A storm is brewing over Sweden as one of its top automotive publications, Teknikens Värld, has labelled Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee "lethal" after the car failed its infamous elk test.
"If it wasn't for our professional test driver's quick reaction the Jeep Grand Cherokee would have rolled over. The handling of the car is lethal for the average motorist," wrote Editor-in-Chief Daniel Frodin.
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The elk test (otherwise known as the moose test) is a simulation created by the magazine designed to show the evasion of a large obstacle appearing in the road in a real life driving situation - in this case a moose.
Teknikens Värld says it puts hundreds of models through the elk test every year, performing evasive manouevers to show how a car handles in a 'panic' situation, such as a child darting onto the road.
According to the Teknikens Värld website:
"Even at 39.5 mph (63.5 km/h) in the moose test the Jeep Grand Cherokee goes up on two wheels, in the middle of the maneuver, and surprises us greatly by being about to roll over."
"We have used two cars as reference cars in the moose test: Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90. Both the Touareg and XC90 can maneuver on the set track at speeds around 43.5 mph (70 km/h) without any tendency to roll over."
"Other competing car models, such as the BMW X5, can also handle speeds around 43.5 mph (70 km/h) without any problems."
"When we ran the previous generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee in the moose test in 2005 the car passed the test without any problems. It is obvious that Jeep has been careless in the construction of the current model."
Chrysler was quick to hit back though, releasing a statement that said the Grand Cherokee used in the test was 'overloaded' and that Teknikens Värld's test was an 'uncharacteristic result'.
The statement also points out that "the extreme maneuver (sic) performed by the magazine is not certified by any regulatory agency, nor is it used to establish any sanctioned safety ratings."
Chrysler say their engineers tried reproducing the lift experienced by Teknikens Värld but 'produced no such result'.
"A subsequent evaluation was conducted by the magazine July 8 in Sweden and witnessed by Chrysler Group engineers. Three vehicles performed 11 runs on a course prepared by the magazine. None reproduced the original event."
Chrysler also point out that 'the 2012 Grand Cherokee is an award-winning SUV that features Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation as standard equipment.'
The moose test has previous. In 1997 Teknikens Värld's journalists were able to flip over a Mercededs-Benz A-Class. Mercedes, at the time, upgraded its tall hatchback after the results were publicised.
The Moose test is nothing new, and has been performed by the magazine since the 1970s. According to the Teknikens Värld website, the moose test 'reveals cars that are poorly designed in chassis construction'.
Toyota's Hilux model also showed a tendency to tip over when it took the moose test in 2007. After Toyota performed a moose test of their own, the company stopped sales of the Hilux with 16-inch wheels in Europe.
(Image and video by Teknikens Värld)
Written by John Meadowcroft