The sun had long set over Tokyo on a Friday night, and the hardworking executives had ordered their last round in the Ginza hostess bars, when The Nikkei [sub] put on the ticker that Consumer Reports magazine has lifted their “do not buy” fatwa against Toyota’s 2010 Lexus GX460.
“When pushed to its limits on our track’s handling course, the rear of the GX we bought slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control. We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a rollover accident, which could cause serious injury or death. We are not aware, however, of any such reports.”
Two days after the report was out, Toyota halted sales production of the SUV worldwide.
As predicted, Toyota did a software upgrade to the electronic stability control system.
Consumer Reports tested the GX 460 again and came to the following conclusion:
“Following that, we again put the SUV through our 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, we did not experience any safety concerns with the corrected GX 460 in our handling tests.”
CR still has some issues with the GX460. It calls the GX 460’s handling “ultimately secure but still ponderous and ungainly, as is common with traditional body-on-frame SUVs.” If someone still looks for a seven-passenger SUV, “there are better choices, including the Acura MDX and Buick Enclave,” says CR.
And since an “All clear” gets far less coverage than a “Don’t buy,” especially during an anti-Toyota frenzy, the GX460 appears to be done.