These cars failed the ‘Elchtest’..miserably

We call going through cones at a constant speed a slalom but in Sweden its known as an ‘Elchtest’.

Pretty weird name for something so simple but how it got its name makes some sense. The test consists of the car and driver making sudden turning movement at high speed to avoid an object, most likely a moose or Elk, that might be in the road. Alternatively and more simply, it can be called the Evasive Manoeuvre Test.

Safety is top priority

Most cars pass the test with flying colours but there are some that don’t and in some cases, even ended up on its roof. The car’s steering and electronic stability programme (ESP) is put under pressure to see how well it copes in such a scenario. Below are a few of the unlucky ones:

  1. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes-Benz vehicles are normally the safest cars on the road but 1997 was a year in particular they’d like to forget. The A-Class, the brand’s first front-wheel-drive at the time, was met with excitement by the public and people were eager to get their hands on the ‘not so good looking’ compact car.

As far as the official test went, it failed miserably. Its wheels got dangerously off the ground and on all counts looked as if it would flip over. Fortunately it didn’t on that occasion but journalist Robert Collin managed to do so on another. The car lacked the necessary stability control and suspension work needed to pass the test and more importantly, keep people safe. The German manufacturer made the much-needed improvements and the rest as they say, is history.

2. Toyota Hilux

It might be South Africa’s best-seller according to Naamsa sales but the new Hilux didn’t cover itself in glory when it came to dodging an imaginary Moose. One would assume a bakkie’s weight would keep it planted on the road but judging by the video, it went down a similar route as Mercedes-Benz’ ‘smart car’.

According to the driver, the reason for the instability is down to the bigger 18-inch tyres it had fitted and the presence of a proper anti-rollover system. This is not the first Hilux to do this so leaving the problem unattended is a matter of concern. On the other hand, the likes of the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger all passed with flying colours – salt in the wound maybe?

3. Toyota RAV4

Yet another Toyota unfortunately finds itself on this list. It’s test is not as bad as the previous examples, but it behaved erratically when correcting the car. Toyota has since developed a fix for the SUV’s Electronic Stability Control system.

While many of us won’t be swerving out of the way of a Moose, these tests have to be conducted to see how a vehicle’s safety features react in real-life situations.

People use this test as a barometer when buying a vehicle and with good reason because it can mean the difference between life and death.