US Lexus fault won't occur in UK, Toyota saysFirm says an equivalent car is not sold here

14 April 2010

Toyota UK has told Which? that cornering problems found in the Lexus GX460 SUV in the US should not occur in the UK as an equivalent vehicle is not sold here.

Consumer Reports, our American sister publication, issued a Don't Buy safety warning on the Lexus yesterday after finding that the GX460 displayed 'lift-off oversteer' when the accelerator pedal is suddenly released while cornering at speed.

Lexus GX460 withdrawn in US

Lexus withdrew the GX460 from sale in the US in order to investigate the handling problems identified by Consumer Reports

The car ended up almost sideways before its electronic safety systems regained control - something that our US colleagues said could potentially result in a rollover accident.

As a result Lexus, which is part of Toyota, withdrew the car from sale in the US while an investigation is carried out.

No UK Toyota investigation

However, a spokesman for Toyota GB has said that the problem should not arise in the UK as the closest relative to the Lexus GX460 sold here, the Toyota Land Cruiser, has a completely different engine and suspension set-up.

He said: 'The GX460 looks similar to the Land Cruiser we sell here, but underneath in the engine and suspension set-ups the cars are entirely different. The Lexus GX460 uses a 300bhp 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine to the 170bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine which we have in the Land Cruiser.

'There is no investigation being carried out in the UK as we do not sell the Lexus GX460 or import it.'

Which? Car test

Toyota says Land Cruiser does not have the problem

Toyota says the Land Cruiser, the closest relative to the Lexus GX460 sold in the UK, does not have the problem as it has different underpinnings

In our own Which? Car obstacle avoidance test - similar to that carried out by Consumer Reports - the Toyota Land Cruiser achieved only a satisfactory rating as it displayed pronounced understeer. This is easier for the driver to control than the more dangerous lift-off oversteer discovered in the Lexus GX460. And, in our tests, the Land Cruiser's electronic stability control was able to effectively prevent skidding.

The safety warning follows months of safety-related problems for Toyota, which has recalled millions of cars worldwide to fix 'sticky' accelerator pedals, and to alter brake settings in the Mk3 Prius.

US safety regulators last week said that the firm would be fined a record $16.4m (£10.7 million) for failing to notify them about the accelerator fault quickly enough.

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