2011 Toyota AvalonEnlarge Photo
The Toyota Avalon, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra models now again carry CR's positive distinction, which is awarded to vehicles that perform well in all of its tests plus have average or better reliability, based on its annual subscriber-based car survey, and perform "at least adequately" in federal and insurance-industry safety tests.
CR's 'recommended' checkmark had been stripped of those models back in January, due to concerns about unintended-acceleration claims and sticking accelerator pedals. Through a series of highly publicized recalls, affecting millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, Toyota fixed a potentially sticking accelerator linkage and a potential issue with accelerators jamming in floormats. And since, Toyota faced hearings on Capitol Hill and a rapid rise in consumer complaints; and while it's battled back with incentives, it's been argued that it lost about a 1.5-percent market share, overall.
"We believe that Toyota has adequately addressed the problem of unintended acceleration and that its new vehicles on sale now are fundamentally safe," CR stated in a blog post earlier this week.
CR attributes several reasons for the decision: a re-engineered accelerator-pedal design, brake-override or so-called smart throttle systems, and a drop in complaints to the U.S. government regarding vehicle speed control in Toyotas.
For the 2011 model year, all Toyotas will receive brake overrides, a feature that several other automakers have moved to install in more of their vehicles after the recall issue.