in-the-dark safety release, which allows a person who has somehow become trapped inside to open it up and escape. The releases are pretty standard and functional across all models, but Consumer Reports' automotive tester Jake Fisher found a serious problem with the one included in the 2013 Lexus ES and GS: It can be broken off by a 4 year-old.

Fisher, who has young two sons, said that his 4 year-old insisted on testing out the trunk release lever (while supervised). While this feature isn't normally a part of a Consumer Reports test, his son's curiosity led to the discovery of the flaw.

"When they have tried this before, the boys would easily find the release lever and promptly emerge triumphant. However, that was not their experience with our 2013 Lexus ES 350 test car," he said. "My 4-year-old's small hands snapped off the lever that opens the lid. He was not able to escape from the trunk until I opened it from the outside."

Fisher then tested out the release on the ES 300h and GS 350. While the release in the ES 300h seemed to work just fine when pulled straight down or to the passenger side of the car, when pulled to the driver's side it snapped right off. The same thing happened in the GS 350.

Consumer Reports spot-checked cars from other brands in its fleet for a similar issue, but couldn't recreate the problem. The publication then notified NHTSA and Toyota of the flaw.

NHTSA has said that it "is aware of the issue and is evaluating available information to determine if additional action is warranted."

A Toyota representative told the publication that "upon hearing the information from Consumer Reports, we immediately began investigating the durability and ergonomics of the emergency trunk release lever. This is an active investigation and we cannot provide more details at this time."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 161 Comments
      Leighton
      • 2 Years Ago
      Most don't get into a trunk, people did back in the 50s so they could get in a drive-in free. I can't recall anyone that ever got stuck in one. There was no latch to get out .
      smfstiffy
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you all remember this was a feature added to autos and mandated by our all wise and powerful government because of CAR Jackings. I guess they thought that if a carjacker locked you in the trunk you would be able to get out.Nice. Its a small thing I know but now that the carjacker knows you can get out ...well he just shoots you because he KNOWS you are unarmed and unable to defend yourself. Carjacking was only poular in CA not in other states were Citezens are allowed to practice the 2nd ammendment.
        steves1709
        • 2 Years Ago
        @smfstiffy
        Moron. Many cars have a seat back release for the back seat, located in the trunk. Voila!! Another way out. And, nobody's holding a gun to anyone's head to live in CA.
        Cathy Sapp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @smfstiffy
        it happened in Orlando FL. too. A 17 year old was the victim of the carjacking that now has brain damage as a result.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well...why don't they just have a button that glows and gets pushed? Soon we are going to have to have every tiny thing covered with all the "have tos" the government inflicts. Do they have these on refrigerators or dryers??? NO
      sharisez
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typically Toyota.
      buffaloportias
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just more Jap crap...Toyota-Lexus has been recalled 23 times more than any other car, even more than Honda.
      roundrec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why does it allways have tob plastic. cheep skinny poorly made plastic.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good thing he let the kid out promptly, or that'd be years of therapy.....
      hpycmpr155
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even simpler solution" Buy a vehicle that does not have a trunk/
        lilnomadic1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @hpycmpr155
        That and if you have a trunk then oh I don't know maybe lock it and don't put the keys where your kid could get to them..
      hchevy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good thing toyota isn't in the parachute business.
      sjpxmas
      • 2 Years Ago
      WOW/// ARE YOU TELLING ME SOMETHING DOSN'T WORK RIGHT,,,,
      sharisez
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typically Toyota.
      RJM
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Fisher, who has young two sons, " Don't you mean TWO YOUNG SONS?
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