Federal safety officials are investigating the Ford Freestyle after getting 238 complaints that it can suddenly lunge forward when it’s supposed to be idling or moving slowly. Eighteen minor crashes were reported with one minor injury involving 2005 through 2007 Freestyles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the cars can lurch up to 10 feet when the driver's foot is neither pressing the gas nor firmly on the brakes, the AP reports. The NHTSA's investigation, which began May 11, covers about 170,000 Freestyles.
The lunges have been reported both when moving backward and forward, the agency says, and the problem worsens when the air conditioner is running or the steering wheel is turned far. NHTSA will decide if a safety recall is necessary. The car was renamed the Taurus X for the 2008 model year, and was discontinued in February 2009. Details of the probe are at the NHTSA’s website.