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“Moose Test” failure based on overload?

A Swedish magazine’s claim that the Grand Cherokee failed its “moose avoidance test” was, according to Chrysler, based on conditions unlikely to be encountered by owners — an overloaded vehicle put under sudden stress. The result was then hyped as being deadly, with a large photo that was picked up by automotive blogs, resulting in publicity for the magazine.

Update: According to Gualberto Ranieri, Teknikens Värld’s driver, Ruben Börjesson, admitted to overloading the car by 110 pounds.

The situation seemed similar to the Consumer Reports affair with Isuzu, where a vehicle that had passed the magazine’s tests was retested to bring failure, with different testing equipment than competitors (outriggers which Isuzu charged were partly responsible for the results).

The magazine had published photos of the Grand Cherokee “on two wheels as it performed an extreme maneuver in an overloaded condition.” They also published a video, titled “Jeep Grand Cherokee lethal in evasive maneuver.”

Chrysler engineers tried to reproduce the wheel-lift in a properly loaded vehicle, but were unable to do so. The magazine conducted the test in the presence of Chrysler engineers, using three Grand Cherokees in eleven separate runs, and were unable to reproduce it, either, according to Chrysler.

Late today, the magazine responded to Chrysler, with Web Editor Mattias Rabe saying they had not overloaded the Grand Cherokee. They put in five people and used sandbags in the luggage compartment to bring it up to the maximum cargo weight, he wrote. He did not explain why the Grand Cherokee was only “lethal” (nobody was actually hurt in the test) during their televised, photographed test, and not in the eleven runs conducted in the presence of witnesses.

A “Top Safety Pick” of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2012 Grand Cherokee has standard stability control and roll mitigation. Teknikens Värld has also indicted the Mercedes A-Class in 1997, the Toyota Hilux in 2007, and the Skoda Superb in 2010. (Thanks, Edgardo).

Originally posted on July 9, 2012, at 3:50 pm.

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