The world can throw unique challenges at cars. In Scandinavia, for example, you might have to dodge a moose in the middle of the road.
To test a vehicle’s ability to do this, automotive journalists in Sweden conduct a “moose test” on new cars that hit the market. The test requires a car driving at 45-50 mph to swerve — in an “S” pattern — left into what would be oncoming traffic, and then right, returning to its original lane.
Swedish automotive magazine Teknikens Värld recently conducted the moose test on Porsche’s hotly anticipated Macan SUV.
And that’s when something weird happened.
In the moose test, the Macan’s left front wheel locked up, causing the SUV to skid forward before turning right again.
Here’s what the test looked like:
The publication described the behaviour of the Porsche as “strange,” with reporter Linus Projtz commenting that the Macan didn’t perform the way it’s supposed to. Evidently, the Swedish test car’s odd reaction to the evasive manoeuvre wasn’t the only time this happened. Consumer Reports also reported that its Macan test car exhibited a similar quirk on a handling course.
Porsche claims the Macan’s odd behaviour in the moose test is the result of the SUV’s Active Rollover Protection system. The car is actually steadying itself to avoid flipping over.
In case you were wondering, here’s what a successful moose test looks like — coincidentally featuring the Macan’s sibling in the Volkswagen stable, the Toureg.
Although the Macan’s test was either a success or failure. depending on whether you accept Porsche’s explanation, the poorest recent performer in Teknikens Värld’s moose test was Jeep’s hot-selling Grand Cherokee.
After the initial test run, Teknikens Värld allowed Jeep’s engineers to fiddle around with the setup of the Grand Cherokee and tried the test again.
The results of the subsequent runs were not any better. In fact, the Swedish car publication put three different Grand Cherokee test cars through the 2012 test. The result: 7 blown tires, as the weight shift brought on by the manoeuvre put tremendous stress on the outside wheels.
Fortunately for Jeep, Teknikens Varld ran the moose test again on a 2014 Grand Cherokee, and this time the SUV passed with flying colours.
As important as moose avoidance may be, a car and its occupant’s ability to survive a collision with a moose is equally, if not more, important. Consequently, cars from Scandinavia like Volvo and Saab are engineered to survive such a incident.
Avoiding and surviving collisions with wildlife is not just a safety issue for residents of Northern Europe. According to the Insurance Journal, car and deer collisions cause 200 deaths and $US4 billion of damage annually in the U.S.
Here’s footage from a 2011 moose crash test of a Volvo V70 wagon:
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