The Toyota RAV4 is the top-selling SUV in North America, for a variety of good reasons. But a new obstacle avoidance test carried out in Sweden reveals a potential weakness in the vehicle, one that could be significant enough to make some consumers took elsewhere for their next utility model.
The test is unofficially called the moose test, and it was undertaken by Teknikens Värld (for Technical World) with the goal of appraising the ability of a vehicle to avoid a large obstacle that appears before it on the road.
The test team noted that the RAV4 started to waver in its performance starting at just below 70 km/h, which is the baseline speed that vehicles must be able to handle to pass the test.
"The behavior was really bad with strong skid tendencies and the electronic stability control system engaged very late."
- Teknikens Värld
A second RAV4 was tested during milder conditions, and performed equally badly. Its behaviour proved unpredictable and the vehicle even ended up riding on two wheels at times. It also bounced and slid sideways on occasion. The report concludes:
"The behavior in the avoidance maneuver test is so dangerous that, until Toyota corrects the error, our advice is to not buy the car."
Toyota has responded to the report by noting that safety is at the heart of its priorities and that the company always carries out in-depth testing when developing vehicles.
"Our internal tests fully meet the global standards for obstacle avoidance, and since 2016, we have updated our processes to also reflect the procedures used by Teknikens Värld.”
The company explained that the RAV4 passed all the required tests, including the moose test performed by the Swedish magazine, and concluded by assuring consumers they can be very confident of the RAV4’s safety.
This is a bit of news that constitutes serious food for thought.
During our recent test drive of the RAV4, we didn’t notice any particular anomalies similar to the ones described, mainly because it would not be possible to perform the test on a public road. That said, we were disappointed to note that despite the solid new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) the RAV4 is built on, the vehicle still behaves kind of softly. Clearly, the suspension elements of the SUV are a little too permissive. The results of the test performed in Sweden bear this out and thus shouldn’t be considered surprising.
Meanwhile, we look to see how manufacturers of other vehicles in the segment will react to the news. We’ll be following this closely and of course report any new developments to you as soon we have them.