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The Moose Test / Elk Test in Sweden and Germany, and the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

by David Zatz with thanks to Edgardo

A Swedish magazine's claim that the Grand Cherokee failed its "moose avoidance test" was, according to Chrysler, based on the use of an overloaded vehicle, put under sudden stress. The result was hyped as being deadly, with a large photo that was picked up by automotive blogs, resulting in considerable publicity for the magazine.

According to Chrysler spokesman 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." Teknikens Värld reported the Mercedes A-Class in 1997, the Toyota Hilux in 2007, and the Skoda Superb in 2010 as failing the test, gaining worldwide publicity each time.

Chrysler engineers tried unsuccessfully to reproduce the wheel-lift in a properly loaded vehicle. 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. Still, the magazine's Mattias Rabe wrote that they had not overloaded the Grand Cherokee. He did not explain why the Grand Cherokee was only "lethal" (nobody was hurt in the test) during their private test, and not in the eleven runs conducted in the presence of witnesses.

The German magazine Auto, Motor, und Sport (AMS) had previously tested the Grand Cherokee; it passed without problems. AMS re-tested the Grand Cherokee after the Swedish test, using a test site sanctioned by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) and confirming to International Standards Organization (ISO) specifications.

The avoidance event included suddenly releasing the accelerator pedal, to provoke a load shift and replicate the reality of elk or moose avoidance.

AMS reported, "Whether loaded with 2 people on board or with the maximum permissible total weight, all four wheels maintained contact with the ground to the greatest possible extent. The tested Jeep did not demonstrate one-sided uplift or, let alone, tipping. This confirms the theory that the Cherokee in Sweden was overloaded." (The fallen SUV on their Web page is a Land Rover.)

A "Top Safety Pick" of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2012 Grand Cherokee has standard stability control and roll mitigation.

Main 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee pages and...


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