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Toyota’s Frankensteins Slayed

Posted by feww on April 18, 2010

Submitted by a reader

Toyota’s Frankensteins Slayed One Monster at a Time

Sienna mini-vans

Toyota is recalling 600,000 Sienna mini-vans sold between 1998 and 2010.

According to Toyota Recall website, “certain 1998 through 2010 model year Sienna 2WD vehicles” that are ” equipped with a spare tire and operated in cold climate areas with high road salt use,” have been recalled.

Toyota Lexus SUV

On Friday Toyota engineers acknowledged that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 had a safety problem and said they had duplicated the potentially fatal condition that prompted Consumer Reports to issue a “don’t buy” warning on the vehicle.

Don’t Buy: Safety Risk—2010 Lexus GX 460

What Does Toyota Acknowledgment Do For Popular Mechanics?

It hammers [hopefully] the last nail in the Popular Mechanics’ credibility coffin. It exposes the organization as a discredited ‘authority’ on the matters concerning the science of mechanics.  In an undated report, Popular Mechanics’ had described the car as “among the best luxury SUVs out there for people who need to go where paved roads don’t.” They didn’t say how people will get to “where paved roads don’t.” Alive or Dead?

A summary of Popular Mechanics ‘Test Drive’ report
Reader’s note that Popular Mechanics didn’t discover the potentially fatal condition that exists in the car. I suggest either they didn’t test drive a Lexus GX 460 at all, or if they did drive the car, their test driver wasn’t competent.

2010 Lexus GX 460 Test Drive

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Something about the new Lexus GX 460 seems archaic. It is old-school, off-road rugged in a world where most luxury SUVs have settled for being just tough enough to lug home a gallon of Rocky Road from the Safeway. It has a full ladder frame and a solid rear axle—just like a 1968 International Harvester Scout. At its soul the V8-powered GX 460 is as tough and capable as any Toyota Land Cruiser. That’s really no surprise since, like the Toyota 4Runner, the GX 460 is a version of the Land Cruiser Prado. But where the 4Runner appears brutish and ready for adventure, the GX 460 doesn’t look like it wants to get dirty, ever. Inside, it’s overstuffed with enough luxuries and gadgets to keep passengers from ever peering out the windows. Does that mean that the GX 460’s substantial virtues are buried under an avalanche of who-asked-for-it technology?

What should potential buyers do?

The Bottom Line

Despite hiccups like a rear door that’s hinged on the right so that it swings toward the curb, and a rear window that swings up instead of dropping down (as does the 4Runner’s), the GX 460 is a capable SUV. And it is, considering its off-road prowess, among the best luxury SUVs out there for people who need to go where paved roads don’t.

But who exactly are those people? Well, if you own thousand-acre ranches in Montana, this may be a nearly perfect command car. Though it would help if Lexus offered an off-road package that deletes the vulnerable running boards and adds some aggressive off-road tires. The ideal audience for the GX 460 is small, but is unlikely to be deterred by the GX 460’s $51,970 price tag or even the $56,765 Lexus asks for the Premium model.

On the other hand, if the majority of your driving involves conquering speed bumps, the GX 460 is overkill. Most drivers would be better off buying a Lexus RX 350 crossover and using the more than $13,000 they save on a pristine 1968 International Harvester Scout for that Montana ranch.
Huffman, John Pearley, Popular Mechanics, URL: accessed April 17, 2010.

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