As this issue went to press, Toyota had recalled 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. and temporarily halted sales and production of eight of its most popular models. The problem: a sticking accelerator pedal that could cause unintended acceleration, a rare situation but one with potentially catastrophic consequences.
The recalled Toyota vehicles include all versions of the 2005-2010 Avalon, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2007-2010 Tundra, and 2008-2010 Sequoia, and some versions of the 2007-2010 Camry, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2010 Highlander, and 2009-2010 RAV4. Also recalled for that problem was the 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe, a twin of the Matrix. Not included are the Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, all vehicles built in Japan (identified by a vehicle identification number starting with "J"), and some Camrys built in Toyota's Georgetown, Ky., plant.
We did not see unintended acceleration in Toyotas we tested, though given the small number of reported problems, we wouldn't expect to. All recalled models had previously earned our recommendation because of their noteworthy performance in our road tests, average or better reliability, and good results in industry crash tests.
Owners of recalled vehicles were expected to receive notification letters in February. We urge all owners not to delay in having the repair performed.
At the same time, the government was investigating a braking problem with some 2010 Toyota Prius hybrids, although the problem was not related to the unintended acceleration issue.
If you're considering buying a used vehicle from the recall list, make sure that the fix, as well as any other recall work, has been done. (Some of those Toyotas and others were involved in another recall that called for owners to remove driver floor mats and have a dealer fix the problem.)
Become familiar with the warning signs of trouble, which might include the accelerator pedal being harder to depress, slower to return to its upper position, or simply not operating smoothly. If you notice any of those signs, get your car to a dealership as soon as possible.
Unintended acceleration can happen in any vehicle. Here's what to do:
For the latest on both recalls, go to www.ConsumerReports.org/acceleration.