Chrysler is at war with Sweden. A Swedish magazine called Teknikens Varld declared the company’s Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV unsafe after it went up on two wheels in a test. Chrysler thinks the test was invalid.
When Teknikens Varld tried to see how well the Grand Cherokee could swerve around an obstacle, the car’s inside tires lifted off the ground; when the SUV swerved to the right, its front and rear passenger’s side wheels were in the air. The Jeep performed so poorly that the magazine told Chrysler to stop selling it as-equipped.
This all happened during emergency lane change maneuvers and the “elk” or “moose” test, which involves swerving around a stationary object.
Moose are much larger than deer, but they wander onto Swedish roads with the same frequency. American drivers are taught to hit deer rather than risk colliding with another car. An impact with a moose could easily be fatal, so Swedish drivers are taught to swerve whenever possible.
However, Chrysler took issue with the test. “The extreme maneuver performed by the magazine is not certified by any regulatory agency, nor is it used to establish any sanctioned safety ratings,” the company said in a press release.
Auburn Hills went even further: when its engineers couldn’t replicate the results of Teknikens Varld’s test, they went to Sweden and asked the magazine to rerun the test for them. Three Jeeps ran a course prepared by the magazine 11 times, but none of them tilted onto two wheels.
Chrysler concluded that Teknikens Varld had overloaded the Grand Cherokee in its initial test, which made it more likely to roll over.
The magazine reported that the test did not go as smoothly as Chrysler said. “When we performed the moose test with Chrysler/Fiat present, the tires were pried off the rims,” the magazine said, claiming it happened seven times.
In the United States, the Grand Cherokee has a four-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the rollover test, two-wheel drive models received three stars; four-wheel drive models received four. The Grand Cherokee is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick.