Yesterday, I sent this email to Rabe Mattias at Teknikens Varld:
Thank you for contacting us to provide the full details on your test.
Can you offer an opinion or theory as to why the Grand Cherokee
repeatedly displayed the wheels-up behavior during your testing but
did not display the same behavior during Chrysler’s observations?
We didn’t get a response. Here’s what we did get:
In a new video, the magazine claims that Jeep’s load standard for the Grand Cherokee isn’t reasonable — that “with a driver and four adult passengers, there is hardly any room for luggage.” North American SUV-market observers shouldn’t be surprised by this: one of the things that came out of the infamous Ford Explorer Firestone debacle was the fact that the Explorer didn’t actually have enough payload rating to carry five American adults at all. (The 1995 Explorer’s payload, 980 pounds, was better than that of the Infiniti QX4, which was an unintentionally hilarious 795 pounds!) American buyers don’t put five adults in an SUV. The common load is one 120-pound trophy wife, a hundred pounds of completely unnecessary toddler-related crap, and a small child who, in both dimensions and weight, is roughly equivalent to a Thanksgiving turkey. In a pinch, Dad may come along, assuming the weather prohibits an afternoon round of golf.
Once the Grand Cherokee was loaded to Chrysler’s suggested spec, which depending on whom you believe is either the correct spec or an unbelievably crooked attempt to game the test, the Grand Cherokee didn’t go for the two-wheel hokey-pokey. Instead, it repeatedly blew its left front tire — a total of seven times, according to Teknikens Varld. The video shows the left-front tire blowing again and again.
Strictly speaking, a blown front tire shouldn’t constitute a failure of the “moose test”. In practice, most SUV owners would be deeply annoyed if they had to replace the front tire every time they put the car through an avoidance maneuver.
Who’s to blame here? Is the test rigged? Is the Cherokee unsafe? Are the Euro-market tires to blame? Are they different from the tires specified on US-market Grand Cherokees? Having run the GC SRT-8 around “Big Willow” quickly enough to lap a bunch of Chally-SRT-driving journosaurs, I’m pretty convinced that the SRT version would absolutely breeze the moose test… but what about the base Laredo?
In a perfect world, TTAC would be able to purchase a GC off the showroom floor and go through the test ourselves. Since we don’t have an extra $40K sitting around, we can at least offer to do the driving and take the rollover risk if someone else wants to buy the vehicle. Any takers?