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.