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Moose Test Explained

Moose Test (Elk Test) – or the maneuver to avoid an road obstacle at cruising speed – was a subject of controversy in the automotive industry. It is the main reason for ESP generalization on the new models and one of the tests that always generates heated debates between the press and car manufacturers.

Moose Test Explained - Elk Test

Moose Test in action

We’ve all heard about the Moose Test (Elk Test) at least once. A strange name at first glance, one that doesn’t appear to be related to the automotive industry. And yet, the Moose Test – the name given in corpore by the automotive industry – the avoidance maneuver of a static obstacle at high speed – is part of the testing for each new car, being one of the major tests conducted by EuroNCAP, and underpins the introduction of ESP as standard on every new car sold in Europe. Why is it so important and especially why is it called so?

Moose Test photo gallery

Moose Test – Swedes and wild animals

The Moose Test was invented in Sweden by the Teknikens Varld (Technique World) magazine, but the Swedes didn’t named so until 1997, the year of its mass dissemination. For them, the original name was Avoidance Maneuver Test or, in Swedish, “Undanmanöverprov”.

The origin of the Elk Test – invented by journalists, but popularized by Volvo and Saab, the main Scandinavian car brands – lies in the limit situations the drivers encounter in this area when crossing roads and wilderness areas where forest animals are a common presence.

In other words, tests of this type have appeared so the Scandinavian producers to make sure that a Swedish driving at 80 km/h (50 mph) meets a with a Wild Boar, Arctic Fox or Moose has a car that allows him to avoid the unusual obstacle. Thus, the sudden thrust maneuver of the car and then the return on the road has become a mandatory test for any cars sold in Sweden.

The Mercedes incident

Until 1997, this test was almost unknown in the world, the Swedes keeping for themselves its results, generalized after the 90’s on all brands and all models sold in Sweden. But one particular incident would attract the attention of the auto industry for this type of testing and was enough to generate its new name.

The test became world-famous in 1997 when the magazine journalist Robert Collin from Teknikens Varld “succeeded” to overturn a Mercedes-Benz A-Class during an obstacle avoidance maneuver. Mercedes responded immediately by providing the A-Class series model with ESP (Electronic Stability Program). This incident would lead to the ESP popularization, more and more car manufacturers began to introduce this system to the list of standard equipment. 15 years after that time, European Union imposed the presence of ESP in each model equipment sold within the Old Continent. The name – Moose Test – was used by Robert Collin during an interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (the explanation test was used as an illustration of a driver avoiding a moose on the road) and was rapidly adopted worldwide. Even by the Swedes.

Moose Test popularization

Moose Test (or “Älgtest” in Swedish) has now become synonymous with the “ESP Test” and its results are considered very serious by the automobile industry. So seriously, that the Elk Test is part of the grading scale for each model tested by leading road safety organizations in the world. In the official version, is the avoidance the maneuver quickly and return to lane running at cruising speeds (70-80 km/h | 45-50 mph). The test takes place on dry surface, and the avoidance area is simulated by rubber cones.

Moose Test Track

Moose Test Track

The Moose Test was used by many important organizations such as ADAC (Germany), and many auto publications. Even car manufacturers use it for testing before mass production. Extensive use of ESP has limited the number of models that have problems in this obstacle avoidance test.

Moose Test Video

Citroen Nemo, Renault Kangoo, Toyota Hilux or Jeep Grand Cherokee failed the Moose Test, situation that generated acid responses from car manufacturers and the media. The manufacturers often deny that the car has a problem and blame those who performed the test, accusing them of altering conditions and that the results are not so representative. In the case of Jeep, Chrysler Group gave a subsequent press release stating that the test was reproduced and the car behaved absolutely normal. According to the Americans, the reaction of car tested by the Swedish newspaper was caused because it was overloaded.

Moose Test with Toyota GT86 isn’t an official video, being made just for fun by the Japanese.

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