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Swedish Magazine Questions Safety Of Jeep Grand Cherokee


The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Teknikens Varld testing - image courtesy of Teknikens Varld

The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Teknikens Varld testing - image courtesy of Teknikens Varld

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Swedish magazine Teknikens Värld (Technology World) has hit the new Jeep Grand Cherokee with some serious allegations: in performing an evasive maneuver test that’s become known as the “moose test,” the magazine alleges that the popular SUV exhibited the potential for rollover, as seen in this video link.

First, we need to be clear that the specific model tested was a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, equipped with 20-inch wheels and 265/50-20 tires. Electronic stability control was reportedly left on for testing, but Teknikens Värld doesn't list any other specifics on the test itself.

The avoidance test simulates the kind of driving that might be necessary to avoid hitting a large animal like a moose or an elk in the roadway. At a speed of 63.5 km/h (39.5 mph), the sudden left-right swerve was enough to put the Grand Cherokee Overland on two wheels, and a quick response from the driver prevented the SUV from rolling over.

For its part, Chrysler is aware of the test and is disputing the results, insisting that the vehicle shown was in an “overloaded condition.” In fact, a source close to the matter says the vehicle contained five passengers, plus a cargo area filled with sandbags, which could have put the vehicle as much as 200 pounds over its specified weight rating.

In follow-up testing conducted by Teknikens Värld and observed by Chrysler engineers, three separate Grand Cherokee models without similar overloading ran the same course 11 times without duplicating the original result.

Chrysler also claims it was contacted by Teknikens Värld only after the issue containing the road test went to print. Chrysler’s response was to immediately fly a team of engineers to Sweden to work with the staff of the magazine to determine the factors behind its results.

We’ve got a call in to Jeep requesting further details, but it’s worth pointing out that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Jeep Grand Cherokee its coveted Top Safety Pick rating, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the four-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee a four-star overall rating and a four-star rollover rating.

Who’s right and who’s wrong in this particular case is still being sorted out, and we’ll follow up with additional information as it becomes available. In the mean time, you can see the Teknikens Värld test video here.

 

 
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Comments (16)
  1. Are they really putting five adults in a vehicle, with no helmets and then trying to see if it rolls over. I think they should review their own safety procedures before someone gets hurt.
     
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  2. @John, no helmets, no outriggers and a cargo bay allegedly filled with sandbags. That's a bit different from how we test vehicles over here.
     
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  3. I am glad they are keeping pressure on the roll-over issue. Maybe we can break people addition to the high ground clearance vehicles that are only ever taken on asphalt. Bringing the CG down just a couple of inches will make all the difference.
     
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  4. **addiction**
     
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  5. @John, agreed here. I live in the land of lifted pickups, and wonder how many are ever driven further off-road than the occasional run down the beach.
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  6. I wonder which form of testing is more realistic. I could imagine a vehicle like the Jeep having five people and a load of luggage going on drives numerous times. I would further investigate this if I was Chrysler and not overlook it.
     
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  7. @Damien, Chrysler is taking this very seriously, but you raise a valid point - no matter what the actual capacity of a vehicle is, owners will load it until it's full. Overloading is a danger for all vehicles, but SUVs' high center of gravity make them especially dangerous when overloaded.
     
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  8. This test was developed by GM in 1965 to defend the Corvair. Then CALSPAN validated it for NHTSA during the US SafetyCar pgm; and finally we used it at Consumers Union beginning 1972. All with no more than a driver aboard. The Swedes should know better. Are they seriously proposing this?
     
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  9. Looking closely at the still photo above, I see that the rear wheel rim is close to digging into the pavement. If that road was hot-soft blacktop, the vehicle would have planted its door handle on the road, too. Tall tire/rim combos on a tall SUV is super-dumb!
     
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  10. @Carl, I specifically asked my "contact close to the source" about that. To me, it looks like tire pressure wasn't adjusted to account for the additional load, but his response was that "tire pressure wasn't an issue."

    It would have been if that tire had rolled over a bit more, or had come unseated from the bead.
     
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  11. You can flip anything if you try hard enough. Too bad they couldn't arrange for a curb to materialize out of nowhere... that would've done the trick. I tend to agree that 50-series rubber on an off-road vehicle is kind-of dumb.

    I wonder if they've tried this stunt with the Benz M-Class. The nice folks at M-B probably wouldn't make a vehicle available for this kind of nonsense.
     
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  12. I know six people with the new GC, four Overlands, two Limited's with this tire combination. They wouldn't think of taking their GC's off road. People who do take their GC's offroad, don't order up the 20" Tire/Wheel Package.
     
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  13. Now I recall that half a century ago, at GM R&D, many of our vehicles were run around the Proving Grounds loaded to the then-standard 5 passengers (a pile of sandbags) plus 200 lb in the back. That was for ordinary endurance-testing, NEVER for at-the-limit testing. Who exactly was the outfit that tortured this vehicle?
     
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  14. @Carl, the magazine that tested the Grand Cherokee is called "Teknikens Varld," which translates to "Technology World." As far as I can tell, they look to be a cross between Popular Mechanics and Consumer Reports.
     
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  15. Please do not denigrate the good name of Consumer Reports! ;)
     
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  16. @Carl, my apologies, sir...
     
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