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Jeep Grand Cherokee survives different European "moose test"

Consumer Reports News: August 01, 2012 11:08 AM

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Several weeks ago, the Swedish magazine Teknikens Värld revealed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee failed their "moose test" avoidance maneuver, going up on two wheels. But recent testing by another European magazine got a different result.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport (AMS) used the same Grand Cherokee Overland CRD press vehicle as did the Swedes. However, their "moose test" differed slightly from the Swedish test; the German magazine used an ISO (International Standards Organization) test. AMS tested the Jeep at an Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) test facility, a well-regarded automotive testing organization. Unlike the results of the Swedish test, the Jeep remained secure in the AMS test; it did not go up on two wheels or debead tires.

Note that there are many variables here. AMS ran a different test with a different driver on a different surface on a different day compared to the Swedes. Any of these variables could result in different results than the Swedish test.

Consumer Reports has previously taken issue with Grand Cherokee handling. In our double-lane-change avoidance maneuver, a 2011 model skidded and hopped sideways on several runs (see video). A V8 version we tested later didn't exhibit that problem.

Chrysler developed a fix, and we had our V6 Grand Cherokee reflashed with the software update. In repeating our emergency avoidance-maneuver tests, the Jeep performed much better, managing a top speed of 50 mph through the course. That's pretty good for a beefy SUV, but, more importantly, it behaved predictably when pushed up to and past its limits, instilling a lot more driver confidence. (Read: "Chrysler fixes 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee handling problem.")

Bottom line:
As refined and car-like as SUVs have become, it's important to remember that they still handle differently than cars. Electronic stability control has made these vehicles much safer, but it can't totally erase the laws of physics. That's especially true for those capable of going off-road, like the Grand Cherokee. And given that the two-wheel lift in the Swedish test occurred when the vehicle was overloaded, it should serve as a reminder that drivers should make sure that they stay within the payload limitations of their vehicle, regardless of the make or model.

Jeep Grand Cherokee fails Swedish moose test, lessons for U.S. consumers
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Investigation into Jeep fires expanded to 5.1 million SUVs

Tom Mutchler

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