The moose test is completely legit

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There is such a thing as a moose test, and it's a perfectly valid test of a car. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

There is such a thing as a moose test, and it’s a perfectly valid test of a car. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

There are a number of automotive testing parameters the world over, but among the most curious is the moose test, employed by a number of countries with such critters. The ungainly ungulates may seem a joke subject, but believe it or not the test is incredibly valid.

Moose test up there with crash test for applicability

The term “moose test” sounds pretty ridiculous. Given that the name of the test, it sounds almost frivolous compared to a crash test. No actual moose is involved, but rather the term is a colloquial one that was applied to the action involved.

The test measures a car’s performance while suddenly avoiding an obstacle. The basic version goes like this: a car swerves to one side to avoid an object and then immediately back into it’s original lane of travel. Low speeds are used at first, and then the experiment repeats with progressively higher speeds until sufficient speeds are achieved for the vehicle to no longer be controllable.

The practical application, of course, is the ability of a vehicle to avoid a suddenly presented object. For instance, a child running into the road or perhaps a dog or, in the case of some northerly countries, a moose.

How Swede it is

Similar tests have been done for decades, but the term “moose test” entered into popular consciousness thanks to “Tekniken’s Varld,” a Swedish car magazine, which jokingly dubbed the swerve test thusly. In 1997, according to a web archive of a Drive.com.au article, the magazine tested the then newly-released Mercedes-Benz A Class, finding it couldn’t handle a swerve at 60 kilometers per hour – or about 30 miles per hour. However, a Trabant – the East German automotive joke second only to a Yugo in lousiness – managed it with aplomb.

Mercedes pulled the car from the market and spent 1997 tuning the chassis, acing the test in 1998 and then selling huge numbers of the Baby Benz, at a significant cost. Ever since, car makers have taken the magazine’s results seriously – such as Porsche’s response to the 2014 results of it’s Macan SUV, according to Autoblog, among others.

No moose is good moose

Since the test measures the ability of a car to hold the road under extreme cornering at moderate speeds, until the point of losing traction or rolling, the moose test is about as practical as it gets. A tilt test is a similar measure of a car’s agility; those are the ones that SUVs kept failing in the 1990s. At least those that don’t have tires that explode.

So that’s what a moose test is.

Oh, and as if we weren’t going to go there:

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