Lexus' latest crop of luxury sedans could have a fault with their emergency interior trunk escape lever, a new report finds. Cars sold in the United States have been required to have a trunk-mounted emergency escape lever since 2002.
According to findings by Consumer Reports, the escape handles installed in 2013 Lexus ES 350, ES 300h and GS 350 models are overly brittle, causing the lever to snap off if pulled the wrong way. CR notes that the handles works just fine if pulled straight or toward the passenger side of the vehicle, but can snap off if pulled toward the driver's side.
CR tested several other vehicles in its fleet for similar faults, but came up with nothing.
CR has informed both Toyota – the parent company of Lexus – and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the potential safety hazard. Toyota is currently investigating the matter while the NHTSA says it "is aware of the issue and is evaluating available information to determine if additional action is warranted."
Although a rare occurrence, trunk entrapment is a very serious issue, particularly with children. Given the frantic nature of such an event, it is unlikely that anyone trapped in a trunk would be able to operate the emergency handle in the precise way Toyota has designed. We wouldn't at all be surprised if the NHTSA's investigation eventually result in a recall.