If you live in Sweden or in conditions like those in Sweden, then you know about certain wild animals that must be avoided but sometimes can’t be. When a moose crosses your right-of-way you only have two choices. You can hit it which is definitely not recommended under any circumstances. Or, you can swerve to avoid it. That’s why the “Moose Test” came into being and why it’s a real, actual test. Toyota needs its 2020 RAV4 to nail it this time.
The Swedish auto mag Teknikens Värld conducts the test on as many vehicles as it can. It’s an indication of the maneuverability and agility of the test vehicle. In other tests, it would be called an evasive maneuver test. Steering ratio, reaction dynamics, and handling all come into play. How a vehicle passes the Moose Test says a lot.
The 2019 RAV4 did not pass the Moose Test so Toyota had to nail it in 2020
When Teknikens Värld last tested a Toyota RAV4 in 2019 the RAV didn’t fare well. It said the then all-new RAV exhibited “dangerous behavior.” They felt the culprit was Toyota’s electronic stability control was coming on late. Toyota must have been paying attention.
The engineers at Toyota made a software change for 2020. With that, the Stockholm magazine decided to retest with a 2020 RAV4. Toyota exhaled as the RAV4 received a passing grade from Teknikens Värld.
For the Moose Test Toyota recalibrated the RAV4’s stability control system
What Toyota did was to recalibrate the Vehicle Stability Control system. This allows for harder braking from the system. This plants the Toyota during the test. With the first test, both the hybrid and gas models would be loaded to the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit. Then, the RAV would be run through the test course. Upon the avoidance maneuver, it would raise the inside tires, essentially traveling on the two outside tires.
When Teknikens Värld conducted the latest test it should be noted that it was able to reach a speed of 45 mph before the actual maneuver began. For the previous test, the RAV could only achieve 42 mph in that distance. So it would seem that performance has also been improved besides the recalibration of the stability control.
You may not be aware of how important the RAV4 is to Toyota
The RAV4 is an important vehicle for Toyota both in terms of exposure and sales. It’s the best-selling SUV in America. With SUVs being the choice of most consumers that says something. It’s the sweet-spot of SUVs. Toyota has to maintain those stats and it looks like it has.
For 2019 the RAV4 sales rose by almost 5%. And, that’s in a segment that is seeing a whirlwind of new models as every manufacturer from Bentley to Lamborghini is bringing out their own SUVs. Granted, those examples won’t be competing with the RAV4, but that shows how crazy SUV sales have become.
When one thinks of best-selling Toyotas the Camry is what comes to mind. But the RAV4 outsold the Camry by over 110,000 units. The numbers were 448,071 vs. 336,978. That’s why Toyota needs to nail the Moose Test, and for 2020 it has.