This, despite being one of the "safest" crossovers on the road.
You've probably heard of the Moose Test (often called the Elk Test), which is performed on cars exclusively in Sweden. The goal of the test is to make sure a vehicle can turn sharply in the event of a moose unexpectantly wandering onto the road. Toyota has had a tough time passing with Moose Test in the past with vehicles like the Hilux pickup, which almost flipped over.
Swedish magazine Teknikens Varld, who administers the test, recently tested the 2019 Toyota RAV4, an IIHS Top Safety Pick + in the US. Surprisingly, the highly-rated crossover did not fare well in the test. In fact, it failed.
The test is quite simple - the car is driven straight, it must then make a sharp left turn followed by an immediate hard right. It is meant to simulate the maneuver of avoiding a moose in the road and test the car's handling, suspension, and most importantly, its electronic stability control. Here is what Teknikens Varld said about the RAV4 during the test:
"Toyota RAV4 has quick front end reactions when we turn left into the lane. When we turn right it cuts in and the car goes up on two wheels. But the behavior varies. Sometimes it goes up on two wheels with extreme reactions including severe skid tendencies, other times the car bounces sideways through the moose test and manages, in the midst of this hard to handle behavior, to ease the worst forces and avoids going up on two wheels. But instead, the car becomes willing to skid sideways. After much effort and great hassle, we manage to reach 68 km/h (42 mph) - a speed that is not approved."
Toyota denies that the RAV4 is unsafe and says it specifically tested the vehicle in the Elk Test, where it reportedly passed. Toyota issued a statement on the matter saying: "At Toyota, the safety of our customers is our number one priority, and to ensure their security, we apply strict safety tests during the development of all our products. 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 Varld. During its development stage, RAV4 successfully passed all internal tests, including the ISO 3888-2 and the Teknikens Varld Elk test."